Welcome to Sydney

Sydney Opera House lit up at night

Sydney Harbour and Opera House light up the night. Photo: Rijan Hamidovic, Pexels

Sydney is a holiday destination that should be on everyone's bucket list. Anything around Sydney harbour is a show-stopper activity. 

Explore the Harbour Bridge (which is affectionately known as the coat hanger because of its massive arch shape. Walk across the bridge, or do a Bridgeclimb to the very top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge for unforgettable views. Marvel at the billowing white sails of the Sydney Opera House. Be sure to tour the opera house or book one of the many concerts and events. Go sailing or take a harbour cruise. Dine at one of the harbourside restaurants such as Aria Sydney or Café Sydney or Bennelong at the Opera House. Here's cheers to being served up the best views and dishes all at once. 

The good news is that there’s lots of free and cheap things to do around Sydney Harbour including walking or picnicking in the Botanic Gardens; hiking one of the harbour trails; or exploring the historic and charming Rocks area, which is filled with cafes, restaurants, vintage pubs, shops and artisan markets. My advice is to have a game-plan because there are so many things to do in Sydney. 

Sydney activities & attractions

The giraffes at Taronga Zoo have the best views of Sydney

The giraffes have the best views of Sydney. Photo: Tourism Australia

Sydney is one of the most beautiful cities in Australia. Even better, Sydney Harbour is an absolute show-stopper with plenty of things to do in the city and around the Harbour. Why not book a Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb, or go cruising, sailing or kayaking on the harbour.  There's also walking and bike tours, or jump on the back of a motorbike, minibus or limousine and explore Sydney. And there's plenty more activities and cool things to do in Sydney.

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Sydney museums & galleries

a ballet performance at the Sydney Opera House.

Enjoy a performance at the Opera House. Photo: Tourism Australia

Sydney has a rich mix of food and culture thanks to its history and the people that make up Australia. Explore the many Sydney museums and galleries, theatres and playhouses that are dotted throughout the city. There’s loads of arty-things-to-do in Sydney, so get in touch with the city's eclectic and cultural spirit. Be sure to take time to learn about Sydney's convict history. This city was literally built on the blood, sweat and tears of convicts.

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Sydney beaches

A couple sitting on the edge of the Bondi Icebergs ocean pool in Sydney

Enjoy time out at one of Sydney's ocean pools. Photo: Tourism Australia

Sydney is the perfect outdoor playground for any time of year. Needless to say, you're in for a real treat with Sydney's many surfing beaches including the famous Bondi and Manly beaches; sheltered harbour beaches; ocean baths and rock pools.

Swim, surf, snorkel or relax on the sand do a little people-watching. You'll have quite the conundrum working out how many beaches you can squeeze into your itinerary.

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Sydney shopping & markets

The Rocks markets in Sydney

Head to the Rocks markets for food and fun. Photo: Tourism Australia

Sydney is ideal for retail therapy. There's an endless selection of boutiques, markets, malls, arcades, department stores, shopping centres and factory outlets. It's not a case of how much you can shop, it's more about when do-you-stop!     

If you're in the CBD, you'll feel a bit like Alice in Wonderland as you go from one magical shop to another. A couple of my favourites are Queen Victoria Building (QVB) which combines great shopping in a heritage-listed 19th-century building and the heritage-listed Victorian-style Strand Arcade.

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Sydney parks & gardens

a group of friends enjoying a picnic in the Sydney Botanic Gardens, overlooking Sydney harbour.

Enjoy a picnic by the harbour. Photo: Tourism Australia

Sydney is flush with national parks, stunning inner-city gardens and harbour foreshore walks. Even better, they are free. This is the perfect chance to do everything, from walking, hiking, bike riding, having a picnic, or anything in between. Your only decision is how active you want to be. Pack your hat, water bottle and camera and enjoy the great outdoors.  

Heads up, there's 16 harbour foreshore walks that take you along the harbour coastline, through bushlands, and all the while, giving you stunning views of Sydney harbour from different vantage points. Happy walking!

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Royal National Park & Illawarra day trip

The Wattamolla Falls at the Royal National Park

Visit Wattamolla Falls at the Royal National Park. Photo: Tourism Australia

The Royal National Park is an hour drive south of Sydney CBD, and is ideal for a bushwalk, bike ride, a swim in the Figure 8 pools, or a picnic. Considering there’s more than 100km of walking tracks to choose from, you might want to camp overnight. Check out the Aboriginal rock art, waterfalls, lookouts, and the local wildlife including kookaburras, wallabies, lyrebirds and echidnas. 

Head south from the Royal National Park and you'll find yourself in Wollongong and the Illawarra where you can surf, fish, canoe, kayak, bushwalk or do some bird watching in the Minnamurra rainforest. If you’re after an adrenaline rush, do a tandem skydiving adventure over Wollongong’s beaches, or book a hang-gliding lesson and jump off a cliff.

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Blue Mountains day trip

The Blue Mountains Scenic cablecar going over the Blue Mountains

Take Blue Mountains Scenic cablecar tour over the Blue Mountains. Photo: Bernd Hildebrandt, Pixabay

Book a day trip to the Blue Mountains, or even better, stay overnight. The Blue Mountains is the ideal playground for outdoor activities. There's bushwalking and hiking, rock climbing and canyoning, mountain bike riding and horse riding. If you want to enjoy the great outdoors without the Adrenaline hit, the Blue Mountains is the ideal place to enjoy the fresh air, great views of the Three Sisters (mountains) and has plenty of picnic spots to choose from.

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Hunter Valley day trip

a man in a hot air balloon in the Hunter Valley

Take a hot air balloon adventure over the Hunter Valley. Photo: Tourism Australia

The Hunter Valley is 2 hours from Sydney.  The Hunter Valley is Australia’s oldest wine region and has around 150 cellar doors for you to sample. There’s also world heritage-listed national parks and nearby beaches, but the main attraction is definitely the vineyards offering tastings and winery tours. The Hunter is perfect for a midweek or weekend getaway. If you’re short on time, book one of the many fabulous day trips from Sydney to the Hunter. 

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