Sydney Tips for the Solo Traveler

Sydney Tips for the Solo Traveler

For those traveling solo, here are a few tips to help you make the most of the experience: With luck, the hardest part of the journey will be figuring out how to avoid posing awkwardly whilst a stranger snaps a photo with only you in it.

Where to Stay:

Most Sydney hostels organize well-attended social events such as BBQs and pool tournaments for their residents. Go along! Treat it like the first day of school and introduce yourself. You will find one introduction leads to five more and a ready-made group of friends.

The big hostels, including Wake Up! and Sydney Backpackers have great locations and reputations to match, but are probably better suited to those traveling with a companion. Slightly smaller hostels just outside the center like Glebe Point YHA, Glebe Village Backpackers, and Sydney Beach House YHA are perhaps better tailored to the needs of the solo traveler.

How to get around:

Sydney is practically a synonym for accessibility. Buy a Sydney transport pass ($165) and you’ll get seven days of unlimited access to buses, trains, and ferries. The pass will pay for itself within the first few days, and extensions to areas outside the pass’s zone can be bought separately.

For those with time on their hands, the most enjoyable way to see the real Sydney is, of course, to walk. Put a map in your back pocket and see where your legs take you, you’ll almost certainly discover more about the city than a guidebook could ever teach you.

How to Fill your Time:

The Big Sights: During the day you can take in big attractions like the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Opera House and Darling Harbour in a day or two. After that you can always head for the Sydney Aquarium and Taronga Zoo. Both detours are wonderful experiences but can eat up the cash a little.

Natural Attractions: The Blue Mountains are incredible and truly not to be missed. Major sites such as the Three Sisters, the Giant Staircase, the Jenolan Caves and numerous cliff walks are not too far from the city, and can be touched upon in a day.

If you don’t want to swap your sandals for hiking boots, the ‘Blue Mountain Trolley Tours’ provides a hop on hop off bus-route to the major sites. Easy optional walks on well-maintained nature paths provide alternate routes and beautiful scenery between stops. The more adventurous can enjoy guided bush walks, hikes, and activities from abseiling to horseback riding.

Beaches: Both Manly Beach and Bondi Beach are just a short journey from the city. Generally, Manly is a more appealing option than the better known Bondi. Both are surrounded by lively neighborhoods, and have several excellent hostels in which to spend the night if you want to sit on the sand and watch the sun setting on the ocean.

Shopping: Those looking for a bargain should visit Paddy’s Markets or Glebe Markets (Saturdays only). The much-visited Rocks Market, whilst quaint, is a bit on the pricey side.

Those not too strapped for cash will feel at home in the shops in the Queen Victoria Building and the nearby Strand Arcade. If your finances are tighter, the shops of Piccadilly can be richer bargain hunting grounds.

Nightlife: Sydney’s packed with enticing options when it comes to things to do after dark. Kings Cross contains a host of enjoyably sleazy clubs and bars, whilst each neighborhood comes equipped with its own sources of entertainment. Whichever Sydney hostel you choose, the staff will almost certainly have a range of recommendations for popular nearby bars and restaurants. If you’re lucky, they may even give you a list of happy hours, too!

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