You can spend a day just walking the sights. Sydney is a large city if you include the outer suburbs, and there is a lot to see out there. But the CBD can be browsed in a day’s travel. You can start at Circular Quay and see The Rocks, the Opera House, and the Harbour Bridge. The Botanic gardens are near hare, and worth a fair amount of time. You can walk from here or catch a train to Town Hall station and see the Queen Victoria Building for some shopping. From here it’s only a short walk to Darling Harbour.
A first day walk is a good way to gather information about the specifics; you find the museums and attractions that you want to spend some time at latter. Some of the better known are:
- The world’s largest Imax theatre
- The Sydney Aquarium
- Wildlife Zoo
- Madam Tussards Wax works
- The Maritime Museum
- The Powerhouse Museum
- Centrepoint Tower
- Bondi Beach
- The Opera House, both the events inside and the building itself.
An alternative to walking Sydney is to take a Harbour cruise. The guide will point out many sights, and you can chase up the ones that interest you the most. Else, you can use the Red Explorer Bus.
Tours can often be arranged through the same company that does airport transfers. A day tour of Sydney can focus on shopping, where the shuttle can carry your accumulated souvenirs, or on historic sights, a trip to the theatre; if you have time you can leave Sydney for the day and go on a wine tour. The Sydney airport shuttles often run multiple services for tourists and locals.