Situated in an enormous and beautiful harbour, Sydney is one of the most vibrant cities in the world and is home to a thriving cultural scene. Most famous for the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, there are many more sights and activities to pass the time in the largest city in Australia. We take a look at some of the top things to do in Sydney.
Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge
There are countless things to see in Sydney and there are countless ways to see them, but few ways of seeing this incredible city are as rewarding as when you Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This bridge is more than a kilometre long and is an iconic Australian landmark that carries traffic from Sydney’s CBD to the North Shore. The exhausting climb to the top of the bridge’s arch is offered in order to experience the spectacular views of the city from over 130 metres above the Sydney Harbour.
The culture, art and history of many of the native Australian communities is explained and displayed at the Australian Museum, just south-east of Sydney’s CBD. This museum is a great place to learn about the Australia before its colonialisation by the British in the 19th century, as well as the natural history of the world’s largest island country. From dinosaurs to anthropological artefacts from indigenous Australians and cultures around the Pacific, this museum is a hub for discovery and education.
Location of the international reality television hit, Bondi Rescue, which follows the lives of on-duty lifeguards, Bondi Beach is next on the list of things you must see when in Sydney. Although during the winter months this beach doesn’t attract as large crowds as it does during the summer, Bondi is one of the busiest beaches in the world and is also one of Australia’s most visited tourist sites. Located about seven kilometres east of Sydney’s CBD, this beach is a great place to go for a swim or just soak in the sun.
As Australia’s largest city, Sydney is also Australia’s capital for fashion and shopping. With many different shopping precincts, and being the home to many of Australia’s flagship retailers, Sydney is the perfect place to get some retail therapy. One unmissable shopping hotspot is the Queen Victoria Building on Sydney’s George Street. This heritage-listed building is home to some of Sydney’s finest fashion, jewellery and homewares boutiques. Another great shopping location in Sydney is at the base of Sydney Tower, Westfield Sydney, offering international high street fashion labels and top Australian designers over four levels.
Just across the Sydney Harbour Bridge from Sydney’s CBD, on the East of Lavender Bay, remains Sydney’s most iconic amusement park, Luna Park. Listed in 2010 on the State Heritage Register, this venue, which is known for its entrance which is a giant art-deco style face, the mouth of which is the only public entry and exit point, is Sydney’s oldest and most beloved amusement park, serving the community for almost a century.
Opening hours: Mon 11am-4pm; Fri-Sat 11am-10pm; Sun 10am-6pm
The uniqueness of Australian wildlife is something that has fascinated zoologists and animal lovers alike, from the marsupials, like the different species of kangaroos and wallabies, to the huge variety of birds and the native reptiles, like snakes, frogs and turtles. Many of these animals can be discovered at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo, located across the harbour just north-east of Sydney. This zoo, which is approaching its 100th birthday, exhibits a range of native Australian animals along with many wild animals from the Asia region and selected species from Africa and South America.
Located among the hustle and bustle of Sydney’s CBD is the city’s largest structure, measuring 304 metres tall, the Sydney Tower Eye. This tower offers a 360-degree view over the city, and has the second highest observation deck in the southern hemisphere. The Sydney Tower building, the base of which is one of Sydney’s premier shopping precincts, has been an iconic part of the Sydney skyline for over 30 years. The top of this tower is the ultimate place to view the city’s sunrise and sunset.
One of the hubs of music, theatre and culture in Sydney and the world is the Sydney Opera House, the modern multi-venue performing arts centre located on Sydney’s harbour. This venue, which is one of Australia’s most iconic landmarks, is one of the most important examples of the expressionist architectural style and is home to four resident companies who are essential to Sydney’s performing arts sphere: Opera Australia, The Australian Ballet, the Sydney Theatre Company and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
On the shore of the Cockle Bay Wharf on the north of Sydney’s CBD is Darling Harbour, the area of central Sydney that localises some of the best things to do in the city, along with museums, shopping and entertainment districts. Darling Harbour is where you can find the Sydney Aquarium, right next to Australia’s version of the museum of famous wax figures, Madame Tussauds. From Darling Harbour you can also take a water taxi to view the wharf from the water. Fireworks light up the sky at Darling Harbour some nights during the spring and summer months (you can find out when here).
When the heat of Sydney’s sometimes harsh summer gets too intense, Wet’n’Wild, in Sydney’s far-western suburbs has everything you need too cool down. This water theme park is home to some of the newest rides and attractions that use innovative technology to give the biggest thrills without the danger that the sea can bring and with no chance of sharks. Over 40 rides and attractions will give you somewhere to escape the hot weather during the summer and provide screams, laughs and fun times for the whole family.
Opening hours: changes seasonally, check their website for details
Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Matthew Clark is currently living in the south of France as an English language teacher. After graduating from a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics, he plans on travelling the world to experience the food, wine and culture it has to offer.