We’re assuming you’re going to visit Sydney Harbour and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Those two are definites. But there are lots of other world-class attractions to visit and marvel at while you’re here. Check out our list of the top ten places to go in Sydney.
1) Sydney Opera House
Iconic, vast, breathtaking, what word would you use to describe it? Designed to be acoustically perfect from every seat, the Opera House hosts a variety of tours, including a 2-hour visit that goes backstage and behind the scenes. Or you might be lucky enough to get tickets for a performance – there are actually 5 venues within the one building.
2) Sydney Tower Eye
Located at the heart of the city on Market Street, Sydney Tower Eye is 250 metres (820 feet) high, and gives you the very best views over the city. If you’d like an adrenaline rush thrown in, take the SKYWALK. You’ll be able to step outside the glass, harnessed to an external platform and stand on a glass walkway.
3) Quarantine Station
From the 1830s onwards, Quarantine Station was used to isolate people suspected of carrying diseases like flu or smallpox. Nowadays it’s a fascinating day out, with lots of artefects on show, including thousands of carved stones showing the background of the people who came here. And if you like your history to come with a bit of excitement, you can also take a ghost tour while you’re here. The child-friendly ghost tours are a bit less spooky!
4) Bondi Beach
With its golden sand and superb surfing conditions, not to mention plenty of bars and eateries nearby, Bondi is the perfect place for any serious sun-worshipper to visit. Watch out for the rip current if you get in the water, it could carry you down the coast. And don’t forget to bring sun cream and a hat. There are lots of other beaches nearby to explore too, including Bronte and Coogee.
5) Royal Botanic Gardens
Looking for a park with a view? The Royal Botanic Gardens roll right down to Sydney Harbour itself, and are packed full of fascinating indigenous species that you probably won’t see anywhere else. If you’re here on a Friday, take an Aboriginal Heritage Tour for a unique view into the ancient cultural heritage of this special place. The gardens are free to enter.
6) Quay Restaurant
Everything is rather special at Quay. The harbourside setting with its stunning views of the Opera House. The friendly and professional service. And the food, with its mouthwatering twist on Australian cuisine. Chef Peter Gilmore is internationally acclaimed, and Quay is often placed in lists of the best restaurants in the world.
7) The Rocks
The Rocks is a funky neighbourhood tucked away at the foot of Sydney Harbour Bridge. The area takes its name from the rock face that’s still visible, and many of the old buildings are made of this local sandstone. There are lots of buzzing bars and great shops, as well as the Museum of Contemporary Art.
8) Taronga Zoo
Sydney Zoo specialises in mainly Australian animals, but Taronga Zoo goes one step further, with over 4,000 animals from all over the world making their home here. The Zoo is just 12 minutes from the city by ferry, and there are great views of Sydney Harbour from here too. There’s plenty to keep the little ones occupied, with free shows and keeper talks throughout the day.
9) Australian Museum
This important centre of natural history is Australia’s oldest museum, and you’ll find plenty of fascinating exhibits to while away an afternoon or so. From fossils and specimens through to exhibitions about Australia’s indigenous people and relics from Captain James Cook’s adventures, it’s a treasure-trove waiting to be explored.
10) Queen Victoria Building
Whether you’re looking for souvenirs or mementoes, you’ll want to do some shopping while you’re here. One of the best places to come is the Victoria Building. It was originally built in the late 1800s, and has recently been renovated. It’s now a vibrant mix of chichi boutiques and funky shops, with plenty of places to eat and drink too.