- Travel Topics
Sydney is an incredibly beautiful and cosmopolitan Australian city. Though it has a fairly compact city center it has a slew of other neighboring areas to check out and you simply can’t go wrong by just taking in the gorgeous beaches. There is something for everyone in Sydney and we spent a week there with my parents and could have stayed for a whole lot longer.
In terms of things to do in and around the city some of the highlights for us include:
Walk around the city center, where you will find the CBD – Central Business District
This is essentially the city center of Sydney. Full of high rise office buildings, shops, cafes, bars and restaurants this area tends to have that business busy vibe but is still worth checking out. Make sure to take a stroll on George stroll (can be thought of as Sydney’s main street) and do pop into the Queen Victoria Building (essentially a prestigious mall) will incredible 1800s architecture.
For a general view of the city take a ride up to the Center Point Tower (though I do think this is somewhat overrated). A nice green space right in the center is the Hyde Park, where you will find many of the nearby office workers enjoying their afternoon lunch.
Circular Quay and Sydney Opera House
From the city center make your way north on foot to Circular Quay (pronounced as Key) which is the hub of Sydney harbor and the passenger ferry terminal. On one side you will find the Museum of Contemporary Art and further along on the tip of the other side you will come across the iconic and world famous Sydney Opera House.
Make sure to really get close and marvel at the architecture of the building and if time allows pop in to a performance. Just to the side of the Opera House you will find the Botanic Gardens, perfect for a leisurely stroll.
The Rocks is one of the oldest areas in Sydney and you will really feel the architecture different from the tall skyscrapers in the city center. There are more low rise brownstone type buildings here and the area feels noticeably older and less bustling. Walk down the narrow laneways and get a feel for this historical precinct.
Climb the Sydney Harbor Bridge
The Sydney Harbor Bridge is one of the most famous icons of this Australian city. You can go on the Bridge Climb which allows you to climb the outer or inner arch of the bridge itself up to the halfway point and then back again. The views are incredible and it is an exhilarating, if overpriced excursion. If that’s not your thing, buy tickets to the Pylon lookout instead, where for a fraction of the cost you can still get similar views but without the risk of wetting your pants from fright.
Darling Harbor brings back sweet childhood memories of skipping over the various stones and water fountains. This is a perfect area for walking, where you have picturesque views of the harbor as well as a series of museums, cafes and restaurants to choose from.
Right in Darling Harbor you will find the Sydney Aquarium one of my favorite aquariums in the world. There is no shortage of incredible fish here and various other sea creatures. Make sure to catch the regularly schedules dugong show, and take your time walking through the glass tunnels to really admire all the sea creatures they have there.
Sydney Fish Market
Just a short walk from the Aquarium, along the Pyrmont pedestrian bridge you will find the Sydney Fish Market. Come here to stock up on some seafood or simply enjoy a fresh lunch or brunch here. All the seafood you could imagine is sold right here and it is one of the biggest working fish markets in the world. Our favorites included the oysters, sashimi, freshly grilled fish and deep fried soft shell crab.
Featherdale Wildlife Park
To get a really taste for all the creatures native to Australia head to Featherdale Wildlife park where you will find all the traditional Australian animals, koalas, kangaroos, wombats, emus, Tasmanian devils etc. There is a huge collection of colorful and diverse birds and a reptile room as well. Perfect place to take the kids!
Visit the Sydney Beaches
Time to get out of the city center and head to the Eastern suburbs to check out the famous Sydney beaches. There are plenty to choose from; the most famous of which is Bondi (and usually the most crowded). There is also Bronte, Tamarama, Clovelly, Maroubra or the Northern Beaches (a bit further away from the city though). The water is clear and refreshing with plenty of waves to keep the swimming interesting. Or just plop down in the sand and watch the surfers take charge.
Walk along the Coastal Walk
To see the various beaches all in one sitting take a walk along the coastal walk stretching from Bondi Beach to Coogee beach (taking in all the beaches in between). The entire walk is around 6 km and takes in breathtaking views of the beaches and cliffs, and has no shortage of parks, bays and rock pools along the way. The walk isn’t too difficult though there are steep ups and downs at times. A perfect way to get some exercise and enjoy the views all at once.
This by no means mentions all the things to do in Sydney and really just covers the tip of the iceberg. There are tons of different museums and other picturesque bays to spend the evening in and this is just a small list of the things we got to do while we were there for the week.
Don’t forget to apply for Australia visa requirements before you reach Australia