The busy center of Sydney is characterized by its scenic harbor. Sydney is considered as Australia’s largest city, tourism hub, and an important port. The city faces the ocean breeze but without the humid atmosphere one might expect, and with pleasant views filled with nature. Sydney offers a lot of places where you can walk or wander on foot among the trees like the Royal Botanic Garden while not feeling so surrounded by the metropolis. You can take wonderful pictures overlooking the Opera House and the famous Harbor Bridge. From here you can also take a cruise on board the Sydney Ferries. Every day people come here from the immense cruise ships docked in the harbor. In the evening, you can sit in any restaurant with a lovely view of the Sydney skyline while eating delicious world-class cuisine.
When To Go:
With a calm atmosphere and more than 340 days of sunlight every year, Sydney’s climate makes it a perfect spot to visit year-round. On the other hand, the city does encounter some occasional weather contrasts and also real occasions such as business conferences, which influence the size of crowds you will encounter as well as costs for hotel bookings and airfare.
Summer is the most popular time to visit, when the climate is warm, open air activities are going full speed ahead and tremendous occasions like the Sydney Festival are celebrated all around the city. Since the temperature maintains its comfortable range, you’ll have the ability to see and do most excursions and hikes all year-round. Costs for airfare and lodging have a tendency to be much cheaper during winter. Spring and fall may offer the best blend of moderate cost and pleasant climate.
Here are the top
things to do
when in the city of Sydney:
The Sydney Harbour is the hallmark of the city, portrayed on all possible souvenirs, postcards, paintings, and clothing. The two most important landmarks — the Harbour Bridge (a unique bridge built in the early 20th century) and the Sydney Opera House — fit perfectly into the idyllic skyline of the city. You can devote a whole day to walking over the bridge or going to the other side of town. In the evening, see an illuminated Sydney and its amazing views, then come back and continue your promenade along the park filled with restaurants and souvenir shops.
You can walk around the Opera, and even get into it (locals say sometimes you can buy a ticket for the same day.) Skirting the Opera, you can proceed onto the road leading to the Royal Botanic Gardens. From there you can get to the zoo and back. You can purchase an excursion on the ferry, and if you’re a fan of extreme adventure, be sure to take a ride on a yacht (sport). And if you feel daring, you can buy an excursion to the Harbor Bridge and walk up to the top of it (this is best in sunny weather.) In general, spending the whole day of discovering this wonderful city will surely leave you with memories of a nice vacation in the city of Sydney.
The Opera House looks very dramatic, especially with its imposing presence on the shores of Sydney Bay. The entrance lobby is quite modest and the decoration of the rooms is also very unassuming with its wooden trim and seats. Recognized as a masterpiece of architecture, the Opera House is especially beautiful from a bird’s-eye view or from the water during the boat ride on Sydney Harbour.
The two biggest arches of shells comprise the ceiling of the Concert Hall and the Opera. In other rooms, the ceilings form groups of smaller arches. In the smallest “bowl” at the side of the main entrance and grand staircase is the famous Bennelong Restaurant. The Opera House is visible from all sides of the bay. The best photos can be obtained from the ferry on the water or from the bridge / the other side of the shore. From each different angle, the building looks slightly different with its roof of folded sails. It is indeed one of the modern wonders of the world.
Sydney Harbour Bridge
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of the largest steel arch bridges in the world. Since 1998, the bridge is open to tourists and is one the main attractions of Sydney. One of the interesting things to do when in Sydney is to climb to the top of this Bridge. Upon registration, you can join a group of other tourists with an experienced instructor — a total of 10-12 people. Then climb one of the beams of the bridge (just over .9 mile) to the top. It does not require any special training and all the essentials will be given at the entrance (overalls, insurance, waivers, etc.).
At the top is a breathtaking panorama and an especially interesting treat for photographers as they get to admire all of Sydney and its picturesque views of the international port and terminal from above. This bridge is located in the beautiful harbor where there are often huge cruise ships. On New Year’s Eve, there is the most impressive display of fireworks as the crowds watch in amazement.
Royal Botanic Gardens
The Royal Botanic Gardens is a great place to relax in the midst of the metropolis. The lush green park is composed of a mass of exotic trees and flowers. Everywhere there are scurrying parrots and the view of the fantastic Sydney skyline and harbor. It’s huge, but getting lost is impossible because there are a lot of signs for everything interesting like the “McGuire Chair Lady.” (Walking to the chair is a must as there are great views from there.) The park is very well maintained and has lots of species of roses. It has a pavilion with palm trees that is ideal for jogging and walking in the morning.
Before entering the park, there is a cafe where you can drink water, coffee, or grab a bite to eat. Lying down on the soft grass is wonderful and not prohibited. It is a nice place for a stroll with calm, picturesque, and interesting buildings. Visit the Perfect One area and be surprised by the presence of “hand” cockatoos — you can hand-feed with nuts. This garden in Sydney is a must see for all lovers of greenery.
Art Gallery of NSW
The Art Gallery of NSW is located in a beautiful botanical garden. You can visit the main part of the museum for free and see a wide selection of well-presented paintings and collected sculptures. It is a lovely museum in a central location.
Access to the museum is through a quiet and well-maintained botanical garden. The halls have bright and spacious rooms; small, but the right size collections that will not bore any audience. There are fine examples of classical art with a local flavor (instead of Dutch landscapes, white beaches of Australia; instead of bears in the pines, wallabies in the forest.)
The entire collection represents the entire short history of Australian art – starting from the works by aboriginal Australian art to classical works and contemporary art. Just 2-3 areas present a dozen works of famous European masters. Also worth visiting is a bookstore with a very wide choice of art and literature. On Thursday, when the museum is open until late at night, the open-air restaurant hosts live jazz.
The Rocks is the heart of Sydney and a perfect historical place. Be sure to visit its row of interesting stores, cafes, restaurants — and shops with proudly-made Australian souvenirs that can be found along its pedestrian area. If you like checking out the old districts of different cities of the world, then this place is worth a visit when you find yourself in Sydney. Here, for example, is the oldest pub in town where you can eat homemade food. The Rocks Market is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 to 5:00, offering paintings and crafts in traditional style that are made of glass and clay.
This part of Sydney has retained the aura of history. Though partially destroyed in the ’20s-’30s to make way for the Harbor Bridge, its lower houses and roads a little closer to the harbor have kept the charm of the past. Even today — despite being animated by shops, cafes and restaurants — it remains one of the most typical places to get an idea of how Sydney looked like in the nineteenth century.
With its bars, restaurants, lively pubs, museums, and shopping malls, the Darling Harbour is definitely a place frequented by young people and tourists. You cannot get bored and if you’re lucky enough to be there on a Saturday night you will be treated to a wonderful show of fireworks that attracts thousands of people. To take some nice walks and see it in both the morning and the evening — when it comes alive because of the numerous restaurants and lights — will create truly beautiful memories.
An attraction with historic charm thanks to the museum and marine vessels (the spectacular sailing ship) the place succeeds in making everyone curious about and interested in Sydney’s colorful past. It is also a great place to go shopping (for those who are interested there is the Hard Rock Cafe,) or stopping to sip a cocktail or taste freshly baked Lamingtons in one of its pastry shops. There is nothing more fascinating than spending a Christmas night at Darling Harbour: the fires from the bay, people who eat fish and chips waiting for midnight, the decorations — everything contributes to the unique atmosphere of the evening in Sydney.
Take the ferry from Sydney and arrive in about 1 hour at the marina in Manly Beach. After a short road full of shops and restaurants, it is very nice to come to this beautiful sandy beach facing the sea. On the right you can see that a long walk along the cliff is available, and well surrounded by nature. Everything is perfect, from surfers to animals, from small shops to the ocean.
The crystal-clear water is perfect for both surf lovers and for those who prefer to sunbathe or take a walk. There are many shops with famous brands or souvenirs related to surfing, and numerous restaurants of various kinds with international cuisines. This beach is less famous but also less crowded than the famous Bondi beach and absolutely worth the visit. There is an excellent restaurant on the waterfront where you can enjoy both the crocodile (only for those who love strong flavors) and the grilled kangaroo (mild taste, and yummy).
The Sydney Ferries are an excellent approach to exploring the city of Sydney. The trip begins and returns from the Circular Quay located between the bridge and the Opera House, and passes along the Manly Beach — a pleasant seaside resort on the ocean where you can meet young and old, play and compete on the beach and enjoy the sea in diverse activities. The trip costs $14 round trip, departing every 20 minutes so be punctual.
During the fast and convenient ferry ride, which is spread over two floors, you can see across the bay in Sydney. From the deck of the boat you can enjoy the strong wind and splashing of the waves in the short stretch of the open ocean. Get a ticket and a tour that lasts the whole day to see the many places in Sydney that can only be reached on a cruise. There are ferries until midnight. It is a great way to replace an expensive cruise for 2 hours and the substance is exactly the same.
In spite of the vast ocean, there’s a place in Sydney where you can take a dip without the waves. The Shelly Beach is located in a small bay that is completely sheltered from the wind and currents. The waters are crystalline and the fine white sand beach is pristine. The panoramic beach is just a few minutes’ walk from the Manly Beach.
Situated in its protected position, even on the days of rough seas it offers the possibility of swimming in all tranquility. Like all the beaches of the city, it is well equipped and clean. It has pleasant views along the shore and on the walk from Manly Beach, you can even see tiny sea dragons (a sort of iguana), another type of Australian species that is protected by their wildlife conservationists.