If you want to spend your vacation somewhere relaxing and beautiful, you should go to Sydney, New South Wales. There is always something that can entice tens of millions of people to come in. This post will walk you through some of the highlights of Sydney that you should include in your itinerary. Pitch in and let me help you sort out your confusion on the greatest places to visit in Sydney.
Iconic Sydney Harbour, home to prominent attractions such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, is definitely a breathtaking place where you can plan multiple experiences with family and friends.
On the harbour itself, why not enjoy a Sydney Harbour dinner cruise. Captain Cook cruises run these, however, there are several cruising restaurants on the harbour that offer restaurant-quality dining. So, if you’re searching for a unique approach to seeing Sydney and dining, give this a go.
As with any restaurant you will find hits and misses with food and experiences. We recently discovered that the cruise we were on, a dinner and all-inclusive event, did not include the cost of coffee after the meal. We were left paying a higher-than-normal fee for two cups of not so good coffee.
Canoeing, kayaking and all manner of water sports are also on offer along with a magnificent waterway. If you love a bit of cheap sightseeing, then I suggest you buy an Opal ticket and get on the local ferries. They go to some of the most iconic places, such as Manly.
Chinatown Night Markets
If you are looking for a great way to spend your Friday evenings with friends and family, then head straight to the popular Chinatown Night Markets. It can be seen as a favourite late-night hotspot for shopping and deliciously tempting Asian dishes. Being a favourite for both locals and visitors, Chinatown Night Markets can be recognised as one of Sydney’s most explored attractions that you can’t miss out on.
With the bright lights and exotic foods, the Markets offer a chance to explore the culture, people, and food. So, if you have a spare few hours, head straight to the Night Markets and enjoy.
Royal Botanic Gardens
What can one say about one of the most magical places you will find in Sydney City? This is one of the most beautiful gardens in NSW, and I may be biased but it is comparable to any in the Southern Hemisphere.
The gardens are a welcoming break from city life surrounded by such attractions as Sydney Harbour, Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, and the Opera House. You can take a picnic and enjoy the spectacular views of the harbour attractions while spending your time taking in the tranquillity.
Pro Tip – Most guides will tell you that the Botanic Gardens is a quick 10-minute walk from Circular Quay. This is true if you are an abled body, fit person. However, for anyone with mobility issues or who is very young, I would suggest a quick taxi ride. Circular Quay is on the harbour and Sydney is very hilly. You will need to walk about 16 blocks uphill.
For the plant aficionados, the Botanic Garden offers thousands of plant specimens and native wildlife, this is a place you need to visit.
The Rocks, one of Sydney’s oldest areas, was formerly a notorious convict town but is now a renowned tourist destination. It is a winding array of stone buildings and alleyways leading you to all kinds of interesting surprises. Friendly pubs, cobbled laneways, old buildings, and a variety of wonderful events take place throughout the year in the region.
The Rocks is also a great spot to get a close look at one of Sydney’s most famous sights, the Harbour Bridge. You can even walk under it from here noticing the intricacies of its construction, which will make you realise just how gorgeous this bridge is.
More than 100 heritage structures and buildings can be found throughout The Rocks’ small alleyways. Cadman’s Cottage, a heritage-listed Water Police station established in 1816, is Sydney’s oldest surviving dwelling.
A self-guided stroll that takes in all the highlights is the ideal way to appreciate The Rocks area and learn more about Sydney’s interesting colonial past. The Rocks are easily accessible from Circular Quay train station or Barangaroo Reserve.
Pro Tip – While The Rocks has hills and steps, the walk here is a nice easy stroll.
Sydney’s spectacular Darling Harbour is home to a diverse variety of events, attractions, and food for the whole family. From waterfront dining and regular New Years’ Eve fireworks display, the Vivid festival (May to June) to exciting museums and children’s playgrounds; Darling Harbour has fun for everyone.
Highlights are the Sydney Aquarium, the Australian National Maritime Museum, the Royal Botanic Garden, and the Darling Quarter Kids Playground. Barangaroo Foreshore is a short walk and well worth a visit. Both locations have been undergoing major upgrades and are now popular lunch and dinner spots, for tourists as well as for locals.
This is the most obvious entry here and I am unapologetic, so I will keep this short.
No one can visit Sydney without spending a morning, afternoon, or taking a day trip out to Bondi Beach. Australia’s most popular and most globally known beach apart from Bells Beach in Victoria.
Bondi Beach quite literally has something for everyone. The water is great for both swimming and surfing, there are lots of great outdoor picnic areas to enjoy, and the surrounding streets are laden with great cafes and pubs. Parking can be hard most of the time and street parking costs upwards of $16.00 (I will update this each time the price increases).
Pro Tip – I would venture out on public transport. Depending on where you are staying, catching a train to Bondi Junction and then a short bus ride down to the beach is your best bet.
There are so many attractions and things to do in and around Sydney, I will be adding more articles in this series over the coming few months.