How to See Sydney in 72 Hours - Part 1

How to see Sydney in 72 hours - Part 1 - The Kenney Way

One of the first things we did at the beginning of the year was to determine what 2016’s “Big Vacation” would be. We individually put together a rather lengthy list of “big ticket” places we wanted to go this year, and when we compared them, you guessed it; New Zealand was at the top of both lists! Almost immediately, I got to planning our big trip for the year!

However, with just a few weeks before I booked our plane tickets, a colleague of mine made a great point, “If you’re going all the way over to New Zealand, (which is 30 hours of traveling!) why not make a connecting flight to Sydney and stay there for a few days?”

And he was right, after looking up flights (which we booked for free), I realized how easy it would be to take a “long” layover in Sydney along our way to New Zealand. So, we spent three days in Sydney en route to New Zealand! 72 hours may not sound like much time, but in our opinion we got to see quite a bit of Sydney and the surrounding areas. If you find yourself in a similar situation, here are our tips on how to see Sydney in 72 hours!


Let’s get this out of the way first - flying West is challenging. You’re going into later time zones… essentially losing time. Because our flight time was about 20 hours, that meant we lost a day. However, when we landed, it was the morning, so that meant we had a full day to get to know and see Sydney. In order to survive the jet lag, you have to keep moving and plan for a full day, which is exactly what we did.

Self guided walking tour 

One of my favorite things to do on any trip is the to take a guided walking tour or bus tour on the first day. I enjoy getting an overview of the city to better understand the layout and determine which places look like we'd like to spend more time.

We followed this tour that I found online and fired up Google Maps on our iPhone to guide us from point to point.

How to See Sydney in 72 Hours - Sydney Opera House with People - The Kenney Way.jpg

Ferry to Manly 

Our final stop on the walking tour led us to Circular Quay, which is bustling area full of travelers and tourists. Here, you can get great views of the Harbour Bridge, walk over to the Sydney Opera House, or watch people sail away on a major cruise liner. You can also board a large offering of ferries to get to any of the numerous beaches Sydney has to offer - today we went to Manly Beach. There are several private companies that offer boat tours out of Circular Quay but taking a public ferry was the best option. The views on the ferry are obviously the same and the price is considerably cheaper - only $15 per person for a round trip!

After walking around and taking in the views for about an hour, we headed in for a drink at Garfish Manly, which is right off Manly Beach, to refresh our jet lagged legs.

How to See Sydney in 72 Hours - Manly Beach Walk - The Kenney Way.jpg

Darling Harbour

We took the ferry back to Circular Quay and then walked to Darling Harbour for dinner. Darling Harbour is great spot to hang out in the evenings. There many restaurants to choose from (although all seemed a bit touristy). Things really light up on Saturday evenings with their large firework show. Unfortunately, we missed them this time around…

Food and drink in Sydney is expensive. At mid-range restaurants expect to pay at least $20 for an entree. One way we tried to save money was by ordering a small appetizer and sharing an entree (Ben was not a fan of this idea).

We enjoyed walking around the harbor, but by this point we were exhausted! We headed back to our accommodations around 7:00 pm and promptly fell asleep! And in case you were wondering, we walked 20,000+ steps, which is about 10.5 miles. 

Stay tuned for our next posts which will cover the never 48 hours in Sydney!