Sydney Harbour with views of Balmoral Beach, with Middle Head and Bradleys Head.
View of Vaucluse Bay, Shark Beach at Nielsen Park and Rose Bay behind.
View of Rose Bay with neighbouring Royal Sydney Golf Club.
View of Tamarama Beach, Bronte Park, Clovelly, Gordons Bay and Coogee Beach along Sydney’s coastline.
Coming in to land at Sydney airport over Kamy Botany Bay National Park with La Perouse and New South Wales Golf Club in the background.
AROUND THE CITY
Sydney Harbour is one of the most famous sights in the world where you can catch a ferry, sail, paddle or cruise around the inlets, bays and look at the harbour-side homes. There is the Opera House, the Bridge, Manly ferry, the Rocks where European settler’s history started, Sydney Cove, Circular Quay, Botanical Gardens, Luna Park and Taronga Zoo.
One of my favourite memories around Sydney is the 2000 Sydney Olympics that was sent with Dad enjoying the atmosphere and many of the events.
DICTIONARY of SYDNEY
101 FREE THINGS TO DO IN SYDNEY
Start drawing up the list of the must-dos when the lockdowns end and we can travel again. There’s plenty to do in Sydney that doesn’t cost a dime, and plenty you can do while safely keeping your distance… so many in fact – we found 101 free things to do while you’re in town!
BROADSHEET Through breaking news, features, event guides and insight from industry experts, Broadsheet is the authority on the cultural life of your city. We’re here to keep you across the goings on around town and to cover, analyse and comment on it all with accurate reporting, sharp photography and clear, clean design.
TIME OUT What’s happening in Sydney
WALK SYDNEY STREETS collection of photos
WHAT’S ON Discover the best events that Sydney has to offer.
Eva Punruckvong on Pinterest: Places to go, things to do and see for everyone. Feel free to link this board to friends and visitors to New South Wales.
Take an online tour of the Sydney Opera House | Join our tour guide Declan as he reveals the stories of this iconic building through history, incredible architecture and anecdotes.
ABORIGINAL CULTURAL CRUISE Immerse yourself in our Culture, meet our people and enjoy the sights of Sydney Harbour. Hear stories of the Cadigal, Guringai, Wangal, Gammeraigal and Wallumedegal people of Sydney Harbour and learn the Aboriginal names and meanings of significant Sydney landmarks, before stepping ashore on Be-lang-le-wool (Clark island, National Park).
SYDNEY FOR EVERYONE
SYDNEY TALKS SydneyTalks is a free service listing interesting talks in Sydney. Our list is updated regularly to ensure you receive the most accurate information entered by the organisers, but we recommend that before attending you confirm details with them.
48 HOURS in SYDNEY Jennifer Ennion dodges the tourist traps and unveils some hidden gems.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT AROUND SYDNEY and SURROUNDS: OPAL CARD
ECO HOPPER FERRY A single ticket on the Eco Hopper ferry lets you stop off at dozens of iconic destinations around Sydney Harbour including Circular Quay, Fort Denison, Taronga Zoo, Darling Harbour, Pyrmont Bay, Watsons Bay and Manly.
HARBOUR BEACHES FERRY – week-ends only
OPAL CARD for VISITORS
HOW FAR CAN YOUR OPAL CARD TAKE YOU ON A SUNDAY? Harbour views, lush picnics and epic waterfalls will only set you back two bucks sixty.
OPAL CARD for INTERSTATE SENIORS
GETTING TO and FROM SYDNEY AIRPORT
SYDNEY ARRIVAL TRANSFERS TripAdvisor
TRANSPORT TOOL KIT plan your trip
VEHICULAR FERRIES including Mortlake Ferry
WEEK-END NOTES things to do, events and what’s on in Sydney
CITY of SYDNEY LIBRARIES programs and events
SYDNEY AIRPORT TO CITY SHUTTLE
THINGS TO DO AROUND SYDNEY
ART GALLERY of NEW SOUTH WALES
Adjacent to the Royal Botanic Gardens, visitors enjoy the Gallery’s collection of historical and contemporary Aboriginal, Australian, Asian and Pacific art, displayed alongside art from around the world.
WHITE RABBIT GALLERY Is one of the best places to see Chinese contemporary art. It was opened in Sydney’s Chippendale in 2009 by Judith Neilson (who owns the White Rabbit Collection). Since only a fraction of the collection can fit in the gallery, the exhibition is changed twice every year.
Forgotten Songs commemorates the songs of fifty birds once heard in central Sydney, before they were gradually forced out by European settlement. The calls, which filter down from the canopy of birdcages suspended above Angel Place, change as day shifts to night; the daytime birds’ songs disappearing with the sun, and those of the nocturnal birds, which inhabited the area, sounding into the evening.
AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM Australia’s first museum, learn about Aboriginal history and culture and with over 10 million objects in the collection including dinosaurs, giant marsupials.
BADU GILI – meaning ‘water light’ in the language of the traditional owners of Bennelong Point, the Gadigal people – is a new daily experience that explores ancient First Nations stories in a spectacular seven-minute projection, illuminating the Opera House’s eastern Bennelong sail year-round at sunset and 9pm.
THE STREETS of BARANGAROO
BIRD WATCHING The Urban Birdwatchers Guide to Sydney
Here, we’ve put together an urban birdwatchers guide to Sydney for Sydneysiders and visitors alike. Read on for the best spots for spotting birds in the city, the species you might see, tips and tricks for successful birdwatching, great ways to make birdwatching a social activity, and more information on taking part in The Great Aussie Backyard Bird Count.
BOTANIC GARDENS, THE ROYAL, these manicured lawns provide an oasis of tranquillity in the middle of the city, the perfect spot for cheese and biscuits with a stunning harbour setting. The Centennial Parklands – just east of the city centre – is another green patch to escape from the urban jungle. Includes the NATIONAL HERBARIUM of NSW, centre for plant research. THE CALYX, WORLD-CLASS HORTICULTURAL EXHIBITION SPACE. home to one of the largest green walls in the southern hemisphere.
Whether you’d like to learn more about native and exotic plants, lose yourself in one of our spectacular themed gardens or enjoy a picnic with friends and family, we’ve got you covered.
CAMPING | THE BEST CAMPING GETAWAYS NEAR SYDNEY
CONTEMPORARY ART A spectacular waterfront location on Sydney Harbour, in The Rocks, dedicated to exhibiting, collecting and interpreting contemporary art. The MCA Collection contains over 4,000 works by Australian and Aboriginal artists. The roof top cafe is well worth a visit for the views across Sydney’s famous harbour.
- Golden Age Cinema and Bar
- SUMMER OUTDOOR CINEMAS 2017-2018 There are a few visual cues that mark the beginning of summer in Australia. Jacarandas blossoming on suburban streets. Cricket replacing footy on local ovals. Backpackers sunburning on crowded beaches. And big screens popping up in parks and on rooftops around the country, preparing for another summer of outdoor cinema. Because what better way to spend a balmy evening than under the stars watching your favourite flick?
CHRISTMAS LIGHTS in the city: Darling Harbour Christmas Tree, David Jones Christmas Window, Martin Place Christmas Tree, Queen Victoria Building Christmas Tree, St Marys Cathedral Lights, Town Hall Lights, Westfield Sydney, Martin Place & Pitt Street.
CUSTOM HOUSE and a great meeting place
COCKATOO ISLAND heritage-listed convict site in the middle of the harbour with overnight camping.
CULTURAL FOOD TOURS
Taste Cultural Food Tours are the best cross cultural experiences you can have without leaving Sydney! Our unique delicious food tours are offered in some of Sydney’s most vibrant multicultural town centres. Talented local people share mouthwatering treats, local history and their cultural and local stories. You will visit the best places to eat and shop, discovering those hidden gems that only locals know! All our tours are small groups, and all food is included, so you will not leave hungry.
We are a charity and social enterprise aiming to build strong cross-cultural understanding by bringing the wider community together through unique Australian food tours. All our profits are invested into offering training and employment opportunities to refugees, migrants and youth, supporting them into the career of their choice.
GOVERNMENT HOUSE 1845 Built between 1837 and 1845, Government House was the most sophisticated example of teh Gothic Revival in colonial New South Wales. The State Rooms display an outstanding range of 19th and early 20th century furnishings and decoration, reflecting the changes of style and differing tastes of New South Wales Governors and their wives. The house is sited in an important historic garden, with exotic, trees and shrubs, carriageways, paths and terraces. Unlike other surviving colonial houses in Sydney, Government House has retained its setting and most importantly its relationship to the harbour.
Become one of the three million people to have scaled the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge
, offering amazing views of Sydney Harbour and the Opera House. Cross the Bridge, it only takes 20 minutes to stroll across the Harbour Bridge – and when you get to the other side, follow the water past Luna Park to Wendy’s Secret Garden, a maze of tangled stairways and exotic plants with a postcard view of the city across the harbour.
HIGH TEA suggestions
- Vaucluse House TearoomsWentworth Road, VaucluseSet among 10 hectares of manicured gardens that stretch all the way down to Sydney Harbour, Vaucluse House is a historic sandstone mansion that was built in the 1830s. Added to the building in the 1930s, The Tearooms are art deco in style and overlook the gardens.
- The Tearoom at the QVBQueen Victoria Building, 455 George Street, SydneyCrystal chandeliers hang from the Victorian ceiling of this beautiful tearoom, which was once the QVB’s original Grand Ballroom.
- The Langham Sydney89-113 Kent Street, SydneyThose looking for an opulent high tea experience should head to The Langham for a British-inspired affair of pastries, truffles and macarons made by their in-house patissiere. Set in the hotel’s elegant Palm Court in the grand lobby with pretty harbour views.
- Gunners BarracksEnd of Suakin Drive, Georges HeightsCosy up in the elegant tearoom or take a seat on the enclosed terrace with its stunning harbour views for high tea at Gunners Barracks, a colonial sandstone building built in 1873.
- The Intercontinental Sydney 117 Macquarie Street, SydneySet beneath the atrium and sandstone arches of the Cortile lounge at the Intercontinental Sydney.
Designed by convict architect Francis Greenway, the Hyde Park Barracks housed male convicts in government employment between 1819 and 1848. At one time the barracks was home to more than 600 men and boys, who slept in hammocks and worked as slave labour around Sydney. Traces of the broken shells that once covered the grounds around the building can still be found. They were placed there so that anyone trying to walk on them could be heard easily.
Later it became a female Immigration Depot for single women and girls and a Government Asylum for women.
The Historic Houses Trust saved the barracks from destruction, restoring the building and converting it into a museum in the early 1990s.
JUSTICE and POLICE MUSEUM 1856 Originally the Water Police Court (1856), Water Police Station (1858) and Police Court (1886), the Justice & Police Museum features a Magistrates Court; a police charge room; a remand cell; a gallery of mug shots of Sydney’s early criminals; an array of spine chilling weapons; forensic evidence from notorious crimes; displays exploring police history, bushrangers and punishment in society.
LATITUDE 23 GLASSHOUSE Botanical Gardens. Between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn grow rare, spectacular and precious plants. See a rotating display of exotic flowering orchids, hoyas and more.
LIBRARY, STATE LIBRARY of NEW SOUTH WALES One of the great libraries of the world with a history dating back to 1826. With its historic spaces, renowned collection, free exhibitions, dynamic public events and premier Australiana bookshop .
LIVING MUSEUMS, SYDNEY cares for a group of 12 of the most important historic houses, gardens and museums in NSW on behalf of the people of NSW. Our purpose is to enrich and revitalise people’s lives with Sydney’s living history, and to hand the precious places in our care and their collections on to future generations to enjoy.
- BONDI MARKETS: every Saturday, beachside location at the local public school
- CARRIAGEWORKS: every Saturday and walk around the regularly held exhibitions in the adjacent art precinct.
- GROWERS MARKETS: first Saturday of the month on the waterfront in Pyrmont.
- THE ROCKS: Foodie Market, 9am – 3pm, Fridays, Jack Mundey Place under the shadows of Sydney Harbour Bridge. The Rocks Markets, 10am – 5pm, Saturdays and Sundays, Playfair Street, George Street, Jack Mundey Place
MUSEUM of SYDNEY: built over and around the remains of Australia’s first Government House, the earliest foundations of British colonisation in Australia. In 1788 Governor Phillip chose this site for his official residence. Today, through a diverse and changing program of exhibitions and events, the Museum of Sydney takes you on a journey exploring Sydney’s people, places and cultures then and now. The remains of the original building can be glimpsed through glass openings in the museum forecourt and foyer.
MCA CAFE and SCULPTURE TERRACE: A great place for a bite to eat with an amazing view over Syndey Harbour.
Sydney’s buried history you’ll never get to see
THE historian Grace Karskens was incredulous. The Museum of Contemporary Art intended marking the nation’s oldest dockyard buried beneath the gallery’s $53 million extension with an arrow pointing to concrete. Admittedly, it was a 2.7 metre arrow, illuminated and by the artist Brook Andrew.
”Why? What’s that got to do with the dockyard?” said Associate Professor Karskens, who thinks it ”a bit mean” to mark the site with a few lines from the artist without explaining what lies below.
THE MINT STORIES FROM THE MINT
When Lachlan Macquarie began his term as governor of NSW in 1810, Sydney was in desperate need of a new hospital. Since settlement, the colony’s hospital had been a portable canvas building on the shores of Sydney Cove. To Macquarie’s dismay, the British government refused to fund major public works in the colony, so the enterprising governor brokered a deal: in exchange for building a three-winged General Hospital for convicts, he granted a three-year monopoly on the import of rum and spirits to merchants Alexander Riley and Garnham Blaxcell and surgeon D’Arcy Wentworth.
The hospital was the first project in Macquarie’s ambitious building program. His plan was for a spacious and elegant hospital for 200 convict patients, but as profits from the rum deal fell, so did the quality of workmanship. When completed in 1816, the hospital formed an imposing group of three buildings – a central building for hospital wards (now demolished), a northern wing (now Parliament House) to house the principal surgeon, and a southern wing (now The Mint) to house his two assistants – but even at the time, it was widely criticised. Convict architect Francis Greenway thought the columns lacked ‘Classical proportion’ and found serious structural faults. Within only a few years the buildings required extensive repairs, while for the convict patients who suffered its poor ventilation, overcrowding and rampant dysentery, it quickly became known as the ‘Sidney Slaughter House’.
NATIONAL PARKS where you can get a free workout. Get your nature fix and save money at the same time! Ditching the gym and finding free local outdoor activities is an absolute no-brainer for your mind (and your wallet). Smashthe kind of workouts your colleagues will actually want to hear about, you’ll even get to see some picturesque Aussie landscapes while you break a sweat!
NATIONAL PARKS Top getaways near Sydney
Looking for a break close to Sydney? Escape to Sydney’s majestic Royal National Park and enjoy a stay at the beautifully restored Hilltop Cottage, Reid’s Flat Cottage or Weemalah Cottage. Dreaming of a country getaway? Head to historic Hartley or Jenolan Caves near the Blue Mountains. Or, indulge in a deluxe stay at a colonial heritage cottage in the heart of Sydney Harbour National Park.
NSW PARLIAMENT HOUSE
High Tea is held every Friday in the Stranger’s Restaurant and provides a rare opportunity for the public to experience a Traditional High Tea served on the Parliamentary Crested Wedgwood plates.
Events and exhibitions
NEW YEARS EVE: Sydney Harbour National Park
NEW YEARS EVE RING IN 2019 IN SYDNEY with YHA Sydney Harbour YHA is the only hostel perched above Sydney’s historic Rocks and boasts quite frankly the greatest view of the harbour you could hope to absorb. Sit from sunrise to sunset, people watching and seeing the city buzz by, explore Circular Quay and all that the city has to offer, then toddle back to the rooftop for an exclusive New Years Eve celebration that you’ll never forget.
OBSERVATORY Is part of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences. The Sydney Observatory is a heritage-listed meteorological station, astronomical observatory, function venue, science museum, and education facility located on Observatory Hill at Upper Fort Street, in the inner city Sydney suburb of Millers Point in the City of Sydney local government area of New South Wales, Australia. It was designed by William Weaver (plans) and Alexander Dawson (supervision) and built from 1857 to 1859 by Charles Bingemann & Ebenezer Dewar. It is also known as The Sydney Observatory; Observatory; Fort Phillip; Windmill Hill; and Flagstaff Hill. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 22 December 2000.
An architectural masterpiece, one of the world’s most famous buildings and a World Heritage-listed masterpiece.
An octopus’ garden underneath the Opera House. Discover the sea creatures that dwell beneath the harbour in our artificial reef along the Sydney Opera House sea wall.
Maths of the Sydney Opera House with superstar maths teacher Eddie Woo
Join award-winning maths teacher, author and Wootube star Eddie Woo on a marvellous adventure around the Opera House uncovering the mathematical concepts behind the construction and design solutions of building the Sydney Opera House. Learn about geometry, infinite numbers, and the importance of creativity in STEM. Each episode features special guests who have consulted on the design of the Opera House and includes a worksheet to support continued learning.
PICNIC SPOTS From open grassy spaces to beachside locations, national parks in and around Sydney have plenty to offer for everyone. For Sydney Harbour views, pack a picnic and go swimming at Shark or Clark Island. Just north of the city in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, you’ll find tranquil waterside picnic areas at Bobbin Head and The Basin. And if you’re in the mood for a day trip with friends or family, Blue Mountains and Bouddi national parks are popular hotspots for a lazy picnic.
Sydney’s national parks for a picnic under the sun from open grassy spaces to beachside locations, national parks in and around Sydney have plenty to offer for everyone. For Sydney Harbour views, pack a picnic and visit Shark or Clark Island. Just north of the city in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, you’ll find tranquil waterside picnic areas at Bobbin Head and The Basin. And if you’re in the mood for a day trip with friends or family, Blue Mountains and Bouddi national parks are popular hotspots for a lazy picnic.
THE EIGHT BEST PICNIC SPOTS NEAR SYDNEY
POLLINATION at THE CALYX Botanical Gardens. In the plant world, colour is the essential ingredient for pollination. Watch as The Calyx is transformed into an ever-changing kaleidoscope of colour in the new, free floral display Pollination. Curated by the horticultural team at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, the display features a collection of plants and flowers showcasing the role colour plays in natures magnificent act of pollination. Garden beds of vibrant coloured orchids, daisies, gardenias and lilies are set against the backdrop of the display hero -the green wall. The wall, the largest of its kind in Australia, standing at 6 metres high and spanning 50 metres, showcases the Pollination theme with Dichondra, Syngonium and Heuchera.
Pollination at The Calyx is open 15 September 2017– 29 July 2018
10:00 am – 4:00 pm daily.
Summer suggestions for in and around Sydney
- BASIN PICNIC AREA take the ferry across Pittwater to Ku-ring-gal Chase National Park and spark up a barbecue
- CARTER CREEK shaded picnic tables and gas barbecues by the river
- CLARK ISLAND in Sydney Harbour
- GARIE BEACH in Royal National Park, an hour south of Sydney
- LEURA CASCADES looking across the Jamieson Valley in the Blue Mountains
- LOBSTER BEACH in Bouddi National Park on the Central Coast with sheltered beach fringed with national bushland
- NIELSEN PARK positioned at Vaucluse in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, harbourside cafe
- SHARK ISLAND in Sydney Harbour
- WATTAMOLLA is popular for swimming, fishing, snorkelling and bushwalking
POWER HOUSE MUSEUM Part of the Museum of Applied Arts and Science. Explores how art and science intersect with our everyday lives.
For over 150 years the Quarantine Station was for many, the beginning of a new life in Australia after making the arduous & lengthy journey from their homelands. Ships suspected of harbouring people infected with contagious disease such as Spanish Influenza, Smallpox or Bubonic Plague were quarantined here so that these deadly diseases would not reach the general population in Sydney. Ultimately a success story for the growing Sydney population, it did however leave an indelible mark on those that were quarantined; tales of love and loss play out alongside themes of cultural and social change, medical history and progress.
QUEEN VICTORIA BUILDING
Exploring Sydney’s abandoned rail tunnels
THE BIG DIG DOCUMENTARY
THE ROCKS | Follow The Laneways
Explore the traditional lands of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, stroll cobblestone laneways and the remnants of early colonisation.
In the shadow of the Harbour Bridge, it is the site of Australia’s first colonial settlement in 1788 that characterised much of colonial Australia’s first years. The precinct was carved out of and built from the sandstone of Sydney Cove with a walk through its historic streets revealing sweeping harbour views and beautifully restored buildings housing an array of unusual shops, award-winning restaurants, museums, galleries, delightful residences, historic warehouses and more.
The rocks has survived a plague, protests, the threat of development and becomes a journey of discover and delight. One of Sydney’s oldest neighbourhoods stepping back in time to Sydney’s colonial days.
Visit the Sydney Observatory, access the Harbour Bridge Pylon Lookout, stroll across the Harbour Bridge with views of the Opera House, climb the Harbour Bridge, vistas from the rooftop of the Glenmore Hotel.
Historic sites include Agar Stairs, Argyle Cut (1843-1859), Argyle Place, Argyle Stairs, ASN Co Building (1844), Cadman’s Cottage (1816), Campbells’ Storehouse (1839-1861), The Coachhouse (1853-1861), Dawes Pint Battery (1788), Former Police Station (1882), Foundation Park, Garrison Church (1848), Johnson’s Buildings, Mariner’s Church (1856), Merchant’s House, Reynolds’ Cottage, Sailor’s Home (1864-1926), St Brigid’s Church St Patrick’s Church (1844), Suez Canal, Susannah Place (1844), Sydney Observatory, Unwin’s Stores (1845-1846), Wharf Theatre.
Parks and Squares include Argyle Place Park, Bligh and Barney Reserve, Dawes Point (Tar-ra) Park, First Fleet Park, Foundation Park, Hickson Road Reserve, Observatory Park, Tallawoladah Place, The Rocks Square.
The area includes Barangaroo, Campbells Cove, Circular Quay, Dawes Point, Millers Point, Observation Park, The Rocks and Walsh Bay.
ROYAL NATIONAL PARK Bus Service
Skip driving and parking in Royal National Park and catch the Park Connections bus. Hop from Sutherland station or Bundeena Wharf to spots in the park like Audley and Wattamolla.
- The Australian Botanic Gardens, Mount Annan
- Ballast Point Park, Birchgrove
- Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens, Mount Tomah
- Chinese Garden of Friendship, Darling Harbour
- EG Waterhouse National Camellia Gardens, Caringbah
- Fagan Park, Hornsby
- Hunter Valley Gardens, Hunter Valley
- Japanese Garden, Auburn Botanic Gardens, Auburn
- Lisgar Garden, Hornsby
- Liverpool Plains Sunflower Farm, Liverpool Plains
- Muogamarra Nature Reserve, Cowan
- Nadgee Nature Reserve, Nadgee
- Oatley Park and Castle, Hurstville
- Swain Garden, Ku-Ring-Gai
- Wendy’s Secret Garden, Lavender Bay
- Wollongong Botanic Gardens, Wollongong