Things to do in Sydney, Australia, for Canadians

Sydney is the largest city in Australia. It’s home to the world-famous Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House, as well as pristine beaches and lush natural parks. The unique mix of culture and lifestyle makes Sydney a hive of activity, and the list of things to see and do is endless.

Although the city is more expensive than Canada to live in, it provides a lot of activities, sights, and attractions that you can do on a budget, all within close proximity to affordable accommodation. And because the climate in Sydney is temperate, you can expect comfortable weather all year round, with hot summers and cool winters.

We’ve compiled a list of restaurants, bars, shopping centres and major attractions to explore for the perfect Sydney experience!

Restaurants

If you’re visiting Sydney from Canada, chances are you’re looking to experience some Australian cuisine. A lot of the restaurants are on the higher-end of the price scale, but there are a lot of affordable restaurants offering up quality modern Australian food, too. As a Canadian you’re probably also keen to visit the best Sydney attractions, so luckily a lot of the best restaurants are located right on the harbour, giving you the most amazing views of the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House.

Best harbour view: Aqua Dining. This restaurant is located right above the North Sydney Olympic pool with the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background. If you want the best of harbour views without stretching the wallet too far, this is the place.

Dimmi

For modern Australian food: Rockpool Bar & Grill. Situated in the city in an American-style art deco skyscraper, Rockpool offers up contemporary Australian food (wood fired grilled meats and fresh seafood) and a list of over 3,000 wines.

Dimmi

For scones like Nana makes back home: Tea Cosy. This little cafe at The Rocks is perfect for afternoon tea or a quick brunch to help you overcome the home sickness before wandering the harbour. Sit on a rocking chair as your tea is served in fine china.

Tea Cosy

Shopping

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Sydney is the high-fashion capital of Australia, offering up all the major fashion brands and international designers as well as boutique shops and local designers. The best part of shopping in Sydney is that most of the major hot-spots are in historic buildings, allowing you to explore Sydney’s architecture while you browse the abundance of retail and specialty stores on offer.

For big department stores to make you feel at home, you can’t go past Westfield Sydney. This department complex is the third largest shopping centre in Australia and is located within walking distance of neighbouring shopping complexes and malls.

Bars

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Australia gives Canadians a run for their money when it comes to craft beers. Aussie craft brewers know how to keep their beers flavourful, adventurous and accessible. In fact, the craft beer scene is blowing up in Sydney, with several specialty bars and “tap houses” transforming everything you thought you knew about beer.

For craft beers and live music:  Young Henrys. An old warehouse filled with vats and music, this craft brewery is like a mini beer festival, featuring live music, food trucks and three times distilled moonshine, crafted on site.

For a tasting bar serving up takeaway bottles:  Willie the Boatman. The bar is named after an 1800s convict and serves up tasty craft brews including The Albo Corn Ale, a blend of corn and pilsner malt lightly hopped with Galaxy.

Sydney Harbour

When anyone thinks of Sydney, Australia, it’s usually the Sydney Harbour Bridge or Sydney Opera House that first comes to mind. Sydney Harbour is often regarded a some of the most beautiful natural harbours in the world. There are two ways to make the very most of it on your next visit:

The Sydney Harbour Bridge climb

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An activity that everyone should do when they come to Sydney, BridgeClimb offers individuals, couples, and groups the opportunity to scale the famous bridge. You’ll be equipped with safety gear and harnesses, and all you need to bring is your sense of adventure! The tour includes a detailed history of the Bridge and Sydney, and when you make it to the top (134m above sea level) your tour guide will capture the moment with a group photo to prove you did it.

The Sydney Opera House

Sydney’s iconic Opera House should be among the first things you visit when you arrive in the city. If you can only spare a short time, make it worthwhile by getting your picture taken on the steps of the Opera House with the Harbour behind you, or grab a drink along the boardwalk at Opera Bar.

The Opera House also runs daily tours of the building, but to really immerse yourself in the experience, you should see a live show. Each month the Opera House hosts an opera performance featuring the stars of Australian opera. It might not be the same as the Canadian opera, but it’s definitely worthwhile.

Surf beaches

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Australia is world-famous for its surf beaches, and Sydney has some of the best to offer. The iconic Bondi Beach is Australia’s most prominent surf beach, featuring white sand, great surf and the popular Icebergs ocean pool. The beach is about 30 minutes from Sydney CBD and is the picture-perfect backdrop to the trendsetting cafes and eateries of the Bondi community. The best time for beach lovers to visit Bondi is during Summer (between December and February) as the weather and water temperature during this time is warm, with water temps reaching up to 23.7°C (74.6 F) – much more pleasant than the water temperatures you’ll find in Canada!

Another surf beach destination to put on the bucket list is Manly Beach. Catch one of Sydney’s famous ferries from Circular Quay Wharf and once in Manly, enjoy the long stretch of white sand and turquoise waters perfect for snorkelling. Manly Beach is perfect for beginner surfers, with low rolling waves and a local surf school offering daily lessons. But if staying dry is more your thing, you can hire a bike and explore Manly on a self-guided tour!

Where to stay

Maze Backpackers offers great value budget hostel accomodation in the heart of Sydney CBD. Only a 5-minute walk from Central Station, you’re right at the doorstep of all that Sydney has to offer. Maze is only a 20 minute walk away from the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Opera House and The Rocks. Offering four free food events during the week and 12 complimentary drinks on arrival if you book three nights or more, book at Maze today and begin your adventure!