What can I see when I’m in Sydney?
There’s a lot to see in Sydney, as you might have guessed. We suggest you mix the iconic with the off-beat to give you a really rounded view of the Harbour City.
Clearly, no visit to Sydney is complete without gazing hard and long at the Sydney Opera House. Its exterior is especially amazing during Vivid Sydney festival – usually held in May and June, though the 2021 edition will be in August – when patterns and images are projected onto its sails. Take a tour to marvel at Jørn Utzon’s equally striking interiors or, better still, try and see a performance.
Just around the corner is the Royal Botanic Garden, which has plants and views in equal measure: the Rose Garden is particularly splendid. The garden is also home to the Art Gallery of NSW, where the Aboriginal and Pacific Islander art is a highlight.
The Rocks is the oldest part of the city and is full of Georgian and Victorian buildings, many now housing restaurants, boutique stores, galleries and historic pubs. You can also take indigenous, historical and ghost tours.
If you’ve got a head for heights, you probably should scale the Sydney Harbour Bridge – either its pylon or arch – with BridgeClimb Sydney. In the city centre, don’t miss the interior of the Queen Victoria Building for its dazzling architecture and fine fashion boutiques, and the newly refurbished Australian Museum for a squiz at native flora, fauna, geology and indigenous culture.
Darling Harbour is home to Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, Wild Life Sydney Zoo and the fascinating Australian National Maritime Museum. The loveliest little corner is the Chinese Garden of Friendship, one of the best classical-style Chinese gardens outside China and a delight of pagodas, waterfalls, ponds and rockeries.
That’s most of the icons taken care of. Next, why not venture into one of the inner-city precincts to discover where the locals like to hang out?
Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, Kings Cross, Potts Point and Paddington offer interesting architecture, great shopping, and some of the best eating and drinking experiences in the city. Put Poly, Dimitri’s, Firedoor, Porteño, Fratelli Paradiso, the Dolphin and 10 William St on your must-try list.
Catching a ferry to Manly might seem quite an iconic thing to do, but taking the Manly to Spit Bridge Walk is a little more off the radar – the 10km trail is one of the city’s most overlooked attractions, leading through national park and across clifftops with views stretching to the city centre’s skyscrapers.
Manly and Bondi are our best-known beaches, but there are so many other lovely waterside spots to discover. Head to Watsons Bay on the ferry and soak up the sun at Camp Cove. Follow that with a cold one at the buzzing Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel. Still in the east, Nielsen Park and Parsley Bay are two of the city’s finest harbourside beaches, perfect for a picnic as well as a dip. And when you’re soaking up the sun on a rock at Nielsen Park, while staring at the glittering harbour, you’ll know just how good Sydney gets.