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20 Great Sydney Tours For Every Budget and Adrenalin Level

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Having lived in Sydney most of my life I may be the teensiest bit biased, but I do believe it’s one of the greatest cities in the world.

There’s so much to see and do that I still haven’t come close to crossing everything off my list, and I know I’m not the only one.

So when I decided to take a bit of a look at great tours and things to do in and around our fair harbour city I chose ones that Sydney friends could enjoy as much as international visitors.

Read: New Perth Hotels – the latest ways to stay in WA

Knowing what it’s like to have a fluctuating budget I also wanted to break them into different price points so you can find your own sweet spot.

As the prices for some tours change depending on the day and time, I won’t list individual prices, but at the time of writing these guys all fit into the price categories below. Just click on the links to see how much they are today.

So whether you’re a tourist or a local here are some ideas to get you out and about.

Sydney Tours and Things To Do Under $50

Sydney Opera House Guided Walking Tour

I’ve been to the Opera House more times than I can remember, and have seen everything from opera to ballet to rock bands and stars including Liza Minelli or Dionne Warwick under those sails.

But when I did one of the Sydney Opera House’s guided walking tours I discovered things I’d never known before. The tours take you from the controversy when it was being built to the present day, pointing out fascinating quirks and sharing all sorts of tales from those corridors.

Don’t just take photos of the Opera House, get inside and hear some of those tales.

Take a tour of the Sydney Opera House. Image credit: Annie Spratt

Queen Victoria Building Guided Tour

At first glance the Queen Victoria Building may just seem like a beautiful shopping centre in the heart of Sydney’s CBD, but this building also has some stories to tell. And a ghost or two.

To hear all about it you can join one of the QVB’s guided tours.

Window in Sydney's QVB

The tours take place every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 11.30am and cost $15 if you book ahead by calling 02 9264 9209 or $20 if you turn up on the day. And when it’s tour time just head to the concierge desk on the ground floor to meet your guide.

Free Sydney Walking Tour

If you’re a fan of walking tours, the team at Free Tours Sydney have an easy two and a half hour tour that takes you from Hyde Park in the city down to the Rocks.

The tour shares the history and hidden gems as you make your way down to the iconic Sydney Opera House.

Read: The best hotels for Sydney New Year’s Eve Fireworks

The tours leave from the Archibald Fountain in Hyde Park at 10.30 am every day, except Christmas Day, Australia Day (26th January) and ANZAC Day (25th of April) and are free to join, although if you want to pay your guide something at the end it will be happily received.

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium

One of the largest aquariums in the world, with over 13-thousand marine animals from 700 different species, the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium is well worth a look, and is a pretty good spot to stay dry, even if you are surrounded by water, on a rainy day.

You can visit the dugongs and see platypus, meet cute penguins, check out the largest crab in the world, “Crabzilla”, the Japanese Spider Crab, and get a taste of what it’s like to be in the Great Barrier Reef.

Fun at Sydney Aquarium

An individual ticket to the Sydney Aquarium falls into this budget bracket, but coming up in the Under $100 section you can get a pass for five Sydney attractions including the aquarium for more bang for your buck.

Hop-On Hop-Off Explorer Cruise

One of the best ways to see Sydney is from the water and this hop on hop off ticket with Captain Cook Cruises lets you explore at your own pace.

There’s commentary along the way sharing some of Australia’s history and information about the harbour and the city around it.

Stops include Circular Quay, Darling Harbour, Taronga Zoo, Watsons Bay, Luna Park, Fort Denison, and one of my favourite spots in Sydney, Shark Island.

Read: Five things to do in Sydney on a Rainy Day

And of course Sydney also has a hop on hop off bus which has two routes, one to take you around some of the most popular city spots and another to take you down to Bondi Beach and around the bays.

I love doing double decker buses in cities around the world and when I did one in my home city it was not only fun to play tourist for the day, I also learned a few things along the way too including the way Sydney’s Kings Cross used to be called Queens Cross.

And don’t forget there are lots of free things you can do including lying on some of the world’s best beaches and doing beautiful walks like the Cremorne Point Walk.

Sydney Tours and Things To Do Under $100

Sydney Tower Skywalk

Head to the top of the tallest building in Sydney for views from the ocean to the Blue Mountains.

On the Sydney Tower Skywalk you can step out onto a glass platform 278m above the city and give the bottom of the Westfield sign a high five.

You can read our full review of the Sydney Tower Skywalk experience here and when you’re ready to book we highly recommend going up at sunset to watch the colours change in the sky and the lights come on in the city.

Tall Ship Bubbles and Brunch Cruise

Step on board a beautiful timber built tall ship in The Rocks and start your day by sailing past some of Sydney’s famous landmarks with a glass of bubbles in your hand.

Read: The best hotels for Sydney Vivid views

This sparkling brunch includes fresh rock oysters, prawn salads, Thai noodle vegetable salads and more, with unlimited Australian bubbly.

If you’d like to get involved you can help hoist the sails, or just sit back, eat, drink and watch Sydney go by.

Adrenalin Rush Jet Boat Ride

Want to be out on the harbour in a more adrenalin pumping way?

This 45 minute jet boat ride takes you past the Opera House, Taronga Zoo, Rose Bay and more, including a ride under the Sydney Harbour Bridge to zip past Luna Park too.

Expect 270-degree spins, fish tails, wave riding and power bake stops when you’re not hurtling along at up to 75km an hour.

If this sounds good you might want to check out some horse back riding, canyoning, V8 and rally car driving adrenaline-packed Sydney options here.

Surf lessons on Bondi Beach

Whether you’re an absolute beginner or already know how to get up on a board but want to sharpen your skills, you can book in for surf lessons with a qualified instructor on one of the world’s most famous beaches.

These Bondi Beach surf lessons are limited to just five people at a time so that you can get a personalised experience, or you can also book private one-on-one lessons if you prefer.

Surfboards, wetsuits, rashies and sunscreens are all provided, but you’ll need to bring your own swimmers, towels and sense of humour. I mean, we’re not saying you’re going to fall off in front of sunbathers, but if you do it’s always better to get a good laugh out of it.

Sea Life, Wild Life, Sydney Tower and Madam Tussauds Combo Pass

Remember earlier when I mentioned the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium and how there’d be a combo pass? This is the one.

Choose between two, three, or four attractions to both save money and have a fun and busy day out in Sydney. If you get all four you’ll be heading to SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo, Maddam Tussauds and Sydney Tower Eye.

Sydney Tours and Things to Do Under $200

City to Bondi Beach by Harley Davidson or Trike

Get your motor running as you ride from the city to Bondi on the back of a Harley Davidson or trike.

After being picked up in the city you’ll travel around the Harbour and over the Harbour Bridge before heading out through Woolloomooloo and Kings Cross and down to Bondi Beach.

Take advantage of the photo stops along the way before heading back to the city where you can rock your helmet hair with pride.

Harley Davidson Blue Mountains Tour

Want to go even further on a Harley and see the Blue Mountains? Then this could be the Harley Davidson tour for you.

This two hour ride starts and ends in Katoomba, so you need to get yourself to the mountains which is nice and easy on a train from Central Station. Or you could also spend the night in Katoomba and they’ll pick you up from your holiday home or hotel.

Leather jackets, gloves and full face helmet are provided, just make sure you’re wearing enclosed footwear and long pants on the day. Then you’ll be off through Katoomba, Leura, Wentworth Falls and beyond with incredible mountain views along the way.

Home and Away Tour to Summer Bay

This one goes out to the Aussie soap fans who’ve always dreamed of running away to Summer Bay. The official Home and Away Tour to Summer Bay takes you from central Sydney to Palm Beach where the show is filmed with photo stops at the outdoor locations you’ve seen in so many episodes over the years.

Expert Home and Away tour guides (yes, apparently there is such a thing!) will share stories about the actors, the history and story lines. The tour ends at Manly Beach where you can enjoy another great Sydney beach before catching the ferry back to the city.

Sydney Tours and Things To Do $200 and Above

Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge is a bit of a tourist cliché, but take it from someone who’s done it twice, it’s also pretty awesome.

There are different ways you can climb it, and personally I preferred doing the BridgeClimb Express which takes two and a half hours and takes you over the lower arch before climbing up a ladder to the top of the bridge.

The original BridgeClimb experience takes three and a half hours and goes over the top arch, but also goes at a slower pace.

I explain the differences in more detail in my review of the BridgeClimb Express but regardless of which one you go for they both give you the chance to do something pretty special.

Read: Weekend getaways Sydney locals love

Don’t forget if you’re watching your budget you can also walk across the harbour bridge for free. That’s something I’d highly recommend as you get to look out onto the harbour and up into the bridge, and there are some fun spots to explore over on the Kirribilli side.

Inside the Sydney Harbour Bridge on an Express Climb photo courtesy BridgeClimb Sydney

Overnight Cruise on a Tall Ship

Earlier we talked about having a bubbly brunch on a tall ship, but if you’d like to spend more time on one of these special vessels then this is the way to go.

Your tall ship, the Soren Larsen has been around the world twice and your two-day one night cruise includes sailing around the harbour, dinner under the stars, and the chance to explore Goat Island, which has some of Australia’s most important convict-built buildings, before another relaxing afternoon of sailing.

Red Baron Aerobatics

While I have yet to fly with the Red Baron guys here in Australia, one of the most memorable experiences of my life is doing aerial acrobatics outside of New York in a Pitts Special.

There’s nothing quite like doing loops and rolls and spinning up there in the air with the wind in your face. And I can feel my heart rate increase just when I remember what it was like to casually fly along upside down in an open cockpit.

While my Pitts Special experience was with a friend in his plane, I so want to do it again and love the fact that anyone can do it in Sydney. Definitely one you won’t forget in a hurry.

Helicopter Flights Over Sydney

Get a bird’s eye view of Sydney from your helicopter, well, your helicopter for a few hours anyway, as you fly along the cliffs and beaches, over famous landmarks and past a different angle on the city skyline.

There are a range of helicopter tour options in Sydney, including private helicopter tours where the price is for the whole helicopter and can take up to three passengers, and others where the price is per passenger.

You can also arrange to go on helicopter picnic tours, or even learn to fly a helicopter and take the controls in the air on your first day out.

Hot Air Ballooning

See the sunrise over Sydney from a hot air balloon on this one hour ballooning adventure over Sydney’s Macarthur region.

Look down at the valleys and rivers below and out to the Blue Mountains in the west as you gently drift with the wind. And then when you’re back on solid ground enjoy breakfast and swapping tales before heading back to real life.

Hunter Valley Wine, Cheese and Chocolate Tour

One for the wine, cheese and chocolate lovers, this full-day (we’re talking around 11 hours) tour includes tastings at boutique wineries, lunch at a local restaurant, a chance to sample local cheese and chocolate and a visit to the Hunter Distillery for organic vodka, gin and spirits tastings.

Get tips on pairing wine with cheese and chocolate and learn about the art of winemaking along the way. And as you enjoy the day there’s no need to worry about who’ll be the designated driver as you’ll be transported to and from the Hunter Valley by your driver.

Hunter Valley Winery AAT Kings Tour

Seaplane to Cottage Point Inn for lunch

Treat yourself to a dining experience that’s been enjoyed by movie stars and high flyers with a seaplane to Cottage Point Inn for lunch.

It only takes 20 minutes to fly from Sydney Harbour over the Northern Beaches to the restaurant’s seaplane dock in Ku-Ring-Gai National Park. After a five course degustation lunch you’ll step back onto your seaplane and head back to the city, with a photo-op circuit over the Harbour Bridge and Opera House before landing at Rose Bay.

So there we have it. Twenty tours and things to do in Sydney to help get you out and about.

Want more ideas? You can find lots of other exciting options for exploring Sydney with Sightseeing Tours Australia. The team offers a unique perspective on the city’s iconic landmarks and hidden gems, that’s perfect for those who want to experience Sydney’s beauty and culture in depth. To find out more visit Sightseeing Tours Australia Sydney tours.

Of course there’s a lot more where that came from so if you’ve done a tour in Sydney you love, do let me know so I can add it to my To Do list for next time.

Happy Sydney travels!


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