Ask Lifehacker: What Should I Do On A Sydney Staycation?

Dear Lifehacker,

My partner and I are going down to Sydney in February for the Iron Maiden concert on the 24th (well, I am, she's going to visit friends) and are making a four-day weekend of it. We've often had mini-staycations around greater Brisbane, as a way of discovering new and interesting things in our region over the weekends, and are interested in similar places and experiences in Sydney during our time down there, as opposed to the touristy things.

Our adventures have been up in the 'hill country', down back alleyways and so on. Would any Sydneysider Lifehacker readers be able to provide suggestions on what to do in Sydney?


Picture by learnscope

Dear Jon,

Technically speaking, a staycation involves staying in your home town to save money, but we'll accept the principal that you want to do less obvious (and less expensive things) on a brief weekend somewhere else.

I'm sure Lifehacker readers will have plenty of specific suggestions, but I'll offer one general bit of advice: buy yourself a week-long rail pass (a MyMetro if you want to be technical). Even though you're only staying for four days, that single $41 pass is cheaper than the $20 a day alternative once you buy more than two of them, and lets you jump from buses to trains to ferries without thinking about it. The passes won't cover the airport rail line, but for two of you a taxi might well be cheaper anyway.

As for what you should do, I'll leave that to our readers to suggest. What's worth doing in Sydney, apart from the Manly Ferry and a trek round the Botanic Gardens? Share your ideas in the comments.

Enjoy your staycation.

Cheers Lifehacker


    Have a drink at sunset at the Opera Bar which is alongside the Opera House. Open air forecourt with views of the harbour, Harbour Bridge, city, lots of people wandering about. I always take visitors there on sunny afternoons. Right next to the botanical gardens as well.

    I'd recommend a trip to the Absinthe Salon. It's on Albion St in Surry Hills. Website is

    Actually, just wander around Surry Hills, there are some amazing shops and boutiques there.

    Same thing goes for Glebe Point Rd. There's an awesome market at Glebe Point Rd Primary school (IIRC, it's on Sunday mornings)

    It would probably be worth your while wandering through the CBD between Centrepoint, The Rocks, and Circular Quay. You'll get to see some of old Sydney, and some other really cool shit. is also a great resource for asking questions while you're travelling. It's based in Sydney, so you're likely to get answers to what you're looking for on there!

    There is a really great walk from the Spit Bridge all the way to Manly along the water. It takes about two hours and is through the bush the whole way. You get a great view of the city, the harbour and the heads. A really great way to spend the morning and then get breakfast down in Manly.

      And the only sensible way to follow this up is with a ferry ride from Manly back to the city.

      As touristy as it is, it is still epic win. I've lived in Sydney for ten years and still do it occasionally.

    Rozelle Markets & a wander from Rozelle to Balmain or vice versa (get the ferry there from the city to make it scenic).

    Hire some bikes and ride around the many cycleways at Homebush Bay (Olympic site) and surrounding areas.

    Late in the afternoon walk from the city over the harbour bridge, get some fish & chips at Kirribilli and eat them down on the lawns under the bridge, overlooking the city. If you dont want to walk back its only one station back to the city on the train.

    The Bondi to Coogee walk. Stop at the Clovelly bowlo for some 1970 priced beers and roll some balls down the most scenic bowling green in the country (and take some meat and cook up a bbq).

    All sort of touristy, but none expensive, and lets you see some of the most beautiful parts of Sydney without battling the REAL tourist traps of Darling Harbour etc.

    Head to Cronulla for some beach/cafe action then catch the ferry from Gunnamatta Bay over to Bundeena. Great spot.
    If you go to Manly, head to Freshwater Beach. Much better surf, less tourists.

    For food go to Newtown; so many choices and cheap.
    For Italian, head to the Forum on Norton St, in Leichhardt.
    Like Korean BBQ? There's a great place on Little Hay St. between Dixon St(Chinatown) and the Entertainment Centre

    if you want to see the real sydney try catching the train out to cabramatta

    i'd second that cabramatta suggestion.. great food... also a drink at the austrlian youth hotel in glebe is a must... lovely wee pub, great staff.. lovely beer,
    avoid darling harbour.. it's a total shithole

    It's a MyMulti, not a MyMetro. Also, make sure you get a MyMulti Zone 1, it's the one that is for city-only (bus, train, ferry) unlimited travel. For city + out west to Seven Hills, North to Hornsby, and south to Woolongong(?), get the MyMulti Zone 2.

      Correct! I double-checked the price and still managed to get the name wrong, apologies! (Zone 2 doesn't go as far as Woolongong, that's Zone 3.)

    One of the best un-tourist walks is the hermitage foreshore walk -
    It starts at Kincoppal and finishes at Watsons Bay. Definitely not one for prams and strollers, but ok if you have a babybjorn. Finish it up with a ferry ride back. If you are out and about with kids on a sunday, dont forget to grab a sunday funday ticket for just $2.50 per adult.

    thanks folks...

    i haven't been to sydney in quite a long time, save for airport stopovers, so all of the above tips will be very helpful!


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