WanderingTrader

Best Things To Do In Sydney: Tourist Attractions

Looking for the best things to do in Sydney, Australia?  You have come to the right place!  With a warm tropical climate, a bustling cosmopolitan center, a laid-back historical area, and a trendy nightlife scene, there is something for everyone and is one of the hottest destinations all year-round.

To help you out with planning your trip, I have listed what I believe to be the are some of the best tourist attractions in Sydney…. enjoy!

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| BEST THINGS TO DO IN SYDNEY |

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Bondi Beach

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The iconic Bondi Beach in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs

We couldn’t start the most popular tourist attractions in Sydney post without talking about Bondi Beach. To appreciate this amazing piece of coastline, the Bondi to Coogee Walk  links all the Eastern Suburbs beaches and showcases Sydney’s finest ocean views from Tamarama to Waverly and Gordons Bay. There are also plenty of cafes en route, interesting landmarks and naturally, some great swimming and snorkeling spots.

Bondi also has a graffiti art wall that is constantly being updated by creative local and traveling artists. You can’t miss it when you’re down at the beach, or walking past the skate park dome.

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Harbour Bridge Climb

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The Harbour Bridge is one of the must see attractions in Sydney

While the Sydney Opera House one could say is the top tourist attraction to see in Sydney… the Harbour Bridge will definitely not disappoint. As someone who’s speaking from experience, let me tell you why you need to do the famous bridge climb of Sydney Harbour and what you need to know before you go:

    1. There are lots of different climbs you can do, ranging from themed dress, morning and sunset climbs to half way and sampler climbs. The “BridgeClimb” is the original climb experience which takes about 3 ½ hours to complete.
    2. You must be over the age of 8 to climb, taller than 1.2m and sorry ladies,  no pregnant mumma-to-be’s allowed. You’ll also be breathalyzed before you climb so no afternoon whiskies to calm your nerves beforehand.
    3. You can’t take your camera, go pro or anything else. The only thing permitted are your sunglasses and this is solely for safety reasons in the incident that your items might fall from the bridge and damage someone or something beneath you. Don’t worry, the guides capture group and individual photos throughout the climb.
    4. It wasn’t at all as exhausting as I’d thought it would be.  Nor as scary, in fact the trickiest bit is walking along the first parts where you have to squeeze around some places, no trouble at all.
    5. Buy tickets HERE for the bridge climb online before you go, as spots fill up fast >> Sydney Bridge Climb

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Opera House

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The Sydney Opera House, you couldn’t miss it if you tried!

Officially opened on October 20, 1973 the Opera house is a Sydney Icon and a must see when you’re visiting the city. Check the Opera House Schedule for upcoming events and shows when you’re visiting as there is always something exciting happening inside.  

With a varied and full program, the Opera House is one of the city’s busiest music, arts and performance venues. To learn about the inner workings of this icon, take a Backstage Tour.

The restaurant at the opera house Bennelong is an excellent place for a dinner with harbour views, and the Opera Bar just below is also a trendy hotspot with live music on weekends and great food!

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Ride a ferry across the harbour to Manly

Taking a ferry ride to Manly remains one of Sydney’s signature travel experiences and seeing the city skyline, bridge and opera house from the water is beautiful. Ferry leave from Darling Harbour, Rose Bay and many other docks scattered around the harbour.

Ferries leave every 20 minutes and run daily from 7am to 10pm between the major docks. For timetable updates and departure times click here >> Sydney Transport 

When you get over to Manly here are fun some things you can do around on the Northern Beaches…..

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Shelly Beach Cove, Manly

    1. Walk around the bay to the hidden Shelly beach. Great for snorkeling and picnics.
    2. Have a beer at the Manly Wharf Bar
    3. Paddleboard around the boats and the bay to secluded picnic spots and private bays
    4. Dive with sharks at Shark Dive Extreme
    5. Travel a little further north to Palm Beach and Avalon, two of the prettiest beaches in Sydney and the setting for a popular television series “Home and Away”. 
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Hugos Manly at the Wharf is a popular spot for lunch over the water. (Try the Pizza!)

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Taronga Zoo

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Must see sights in Sydney – The Zoo

The zoo houses 2,900 exotic and native species including gorillas, tigers, leopards, chimpanzees, giraffes, kangaroos and koalas and is a short ferry ride from Circular Quay.  It’s the best place in Sydney to get an up-close and personal experience with Australia’s unique wildlife. You can even take a selfie with a koala!

For the ultimate sleepover, book the Roar & Snore package, where guests camp overnight at the zoo!

Hours: Open daily 9:30am-5pm (Sept-April), 9:30am-4:40pm (May-Aug).

Admission: Adults $44, Children (4-15 years) $22

Location: Bradleys Head Road, Mosman

Official site: http://taronga.org.au/taronga-zoo

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Darling Harbour

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One of the best things to see in Sydney – Darling Harbour

Darling Harbour precinct features a wealth of things to do. There are public gardens and promenades, restaurants, bars and hotels, and major attractions such as the Australian National Maritime Museum, the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium and Wild Life Sydney Zoo.  

The Chinese garden of friendship is one of the only Chinese gardens outside of China and its well worth a visit. You can also watch a film at the Imax cinema, the largest screen in the southern hemisphere.

Spend a day out sailing on Sydney Harbour good food and breathe in the fresh sea air on the James Craig tall ship cruise

Darling Harbour is located adjacent to downtown and is accessible by train, bus or foot from the city center. There are paid parking lots throughout the precinct.

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The Rocks

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The five star Harbour Rocks Hotel Sydney at The Rocks

The best way to explore the oldest cobbled laneways in Sydney is with The Rocks Walking Tours that take you on a journey through the neighborhood and provide an entertaining portrait of Australia’s first European settlement. Walking around you’ll see incredible architecture, shopping boutiques, restaurants, trendy bars and luxury hotels.

Another fun afternoon activity is the chocolate walking tour that runs for 2 hours every Saturday at 10am and is priced at $40 AUD which included sampling several boutique stores finest handmade sweet treats.

After your chocolate fix you can head over to the Contemporary Art Museum or check out the local markets that are run every Saturday and Sunday and are filled with stores of clothes, food, and handicrafts of all sorts. Great place for presents and souvenirs.  

The Rocks area begins at the end of George Street that runs through the city’s CBD (central busines district) and down to the water. An easy stroll through the city center will get you there in 15-20 minutes, or you can catch a train from Central Station, Town Hall to Wynyard or Circular Quay and walk the rest.

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Royal Botanical Gardens

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A walk through the Botanical Gardens at Mrs Macquaries Chair

A tranquil oasis amid the hustle and bustle of the city, the Royal Botanic Gardens at Farm Cove lies a short and scenic stroll along the waterfront from the Sydney Opera House. It has to be one of the most relaxing things to do in Sydney, Australia.

Among the highlights is the Palace Rose Garden, which has over 2000 different types of roses.

Hours: Open daily 8am-7pm (Sept-February), 9am-5pm (March-Aug).

Admission: Free

Location: Mrs Macquarie’s Road, Sydney

Official website: https://www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/

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Circular Quay

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The overseas passenger terminal and walkway at Circular Quay

When trying to find the best things to do in Sydney it is hard to avoid Circular Quay. This is arguably Sydney’s No.1 buzz place. Home to the royal botanical gardens, overseas passenger terminal and many of Sydney’s fine dining restaurants.  

“The Quay” (pronounced like Key) is the city’s main ferry terminus – situated in the very heart of Sydney Cove, the founding place for the settlement of Australia. It serves as a gateway, connecting visitors to Sydney’s major attractions – Sydney Harbour, Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and The Rocks.

An architectural highlight of Sydney’s Center  is the elegant Romanesque-style Queen Victoria Building on George Street replete with graceful domes, stained glass windows, and high-end stores.

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Blue Mountains

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One of the Best Tourist Attractions in Sydney

For one of the natural tourist attractions near the city we can explore just outside the city.  Escape the concrete jungle with of the natural attractions in Sydney.  Get out into the wilderness and mountains that surround Sydney. The Blue Mountains are a  situated within a World Heritage listed wilderness and have several small villages in the area. Discover breathtaking landscapes, hike one of the many rainforest trails, swim in the waterfalls or contemplate a peaceful silence while gazing out to the horizon.

Hours: Open everyday

Admission: Free

Location: 2 hour drive Mrs Macquarie’s Road, Sydney

Official website: http://www.visitbluemountains.com.au/

Getting Around:

Sydney’s transport system is fairly straightforward. While the Taxi/ Uber options will get you anywhere fast, they’re expensive. Public transport option is the new Opal Card ticket which allows you to purchases a transport card and top up credit as needed to catch trains and buses.

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For the best introduction to the sights of Sydney, book a Sydney and Bondi Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour, which stops near the major sights in the city center, around the harbor, and Bondi Beach. Tickets are valid for 24 or 48 hours, and passengers can get off and on the bus as often as they please. You can get off at any of the 34 designated stops, spend as much time as you like sightseeing, and then hop on the next bus that comes along.

You can purchase a ticket that’s valid for 24 hours or 48 hours and buses run every 15-20 minutes. The double-decker buses offer passengers 360-degree views of the city from the open top, which means great photo and video opportunities without leaving your seat.

There’s professional audio commentary about the history of Sydney as you drive around. An adult ticket valid for 2 days  will set you back $45.00 or $120.00 for a family of four.

FYI extras:

Where to score cheap tickets and find out about free fun stuff:

Concrete playground lists regular events and a what’s happening in sydney daily, weekly and monthly list. Check this site regularly to find events coming up. Also Groupon is a great site for finding out about discounts and daily deals.

Redballoon has the best of sydney’s hotspots, tourist attractions and fun stuff that you can buy tickets for, skydiving, harbour cruises.

Sydney is a Nanny State:

Sydney’s once buzzing nightlife has recently undergone a political and regulatory transformation. The newly imposed restrictions require all venues to comply with the 1.30am lockouts and 3am last drinks laws that are in force across the new Sydney CBD Entertainment Precinct. The new precinct stretches from parts of Surry Hills and Darlinghurst to The Rocks, and from Kings Cross to Cockle Bay.

But not to worry… Sydney still knows how to have a good time, and there are plenty of bars that have pool parties when the sun is out shining….

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Ivy Pool Bar on George Street, Sydney

Hope you enjoyed this best things to do in Sydney post!

Tune in next time….

2 Comments

  1. hI,

    Just wanted to correct a typo error in your Sydney Opera House section. In 1932 the area was a tram terminal / storage shed. The Opera House was built during the 1960s and opened officially by Queen Elizabeth on 20 October 1973.

    Also – in the Darling Harbour section…. the monorail no longer exists!

    Bye!

    1. Hi Eva, Thanks for you correction I’ll be sure to update the dates. I am actually from Australia and spent the last several years living in Glebe before moving overseas. To be honest I never really used the monorail that often and I was under the impression that it was still operating in Sydney, so thanks for letting me know that’s no longer the case.

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