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Things to do in Sydney

Things to do in  Sydney

Welcome to Sydney

Sydney makes a brilliant first impression with its spectacular harbor and beaches. On second glance, you’ll find a wealth of outdoor activities, with diverse art, music, and food rivalling any global city.

Top 10 attractions in Sydney

#1
Bondi Beach

Bondi Beach

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As Australia’s most famous beach—and the star of its own reality TV show, “Bondi Rescue”—Bondi Beach delivers with its crescent of golden sand, crashing waves, and crowds of bronzed sunseekers. Just minutes from downtown Sydney, this is the spot to work on your tan, hit the waves, sip cocktails at a beachside bar, or hike along coastal cliffs.More
#2
Watsons Bay

Watsons Bay

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Set on the narrow southern head of famous Sydney Harbour, Watson's Bay is one of the city's most underrated attractions. Whether it's hiking the Hermitage Foreshore Track or bathing in the buff at Lady Bay Beach, this eastern suburb is about being outside and taking in the views of the harbor. That is, of course, unless you’re seated at a café enjoying some fish and chips, which locals suggest are some of the best you'll find in all of Sydney. History buffs can wander the bluffs to see guns, cannons and military installations that have guarded Sydney Harbor, while swimmers can head to Camp Cove Beach to splash in the protected waters.The hiking trails here run all the way to down to Bondi and up to Hornby Lighthouse, which looks out toward the northern head and all of Sydney Harbour. The easiest way to visit Watson's Bay is by jumping on a ferry or hop-on, hop-off cruise and then either exploring on your own or as part of a guided walking tour.More
#3
The Rocks

The Rocks

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Located in central Sydney, the historic precinct of the Rocks is the oldest area in the city and the site of the first European settlement. Full of history and character, today the Rocks is home to fashionable boutiques, artisan markets, historic pubs, trendy restaurants, and a thriving arts and culture scene.More
#4
Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

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A world-class performing arts venue and iconic Australian landmark, the Sydney Opera House—with its distinctive Jorn Utzon design—defines the Sydney Harbour district. Distinguished by soaring halls with a white ceramic–tiled exterior shaped to evoke the sails of a yacht, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must-see Sydney attraction and popular stop on most city tours.More
#5
Blue Mountains

Blue Mountains

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A UNESCO World Heritage Site covering an area of around 3,861 square miles (10,000 square kilometers), the Blue Mountains region is a popular day-trip destination from Sydney. Featuring tall forests, sandstone cliffs, dramatic canyons, and scenic lookouts and waterfalls, the area is a paradise for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.More
#6
Manly Beach

Manly Beach

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The lively suburb of Manly is one of Sydney’s most vibrant seaside areas and a popular destination for surfers from across the globe. Visit Manly Beach to enjoy the golden sand, catch world-class waves, and shop and eat along the lively Corso promenade, which is lined with cafes and restaurants.More
#7
Royal Botanic Garden and The Domain

Royal Botanic Garden and The Domain

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Stretching along the coast of Sydney Harbour against a backdrop of the Sydney Opera House, Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden and neighboring park, The Domain, offer spectacular views and beautiful scenery. This inner-city oasis boasts exotic plants, a tropical rain forest, woodland, flowers, and rare horticultural exhibits.More
#8
Mrs Macquarie's Chair

Mrs Macquarie's Chair

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This unique landmark—a massive rock fashioned into a cozy bench—was carved from sandstone in the early 1800s by Gov. Lachlan Macquarie for his wife Elizabeth. As the story goes, when the weather was warm and the sun high, Mrs Macquarie loved to relax at the point of this scenic peninsula and stare out over the ocean.Today, travelers enjoy a leisurely walk to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair from the iconic Opera House or wander over to this historic attraction after a visit to the nearby Royal Botanic Garden. In a bustling city that’s alive with energy, the stone bench offers visitors a perfect place to unwind, relax and take in the some of the best views of Sydney Harbour.More
#9
Sydney Harbour

Sydney Harbour

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With the iconic silhouette of Sydney Opera House and the dramatic arch of Sydney Harbour Bridge etched against a backdrop of glittering ocean and soaring skyscrapers, Sydney Harbour is Australia’s quintessential postcard image. The harbor, the natural heart of Sydney, features more than 150 miles (240 kilometers) lined with golden beaches, lush gardens, and vibrant neighborhoods.More
#10
Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney Harbour Bridge

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Few sights are as instantly recognizable as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the grand centerpiece of Sydney Harbour and one of Australia's most photographed landmarks. The historic structure dates to 1932 and is the world's largest steel arch bridge. It's also an important transport hub, linking downtown Sydney with the north shore, Manly, and the area's northern beaches.More

Trip ideas

Where to Find the Best Views in Sydney

Where to Find the Best Views in Sydney

Things to Do During Sydney Mardi Gras

Things to Do During Sydney Mardi Gras

Must-See Museums in Sydney

Must-See Museums in Sydney

Recent reviews from experiences in Sydney

star-5
Biking around Sydney
Catherine_O, Apr 2021
Sydney Harbour Discovery Tour
Wonderful way to see some great parts of the city.
star-4
Travelling around the harbour
Maurizio_R, Sep 2020
Sydney Harbour Progressive Long Lunch Cruise
A fantastic way to see Sydney from the water.
star-5
Blue mountains
Kristine_R, Mar 2020
PRIVATE All-Day Blue Mountains Tour with Professional Guide for Up to 4 People
A lovely way to see the countryside and Australian mountains rather than the high rise towers of downtown Sydney.
star-5
Great way to see “The Rocks” historic area and enjoy craft beer
Thomas, Feb 2020
The Rocks Pub Walking Tour
This walking tour is a great way to visit historic “The Rocks” Sydney neighborhood and enjoy craft beer at 4 pubs.
star-5
Excellent experience
Michelle_O, Feb 2020
Big Bus Sydney and Bondi Hop-on Hop-off Tour
Great value, great service and an excellent way to see the Sydney sights.
star-5
Great way to see Sydney
randy_e, Feb 2020
Sydney Harbour Hop-on Hop-off Cruise
This was a great way to see the Sydney Harbor and get to see many areas we might not have seen.
star-5
Sydney highlights
Paul, Feb 2020
Small Group Essential Sydney Tour Including Lunch
Great way to see the highlights of Sydney in a small group.
star-4
Sydney sights
John, Feb 2020
Big Bus Sydney and Bondi Hop-on Hop-off Tour
Wonderful way to see Sydney, and all it has to offer.
star-5
Northern Beaches Tour
Gerald_K, Feb 2020
Sydney Harbour, Northern beaches and National Park
I would recommend this tour for all that visit Sydney and want to see the northern beaches and city.
star-4
Great boat ride experience
Edgar_F, Feb 2020
Sydney Harbour Top Deck Lunch Cruise
Be sure to visit the top deck for an incredible viewing experience.
star-4
Harbour sites
johndramdeen, Feb 2020
Sydney Harbour Hop-on Hop-off Cruise
Great way to see Sydney from the ocean.
star-5
Excellent service & tour
FoxyWahine, Jan 2020
Sydney Half Day Highlights - Luxury Private Tour - Morning or Afternoon Avail
She was very responsive to our requests & covered all the key tourist attractions.
star-5
Enjoyable visit to the Blue Mountains
SaraM96, Dec 2019
All Inclusive Blue Mountains Small-Group Day Trip from Sydney
The ferry ride was a nice way to see the city.
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LindaM
lindabilliem, Nov 2019
All Inclusive Blue Mountains Small-Group Day Trip from Sydney
So many things to see and our tour guide, Kunal, was super knowledgeable about the history and a great guide.
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Sydney Opera House was GREAT!
Passport611976, Nov 2019
Sydney Opera House Official Guided Walking Tour
Our tour guide was knowledgeable, allowed questions throughout and we were able to see the inside and outside from many angles and view points.
star-5
Great experience
Rioli1717, Oct 2019
Sydney Harbour Tall Ship Afternoon Discovery Cruise
Great way to see the different sights of the harbour.
star-5
Excellent Service
alexmF3278KU, Sep 2019
Sydney Arrival Transfer: Airport to City or Overseas Passenger Terminal
Helpful and professional driver gave me a lot of recommendations on things to see in Sydney.
star-5
Very interesting and fun! Thanks Bettina.
GrandTour301677, Aug 2019
Private Sydney Half Day Tour including Sydney Opera House and Bondi Beach
If you are unable to see eveything this is the best way to see all about Sydney.
star-4
Good value
jmalter2019, Aug 2019
Go Sydney Explorer Pass with Hop-on Hop-Off Bus, Taronga Zoo and more
Give easy access to most important Sydney attractions.
star-5
Amazing trip
Wanderer394970, Jul 2019
30-Minute Sydney Harbour and Olympic Park Helicopter Tour
It's nice to see Sydney from the sky.

All about Sydney

When to visit

In Sydney, there’s rarely a bad day to spend outside. That said, peak travel season is roughly late December through January, during the heart of Australia’s summer.

Summer is ideal for visiting some of the southern hemisphere’s most famous beaches, or taking a sunset harbor kayak tour. Whatever you end up doing, wear sunscreen, as the Australian sun is unforgiving.

Fall’s mild weather is perfect for coastal walks between beaches from Bondi to Coogee, or the less crowded Manly to Spit Bridge route.

Rainfall peaks during winter, especially in June—never a better time to stay dry indoors at the Australian Museum or the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Dry, warm spring weather is best for exploring collections at the Royal Botanical Garden, or the trails and lookouts of Blue Mountains National Park.

Getting around

Sydney’s public transport network radiates from the city center to the suburbs, and even national parks. The Opal smartcard is valid on buses, trains, ferries, and light rail.

Bus: TSW buses operate from hubs near central train stations, and are useful for reaching beaches, even taking the scenic route to Bondi. If you’re using the Opal card, tap when you board and disembark, otherwise you’re charged the max fare.

Rail: Sydney’s train lines typically get in and out of the city center faster than rideshares, but they also charge more during peak hours. The Blue Mountains Line runs from central Sydney to the national park in just over two hours, convenient for daytrippers who want to make the journey themselves.

On the water: If you have the choice and can spend a little more, we recommend taking ferries over buses and trains. Ferries operate as late as midnight, zipping around the harbour from Parramatta out to Circular Quay and Manly Beach. Water taxis are faster, pricier, and can pickup from nearly any point in the harbor.

Metro: The first line of the new Sydney metro opened in 2019 in Chatswood on the Lower North Shore; a second phase connecting the city center to the south side is currently under construction.

Traveler tips

There’s no getting around Sydney’s glorious harbour: it’s a great place to start your trip. Boat tours explore it from every angle, even sailing past the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge on vintage tall ships. Portside, travelers mingle with locals at the old pubs, markets, and laneways of The Rocks historic neighborhood, also home to the Museum of Contemporary Art. After that, it’s a matter of finding a suitable outdoor scene, from the bronzed beach-strutting of Bondi to the national parks that ring the city, including the Blue Mountains.

An alternative to Sydney BridgeClimb for those wanting views but without the heights, try the lookout on the Sydney Harbour Bridge’s southeast pylon. From there, it’s a short walk across the bridge to Wendy’s Secret Garden, where you can look back at the city through an oasis of greenery.

A local’s pocket guide to Sydney

Shalinee Singh

After a last-minute decision to “go to Australia for a bit,” Shalinee is still in Sydney six years later. When she’s not by the ocean, you’ll find her at a gig, drinking coffee, or stuffing her face.

The first thing you should do in Sydney is...

check out the views from Darling Harbour to Barangaroo, then jump on a ferry to Circular Quay and hit two Sydney landmarks in one as the Opera House appears under the Harbour Bridge.

A perfect Saturday in Sydney...

includes eating avo toast and coffee by the water at sunrise, paddleboarding in Rose Bay, and relaxing on one of our many beaches. Finish with dinner in Chinatown and sunset drinks in the Rocks.

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

the Coogee to Bondi stretch of the coastal walk. Watch whales between May and November before getting affordable drinks and nibbles overlooking the iconic Bondi beach at Bondi Icebergs Club.

To discover the "real" Sydney...

head outside the CBD and get a taste of Sydney’s migrant culture—sample Sri Lankan food in Toongabbie, Vietnamese in Cabramatta, and Indian in Harris Park, to name but a few.

For the best view of the city...

cross to the north side of the Harbour Bridge around sunset to look back at the CBD from Kirribilli, Lavender Bay, or Cremorne Point.

One thing people get wrong...

is thinking Sydney is all style and no cultural substance. Our nightlife needs TLC, but we have great food, bars, grassroots arts, and plenty of beaches and nearby national parks.

Frequently Asked Questions
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