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24 Hours in Sydney

Travelling through Sydney en route to another destination? Whether you're about to jet off to your holiday or transiting between destinations, there's plenty you can do to enjoy your time in Sydney — even if it is a flying visit!

With so much to see and do in Sydney, it's important to have a plan so you can make the most of your time here.

In this guide, we share ideas and inspiration for taking in the highlights on a 24 hour visit to Sydney.


If you checked into your stay with us at Novotel Sydney International Airport overnight, the best way to start your day is with buffet breakfast at The Marke Kitchen on the ground floor of the hotel.

The breakfast buffet features all of your breakfast favourites whether you're into bacon and eggs, or pancakes and pastries. Top it off with a juice or a coffee and you'll be ready to head out for a day in Sydney.

Breakfast at The Marke Kitchen in Wolli Creek


Make your way out of the hotel and across Cahill Park to Wolli Creek Train Station. As you walk through the park you'll enjoy a view of the Cooks River and be able to spot planes coming and going from the airport on the other side of the river.

Wolli Creek Station is about 10 minutes walk from the hotel and from there you can take trains directly into Sydney CBD and Circular Quay. If you're new to Sydney public transport, you can tap on with an Opal Card or with your credit card or digital wallet. You can learn about contactless payment on Sydney public transport here.

When you alight the train at Circular Quay you'll enjoy views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House.

View from Sydney Harbour Bridge pedestrian walkway

If you're up for a walk and want a closer view of the Harbour Bridge, from Circular Quay you can walk up to Cumberland Street where you can take Bridge Stairs or the lift to access the pedestrian footpath to walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

When you reach the north side of the bridge, you can turn around and walk back the way you came, or head down to Kirribilli and Milsons Point where you can take the ferry back across to Circular Quay. Looking for the Milsons Point ferry wharf? You'll find it right in front of Luna Park.

If you'd prefer to explore the area around Circular Quay, exit the station and walk around the harbour towards the Sydney Harbour Bridge and stop into the Museum of Contemporary Art in The Rocks. Explore the exhibitions and when you're ready for a coffee or morning tea, head up to the MCA Cafe on the rooftop level with views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House.


We have a few great options for you to enjoy lunch in Sydney:

Take the ferry from Circular Quay across the harbour to Watsons Bay. Pick up some fish and chips at Doyles to enjoy on the beach or in the park near the ferry terminal.

If you're up for a short walk, take your lunch and head to Camp Cove Beach. After lunch, enjoy a walk on the South Head Heritage Trail. This short scenic loop walking track offers sweeping views across Sydney Harbour back towards the city and Sydney Harbour Bridge and over to North Head and Manly. Once you're done head back to Watsons Bay and take the ferry to Circular Quay.

Ferry on Sydney Harbour

Enjoy lunch in one of the many great pubs in The Rocks precinct. Alongside Circular Quay is The Rocks, home to historic pubs and venues with sweeping harbour views.

If history is what you're after, stop by the Fortune of War on George St. It's Sydney's oldest pub and in addition to a whole lot of historic charm, you'll find a fantastic bistro menu. If you want to enjoy lunch with harbour views, head to the rooftop of The Glenmore on Cumberland St.

Royal Botanic Garden Sydney

Fancy a walk in the park? Grab some takeaway from an eatery in Circular Quay and head around the harbour towards the Sydney Opera House where you'll find gates into Sydney's Royal Botanic Garden.

Enjoy a picnic on your favourite patch of lawn while taking in the harbour views and gardens. You'll also find a few cafes and restaurants in the gardens too, find out more about those venues here.


Head back to Circular Quay and take the light rail up George Street through Sydney's CBD to the Queen Victoria Building. First opened in 1898, this historic building is a beautiful destination for shopping and dining.

A few minutes walk away is the Strand Arcade, designed and constructed in 1891, it is another impressive destination for shopping and dining. And if you love chocolate, be sure to stop into Haighs on the ground floor at the George St end of the arcade. 

Queens Victoria Building in Sydney

The Strand Arcade opens out onto the bustling Westfield Sydney, and if you look skyward you'll spot the iconic Sydney Tower. Head up Sydney Tower if you'd like 360 degrees of Sydney or if you're eager to brave the sky walk!

If you'd rather a walk without contending with the dizzying heights of Sydney Tower, head out of Westfield Sydney and up Market Street to Hyde Park. Walk past the chess board and Archibald Fountain and rest in the shade on the lawns. If you enjoy art and culture, the Art Gallery of NSW is a 10 minute walk from Hyde Park. 


Once you're done, get back on the train from the city to Wolli Creek to make your way back to Novotel Sydney International Airport.

If you're leaving us this evening you can collect your luggage and make your way to Sydney airport. If you're staying with us, enjoy dinner and a nightcap at The Marke Kitchen & Bar before turning in for the night.