Wed. Jun 19th, 2024

Sydney is one of the world’s greatest cities and a destination on many travelers’ bucket lists. In fact, we loved it so much that after arriving as backpackers with the intention of staying a year, we decided to make it our permanent residence.

It’s generally a very easy place to travel, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a few simple errors. We want everyone to fall in love with Sydney as much as we have, and avoiding these 15 common blunders will ensure that you have the vacation of a lifetime.

Here are the 15 mistakes you should avoid in Sydney.

1 Because you believe something will kill you in the countryside, you stick to the city.

This is the most common concern we hear about Australia, that everything wants to kill you; that you may be safe in the city, but outside of it, Australia is a Jurassic Park-like wilderness filled with poisonous snakes, spiders, jellyfish, crocodiles, and sharks.

While Australia is home to all of these somewhat unsettling animals, you will almost never encounter them in Sydney (and to be clear, Sydney does not have crocodiles).

Despite hiking in the bush every weekend, we have only encountered snakes and spiders a handful of times in the six years we’ve lived in Australia. And none of these encounters were frightening! Snakes will either slither away or ignore you if they hear you, and spiders are typically in their webs. Hotels and hostels typically have pest control, and I have never seen a spider in any hotel or hostel in which we have stayed, and we have stayed in many.

15 big mistakes to avoid in Sydney
The lookout at America Bay in Ku-ring-gai

Sydney is home to a number of breathtaking natural areas. It has hundreds of breathtaking beaches (many of which are more beautiful than Bondi), incredible bushland, the beautiful Blue Mountains, and much more.

While we adore the city, you haven’t truly visited Sydney if you don’t explore the surrounding countryside. We recommend trying out one of our many favorite walks in Sydney.

2 Consider summer to be the best time to visit…

Summer would seem to be the best time to travel to any destination: the weather is at its warmest, rain is uncommon, and there are more hours of daylight to explore.

Nevertheless, Sydney in the summer can be an unbearable place to be. Even at night, temperatures rarely drop below 25C between December and February, and daytime highs can reach 45C! With the addition of intense humidity, any activity other than swimming in the ocean is sweaty.

We recommend visiting at any time other than the height of summer, when temperatures are much more bearable and outdoor activities are possible. Summer is typically one of the wettest seasons of the year.

15 big mistakes to avoid in Sydney
Bondi Beach

3 However, not realizing that winter can be chilly

Thus, a large number of individuals believe that Sydney is perpetually warm. While the winters are not cold by global standards, they are not exactly warm, either. Temperatures can drop to single digits at night, and the daytime can become chilly.

If you intend to visit the beaches and swim in the ocean, you should avoid visiting during the winter. The water becomes quite chilly, and it is certainly not time for sunbathing! Our favorite season in Sydney is spring, when the weather has begun to warm up but is still bearable and wildflowers begin to bloom in the national parks.

15 big mistakes to avoid in Sydney4 Not realizing how distant Sydney is from the rest of Australia

Maps can be deceiving, and at first glance, it may appear that Melbourne is not too far away. Melbourne is a nine-hour drive from Sydney (without traffic), and Sydney is one of the closest cities!

When you learn that Perth is a five-hour flight from Sydney and that Auckland is closer to Sydney than Alice Springs, you begin to appreciate just how vast Australia is! While you can cover a lot of ground by air, it is not a country where you can quickly drive to all the major attractions.

15 big mistakes to avoid in Sydney5. Not giving oneself sufficient time

There is so much to see and do in Sydney and the surrounding area that a couple of days will not do it justice. The city has a great deal to offer, as well as numerous amazing day trips and numerous overnight destinations.


15 big mistakes to avoid in Sydney
The beautiful Lincoln’s Rock in the Blue Mountains

If this is your only trip to Sydney, we recommend allowing at least 3-5 days to see the city, the Blue Mountains, and the beach with the whitest sand in the world (it’s a fact! ), which is only 2.5 hours away.

6. Choosing a very inexpensive Airbnb or motel

This may not come as much of a surprise, but Sydney’s inner city Airbnbs are generally poor. We mean REALLY bad.

We thought Airbnb would be a cost-effective way to stay in an expensive city when we relocated back to Sydney. They were also not cheap, costing approximately $100 per night!

Nevertheless, they were all awful. At best, they were noisy, poorly functioning studios – no hot water and broken ovens – and at worst, they were cockroach-infested hellholes (that one we left after only one night having already performed a cockroach massacre). And on that note, Sydney does have a cockroach problem if you do not stay in a place with pest control. Our record is killing thirty in a single day before fleeing.

We stayed in a variety of bad hotels in various locations, and they were all terrible.

We recommend staying in one of the many Sydney hotels (often they are not significantly more expensive) or spending a bit more to avoid the cheapest Airbnb options.

15 big mistakes to avoid in Sydney7. Underestimating the cost of something

Sydney is one of the world’s most expensive cities. Even budget hotels cost $120 AUD per night (and more in the summer), a schooner of beer costs $8 AUD (which is quite small), and meals can cost well over $50 AUD per person, per meal!

Obtaining a kitchen and purchasing groceries can help you save money if you have the means to do so, but even this is not inexpensive by most of the world’s standards. Fortunately, many of the best things to do in Sydney are free, so you can visit to some extent on a budget. This blog is filled with additional money-saving advice.

15 big mistakes to avoid in Sydney8. Believing that kangaroos are everywhere….

Despite there being two kangaroos for every person in Australia, kangaroos do not simply hop down the streets of Sydney. Sydney is one of the most difficult places to see a kangaroo in the wild, as they tend to inhabit remote areas far from the central business district.

15 big mistakes to avoid in Sydney

Instead of visiting a local zoo, we recommend renting a car and making the effort to observe a group in their natural habitat. There’s nothing quite like seeing these incredible animals in the wild, and we’ve put together a guide that details all the best places to see kangaroos near Sydney. Many of them are in areas with other amazing things to do, making it easy to choose a destination that suits you. Who wants wineries and kangaroos?

9. With hopes of spotting a koala in the wild nearby

This Australian icon is now even harder to locate than a kangaroo. Koalas are already endangered, but recent bushfires have increased their vulnerability. Even if you go to a specific location to see them, it’s not always easy to spot them because they often curl up into tiny balls at the tops of trees and blend in extremely well.

15 big mistakes to avoid in Sydney

As with kangaroos, we have compiled a guide to the best koala viewing locations near Sydney. It will require a car and considerable driving, but it is possible!

10. overlooking the sun

Few people are prepared for the intensity of Sydney’s sun. Even if you visit in the dead of winter, you will need sunscreen and sunglasses due to the intense sunlight.

Many of our acquaintances have suffered from the Australian sun, believing that a few hours of exposure won’t hurt. Then they discover the scar that will haunt them for the duration of the holiday!

15 big mistakes to avoid in Sydney
11.Investing in an expensive harbour cruise tour

Sydney Harbour should be at the top of every visitor’s itinerary. It is beautiful and the city’s true focal point. However, unless you’re planning a fine dining cruise (some of which are truly spectacular), you should avoid the guided harbor tours. By taking the public ferry to Manly, you can see the city’s top attractions for a fraction of the cost.

This has the added benefit of allowing you to visit Manly, one of the best beaches in Sydney.

The only additional daytime cruise we would recommend is the Tall Ship because it is unique. These vessels, which have a lengthy working history, resemble pirate ships as opposed to standard vessels. You may explore the living quarters below deck and even ascend the mast! There are numerous options, and we’ve engaged in a number of them with guests over the years. The unlimited wine and canapés option is always a hit.

15 big mistakes to avoid in Sydney12. The tour will visit the Blue Mountains.

We enjoy the Blue Mountains immensely. It is our favorite place to escape the city and relax after a hectic week as Sydney residents. There is so much to do here, from incredible walks to breathtaking vantage points. It is also very easy to explore independently, either by public transportation (train to Katoomba) or by car.

15 big mistakes to avoid in Sydney

However, if you book a tour, your day will be extremely hectic. The majority of travelers choose to stop at the Olympic Stadium or Featherdale Wildlife Park en route, leaving you with limited time to visit the Three Sisters Lookout and possibly another location. You will not see the mountains at their finest.

We strongly recommend independent travel unless you’re a fan of tours. This will allow you to fully appreciate the Blue Mountains during your day trip.

If you still prefer a tour, do your research and make sure you’re spending enough time in the mountains themselves; if you’re unsure whether it will be a good one, feel free to ask us!

13. Believing that you need a car to reach the nearby national park.

If you can’t drive or simply don’t want to, you can reach at least a portion of the national parks surrounding Sydney via public transportation.

15 big mistakes to avoid in Sydney
The public transportation-accessible Wedding Cake Rock trail in Royal National Park

Many of Royal National Park’s breathtaking trails and beaches can be reached by train or a combination of train and ferry; the same is true for Ku-ring-gai. By train, you can reach significant portions of both the upper and lower Blue Mountains at low cost.

If funds are limited, travel on Sunday, when unlimited rides cost only $2.80. Indeed, Sunday Funday!

14. Operating a drone in the port

Obtaining an aerial photograph of the harbor is every photographer’s dream, but refrain from using a drone. The harbor is a no-drone zone because helicopters and seaplanes routinely fly low over this controlled airspace.

15 big mistakes to avoid in SydneyIf you want an incredible view of the harbor from above, book a scenic helicopter ride or snag a window seat on the flight in (we always love the view on the flight in).

We have previously taken advantage of the fact that if you book a standby flight, you can fly for as little as $99 for 20 to 25 minutes.

15 Not taking the Bondi to Coogee walk

Even if you are not a hiker, the Bondi to Coogee walk should be at the top of your Sydney itinerary. This beautiful walk connects two of Sydney’s most popular beaches, passes three others, and offers breathtaking view after breathtaking view.

In the winter, it is possible to observe whale migration from the cliff’s edge. Dolphins can be spotted throughout the year; we have not seen them every time, but we have seen them frequently! Even if you only do Bondi to Bronte Beach, you will not be disappointed!

15 big mistakes to avoid in Sydney

Topic: 15 big mistakes to avoid in Sydney

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