If you fancy a trip Down Under, why not start with Australia’s second biggest city? Sydney is brimming with iconic sights and beautiful beaches that make for great Instagram fodder and even better memories.
If you’ve been considering taking the plunge and experiencing the laid-back Aussie lifestyle, then you’re in luck – we’ve put together a guide of must-see sights in Sydney. So grab a cup of tea, have a read, and get ready to start furiously packing your suitcase.
1. Sydney Harbour Bridge
You can’t go to Sydney without taking at least a brief gander at the historic Harbour Bridge. The summit lies 134 meters above sea level and eager adrenaline junkies can take part in the BridgeClimb to enjoy the spectacular views from the very top. You can also swim right underneath the steel giant – the North Sydney Olympic Pool overlooks the bridge and might just be the coolest outdoor swimming pool ever.
2. Bondi Beach
Whether you’re looking to get a tan with some light sunbathing or you’re ready to try your hand at surfing, Bondi Beach is a pretty perfect setting. Enjoy the ocean breeze on your skin, the white sand beneath your feet, and the soothing sound of the waves while you soak up the sun on one of Australia’s most iconic beaches. If you get peckish, swing by The Bucket List, located right on the beach, for a bite of fresh seafood.
3. Sydney Opera House
Featuring over 40 shows every week, Sydney’s historic Opera House has something for everyone. Arguably the most famous building in the country, you can admire the architecture from the outside or wander into the trenches with a backstage tour.
4. Chippendale District
Known for its cutting-edge creative scene, the Chippendale District is full of possibilities for art-enthusiasts. Head to Abercrombie Street for contemporary art galleries like Galerie Pompom, where young artists exhibit their paint, video, and modern installation masterpieces. For great coffee and food options, take a walk to Kensington Street and pop by Glider KS, an “espresso-meets-asian-eatery,” where you can get anything from coffee to fresh cold-pressed juices.
As the largest multi-arts center in Australia, Carriageworks has an exciting and varied artist program. Stop by during the week and choose from a multitude of different free exhibitions to inject some culture into your day. On Saturdays, the location transforms into a farmer’s market, with fresh produce from farmers and artisans across New South Wales. A stellar stop if you’re looking for locally sourced ingredients for a hearty home-cooked meal.
6. Royal National Park
If you’re looking to take a scenic day trip in nature, look no further. The Royal National Park has a bevy of options for nature-lovers to choose from. Be it fishing in the trout-filled mountain streams, an afternoon of birdwatching (the park is home to over 300 bird species), or whale watching along the New South Wales coastline, prepare for an unforgettable day of adventure. Don’t forget to pack a camera – you’re going to want to capture every moment.
7. Bare Island
Located in Botany Bay, the island got its name after an early explorer aptly described it as a “small, bare island.” Fearing an invasion by Russia in 1885, concerned British colonists built Bare Island Fort to protect Botany Bay (famously dubbed Sydney’s back door). Today, it serves as a point of military pride and was even featured in Mission: Impossible 2. Take a guided tour around the beautiful island and discover its rich and compelling history.
8. Glebe Markets
If you’re looking to add some vintage threads to your wardrobe, the Glebe Markets are a must. Every Saturday from 10am to 4pm, bargain hunters can peruse the many food, fashion, and craft stalls whilst enjoying the mesmerizing music from street performers nearby. The laid-back vibe of the Glebe suburb draws students from the nearby university into its many cool bookstores, restaurants, and bars. Need an energy boost after touring the markets? Grab a flat white at Sappho, a bookstore that doubles as a café by day and a wine bar by night.
9. Central Business District
As the bustling heart of Sydney’s business and retail scene, the CBD is a firm favorite for seasoned shoppers and foodies alike. Spend an afternoon exploring the stores and head to Darling Harbour in the evening for a bite to eat. As charming a location as the name suggests, the harbor is home to a multitude of restaurants where you can discover different cuisines from around the world. Nightowls can explore the harbor’s busy bar scene and try the diverse cocktails on offer, all with a picturesque waterfront view.
10. Lavender Bay
Three kilometers north of the Central Business District, lies one of the most beautiful views of the city. A true highlight of Lavender Bay is Wendy’s Secret Garden. After the passing of her husband, Wendy Whiteley channeled all her grief into transforming a neglected train yard space into a place of magic and wonderment. Scattered between fig trees and ferns are flowers and herbs that frame the beautiful view of the harbor – a truly unmissable experience.