Sydney is world renowned for its breathtaking harbour, busy but laid back lifestyle and glorious golden sandy beaches. Sydney is very multicultural and a definite must for any traveller. There is so much more to do here than you could ever imagine. It does not matter what your budget is you will still have a blast in Sydney.
Here are, in our opinion, the top ten attractions in Sydney:
#1 Sydney Opera House
The Sydney Opera House is one of the most famous architectural landmarks in the world, easily one of the most recognised icons of Australia. Regardless how many photos you have seen, it will still amaze you when you see it for the first time. Spend the morning walking around the Opera House and taking great pictures with the glorious harbour as a background.
If you would like to learn all about the history of this iconic landmark you can book on a guided tour. They offer two tours which can easily be booked online. The first tour is a standard one-hour tour and is very popular with tourists. The second tour is an in-depth tour offering backstage access but can cost quite a bit more.
Once you have seen all you want to of the Opera House, take a stroll around Circular Quay. You will find some great cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy your meal with spectacular views of the harbour. One of the best bars in the area is the Opera Bar. This is a great place to grab a drink, be warned though, it can be very busy on weekends.
#2 Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains is a world listed heritage and you will feel at one with nature. These mountains are named so due to the evaporating eucalyptus oil leaving a blue haze.
There are a lot of tours operating from the city centre so you can pick the best tour for you and your budget. Most tours stop off on the way at the Featherdale Wildlife Park for about forty minutes. This is not a huge wildlife park so forty minutes is enough time to see everything. For the people who prefer more control over their own travel schedule, you may visit the Blue Mountains via Leura Railway (which my uncle and I did).
Once at the Heritage Park you can go on rainforest walks and ride the steepest railway in the world. There is also a great cable car so you can see great views of the mountains. Magnificent is definitely an understatement. The view from the cable car is simply breath-taking, get ready your cameras after you pull yourself back to reality from this mind-blowing experiences. No joke.
There is also the Three Sisters Cliff at the Blue Mountains. It can be seen from the top of The Blue Mountains and accessible to adventurous souls. If you have visited this place before, you will not stop raving about it.
#3 Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach is the most famous beach in Australia and well worth a visit. Bondi Beach is a great place for surfers, swimmers or for those who just want a day soaking up the sun.
Bondi Beach is very accessible from all parts of Sydney by train within a twenty minute journey. Once at Bondi Junction you need to catch a bus to the sea front, the fare is very reasonable and you can purchase a train and bus ticket at the same time.
If you fancy doing a spot of shopping before you head off to the beach there is a great Westfield shopping centre at Bondi Junction. All the major Australian chain stores are there and there are some great places to grab lunch.
#4 Sydney Harbour Bridge
The world’s largest steel arched bridge is an amazing sight, if you choose not to climb the bridge then walking along the footpath is a definite must.
Booking to take part in the bridge climb is easy to do online but it is a little bit pricy. The climb takes three hours when you include all the safety preparations. The climb is not too hard so all fitness levels can take part. Once you reach the top you will be greeted with amazing views of Sydney and this makes the price well worth it. You are not aloud to take cameras with you on the climb but you are given a souvenir photo of the whole group at the top of the bridge.
If finding out about the history of the bridge interests you then head over to the Pylon Museum situated on the Harbour Bridge. The museum is full of facts and there is a short video on the making of the Harbour Bridge. There is a charge for entry but if you have taken part in the bridge climb you will receive a free pass.
#5 Taronga Zoo
Taronga Zoo is a huge zoo opposite to the Opera House and is a great day for all ages.
To get to Taronga zoo you need to catch a ferry from Circular Quay. You can purchase a joint ticket at the ferry terminal which includes return ferry trips and the entry to the zoo. This is well worth doing as you can avoid queuing to purchase tickets when you arrive at the zoo.
The zoo is full of all different types of animals and you can also partake in an animal encounter for an extra charge. All the information relating to the animal encounters will be on your guide map along with the costs. The zoo also has a great eatery offering a wide variety of hot and cold food.
#6 The Rocks
The Rocks is an old fashioned part of Sydney with cobbled streets and tons of character.
The Rocks is full of quirky souvenir shops, great cafes and lots of bars with great beer gardens. This truly is one of the best places to spend a lazy afternoon in Sydney. At weekends you can also ride around the area in a horse drawn carriage.
The best time to visit the rocks is at the weekends when they have there local market. The market operates Saturday and Sundays between nine and five. You can pick up some really great hand made goods here and if space in your case is a problem for you some stalls will post your purchase home for you.
If ghosts and ghouls interest you then book to go on The Rocks Ghost Tour. You can book the tour at the Tourist Information Centre situated in The Rocks, the tour can be busy so you will need to book in advance. Partaking in the tour is a great way to spend the evening, all the hosts are actors so be prepared for a few laughs. The tour is great because you find out a lot of facts about ghost sightings but also about the local area.
Manly is a picture perfect little beach town just a short ferry ride from Circular Quay.
The ferries run all day from Circular Quay and the prices are quite reasonable. Once there you can swim in the ocean, sunbathe, take a scenic walk, or spend all afternoon enjoying the sun in a great beer garden. Manly has a great laid back vibe and is a fun day out for all.
If you want to find out about marine life and reptiles then pay Oceanworld a visit. This aquarium is not as big as the Sydney Aquarium but it is still a nice way to spend a couple of hours.
#8 Darling Harbour
Darling Harbour is a great place just a short walk from the city centre and has tons of stuff to keep all ages entertained.
The Harbour has all the hustle and bustle of city life but in a much nicer setting. Here you can visit an aquarium, a wildlife park, watch a show at the IMAX theatre, shop or just chill for the afternoon in a great café or bar.
The Sydney Aquarium is one of top attractions in Darling Harbour. The aquarium is huge and could easily take you an afternoon to see everything. The aquarium is very educational which is great if you are going with children. The Shark tank is amazing and they have touch pools so you can get up close to nature yourself. When purchasing your ticket you can also buy a combined ticket for the Wildlife Park as well.
#9 Pitt Street Malls
The Sydney city centre is a haven of shops and a real must for any serious shopper.
You could quite easily spend a whole day looking around all the malls and not go in every shop. Here you can find all the major shops plus a few quirky stores thrown in for balance. Shopping is not the only thing to do here they have Chinese massage stores, beauty therapists and a huge selection of hairdressers.
Eating in the city centre can be as up market as you would like. There are plenty of great restaurants offering all types of food but for those on a budget head to the food court for some great cheap eats.
#10 The Royal Botanical Garden
Head to the lush Botanical Gardens for a quiet morning where you really need to feel at one with nature after living the city life.
Take a quiet stroll and admire the beauty of what nature has to offer. The gardens are splendid and there are lots of great places to have a picnic or sit and watch the world go by.
Mrs Macquarie’s Chair was carved in 1816 so you can soak up a bit of history at the same time. This is a great place to take photos of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. The area can be quite busy before and after working times as it is a popular place with the locals to go jogging.
Entry to the gardens is free but if you wanted to make a contribution there are donation boxes around the park. There are also free maps around the park which are a good idea as it can be easy to get lost because of the size of the gardens. In the heart of the gardens there is a great café but it can be a bit pricey so if you are on a budget bring your own food.