In honor of such an amazing city, I have compiled the ultimate list of things to do in Sydney. Sydney, Australia is among the top visited cities around the globe. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, this city truly has something for everyone to see. Among the most beneficial aspects of visiting Sydney is the ease of travel. Many of the top attractions are within walking distance of each other, and when they are not, their train system is incredible! In fact, most of Australia’s train systems are fantastic. I lived in Australia for nearly four months and can count on one hand how many times I needed to grab a cab.
Sydney is a great destination any time of year. The summers are hot with sandy beaches to enjoy while the winters are cool, yet still marvelous! Each time I have been to Sydney has been in the winter months (June – September for down under) and each stay has been great!
As for activities, again, there is something for everyone and every group. From families to individuals, each destination and activity can truly be enjoyed. However, the length of stay will, of course, limit your availability to see everything. So I have come up with the top ten sites that everyone should see while in this incredible and busy city.
1. The Sydney Opera House
Built and re-built in the mid-to-late twentieth century, this iconic building is an absolute must see when visiting Sydney. Not only is the history of how and why the Sydney Opera House was built, but this venue hosts some amazing concerts and plays throughout the year! There are numerous tours that are given throughout the day as well as restaurants, gift shops, and so much more surrounding and within the building.
Tip: If you’re hoping to catch a concert, try to buy tickets far in advance before your trip for the best prices and before they sell out!
2. The Sydney Harbour Bridge
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is another incredible icon of Sydney. When you see it in person, you truly will understand why! This massive bridge can be seen from multiple locations, including the Opera House! But to really experience the bridge, you really must travel across the bridge. You can do this in many ways: train, car, walking, bicycle, or even climbing over!
Tip: If money or time is an issue, instead of (or in addition to) completing the iconic bridge climb, you can walk across the bridge and climb up the bridge tower at Pylon Lookout. Here, for a small fee, you can witness a similar view as well as the opportunity to see a documentary of the bridge and numerous fun artifacts!
3. Darling Harbour
Darling Harbour has countless activities and popular restaurants in one convenient and beautiful location along the water. Among them include the Sea Life Aquarium, the Hard Rock Cafe, a Ferris wheel, holiday firework shows, and countless more.
Tip: Be sure to check their events page to see what’s coming up! This way, you can be sure to not miss that fireworks display, performance, and more!
4. Maddam Tussands Wax Museum
Also located in Darling Harbour is another favorite activity: Maddam Tussands Wax Museum. As its name suggests, this is a museum full of wax replicas of popular celebrities, historical figures, and so much more. The most fun part of the experience is getting to take photos with your favorite icons, or acting like you’re in a movie scene! Tickets can be pricey but the experience is definitely worth it, especially if an event is going on at the same time!
Tip: Get there early to avoid the crowds! Maddam Tussands is incredibly popular and can get crowded during the day.
5. Taronga Zoo
A short ferry ride from the city will take you to Taronga Zoo. This zoo is incredibly unique. While viewing the animals, you have the opportunity to enjoy the Sydney skyline in the background. Their animals range from Australian native wildlife to African safari favorites. They even have a children’s petting area. There are also countless events that occur throughout the year including shows, tours, talks, and animal encounters.
Tip: Use the “Sky Safari” to catch a spectacular view of both the zoo and Sydney’s amazing skyline!
6. The Royal Botanic Gardens
To slow down and enjoy a quieter side of Sydney, visit the Royal Botanic Gardens. This is a free, 74-acre park located just behind the Sydney Opera House. The gardens pride itself on spectacular horticulture, innovative science, and providing education. Countless events occur within the gardens including Holiday lights, yoga classes, and artistic competitions.
Tip: If you walk out to the eastern point, you can snap one of the most iconic photos of Sydney Harbour that includes the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge!
7. Luna Park
Luna Park is a small amusement park just across the Sydney Harbour Bridge from the city. This is a fun destination, especially for families! There are a few rides including a Ferris wheel and plenty of carnival-style games. Tickets can be pricey but purchasing them online will save you some cash!
Tip: Combine your visit to the Harbour Bridge, Luna Park, and a ferry ride to save time!
8. Hyde Park and Sydney Tower Eye
The Sydney Tower Eye and Hyde Park are adjacent to each other. Both are fantastic and both allow you to see the city at a different viewpoint The tower eye has a fantastic view of the skyline, Hyde Park, St. Mary’s Cathedral, and so much more! They even are offering ‘Skywalk’ tours that allow you to view the city from outside!
Tip: Visit Sydney Tower Eye first before the crowds, then head down to the park to see the street performers during the busy hours!
9. Manly Beach
Visiting Manly Beach is an iconic ferry ride away from Sydney. Just off the beach is a wonderful outdoor mall with cute shops and restaurants. They also offer bicycle and kayaking tours of the area. This is another great place to visit during events and festivals that fill the streets and nearby areas!
Another popular beach in Sydney is Bondi Beach. This is a hot spot for surfing, relaxing, and enjoying the sun!
Tip: If you plan on hanging out at the beach, be sure to wear high SPF sunscreen to avoid getting burnt! Lifeguards will also give it out for free if you forget your own!
10. Paddy’s Market
Paddy’s Market is perhaps the most unique shopping experience you will ever have. There are two locations, but definitely, don’t miss the main location at Market City. This is a market filled with countless booths, sellers, and stands that sell everything from food to souvenirs. Their prices are also incredibly cheap and if you’re planning on bringing souvenirs home with you, this is the place to do it!
Tip: This is another place in Sydney that attracts the crowds, get there early!
Check out my post about my top Australian destinations!