Sydney panoramic view of the city

Considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful and liveable cities, Sydney is the largest and oldest city in Australia. Miles of ocean coastline, sandy surf beaches, magnificent national parks and world-famous restaurants are only a few reasons why you should visit this cosmopolitan city. Long-term immigration has resulted in Sydney’s cultural and ethnical diversity. It is also home to iconic structures of the planet, such as the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Our guide will help you find out the best places to visit in this exciting city located on the world’s most beautiful harbour.

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When to Visit

Sydney Harbour during sunset

December – February Sydney’s warmest weather and peak tourist season. Higher hotel and airfare rates.

March – May Comfortable temperatures and manageable tourist crowds. Airline prices fall during this season. The Pyrmont Festival, one of the biggest gourmet events of the season, and the Sutherland Shire Heritage Festival that celebrates Sydney’s rich heritage and history, are usually held in May.

June – August Low season; hotels offer their cheapest prices during this season. Many festivals take place, such as the Sydney Crystal Show, the Multicultural Eid Festival and Fair that celebrates the Australian multiculturalism, and more.

September – November More affordable airline prices. The Sydney Fringe Festival is the largest independent arts festival in Sydney, taking place every year in the end of September. Sydney Beer Week is the city’s largest celebration of beer and is held in October.


Sydney Harbour

Sydney Harbour during sunset

Sydney Harbour is marked as one of the most beautiful harbours in the world, featuring the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Known for its remarkable docks and its secluded beaches, it is a famous natural attraction that most countries would wish to have. There are a lot of islands inside Sydney Harbour; some of them are connected to the mainland by bridge and others can be reached only by boat. If you wish, you can hire a boat and explore these pristine islands! Another good idea is to have a picnic on the tables along the foreshore or swim at one of the several swimmable beaches nestled in the area.

Harbour Bridge

Sydney Harbour Bridge clinging the top

It is the world's largest (but not the longest) steel arch bridge with the top of the bridge standing 134 meters above the harbour. It was opened in 1932 and due to its arch-based design the bridge is nicknamed “The Coathanger”. Famous for its captivating size and beauty, Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of Australia’s most photographed landmarks. Take the climb of your life with Bridge Climb; ascend the arches of the coathanger and enjoy the incredible view from the top!

A range of climbs is available. The main Bridge Climb is 3h 30min return along ladders and catwalks and the outer arch of the bridge to the top. A quicker tour to the summit is Bridge Climb Express, which is 2h 15min return. Climbs are available at dawn (limited departures), during the day, twilight or night. Prices vary depending on the season. For more information visit www.bridgeclimb.com or call at +61 (2) 8274 7777.

Sydney Opera House 

Sydney Opera House  panoramic view

One of the world's most iconic buildings, Sydney Opera House was designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon and was officially opened on 20 October 1973. The building is home to multiple performance venues which together host over 1,500 performances annually, attended by more than 1.2 million people. Its magnificent architecture and amazing programme of events make Sydney Opera House one of the 20th century's most distinctive buildings. The entrance to the building is free, however, there is a fee in case you wish to take a tour.

The Sydney Opera House Tour

Open: 1 hour every 30 minutes from 09:00AM to 05:00PM daily

Price: $37

Backstage Tour

Open: 2 hours, from 07:00AM, includes breakfast in the Green room

Price: AUD165

There is a range of performance packages and tours available. For more information please visit  www.sydneyoperahouse.com.

 At the airport, left luggage is put in the baggage storage areas of the arrivals hall in each terminal; however there are no left luggage facilities at Central Station or at the ports. Keep in mind that lockers are not available at the airport.

Bradleys Head 

Sunset at Bradleys Head Sydney

Located in the north shore of Sydney Harbour, Bradleys head is a headland named after William Bradley. The foremast of the cruiser HMAS Sydney is mounted on the tip as a memorial to a battle that took place during World War I. Sitting on the rock platform off the headland is a Doric stone column. It is one of six that were taken from the demolished Sydney Post Office and placed in positions in Sydney.

Royal Botanic Gardens 

Sunny day at Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney

Opened in 1816, the Royal Botanic Gardens is located on Sydney Harbour, close to the Sydney Opera House and the large public parks of The Domain. It is one of the most important historic botanical institutions in the world, home to a variety of native and exotic plants. It is adjoined with the Domain and it is managed by the Royal Botanic Trust. The Domain is a 34 hectares (84 acres) open area used for outdoor concerts, open-air events, large political gatherings and rallies. People of Sydney use this area daily for exercise and relaxation.

Open:
October 07:00AM–07:30PM

November-February 07:00AM–08:00PM

March 07:00AM–06:30PM

April & September 07:00AM–06:00PM

May & August 07:00AM–05:30PM

June & July 07:00AM–05:00PM

For information about the events organized here visit https://www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/. 

The Rocks & Circular Quay 

The Rocks & Circular Quay Sydney

Located on the southern shore of Sydney Harbour, the Rocks is a tourist precinct. This historic area was established after the colony’s formation in 1788. The original buildings were built of local sand stones, from which the area’s name derives. The Rocks is very popular due to the beautiful views of the iconic Harbour Bridge as well as the historic architecture of the buildings here. Narrow laneways, galleries, souvenir shops, boutiques, restaurants and historic pubs are only some of the places one can visit in this area.

Near The Rocks, the Circular Quay is a harbour, famous amongst tourists due to its interesting walkways, pedestrian malls and parks. It is a point for community celebrations especially for Sydney New Year’s Eve.
Quay is home to Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art and the City of Sydney Library.

 You can use Sydney & Bondi Explorer buses in order to travel around the areas. Buy a one or two day twin tickets and travel on both buses!

Taronga Zoo 

Giraffe at Taronga Zoo Sydney

If you’re an animal lover, this is the ideal place to visit! Home to over 4,500 animals of 350 species, the 28-hectare (69-acre) Taronga Zoo is one of Sydney’s most famous tourist attractions. Located on the shores of Sydney Harbour, it includes Australian native wildlife as well as endangered exotic animals. Many enclosures enable visitors to experience the animals’ natural habitat. You can challenge yourself on an exciting sky-high ropes adventure course offered in the zoo or have a picnic on specific areas while enjoying breathtaking views of Sydney Harbour.

Open:
May - August 09:30AM-04:30PM daily

September - April 09:30AM-05:00PM daily

New Year's Eve 09:30AM-04:00PM

Price: 
Adults AUD46/Concession AUD36/Children (4-15) AUD26/Infants under 4 free entrance

Tickets purchased online are available at a discounted rate from gate prices. If you need more information visit https://taronga.org.au/.

Hyde Park

Sunny day at Hyde Park Sydney

Located in the heart of central Sydney, Hyde Park is the oldest and most famous park of the country. It is home to hundreds of big trees and plenty of benches where you can enjoy the cool shade. At the north side of the park, there is a notable monument, the Archibald Fountain, A bronze Apollo surrounded by horses’ heads, dolphins and tortoises. You will find many other monuments and statues in the park as well. It is a great place to spend a Sunday, or enjoy the parties and events that take place here throughout the year!

Centennial Park 

Green trees at Centennial Park Sydney

This gorgeous park is more that 189 hectares of open space which includes cultivated gardens, ponds, wide avenues, ornamental lakes, playing fields and places perfect for picnics. It is a must see location in Sydney, ideal for those who want to spend a day playing a sport, having a picnic or just relaxing while enjoying the park’s gorgeous environment.

 If you want to ride a bicycle in the city, it is advisable to download first a cycling map from the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) website or hire a bike from Woolys Wheels. Be careful! The roads are very crowded and make cycling difficult and dangerous in some areas.

Bondi Beach 

Surfers at Bondi Beach Sydney

Bondi Beach is one of the most visited sites of the country located 7 km east of the Sydney central business district. An ideal destination for those who seek white sands, curling waves and sandstone cliffs. Due to its weekend markets, fashion boutiques, luxurious accommodation, beach side cafés, bars and fine dining, Bondi Beach has become one of the city’s most glamorous destinations. Surfing on these waves is undoubtedly a must-do! There is even an area restricted only to surfers. You can buy or rent boards and suits from the stores nearby and get a lesson from Let’s Go Surfing (www.letsgosurfing.com.au).

Price:
Deck chairs AUD5/3hrs, AUD10/day

Beach umbrellas AUD15/day

Surfboards AUD15/hr, AUD50/day

If you need more information on Bondi Beach please visit www.bondibeachhire.com.au.

Manly 

Sunny day at Manly Beach Sydney

Manly is a beach-side suburb of northern Sydney that attracts over 8 million visitors a year. This popular tourist destination is famous for its rocky pools and sandy beaches called Fairy Bower and Shelly Beach. You can also visit Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary where you watch a live show with incredible marine species or have a guided tour. For the more courageous, you can dive in with sharks and giant turtles!

Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary

Open: Monday-Sunday: 10:00AM-06:00PM (last admission 05:00PM)

Price: Adults AUD42/Students or seniors AUD33/Children AUD29.50

Save a minimum of 10% on these tickets when you book online. Tickets must be booked minimum 1 day in advance. For more information please visit 
www.manlysealifesanctuary.com.au.

 You can pick a Water Taxi from most piers, either by looking for them at Circular Quay or by calling one. Prices can vary and we advise you to confirm the cost before you board.

Sydney Tower

Panoramic city view Sydney Tower

Designed by Australian architect Donald Crone, Sydney’s tallest structure stands 309 m (1,014 ft) above the Sydney region. The tower is open to the public and you can visit the restaurants, the coffee shop and the observation deck where you can enjoy breathtaking views. This famous tourist attraction is visible from a number of places throughout the city and some adjoining suburbs. Sydney Tower is the first to see the dawn, and the last to see the final dusk. Don’t lose the chance to experience being on the tallest building of the city and take incredible pictures! It is advisable to visit early and check the weather forecast before you go there.

Observation Deck

Open:
26 April-2 October 09:00AM-09:30PM (last admission 08:30PM)

3 October-25 April 09:00AM-10:00PM (last admission 09:00PM)

Price: Standard prices at the admissions desk are from AUD19.00

A 4D cinema experience pre-show is also included in the price.
For more information please visit 
www.sydneytowereye.com.au

 Keep in mind that bars do not let people enter after 01:00AM. Even if you’re already in the bar and you go out to smoke or talk on the phone, you cannot enter again. It is also advisable to avoid getting into arguments with drunken people and just walk away.

Art Gallery of the New South Wales

Art Gallery of the New South Wales Sydney

Located in The Domain, the Art Gallery of the New South Wales is the most significant gallery in Sydney. Opened to the public in 1909, it holds important collections of Australian, Asian, Aboriginal, contemporary and European art. It is a good idea if you want to escape from the bustle of the city! Don’t lose the chance to explore five levels of art at one of Australia's most popular art museums!

Open: 10:00AM - 05:00PM daily

Closed: Christmas Day and Good Friday

Price: Free entrance

For more information visit www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au

 Avoid parks, barren areas and the backstreets of Kings Cross late at night. Also, if you are travelling alone by train, sit near the guard’s compartment with the blue light.

Darling Harbour & Chinatown 

People walking at Darling Harbour Sydney

Darling Harbour is a large recreation and pedestrian precinct adjacent to the city center of Sydney. It extends northwards from Chinatown and the area was originally known as Long Cove and then as Cockle Bay, until Governor Darling renamed it after himself until 1826. This Chinatown is the largest in Australia. It is a pedestrian street mall with many Chinese restaurants and a number of Chinese shops.

Chinese Garden of Friendship, Darling Harbour (www.chinesegarden.com.au)

Open:
April-September 09:30AM-05:00PM daily

October-March 09:30AM-05:30PM daily

Closed: Good Friday and 25 December

Price: Adults $6/ Children $3 

Blue Mountains

Panoramic view from Blue Mountains palcony

Named for their blue haze, the result of the evaporated eucalyptus, the area is a mountain range located on the borders of Sydney’s metropolitan area. These stunning mountains offer plenty of natural attractions which you should definitely admire. Marvel at the tall forests, sandstone cliffs, canyons, caves, walking tracks and waterfalls that make up the magnificent Blue Mountains!

 It is advisable to visit Sydney during either late spring (October-November) or early autumn (March-April) because the days are warm and the evenings mild during these periods. Avoid summer because the days can be very hot and humid.

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