explore Sydney, Australia

What to see in Sydney, Australia

  • If you want to learn more about Australia’s past, present and future, you can visit the multitude of museums found in City Centre. Some museums are free to enter year-round while others charge admission.
  • The Sydney Harbor Bridge and Sydney Opera House are two of Sydney’s famous landmarks that can be visited when exploring Sydney on foot. While these are two of the best-known landmarks, Sydney’s City Centre has a host of less famous buildings and structures that are worth a visit.
  • Australia is nothing if not renowned for its vast and unique variety of wildlife. There are numerous opportunities to spot birds, bats, opossums and the occasional kangaroo or wallaby in Sydney’s national parks. The only trick is that most of these animals are primarily spotted at sunrise and sunset when the weather is coolest. Those wishing to guarantee animal sightings can head to the Taronga Zoo in the Lower North Shore or the Wild Life Sydney Zoo in Darling Harbor. Darling Harbor is also home to the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium. The aquarium offers visitors an opportunity to truly see life “down under”, down under the water anyway.
  • For a different type of animal sighting, visitors can head to Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs to find the famous Bondi Beach. This beach attracts thousands of visitors every year, making it a great place for people watching.
  • After exploring Sydney by land, stop by Sydney Harbor to explore it by water. Ferries, cruises and whale watching excursions depart regularly from this part of Sydney.
  • The Sydney Opera House. The Sydney Opera House is simply one of the most famous structures ever built. It is in the city centre.
  • Luna Park, 1 Olympic Dr, Milson’s Point. It is a large theme park situated near the Sydney Harbor Bridge. Its mouth-shaped entrance can be seen from many areas of Sydney as well as the large Ferris wheel.
  • Sydney Tower also called Centre point Tower or AMP Tower. The tallest structure in Sydney, the tower contains a buffet, cafe and a rather large restaurant and attracts many visitors a year. The tower is in the City Centre
  • St Mary’s Cathedral. Sydney’s main catholic cathedral. Corner of St Mary’s Road and College St. The cathedral is in the City Centre.
  • The Royal Botanic Gardens were first established in Sydney by Governor Bligh in 1816. The gardens cover 30 hectares and adjoin the 35 hectares making up the Domain; there are over 7500 species of plants represented here. The gardens are at the north eastern corner of the City Centre and overlook Sydney harbor.
  • La Perouse. The Rocks has sites preserved from Sydney’s early settlement.
  • Parramatta to the west of Sydney is the site of many of Sydney’s oldest buildings from colonial times.
  • Macquarie Street in the City has a string of historical sites, from the first hospital in the colony, to the Mint to Hyde Park Barracks, to the Conservatorium which was the original government house stables. Sydney Hospital was first known as “The Rum Hospital”, it was the first major building established in the colony.
  • La Perouse, near Botany Bay, in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs contains the grave of an early French explorer, museum, and old fort.
  • The walk from Manly to Middle Head passes many coastal artillery fortifications built into the cliffs of Sydney Harbor during the late nineteenth century.
  • Mrs Macquarie’s Chair and walk near the Botanical Gardens in the City
  • Anzac War Memorial at the eastern end of Hyde Park in the City Centre. The memorial commemorates the memory of those Australians who lost their lives during war. It houses a small museum, an impressive statue and the Pool of Remembrance. Sydney’s Anzac War Memorial was built in the 1930s.
  • Waverley Cemetery: Cemetery on top of the cliffs at Bronte in the eastern suburbs.
  • Some of Sydney’s museums are free to enter including the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Museum of Contemporary Art. You may be charged to enter certain exhibitions. Sydney Museums generally do not have ‘free days’ that you can find in other parts of the world but some historic houses may be free on certain public holidays, though tend to attract large crowds.
  • The Australian Museum is much the old style natural history museum. Usually a special exhibition on as well. The museum is near Hyde Park in City Centre.
  • The Australian National Maritime Museum has inside and outside exhibitions – much of the history of Australia is a maritime one, and much of it is in this museum in Darling Harbor.
  • The Art Gallery of NSW has mostly classical, but some modern and Aboriginal art. Near the Botanical Gardens in the city centre.
  • The Powerhouse Museum has some buttons to push, some technology, but some interesting displays of Sydney in the 1900s, in the City West in Ultimo, right on the boundary with Darling Harbor. Exhibits designed for children also.
  • The Museum of Contemporary Art in the city centre, near Circular Quay.
  • The Museum of Sydney in the city centre.
  • Taronga Zoo Large zoo whose animals have the best view in the world, a short ferry trip from the City on the North Shore.
  • The Koala Park Sanctuary in the Outer West.
  • Sydney Aquarium in Darling Harbor.
  • Sydney Wildlife World’ adjacent to the aquarium in Darling Harbor.
  • Featherdale Wildlife Park in Western Sydney
  • Australian Reptile Park, about an hour north of Sydney, has kangaroos, wallabies, dingos, and more.
  • See whales migrating the Pacific coast. There are boats from Darling Harbor or Circular Quay.
  • Bats (Flying foxes) nest next to the fernery in the Botanic Gardens in the city, and fly to feed over the city buildings and Harbor Bridge at dusk, you can see them on the eastern side of the Opera House at sunset.
  • Rainbow Lorikeets swarm around the trees in many suburbs at dusk, making a tremendous chatter Sulphur Crested Cockatoos are commonly seen in the leafier suburbs all day.
  • Ibis are an unusual wader bird, that has made its home in the suburbs, especially in Hyde Park in the city
  • Possums are a native marsupial at home in the urban environment. Look up carefully in tree lined streets, or in Hyde Park after dark. Locals regard these critters as somewhat of a nuisance as they have a habit of nesting in the warmth of house roofs and love to brawl noisily at about 2am above your bedroom.
  • Kangaroos & Wallabies. These can be spotted with patience in most of the Sydney National Parks, including the Royal National Park, ask the local rangers where they tend to be seen in the late afternoons. This is a great way to experience Australia’s native wildlife in their natural habitat compared to seeing these amazing animals confined in zoos, but requires considerably more time and patience.
  • Swing by the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Art Gallery of New South Wales on the edge of the gardens.
  • Rock Carvings, can be seen in the Royal National Park – catch the train and ferry to Cronulla and Bundeena. There are extensive carvings in Kuringai National Park, near West Head that are accessible only by car. Closer to the city, there are examples at Balls Head and Berry Island, near to Wollstonecraft station. There is an interpretive walk at Berry Island.
  • Meeting of Civilizations. Interpretive centre is at the site of the landing place of Captain Cook, at Kurnell.
  • Bangarra Dance Theatre is a modern dance company, inspired by indigenous Australian themes.
  • Aboriginal Art. A wander through The Rocks and you will find many places exhibiting and selling contemporary Aboriginal art. The Art Gallery of New South Wales the City Centre has an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Gallery, which is free to visit.
  • Swim at one of Sydney’s many surf beaches. Try Bondi, Manly, Coogee, Cronulla or Wattamolla, or get off the tourist trail at one of the other beaches in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs or Northern Beaches.
  • Sydney’s Waterways offer great canoeing and kayaking, and you can explore Sydney’s bush land, history, and exclusive waterfront properties. There are lots of places to hire them from, or to even go on a guided tour.
  • Lane Cove National Park and the Royal National Park have canoes and kayaks by the hour – see turtles and birdlife as you paddle
  • Surf at one of Sydney’s many surf beaches, a quintessentially Australian experience. Try Bondi, Manly, Coogee, Cronulla or Wattamolla. The major beaches (Bondi, Manly) have surf schools and places where you can rent surfboards Fish

Sydney has a huge amount of green space, much of it beside the sparkling harbor or ocean, so walking is a great way to experience the city’s parks, reserves and remnant bush land. There are also great walks through the more built-up areas, allowing you to check out the city’s modern architecture and its colonial heritage.