Things to Do in Sydney

There are a lot of great things to do in Sydney. 

Sydney is one of the greatest cities in the world, and Australia's most popular destination for international travellers.

No other city in Australia has got such a beautiful harbour with the old Sydney Harbour Bridge and the unique Sydney Opera House.


There is also the old town - The Rocks, Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney Botanic Gardens, some world-class surf beaches like Bondi and Manly, and interesting suburbs like Kings Cross, Darlinghurst, Surry Hills and Paddington.
Sydney Harbour, with Opera House and Ms Europa in Centre, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Harbour. Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy.

Things to Do in Sydney Harbour National Park
Sydney’s gorgeous harbour starts between the North and South Heads and stretches 20km west to the Parramatta River. Much of its shores and many of its islands are protected by the Sydney Harbour National Park with some good walking tracks and lookout points. There are some quiet beaches at Nielsen Park, Camp Cove, Manly Cove, Reef Beach and Balmoral. And you can discover it all on Sydney harbour cruises.

Opera House and Harbour Underneath Bridge, Sydney, Australia
Harbour Bridge. Poster by AllPosters
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A great way to explore Sydney Harbour is by taking a harbour cruise.

It is something you will always remember, and it doesn't have to be expenive :-)


Things to Do in Sydney - Harbour Bridge

Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of the world’s greatest bridges. It connects the city centre and the North Sydney business district, and is used by both cars and trains.

But you won’t see much from the trains or cars so the best way to discover the bridge is by a bike or by foot – on the eastern side of it there is a pedestrian path, and the western side is used by cyclists. An even better way of discovering the bridge is to join the Bridge Climb – a three-and-a-half-hours tour across the top of the bridge where you can have your photo taken with the Opera House down in the background.

People on Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Harbour Bridge climb. Poster by AllPosters
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Things to Do in Sydney - Opera House

The Sydney Opera House is nowadays probably even more famous than the Harbour Bridge. It was designed by the Danish architect Jorn Utzon and built of Swedish roof tiles between 1959 and 1973. It is much more than an Opera House – it’s a cultural complex which includes an Opera Theatre for ballet and opera performances (Verdi's La Traviata being on of the most popular), a Concert Hall for symphony, jazz, chamber and pop music concerts, and in the back there is the Bennelong Restaurant, one of the best restaurants in Sydney (you can also take dinner and opera / ballet / symphony orchestra packages). In the lobby area in the front of the Opera House there are some good views over the Sydney Harbour and different rooms can be hired for conferences, parties and weddings. You can discover Sydney Opera House on a guided walking tour, and even a guided backstage tour.
Opera House, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Opera House. Poster by AllPosters
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Get to see this Australian icon inside and properly:


Things to Do in Sydney - Circular Quay

West of Sydney Opera House is Circular Quay – the place where Captain Arthur Phillip arrived with the convicts and established the first settlement of Sydney. Circular Quai is today mainly a transport hub with a train station and terminals for harbour ferries. In the western end of it is the First Fleet Park, and north of it is the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Circular Quay, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Circular Quay. Poster by AllPosters
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Other great tours in Sydney...


.. and outside it


Things to Do in Sydney - The Rocks

East from the Circular Quai is the historical Sydney – The Rocks and Millers Point. It is a lovely hilly area with cobbled streets lined with colonial buildings, historical pubs and converted warehouses. On the eastern side of the Harbour Bridge there is the Rocks Square where there are often street performances; and on George Street there is the Cadman’s Cottage – Sydney’s oldest house. Also on the George Street are the historical Sailor’s Home and Merchant’s House, and the weekend Rocks Markets. Further north are Campbell’s Storehouses, and if you continue walking along Hickson Road through the Dawes Point Park, you come to Dawes Point where there are the old wharves which now house a luxury hotel, Sydney Theatre, Bangarra Dance Theatre and Sydney Dance Company.

Historic Buildings and Sydney Harbor Bridge, The Rocks, Australia
The Rocks. Poster by AllPosters
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Things to Do in Sydney - Old Pubs

South from here is Millers Point and Observatory Park with the old Sydney Observatory where you can watch Sydney night skies ever night. South of it is the National Trust Centre with SH Ervin Gallery which has art exhibitions. North of the park are the historical pubs Lord Nelsons Hotel and Hero of Waterloo. East from here along Argyle Street, on the corner of Glouce and Cumberland Streets is another popular historical pub – Australian Hotel.

The Rocks, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
The Australian Hotel. Poster by AllPosters
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Things to Do in Sydney - Hyde Park Barracks and other Sydney Museums

South-east from The Rocks is the city centre which starts south of the Circular Quai and ends south of Chinatown. The main street through the CBD is George Street which begins at The Rocks in the north and runs south along the western side of the city centre and ends at the Central Station. On the eastern side of the city centre there is Macquarie Street, in and around which are the Museum of Sydney, Justice & Police Museum, Parliament House, Mint Building, State Library with a free gallery and the historical museum of Hyde Park Barracks where tourists can learn about Sydney’s convict history while Aussies can use a computer program to track their family history and find out what crimes their ancestors were sent here for!

Historic Hyde Park Barracks
Hyde Park Barracks. Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy.

Things to Do in Sydney - Shopping

West from the Macquarie Street are Sydney’s two central pedestrian malls: Martin’s Place, and Pitt Street Mall with the Strand Arcade, shops and warehouses, and the entrance to the Sydney Tower. It is worth going up for excellent views from 250m height at an observation deck and rotating restaurants. South from here is the beautiful historical warehouse Queen Victoria Building, and there are a fair few interesting shops along the streets between here and Chinatown.

Queen Victoria Building, Sydney, Australia
Queen Victoria Building. Poster by AllPosters
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Things to Do in Sydney - Town Hall

South of the QVB on George Street is Town Hall, a popular meeting place next to the Greater Union Hoyts Cinemas and the central Woolworths across the street. East from here is Hyde Park with some nice fountains, tree avenues, ANZAC Park Memorial and plenty of benches and lawn perfect to sit down and have a lunch. East of Hyde Park is the pretty St Mary’s Cathedral, an underground swimming pool and the Australian Museum, which is a science museum that also exhibits Aboriginal history.

Hyde Park and St. Mary's Cathedral, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, Pacific
A city park. Poster by AllPosters
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Things to Do in Sydney - Chinatown

In the southern end of the city centre is the vibrant Chinatown in the blocks around around Dixon Street. A highlight of Chinatown is Paddy’s Markets – an excellent market with affordable prices, and upstairs are factory outlets and Chinese eateries.

Chinatown, Sydney, Australia
Chinatown. Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy.

Things to Do in Sydney - Darling Harbour

North-west of Chinatown are the Chinese Gardens of Friendship in the southern end of Darling Harbour – a very touristic harbour with some excellent museums, a large shopping centre and some good dining areas along Cockle Bay and King St Wharves. Starting from south there is the Sydney Entertainment Centre, Powerhouse Museum, and the large Tumbalong Park with Sydney Exhibition and Convention Centre, IMAX Theatre, and the Harbourside Shopping Centre.

Darling Harbour, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Darling Harbour. Poster by AllPosters
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Things to Do in Sydney Aquarium and Madame Tussauds

North of the Pyrmont Bridge are Maritime Museum, the famous Sydney Aquarium (which you can also visit on a behind the scenes tour), and the city's newest attraction - Madame Tussauds! Sydney Harbour Ferries will take you from here to Balmain – a lovely inner suburb west of the city, with beautiful Victorian houses, speciality shops, restaurants and pubs with live music.

Sydney Aquarium, Darling Harbor, Sydney, Australia
Sydney Aquarium. Poster by AllPosters
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Things to Do in Sydney - Glebe and Fish Markets

South-west of Darling Harbour are Chippendale and Ultimo, suburbs with a lot of university students, and the bohemian Glebe with some nice street cafes, second-hand bookshops and the lively Glebe Markets on Saturdays. North-east of Glebe are Sydney Fish Markets, a popular place for a lunch with views over Anzac Bridge and pelicans walking on the shore. West from Glebe are Annandale and the Italian suburb Leichardt; and south of it is Newtown – a colourful suburb that is moving upmarket, but still has some great shops and cheap cafes and eateries.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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Things to Do in Sydney Botanic Gardens

Back up north, south-east of the Opera House are the Sydney Botanic Gardens, with lots of plant species from South Pacific, and the Sydney Tropical Centre with tropical woodland, monsoonal and rainforest plants. There is also a Fernery and a Rose Garden. In the Sydney Botanic Gardens are also the Government House, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and farthest north the Lady Macquarie’s Point, popular for picnics with views over the harbour and the Opera House. South of the botanic gardens is the Domain with some football fields and the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Between Christmas and New Year every year the Carols in the Candlelight are held here. Also in Domain, you can watch the little red flying foxes covering the sky twice a day in their daily migration between Botanical Gardens where they sleep during the day and Centennial Park where they eat during the night – it’s quite a sight to watch them flying.

Woolloomooloo Wharf
Things to do in Sydney. By Flying_Cloud via

Things to Do in Sydney - Woolloomooloo Wharf and Harry's Cafe de Wheels

Near the Art Gallery of New South Wales there is a pedestrian bridge across the railway which takes you to Woolloomooloo – an old but nice suburb that is interesting to discover by foot. In the northern end of it is the famous Woolloomooloo Wharf with expensive hotels and restaurants, and next to it is the famous pie shop Harry’s Cafe de Wheels, open since 1945 with walls covered with photos of celebrities who have visited it in the past. It serves some huge pies with different meats, peas and mashed potato, and it’s still open as you walk home from pubs and nightclubs in the early hours during the weekends.

Harry's Cafe De Wheels, An Eating Institution Since 1945, Sydney, Australia
Things to do in Sydney. Harry's Cafe de Wheels. Poster by AllPosters.
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Things to Do in Sydney - Kings Cross

East of Woolloomooloo is the famous Kings Cross. Its main street may be lined with brothels and wild drinking holes but this is only one side of King’s Cross – there are also nice street cafes and backpackers’ hostels, banks, restaurants and bookshops, tourists and souvenir shops, and Sunday Markets at El Alamein Fountain.

The roughness of Kings Cross seems rather attract visitors and I was living in the area for years so if you are street-smart and don’t go silly it is not a dangerous place. You’ll find that a lot of backpackers stay in Kings Cross and enjoy it. As you approach it along William Street, it’s left from the famous Coca Cola sign, but you can also catch the train to Kings Cross Station. And you can take a guided tour in Kings Cross.

Darlinghurst Road, King's Cross, Sydney, Australia
Things to do in Sydney. Kings Cross. Poster by AllPosters
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Things to Do in Sydney - Paddington Bazaar and Centennial Park

South of Kings Cross are Darlinghurst, Surry Hills and Paddington with some Victorian architecture and small shops and street cafes. The main street of Paddington is Oxford Street, lined with shops, pubs, restaurants and art galleries, and on Saturdays there are the Paddington Bazaar Markets. In the southern end of Oxford Street is Centennial Park – the largest park in the city with paths for walking, jogging and roller skating. Centennial Park is also famous for its birdlife – there are many ponds with populations of ibis and spoonbills, ducks, pelicans, cormorants and darters. Locals like to feed them here but it is not a good idea as this is how birds become pests.

Paddington sydney
Things to do in Sydney. Paddington. By hiphazard via

Things to Do in Sydney - Eastern Suburbs
North-east of Centennial Park is Moore Park and Fox Entertainment Centre with film studios, cinemas, shopping and restaurants. North from here (and east from Kings Cross), are the wealthy eastern suburbs Elisabeth Bay, Edgecliff, Double Bay, Rose Bay and Watsons Bay, with views over the harbour. East of Centennial Park is Bondi Junction, a laid-back suburb with an interesting shopping mall, and bus stops to the southern beaches.

Bondi Beach, Nsw, Australia
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Things to Do in Sydney - Bondi Beach Surfing

The famous Bondi Beach is today a trendy place with stylish cafes and restaurants, boardwalks to lookout points, and excellent surf waves but it also gets crowded with surfers and backpackers, and quieter options are Bronte and Coogee. Coogee is further south but Bronte is easily reached from Bondi Beach via a lovely coastal walk with some good views and outdoors art exhibitions. You can take a tour or learn to surf; and on Sundays there are the Bondi Beach Markets on the Campbell Parade - the main street.

Surf Lifesavers Sprint for Water During a Rescue Board Race at Cronulla Beach, Sydney, Australia
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Things to Do in Sydney - Manly Beach

The most famous beach on the northern shore is Manly - a lovely beach next to a little beachside town with a pedestrian mall - the Corso - with shops, pubs and restaurants, and the famous Oceanworld. There is also the Manly Art Gallery & Museum, and behind it is the 10km Manly Scenic Walkway. On the North Head is the historical Quarantine Station which you can visit on pre-booked guided tours.

Manly Beach, Manly, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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Things to Do in Sydney - Taronga Zoo

Further east on the north shore is the famous Taronga Zoo, with the usual Australian animals such as kangaroos and koalas, wombats, echidnas and platypus, but also bears, elephants, giraffes and other species from around the world. It is up on a hill so there are good views of the harbour and you can get nice photos with the Opera House in the background. You can also take a behind the scenes tour at Taronga Zoo, combine your Taronga Zoo experience with a sky safari, and even take an Aboriginal Tour at Taronga Zoo.

Giraffe, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia
Things to do in Sydney. Taronga Zoo. Poster by AllPosters
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It is cheap and handy to buy online ;-)


Things to Do in Sydney - Transport and Car Rentals

There is excellent public transport to get around by trains, buses, monorail and harbour ferries.

Car Rentals - Compare the Big Companies Here

But if you want to go for a drive out of the city, there are of course car rentals; and – the very popular Kings Cross Car Markets where backpackers buy cars and campervans cheap and sell them again after a trip around Australia.

Passenger Ferry in Circular Quay, Sydney, Australia
Things to do in Sydney. Harbour Ferry. Poster by AllPosters. Click on
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Things to Do in Sydney - Sightseeing Tours

If you like to save time while seeing things properly, there are hop-on-hop-off sightseeing buses, city walking tours (also Kings Cross and crime tours), biking tours, and breakfast, lunch and dinner combos and packages. And if you like to save money you can buy the Sydney Sightseeing Pass.

You can tour the famous Sydney Opera House, or take opera performance and dinner packages. Or you can take a showboat cabaret dinner cruise. You can take a harbour cruise, a helicopter or seaplane flight, or go sailing, kayaking, skydiving, jet boating...
You can even take surfing lessons on Bondi Beach.

Here Are the Current Specials:

You can also take trips to Blue Mountains (day and overnight trips; day and overnight deluxe eco tours, day hiking trips, you can also include some four wheel drivinginclude a river cruise, or include Jenolan Caves, or take a scenic flight to Blue Mountains), Hunter Valley (day and overnight trips, luncheon flights, wineries and wilderness small group tours), Canberra and Snowy Mountains (three day mid-week, weekend, and six day trips). You can take dolphin and whale watching tours to Jervis Bay and Port Stephens.

To get from the airport to the city and back, there are the convinient arrival and departure transfers. And nowadays there are even the private arrival and private departure transfers - unbelievably for almost the same price!

Stadium Australia, Olympic Park, Sydney, Australia
Things to do in Sydney. Olympic Stadium. Poster by AllPosters. Click on
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Things to Do in Sydney - Accommodation

As you would expect, Sydney has probably got the greatest variety of accommodation in Australia.

* Hotels include Australian Heritage Hotel, Avonmore on the Park Hotel, Bayview Boulevard Hotel, Central Railway Hotel, Coogee Bay Hotel, Coogee Sands Hotel, Crowne Plaza Hotel Coogee Beach, Establishment Hotel, Four Points Hotel Darling Harbour, Harbour Rocks Hotel, Ibis Hotel Darling Harbour, Ibis King Street Wharf Hotel, Manly Lodge Botique Hotel, Marriott Hotel Sydney Harbour, Medina Classic Martin Place, Medina Executive Coogee, North Shore Hotel, North Sydney Harbourview Hotel, Novotel Darling Harbour, Novotel Rockford Darling Harbour, Park Royal Darling Harbour, Oaks Hyde Park Plaza, Park Regis City Hotel, Ravesi's Bondi Beach, Regent's Court Hotel, Royal Exhibition Hotel, Rydges Hotel Cronulla, Rydges North Sydney, Seasons Hotel Darling Harbour, Sebel Manly Beach Hotel, Sebel Surry Hills, Sir Stamford at Circular Quay Hotel, Woolbrokers Hotel Darling Harbour and Y Hotel Hyde Park.

See full list of hotels in Sydney.

* Holiday apartments include Above Sydney CBD Luxury Apartments, Above Sydney CBD Murray Street Apartments, Above Sydney CBD Pyrmont Street Apartments, AEA Central Apartments, Apartment Deluxe Sydney Central, Bondi Beach Apartments, Bondi Breeze Apartments, Bondi Surf Apartments, Grand Mercure Apartments on Darling Harbour, Harbourside Apartments, Kirribilli Village Apartments, Manly Beachside Apartments, Manly Seaside Holiday Apartments, Manly Seaview Motel Apartments, Meriton Serviced Apartments Pitt Street, Metro Apartments Darling Harbour, Quest Cronulla Beach Apartments, Quest Grande Manly Esplanade, Quest on Dixon Darling Harbour, Somerset Darling Harbour Apartments, The Coogee View Apartments, Ultimate Apartments Bondi Beach and Woolloomooloo Waters Apartments.

See full list of Sydney holiday apartments

* Backpackers hostels and lodges include Australian Backpackers Hostel, Base Backpackers, Big Hostel, Boomerang Backpackers, Sydney Resort Hostel, G'Day International Backpackers, Great Aussie Backpackers Lodge, Home Backpackers, Jolly Swagman Backpackers, Manly Backpackers,  Maze Backpackers, Noahs Hostel Bondi Beach, Sinclairs City Hostel, Sydney Backpackers Hostel, Sydney Central YHA, Sydney Beachhouse YHA, Sydney Central Hostel, Sydney City Hostels, Travellers Rest Backpackers and World Square Hostel.

See full list of backpacker hostels in Sydney

Other accommodation includes resorts, motels, bed and breakfast accommodation... 
See full list of other accommodation in Sydney.

New South Wales, Harbourside Apartments Near Kirribilli Point on North Shore of Sydney, Australia
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Quick and easy way to get to and from Sydney Airport:


Things to Do in Sydney - Eating Out
Dining is equally various and some of the examples include Salad Works, Mint Cafe and Sailors Thai in the city centre, Pho Pasteur, BBQ King and Enperor’s Garden BBQ & Noodles in Chinatown; Fu Manchu and Foodgame in Darlinghurst, Il Baretto and Maya da Dhaba in Surry Hills; Flatelli Paradiso and Tuk Tuk in Kings Cross, Tanjore and Padde Manors in Glebe, Bacigalupo and Green Gourmet in Newtown, Bar Italia in Leichart; Luv in a Cup and House of Soy in Bondi; Beanrush and BarKing Frog in Manly, and Rice and A Fish Called Googee in Coogee.

Open-Air Restaurant, The Rocks, Sydney, Australia
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Things to Do in Sydney - Pubs

Sydney has also got an excellent night life, with bars, pubs and clubs lively until the small hours. A popular place in the city centre is the Establishment. In The Rocks, there are the historical Australian Hotel, Hero of Waterloo and Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel. In Kings Cross, there are World Bar, Bourbon, Jimmy Lik’s and Soho Bar & Lounge. In Surry Hills there are the Cricketers Arms and Hollywood Hotel; and in Paddington there are the Lord Dudley Hotel and Paddington Inn Hotel. In Balmain there are the London Hotel and Riverview Hotel, and in Bondi there is Bondi Icebergs Bar. Nightclubs include Slip Inn in the city centre, Goodbar in Paddington; and Yu, Icebox and Plan B in Kings Cross.

Friday Night at the Stonewall Tavern, Sydney, Australia
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Things to Do in Sydney - Festivals

The festivals celebrated are Sydney Festival in January; Chinese New Year and Tropfest in February; Mardi Gras in March; Royal Easter Show in April; Sydney’s Writers’ Festival in May; Sydney Film Festival in June; City to Surf Run in August; Carnivale in September; Kings Cross Carnival and Manly Jazz Festival in October; Sculpture by the Sea (along the walk between Bondi and Bronte mentioned above) in November; and Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve in December.

Festival of Light, Sydney Opera House, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Things to do in Sydney. Opera House. Poster by AllPosters. Click on
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Just outside the city are two great getaways - Blue Mountains and Royal National Park. Below is a Sydney street map, where I have tagged the places mentioned on this web page. You can click on the tags to see what places they are, and double-click anywhere on the map to zoom it in and see the places closer. Drag the map to move around, and if you want to see the satellite image with Google Earth, click on "Sat" in the top right hand corner.

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