On the most distant continent of the world, where it would seem civilization could not reach, is a real megalopolis - the city of Sydney. It is no coincidence that travelers from all over the world flock to this magnificent, blooming and yet modern capital city of Australia - the sights of Sydney are unique in their own way. For example, what developed city in the world does not have a beautiful bridge or an opera building? But only in Sydney are these sights unlike any other, they are unique and are the national pride of the country. When looking for things to see in Sydney, start by visiting these national icons, which are among the very, very best. But first things first.
Of course, if the time of travel is limited by tight time constraints, it is worth choosing those places, the visit of which will bring a maximum of vivid impressions and help in a short time to form an idea of the city. Choosing what to see in Sydney in 1 day, you should start with the most symbolic places, which will be discussed below.
This is a famous bay that played a key role in the history of the city. In addition, Port Jackson is considered to be the largest natural bay in the world. It was here that the first European colony on the continent was founded and it is here that you can see the main national symbols of the capital and all of Australia, which will be discussed below. On the coastal territory of the bay found a place for the Sydney Harbor National Park. Every day in the coastal waters of the bay runs a lot of tourist ferries, and every year in this area is held a bright New Year’s Eve show.
Sydney’s most iconic and symbolic landmark is, of course, the Opera House building, whose recognizable shape resembles wind-blown sails. This magnificent structure was built right in the middle of the waters of Port Jackson Bay, on stilts supported by powerful metal cables. Even if the purpose of visiting the theater is not to see any theatrical production, this institution is worth a visit at least to see the unique building from the inside. In all, there are several halls, among which two are for opera and theatrical productions, one for symphonic music, there are also restaurants, cafes, stores and other facilities.
Official website: https://www.sydneyoperahouse.com/
The largest bridge on the continent is simultaneously one of the world’s largest arched bridges. On a par with the Opera House, it is one of Australia’s most important landmarks and one of the most beautiful structures in Australia. The best view of Harbor Bridge is from the deck of the liner as it enters the bay. It’s also important for the city’s transportation infrastructure - over 200,000 cars pass over it every day, as well as the railroad, and there are even hiking and bicycle lanes.
In close proximity to Sydney’s downtown business district, the Darling Harbour area is now the most popular tourist area, with a host of attractions such as the oceanarium, the National Maritime Museum, and a cinema with the world’s largest screen. It has all the amenities for visitors to the city, there are a number of upscale restaurants and the best hotels in Sydney. The appearance of this area was associated with the laying of the circular monorail, which became a link between Darling Harbor and the neighboring areas.
Official website: http://www.darlingharbour
This neighborhood is the oldest in Sydney, so it has partly retained the appearance of the times of colonial Australia. At the beginning of the last century it was a sleazy neighborhood where shady characters of all sorts - adventurers and outlaws - found shelter. And only since 1970s active building began, even planned to demolish all the historical buildings, but this was avoided thanks to the initiative of active citizens. Thanks to this today Rox has acquired a unique look, where the old facades of museums and art galleries alternate with super modern luxury buildings, and each paved alley has its own special atmosphere.
Numerous visitors to Darling Harbour have no question where to go in Sydney, because on its eastern shore is an impressive aquarium complex: annually it is visited by about a million people, most of whom are foreign visitors. This attraction appeared not long ago - 30 years ago to the 200-year anniversary of Sydney, and since then has gained unprecedented popularity. It takes a few hours to tour the aquarium, so vast and interesting it is: in a 150-meter transparent tunnel you can watch the especially large inhabitants of the sea depths, and in the thematic sections you can see representatives of water areas from different parts of the world.
Official website: https://www.sydneyaquarium
This is a magnificent green area of Sydney, located on a picturesque mountainside with beautiful panoramas of the city and the surrounding area. The area of the zoo is 21 hectares, divided into 8 geographical zones. The zoo is home to representatives of fauna from different parts of the world, with more than three hundred species, and the total number of animals is about 3 thousand animals. Here you can also take a ride on a cable car or visit the entertainment show with different animals.
Official website: https://taronga.org
Just outside of downtown Sydney lies the Royal Botanic Gardens, 30 acres of natural beauty, tranquility and serenity right in the middle of a bustling metropolis. The garden was created two centuries ago on the site of Australia’s first farm. Today, the vast area of the garden is divided into many zones, depending on the plants that grow on them. It has become a favorite recreational area where you can stroll through the fragrant park, swim in the pool, have a picnic, admire the views of the bay and take an informative tour.
Official website: https://www.rbgsyd.nsw
Another beautiful park, which guides in Sydney are sure to show you, stretches east of the business district over a spacious area of about 16 hectares. Since its earliest days in the early 19th century Hyde Park has been a popular recreation area for citizens. Since some time in the park began to carry out a variety of sports competitions, and only a few decades later the sports activity withered away, and in the park were laid out gardens, landscaped walkways, built fountains and installed sculptures. Today this park is also noteworthy because there are a host of attractions surrounding it: a cathedral, a church, a museum, a courthouse, and more.
Official website: https://www.cityofsydney.
In recognition of China’s sister city Guangzhou, Sydney has both a Chinatown and a Chinese Friendship Garden, opened in the 1980s. It is a peculiar island of Chinese culture, where everything is decorated in accordance with the canons by which the gardens of the Chinese elite were once created. Typical features of such a garden are the absence of obvious landscaped areas, evenly trimmed bushes and flowerbeds. Everything is done here to have a feeling of being surrounded by wild nature, the area of some waterfall, pond, forest edge, etc. is recreated in a natural way. In the park grows a large number of outlandish plants and there are several gazebo-pavilions.
Official website: http://www.darlingharbour.com
This Catholic cathedral is an important national shrine in Australia. The location of the cathedral is particularly remarkable: the ancient Gothic structure rises right in the heart of Sydney’s business district, against a backdrop of modern industrial landscapes - a unique contrast. The first stone was laid in the mid-19th century and the construction of the huge, roomy building continued in stages over the century. Inside, the cathedral is famous for its stained glass windows, which were created over half a century. There are about forty in all, and each of them is dedicated to some biblical subject.
Official website: https://www.stmaryscathedral
The following recommendations concern another notable cathedral, one of the country’s most important shrines. It is St. Andrew’s Cathedral, the temple of the Church of England, so its exterior architecture has the medieval spirit of England. The façade is designed in the Perpendicular Gothic style and does not stand out for its abundance of decoration, only the towers and spires attract attention. Its interior decoration is even more ascetic: its walls and colonnade are almost devoid of decor; the only exceptions are the restrained elements of stucco and small mosaic windows. Of particular note, however, is the huge organ, recreated on the basis of two former instruments - the largest on the continent.
Still not far from the city center you can see another notable religious structure, the Hwa Tsang, a Chinese monastery in the traditional national style. It was built not long ago - in 1979 - and its mission is to help Asian migrants in Australia to overcome language and intercultural barriers. At the moment about two hundred students live in the monastery and study at the same time. Of course, a visit to the shrine will be useful not only to supporters of Buddhism, but also to anyone interested in diversifying their cultural knowledge.
Official website: http://www.htm.org.au/
When it comes to what to visit in Sydney first and foremost, it’s safe to say that the Sydney TV Tower, from its three hundred meter height, offers a full panorama of Sydney and its surroundings, the shapely outlines of the green shores of Port Jackson Bay and one of the highest panoramic windows restaurants in the world, is the first place to visit. In fact, in addition to the basic functions of television broadcasting, the Sydney TV Tower, like most similar structures around the world, performs entertainment functions. In its “golden basket” - an 8-story tower - there is a restaurant for 220 people, an indoor observation deck with a souvenir shop, and a few meters above - an outdoor observation deck.
In Sydney Bay, you can see a tiny island that holds its own unusual history. Since the late 18th century, this place has been used for the exile of the most dangerous criminals, among whom were those sentenced to death. Therefore, in those days there were no fortifications on the island, which was a 15-metre-high rock, where convicts served their sentences and mined sandstone. And only after American warships that entered the harbor circled around it for some time, the Australian authorities decided to erect defensive structures in 1841. The fort is now part of the National Park, and there is a museum inside.
Continuing the ranking is another of Sydney’s historic sites that is famous for its great view of the city’s panoramas. A kind of “chair”, carved right out of a rocky cliff, was created for the wife of an Australian major-general who loved to sit on the rock and contemplate the seascape and watch the ships coming into the harbor. Since then the scenery has changed dramatically, renewing the look of the city, but the beauty of Sydney’s panoramas, which are viewed from this bench, has remained the same. These days, citizens and travelers come to this neighborhood to relax, picnic, and admire views of Sydney from afar.
Official website: http://www.discoversydney
Another historic place can be found far from every guidebook, but according to reviews, a visit to this place impresses everyone who comes. This dilapidated and seemingly unassuming building is in fact the Susanna’s Place museum, a woman who lived in these walls in the mid-19th century. The house has not been renovated since then, as a matter of principle, in order to leave the imprint of time and the spirit of that era untouched. During the tour you can walk through the rooms of the house with antique furniture, which gives you an idea of what life was like for Australians in past centuries, without the usual amenities such as lights, toilets, bathrooms, etc.
A place called the Sydney Fish Market is hardly a market in its traditional sense; rather, it is a fair that has become an integral part of life for some Australians. It was founded in 1945 and as the variety of seafood increased the marketplace grew, eventually becoming the largest market in the southern hemisphere. Today, the civilized marketplace belies the notion of a bustling spontaneous market - the freshest seafood is laid out neatly on clean, modern counters, and the very sight of it whets your appetite. Ready-to-eat dishes made in front of the customer are also for sale.
Official website: https://www.sydneyfishmarket.
Excursion in Sydney to the Museum of Money Marks is an excuse to diversify bored walks in traditional museums. The museum will give you an idea of how Australia’s currencies have changed over the centuries and how they have played a role in the country’s changing economic and political landscape. The museum’s collection of around 15,000 photographs and illustrations depicts the history of Australia’s financial institutions and includes several thematic displays depicting different historical periods in the nation’s financial policies.
Official website: https://museum.rba.
On the shores of Australia’s Darling Bay is one of Sydney’s most valuable institutions, historically and culturally. It is a maritime museum, the displays of which tell many interesting things about the maritime life of the state. Visitors can find all things nautical, such as the history of Australian exploration, the names of early pioneers, the first lighthouses on the mainland, whaling history and memorabilia. Collections include floating structures from different eras, from the ancient boats of the first aborigines, to surfboards.
Official website: https://www.anmm.
This is one of Australia’s most famous art museums. It has an impressive size and a rich collection of art paintings and prints. The gallery was founded in the late 19th century and its original purpose was to promote fine art in the country. The very first museum building was built in the Classical style and housed the first four exhibition rooms, later new galleries were added and rooms for displaying works by Asian artists were added. The core of the collection consists of valuable works by famous painters of Europe from the 16th century onward, and the creations of Australian artists from the 19th century onward.
Official website: https://www.artgallery
This is one of Sydney’s best attractions from a cultural and cognitive point of view. The Australian Museum is the oldest in Australia and is also internationally recognized as an institution for the professional study of anthropology. It has a rich display of anthropological and historical artifacts collected from around the world. There are collections of vertebrates and invertebrates, cultural studies of different peoples, and a number of exhibits designed to introduce visitors to the paleontology and mineralogy of different regions of the world. The museum’s location in close proximity to Hyde Park makes it accessible to residents and visitors alike.
Official website: https://australianmuseum
The majestic structure sits in the heart of Sydney’s business district and is one of the most beautiful buildings that stands out in the city’s architecture. It once housed a grocery market and in 1897, for the Queen’s 60th birthday, a magnificent Romanesque-style building grew on the site, housing a huge shopping mall with luxury boutiques and cafes. The interior decoration is no less impressive - exquisite window stained glass, colored mosaics on the floor, suspended clocks and other elements are truly royal. Just in front of the main entrance rises a monument dedicated to royalty.
Official website: http://www.qvb.com
Sydney’s City Hall is housed in an old monumental building, one of the few in the city that has retained its original appearance since it was erected in the 19th century. It’s Victorian and made of golden sandstone and is lavishly decorated, which is why it was jokingly called the “wedding cake. Once inside the room with snow-white walls and red carpets, you can see windows with beautiful stained glass, and the elements of decor can be traced the presence of motifs with Australian flora. It was this building that once housed the opera house, until the Sydney Opera House, known to all.
One of the most important monuments to scientific thought in Australia, the oldest Sydney Observatory, founded in the mid-19th century, completes the main overview. Even before the appearance of the observatory on this site at different times worked a windmill, stood a signal tower, the defensive fort was located - it was on the basis of the fort and the observatory was built. Today the main task of the astronomical museum of the observatory is to make astronomical science accessible to a wide range of people. Here you can trace the development of science in Australia, visit the astronomer’s room, see a rare telescope, or listen to informative lectures on astronomy.
Official website: https://maas.museum/
Sydney is a city that steps in step with the times and even ahead of them. At the same time, the most technological modern buildings in the city coexist with the monuments of antiquity. Seeing the main sights of Sydney in a nutshell, admiring the stunning panoramas of Sydney Harbour, visiting the most beautiful natural parts of the national park - all this is worth covering thousands of kilometers of the journey. But that’s not all the sunny city on a remote continent has to offer. There is a number of other, no less interesting sights of Sydney, photos with names and descriptions of which are given below.
The unique white and blue structure, which is shaped like a crystal, is a large-scale sports complex. Its multifunctional halls are equipped with the latest technology and accommodate all kinds of performances, sports competitions and celebrations. In a few minutes the sliding roof of the complex slides apart and the inner space is flooded with sunlight. Altogether there are 6 VIP boxes, 6 bars, 5 spacious halls, and in the underground space there is a huge parking lot for 7 hundred cars. Creative asymmetric forms of the building, unusual interior design, numerous technical masterpieces of engineering thought - all these will not leave any visitor indifferent.
Official site: http://www.anzstadium.com
On the city’s northern shore is one of the continent’s best beaches, Manly Beach, a favorite among city dwellers and out-of-towners alike. A wide stretch of pristine sand ends with a gentle descent into the azure waters of the Tasman Sea, where surfers, divers and other adventurous types can find fun activities. And after fun activities you can relax in one of the many cafes, which please the variety of drinks and dishes. Vacationers on the beach sometimes given an interesting opportunity to observe the giant whales and unusual flying fish, “floating” over the sea waves.
This is another corner of serenity away from the hustle and bustle of the city, which has a beautiful and varied nature: beaches alternate with parks, cliffs and picturesque coves. In addition to beach recreation, you can hike here, both by water and land. There is even a landscaped hiking trail that is so enjoyable for those who like to observe the views of the surrounding scenery. This trail is laid directly on the rocks of the beach, there is even a half-kilometer stretch of road in the form of a sidewalk. The total length of the trail, however, is more than 3 kilometers - enough for a walk and a break from the bustle of the city.
In Woolloomooloo Bay, there is a wharf that resembles a giant finger, as if pointing out to the ocean. Travelers taking a trip to Sydney by sea simply can’t imagine the panorama of the city without this city dock. It is the world’s longest structure on wooden stilts. Originally built at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, the wharf served as a storehouse for wool. Now restored, the 410-meter long structure has been transformed into a vast entertainment complex with upscale apartments and chic restaurants.
Rounding out the ranking is a beautiful natural landmark on the continent. On the coastal territory of Sydney Harbor is a pristine area of Sydney Harbor National Park, untouched by civilization. The precipitous shores, the azure waters crashing against the rocky cliffs, and the magnificent views of the intricately rugged coastline are all available to visitors to the national park. There is a wide range of hiking trails and educational excursions, where you can take part in a sailing regatta, visit popular beaches or study fragments of ancient rock art.
Official website: https://www.nationalparks
Thriving, sunny Sydney has a myriad of interesting places to visit, from ancient cultural institutions to ultra-modern entertainment complexes. Of this diversity every visitor will find something close to himself, whether it is a vacation in the beautiful nature reserves and white beaches, or cultural and educational journey, or vivid entertainment.
Read also about Melbourne attractions and be inspired to explore more of Australia.