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35 things only tourists do in Sydney

Tourists flock to Sydney in their millions, and they're all too easy to spot

Tourist taking photos in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge
Photograph: CC/Brady Montz
By Time Out editors |

Our beautiful city welcomes a whopping 13 million travellers every year and we love sharing our award-winning restaurants and Instagrammable sites with each and every one of you. But out-of-towners sure do have some pretty predictable habits. Here are 35 things that make you stand out from a Sydneysider.

1. Choosing to spend Saturday nights in Darling Harbour.

2. Walking four abreast down George Street, Pitt Street, King Street… any street!

3. Taking selfies in train underpasses. You’re a fool, Sydney’s pigeons will shit on you.

4. Taking arty photos of an Ibis because you think it's a rare bird. It's not. It's a bin chicken.

5. Lining up for an hour to get into Madame Tussauds or Sea Life Sydney.

6. Going to Side Bar on a Wednesday. Actually, on any night.

7. Watching street performers in Pitt Street Mall. (It’s like Australia’s Got Talent reruns.)

8. Stocking up on opals and Ugg boots simultaneously.

9. Buying fake Indigenous art, like boomerangs made in China. Seek out genuine Indigenous artists at the Blak Markets or South East Aboriginal Arts Market.

10. Not touching off on the light rail/train/bus.

11. Pronouncing Coogee as "Coooogeeeeee".

12. Pronouncing Woolloomooloo as "Woooolooooomooooloooo". (Activate Hermione Granger "It's LevioSA" mode.)

13. Wearing a backpack on public transport. Expect to get the stink eye from a lot of commuters

14. Making a bee-line for the Opera House for selfies without ever stepping foot inside.

15. Trying to park in the CBD.

16. Dining at City Extra. (Walk 500 metres and you’ll find better food and views).

17. Forgoing sunscreen, even on a cloudy day.

18. Paying to get to the top of Sydney Tower Eye. (If you buy a drink, the view is free).

19. Taking the train from the airport. It’s a trap! It’s cheaper to Uber if there’s more than one of you.

20. Taking a dip in the city fountains.

21. Looking for koalas in Hyde Park.

22. Expecting to take heaps of selfies on the Sydney BridgeClimb. No phones allowed we're afraid.

23. “People watching” in Surry Hills. Want hipsters? Hop on a plane to Fitzroy.

24. Ocean swimming after heavy rain. Seriously: gastro.

25. Expecting personal space during Vivid.

26. Assuming you won’t get a parking fine. We are a heavily regulated state.

27. Assuming it never rains in Sydney. Yes, it's a sunny place, but when the heavens open, oh boy.

28. Expecting the 370 bus to show up on time/at all.

29. Choosing the outdoor seats on the Manly ferry.

30. Thinking the train goes all the way to Bondi Beach. LOL. They want to make it harder for you to get there.

31. Expecting to get coffee after 4pm.

32. Missing the last ferry to Manly and thinking, “Oh, a taxi can’t cost that much, can it?”.

33. Going out to the Ivy without ID and cash for entry.

34. Expecting change from a $50 when you’ve bought a round of drinks.

35. Failing to check out any of Sydney's more than 100 beaches other than Bondi.

Embrace your inner tourist

Sydney Opera House Tour
Photograph: Jamie Williams
Attractions, Beaches

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