We are pleased to have two reader perspectives on solo travel to Sydney, Australia. One from Dacia, a member of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook. Dacia is from the United States. A second from Porsche, a New Yorker who now calls the UK home. Do you have a solo travel destination that you would like to recommend? Submit your description here, along with a few photos, and share it with fellow travelers!
Solo travel rating: 1 (1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult. Please see chart below)
Don't miss: Affordable Sydney: 32 Free & Low-Cost Tips
Languages spoken: English
Dacia's Take on Solo Travel to Sydney
Reasons to go: Sydney is home to some of the friendliest people on the planet! Stay at the Sydney Harbour Bed and Breakfast, a wonderful place in the historic Rocks district at one end of the bridge and a 10-minute walk to the harbor and world famous opera house. They provide a great breakfast with blueberry pancakes to die for and you can pet “Mate” which is the owner's dog. Spend breakfast talking to other travelers and get some advice on what to do in while in Sydney.
The Sydney City Sightseeing hop on-hop off bus is a good way to get the lay of the land and then you can decide what you may want to further explore. Take the bus out to Bondi Beach and spend some time walking the boardwalk area to take in all the colorful graffiti.
The Rocks district offers the best of Sydney with a weekly market offering food, homemade goods, music, etc. George Street has high end shopping. I highly recommend the kangaroo pizza at the Australian Hotel. Be sure to see a show at the Sydney Opera House and do the tour there.
At Circular Quay in the heart of the harbor, catch the ferry out to Manly Beach and the Taronga Zoo. The zoo provides some fabulous views of the city, bridge and opera house and the animals are pretty cool too – you can even sign up to pet the koalas. Manly Beach is the place to be and just hang out on the beach or walk around the shoreline, with some beautiful homes to see along the way. There are lots of restaurants, bars, and shopping nearby.
I would be remiss to not mention doing the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb, which offers the absolute best views of the city and opera house. While it's not for the faint of heart or those with a fear of heights, it is an experience not to be missed.
Darling Harbour is another area with lots to do including the maritime museum, shops, restaurants, Harbour Jet rides, Madame Tussauds museum, and an aquarium.
Porsche's Tips on Solo Travel to Sydney
I am a lifelong travel lover and enthusiast. Australia was always on my list of places to visit. So when a high school acquaintance found a great deal on flights and posted it on his Facebook page, I was intrigued. He challenged his friends to take advantage of thisonce-in-a-lifetime Australia deal, stating that if none of them took up the deal, then he had a lame bunch of friends. I thought it was hilarious and decided to take a look.
It was a really good price – to be honest, a price like that may never come around again. I began doing a little research on the down-low, asking questions and searching online, even going so far as to post on forums and message an Australia expert on TripAdvisor. A couple of people expressed interest in going with me, but time waits for no man and I wanted to go solo anyway, so I purchased my ticket and awaited my departure date.
For most of my trip I stayed at the Sydney Central Youth Hostel which I enjoyed for the central location, decent facilities, outbound travel service center, and of course, the reasonable price. As a solo traveler, I also appreciated the opportunities to meet others. Something as simple as sitting in one of the TV lounges can gain you at least one new acquaintance.
Although I consider myself an introvert, I met two Australian men who introduced themselves to me. One of them had a sister who was giving birth to his first nephew as we were chatting. It was nice to have a brief impromptu celebration with them, Australian beer in tow, with the new uncle crying tears of joy. They didn't even know me, but they were comfortable and friendly and open enough to share that moment with me.
For the last two nights, I took advantage of a great sale and stayed at the Vibe Hotel Sydney. While I didn't meet anyone at this hotel, it certainly doesn't mean that a solo traveler can't meet anyone here. The restaurant and lounge areas are prime spots to come across potential new friends.
Travelling solo offers the chance to travel on your own terms: to just “be”, without the constraints that traveling with others places on a trip. One of the things I did was just wander around and, as a result, I discovered the North Shore across the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I walked the 1.5 mile length of the bridge to Kirribilli. It seemed posh, as evidenced by the many doormen and gardeners I saw, and quiet save for the youths playing in their schoolyards. While meandering over there, I unwittingly walked to the Admiralty House, which I had NO idea (until returning home) was the Prime Minister’s residence!
Seeing Ghosts and Making New Friends
I also went on The Rocks GhostTour toward the end of my trip, something that was interesting to me but may not have been to any potential travel companions. Taking place at night, it's a cool and quirky way to learn about Sydney's history.
In the course of my travels, I met a British man who happened to share the same hostel room. We did the ghost tour together and learned about everything from adulterous marriages that led to murder, to the origin of the phrase “dead ringer”, to sicknesses galore. Afterwards, we hung out together, walking around Sydney and taking amazing nighttime photos of the city.
Don’t Resist the Call
Sydney has meshed modernity with history, much like an expert seamstress makes intricate designs for the most exquisite dress or classic tailored 3-piece suit. One can walk to St. Andrew’s Church, run into the massive Queen Victoria Building about 1 block away for high-end shopping, or walk a little longer and hit old Sydney, where much of the ghost tour takes place.
This is just a snippet of the many things that Sydney has to offer. Sydney is cosmopolitan, world-class, colourful and historical. It beckoned me, whispered to me softly. Don't resist the call.
Solo Travel Destination Rating System
Safety – 1 (1 very safe, 2 safe in most areas, 3 be cautious at all times.)
Language – 1 (1 English is first language, 2 English speakers easy to find, 3 English speakers rare)
Navigation – 1 (1 easy to navigate by transit or car, 2 poor transit, car necessary, 3 not easy to get around)
Culture – 1 (1 Similar to North America or Western Europe, 2 Different from above but relaxed and easy, 3 Challenging)
Average Rating – 1 (1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult)