The 16 Best Things to Do in Sydney
No doubt, there are countless incredible things to do in Sydney. The largest city in Australia offers something for everyone. From vibrant nightlife and world class cultural attractions to iconic beaches and beautiful national parks, there is a lot to keep you busy.
Sydney has seemingly struck the perfect balance between the big city buzz and a laid back approach to life. Whether you’re after a stimulating city break or a relaxing time by the ocean, you will find what you’re looking for is Sydney. Personally, it is one of my favourite cities in the world.
I wanted to share my take on the best things to do in Sydney. However, my list is by no means exhaustive. I’ve visited the city a handful of times and keep discovering new things on every trip.
Take a look at these amazing things to do in Sydney. I hope this list will inspire you to discover what the city has to offer for yourself.
- The Best Time To Go To Sydney
- Getting To and Around Sydney
- The Best Things To Do In Sydney
- Visit Sydney Opera House
- Have a Drink at Opera Bar
- Stroll through Royal Botanic Gardens
- Explore the Rocks
- Walk the Sydney Harbour Bridge
- Visit Bondi
- Walk the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Path
- Visit Taronga Zoo
- Shop at the Queen Victoria Building (QVB)
- Take a Ferry to Manly
- Venture to the Blue Mountains National Park
- Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA)
- Go to Cockatoo Island
- Experience Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour
- Explore The Australian Museum
- Catch a Sydney Theatre Company Performance
- Final Thoughts
- Related Reads
The Best Time To Go To Sydney
With its wealth of activities and attractions, Sydney is truly an all-year round destination. Winter, between June and August, are relatively warm, with the average daytime temperatures hovering around 16 degrees Celsius. The high season is during the summer, between December and February. This is when Sydney’s outdoor lifestyle really comes to its own. However, it is also the most expensive and busiest time to visit. The autumn (March-May) and spring (September-November) shoulder seasons offer the best balance of activities, temperatures and prices.
Getting To and Around Sydney
Sydney is connected with the rest of Australia by air, road and rail. The city has a large international airport with flights to Asia, the Americas, New Zealand and the Pacific islands. Getting from the airport to the city centre is easy with the airport link train.
Many attractions in the Sydney CBD are located close to each other, so you’ll be able to get around on foot. To visit some of the beach areas on this list, you can use buses, trains or ferries. The Transport for NSW website has the most up-to-date information about routes and fares. It is the best starting point for planning your journeys around Sydney and beyond.
The Best Things To Do In Sydney
Visit Sydney Opera House
No trip to Sydney would be complete without a visit to the Sydney Opera House. Designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, it is probably one of the most iconic buildings in Australia. The best way to learn about this building’s fascinating history is to join a guided tour. You can book a tour on the Sydney Opera House website. The price starts from $43 AU (30 USD) per person. You can also book a tour like this on Get Your Guide. They offer free cancellation which is perfect if you would like to keep your plans flexible.
However, the Sydney Opera House is not just a monument. It is an active theatre. So to fully appreciate the architecture and acoustics, it is worth seeing a show there. There are multiple performance venues within the building that put on hundreds of live performances every year. From classic opera and ballet to contemporary theatre and cabaret, there is something for everyone.
Have a Drink at Opera Bar
Can’t get enough of the incredible Sydney Opera House? Then look no further than the nearby Opera Bar. There you can grab a glass of excellent Australian wine and simply enjoy the epic views. The bar also offers a food menu celebrating local produce and fresh seafood. Due to its location, Opera Bar can get quite busy. Groups of four or more can book a table in advance. No problem if your group is smaller. Chances are, you will still be able to get a table as there is plenty of seating.
Stroll through Royal Botanic Gardens
Just a short stroll from Circular Quay in the heart of Sydney’s central business district (CBD), you’ll discover a serene oasis in the form of Australia’s oldest botanic gardens. There you can discover thousands of plant species, spot unique wildlife or join a guided tour to learn about the Aborginal history of the gardens. Alternatively, this is the perfect spot to simply relax and enjoy spectacular views of the Sydney Harbour (grab you camera!).
Explore the Rocks
The Rocks is a buzzing historic precinct where Sydney began. This is the area where European settlers chose to land when the colony was formed in 1788. The place used to be home for a motley crew of convicts, soldiers and street gangs. Today though the cobblestone streets of the Rocks are a destination for popular markets, cool cafes and bars and quirky shops and art galleries. Walking tours offer a good introduction to the history of the precinct. Also, don’t forget to check out Sydney’s oldest continuously-licensed pub, the Lord Nelson. If you’d like to learn more about this fascinating area, check out this walking tour that will showcase the best spots in the area.
Walk the Sydney Harbour Bridge
Another iconic feature of the Sydney skyline is the impressive Harbour Bridge. Opened in 1932, it is the largest steel arch bridge in the world. The Bridge connects the city centre with the North Shore and can be crossed on foot. Another popular, albeit pricey, way to experience this landmark is to climb to the summit with BridgeClimb Sydney. From there you can enjoy epic 360-degree views over Sydney. You can book your tickets on the BridgeClimb website.
Bondi is probably Australia’s most famous beach and neighbourhood. Located in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs, Bondi is where you go to catch a glimpse of that sun kissed seaside lifestyle that Australia is famous for. The area has a vibrant dining scene with casual cafes, scrumptious gelatos and cool pubs. There are also a few good shopping opportunities, including the Bondi Markets held on Sundays. The beach itself is beautiful and you can swim all year round. It is also the perfect spot to finally take that surfing lesson. This 2-hour surfing experience is perfect for beginners. Just be mindful that since Bondi is such a popular spot, the beach can get quite busy.
Walk the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Path
If you’re heading out to Sydney’s Eastern suburbs, the Bondi to Coogee coastal path is a great way to see the beautiful beaches, cliffs and bays of the area. It is 6 km long, so will probably take about 2 hours to complete. However, there are many opportunities for pit stops at delicious cafes and swimming sessions in rock pools. So be prepared that this might become a full day affair. In the winter months you might even be able to spot hunchback whales making their annual migration.
Visit Taronga Zoo
Just a short ferry ride from Circular Quay you can find the largest zoo in Australia. Taronga Zoo is a hub for conservation and research that is home to over 5,000 animals from over 350 species. It is the perfect destination to get up close and personal with Australia’s unique wildlife. Also, the zoo offers guided tours, keeper talks and animal encounters to help you learn more about native and exotic animals. General admission is $45.90 AU (32 USD). Discounts available for children, students and seniors. Book your tickets on the Taronga Zoo website or Get Your Guide if you would like to keep your plans flexible.
Shop at the Queen Victoria Building (QVB)
Located in Sydney’s central business district, the grand Queen Victoria Building is an iconic shopping and dining destination. Constructed in 1898, the elaborate Romanesque building fills a whole city block. It features a unique stained glass dome, an original 19th century staircase and many other beautiful architectural details. In terms of shopping, the QVB is home to Australian and international brands. Many of them can be found elsewhere. However, it is the heritage atmosphere of the building that makes this spot unique. Aside from shopping, the QVB has more than 20 eateries on offer including the spectacular heritage Tea Room.
Take a Ferry to Manly
Manly is another popular beach suburb that brings together the best of the seaside lifestyle and urban comforts. The neighbourhood offers spectacular beaches, scenic walks, excellent dining and a wide choice of water-based activities. You can even join an eco tour to learn about the natural wonders of the area. With regular ferry services from Circular Quay, Manly is easily accessible from Sydney’s CBD. The 30-minute ferry ride is also a great way to experience the beauty of the Sydney Harbour.
Venture to the Blue Mountains National Park
The Blue Mountains is a UNESCO World Heritage wilderness area just a 90-minute drive away from Sydney. The 10,000 square kilometre area features ancient rainforests, valleys, rugged sandstone cliffs, spectacular lookouts and waterfalls. It is home to the famous Three Sisters rock formation and numerous hiking trails.
The Blue Mountains is a popular day trip for those wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of Sydney. You can even get to the park by train from central Sydney. There are also a number of small group tours that cover the highlights of the area. Prices depend on the tour package. This full-day Blue Mountains tour, for example, includes pick-up from your Sydney accommodation, a visit to a wildlife park and a scenic cruise.
If you’d like to spend more time exploring the Blue Mountains, there are a number of villages that offer accommodation and dining options.
Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA)
Located on the spectacular Sydney Harbour, MCA celebrates the work of contemporary artists from Australia and beyond. Every year, the museum puts on a range of diverse exhibitions featuring established and emerging artists. However, the highlight of MCA is its collection of Australian art. It contains over 4,000 works, with a strong focus on works by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. If you’d like to experience the most cutting-edge Australian art, this Museum should definitely be included in your Sydney itinerary. General admission is free.
Go to Cockatoo Island
Cockatoo Island offers an escape from city life and a glimpse into Australia’s complex history. The island is a former penal establishment used during the time of European colonial expansion. It features a collection of heritage buildings and a dry dock that serve as a reminder of harsh living conditions that the convicts had to endure. In 2010 parts of Cockatoo Island were inscribed on the World Heritage List as part of a group of Australian Convict Sites.
Today, Cockatoo Island offers scenic picnic spots, history and paranormal tours, quality cafes and the occasional arts event. You can also stay overnight at a heritage holiday house or a waterfront campground. Cockatoo Island can be reached via a short ferry ride from Sydney CBD. Entry is free.
Experience Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour
Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour is an opera experience like no other. The highly-anticipated annual production takes place at Mrs Macquaries Point on the edge of the Royal Botanic Gardens. With the iconic Sydney skyline serving as a backdrop, the shows feature a floating stage, world class performances and even fireworks. Prepare for a night of glamour, high drama and opera classics. You can also make a night out of it with a pre-show dinner and drinks. However, bear in mind that the season is only three weeks long, so make sure you check the dates in advance to ensure you don’t miss out.
Explore The Australian Museum
Learn about the natural history and cultures of Australia and the Pacific at the country’s oldest museum. Located in a heritage building in the heart of Sydney’s CBD, it is an international leader in scientific research and debate. The Australian Museum has extensive zoology, geology and cultural collections waiting to be explored. During your visit you will also be able to immerse yourself in the stories and artifacts of Australia’s Indigenous communities. General admission is free.
Catch a Sydney Theatre Company Performance
Sydney Theatre Company (STC) is an Australian theatre powerhouse. It has launched careers of many directors, playwrights and Hollywood actors including Cate Blanchett, Mel Gibson and Hugo Weaving. If you enjoy theatre, I highly recommend seeing an STC production while you’re in Sydney. They are held at the Company’s own venues such as the Wharf and Roslyn Packer Theatre at Walsh Bay. Also, STC are the resident theatre company of the Sydney Opera House. Whatever you choose to see, an unforgettable night of world-class theatre is guaranteed. You might even see an Australian acting legend live on stage.
As you can see, there are many amazing things to do in Sydney. It is a city of many facets and it’s worth exploring them all.
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Привет Ксения, классное путешествие по сиднею буду мечтать побывать в этом замечательном городе, спасибо….
Спасибо за комментарий! Да, Сидней – это город-мечта…