10 best things to do in Sydney
is a city blossoming with life. Whether you’re interested in discovering the rich history, exploring the extensive cultural scene or basking in the natural glory, a trip Down Under promises endless possibilities. As you get to know this one-of-a-kind city, add these ten destinations to your itinerary for a picture-perfect vacation.
1. Enjoy the view of the Sydney Harbour
With 54 square kilometers of glittering water, the view of this world famous harbor will leave you breathless. The best views are from the water itself, on the deck of a ferry or a cruise ship, although walking across the Sydney Harbour Bridge also provides a spectacular sight. If you do catch a ferry, there’s a good chance it will be at Circular Quay, which is known as the hub of the harbor and another notable spot worth visiting.
2. Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge
A landmark all its own, the Sydney Harbour Bridge is good for more than just admiring the water. With the program BridgeClimb, visitors can actually climb this famous monument, making their way to the top for an aerial view of the city. Climb Leaders are there to assist guests and provide history on the bridge, making the experience both informational and exhilarating.
3. Catch a show at the Sydney Opera House
You cannot miss the distinctive silhouette of the Sydney Opera House, which appears almost more like a sculpture along the harbor. Shows range from opera to dance, lectures and more, meaning there’s something for everyone. If you don’t have time to see a show, stop in for a tour and learn about the history or architecture of the opera house, explore backstage or even experience one of the dining options on site.
4. Learn about Sydney’s history at The Rocks
This cobblestone-lined neighborhood boasts the perfect combination of old and new, with cottages and some of the oldest bars in Sydney as well as plenty of art galleries and shops worth browsing. Take a tour or visit one of the several museums, then top it off with a picnic. For art lovers, in addition to galleries and museums there is also the opportunity to see a show or performance.
5. Admire the scenery at the Royal Botanic Gardens
For a chance to explore nature’s wonders for free, visit the Royal Botanic Gardens. With nearly 9,000 different plant species and areas ranging from the Sydney Fernery to the HSBC Oriental Garden, there is no shortage of foliage to admire. Join one of the tours around the garden or take a ride on the Choo Choo Express, a train tour that stops at four major locations on site.
6. Swim, surf and shop at Bondi Beach
With a reputation as one of Australia’s most famous beaches, expect Bondi Beach to be bustling from morning until night. Surfers and swimmers can enjoy the crystal clear waters, while other visitors have plenty of options on shore. Take a stroll down the Bondi to Cogee Coastal Walk or explore the restaurants, cafes and shops. After a day in the sun, experience the Bondi Beach nightlife at the bars and clubs located nearby.
7. Spend an afternoon at the Taronga Zoo
The Taronga Zoo will exceed your expectations. In addition to talks, tours and shows, tickets include access to two of the location’s coolest features: the Sky Safari, a cable car that allows you to experience the zoo from above, and the Dinosaurs in the Wild exhibit. For daredevils, there is even a high ropes course. During the summer you may want to stay for the evening and attend one of the shows offered through the Twilight at Taronga concert series.
8. Appreciate the natural beauty at the Blue Mountains and Jenolan Caves
Though technically located outside of Sydney, these natural wonders are definitely worth the drive. The Blue Mountains offer breathtaking views and opportunities for bushwalks, tours and even horseback riding, as well as shopping, art and dining in the surrounding areas. During your visit, make sure to check out the Jenolan Caves. There are several tours (including a ghost tour), not to mention events held in the caves, like an underground church service for Easter.
9. Browse the collections at the Art Gallery of NSW
There are tons of museums in Sydney worth visiting, but your trip won’t be complete without a stop at the Art Gallery of NSW. This nearly 150-year-old building houses both Australian and international art. Entrance to the gallery and access to the permanent collection and most exhibitions is free, allowing you to save your money for the Gallery Shop or the gallery’s restaurant or café. There are also other events like lectures, films, live music and performances.
10. Treat yourself at the Strand Arcade
Whether you’re satisfying a sugar craving at Haigh’s Chocolates, the oldest chocolate manufacturer in Australia, or picking out a dapper new cap at the popular Strand Hatters, you can find anything you’re looking for in this high-end shopping center. Make sure to take a second to admire the Strand’s Victorian façade. Though much of it was rebuilt in the mid-1970s after a fire, the architects preserved the original style of the building.