1. Start your day off at Sydney Tower. Sydney Tower Eye opens at 9:00am every day of the year except for Christmas and is the perfect way to both take in great views of the city and to get your bearings for the next step. The tower is located at the corner of Pitt and Market Streets in the middle of Sydney's retail precinct and just a short walk from Town Hall and St James train stations, with any Bus service along George and Elizabeth streets also available.
2. Exit the tower and head along Market Street, taking some time to browse through the main shopping area of central Sydney. Many smaller, high-class retail stores can be found along this road, along with large, flagship department stores David Jones and Grace Bros. which offer a huge range of products from both Australia and worldwide.
3. Continue along and head north-east until you reach the Art Gallery of New South Wales, one of the best attractions and finest galleries in all of Australia. Situated on the aptly-named Art Gallery Road, the Art Gallery of NSW is open every day of the year except for Good Friday and Christmas Day from 10:00am to 5:00pm. A great option for those who are looking for a taste of culture, the gallery is composed of five different levels, each of which presents a diverse range of art and artistic styles including pieces of Aboriginal Art, Colonial and 20th-Century European-influenced Aussie art, and galleries featuring tributes to old European and Asian masters.
4. Head north along Art Gallery Road and turn left to explore the Royal Botanic Gardens. Just a short walk from the Art Gallery of NSW, the Botanic Gardens are a must-see while in Sydney and provide a cavalcade of natural floral beauty while remaining close to the Sydney CBD. The gardens open at 7:00am all year round, and is divided up into a series of specialised individual gardens that each emphasise a different area of the world of plantlife, from Palms to Begonias, Roses to Ferns, and much, much more.
5. Leave the Botanic Gardens and head west towards Circular Quay, which serves as the figurative and literal “hub” of Sydney and its iconic harbour. Circular Quay acts as a stepping stone for most of the attractions in and around the harbour and is an energetic, bustling location with ferries that can take you to a variety of locations and offers great views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
6. Visit the Sydney Visitor Centreat Darling Harbour – an invaluable resource for visitors that will provide you with free information on most of the core attractions in not only Sydney but New South Wales in general; extremely handy if you are planning further travel after you are done with your day in Sydney! The Visitor's Centre can be found on Lvl 1 of The Rocks Centre, located on the junction of George and Argyle streets.
7. Walk around Circular Quay, taking in the many highlights and views of the harbour from the foreshore, perhaps stopping for lunch at one of the small harbourside restaurants or cafes along the way. With plenty of walkways, pedestrian malls, parks and restaurants, there is plenty to keep you entertained simply on the Quay itself.
8. Proceed further along to the Sydney Opera House – another one of the “must-do” destinations in Sydney, and perhaps one of the most famous icons in all of Australia next to Ayer's Rock (or Uluru), this unique feat of architectural design and engineering adds tremendously to the character of the already-scenic harbour that contains it. The Sydney Opera House can be found on a spot called Bennelong Point at the north-eastern tip of Circular Quay, and is a true triumph of modern architecture that makes for the picture-perfect location for a postcard-worthy photo! Tours of the Sydney Opera House are also available if you wish to take a more in-depth look of its fascinating insides.
9. Head to East Circular Quay to the departure terminal and hop on a ferry for a relaxing round-trip that will show you the harbour and its surrounds from the perspective of the water. Comprised of five separate jetties, the wharf at Circular Quay has ferries that travel around the harbour and stop at such key sightseeing destinations as Taronga Zoo, Watson's Bay, Manly and Parramatta.
10. Take the Sydney monorail for a scenic overview of the city at night. The monorail travels through the city centre and follows a path above the Spanish Quarter, Chinatown, George Street (Sydney's main street), then travels past the historic Queen Victoria Building before returning back to Darling Harbour.
11. Have dinner at one of the many fine restaurants in the Darling Harbour area – with 39 fully-fledged restaurants, there is a huge range of delectable options to choose from - then return to your accommodation or board your flight.
We hope that this guide proves useful if you're looking to spend one day in Sydney - if you're looking for even more things to do in Sydney, be sure to check out our product catalogue for hundreds of great value activities and attractions!