Places to visit in Sydney


For the ones living in Sydney, what would you suggest to discover the region?

When you have friends or family visiting you, where do you go with them? What are the must-see places in Sydney, the tourist sites?

How to visit the region in an original way? Any unusual or unknown place to recommend?

What would you suggest for a couple of days of for a week of holidays in Sydney?

Thank you in advance for participating ;)


Hi Julie

There are many places to visit in Sydney. Really depends on what kind of things interests you and/or your family and friends.

Circular Quay (North of CBD) where you can get a good view (good for photos also) of the Opera house, Habour bridge, as well as the northern suburbs bordering the water. You can visit the Museum of Contemporary Art, which borders Circular Quay. From there, you can walk out to The Rocks (adjacent to Circular Quay), a historical area with markets on Fri, Sat, and Sun. If you like sweets/pastries, check out Guylian Chocolate cafe, La renaissance patisserie. Tell us how that compares to pastries in France, interested to know. =)

In the CBD, visit Westfields Shopping Centre and Pitt St Mall (they are at the same place, just ask any1 in the city, they will direct you). After you're done shopping, you can head up to Centre Point Tower. You can go up the observation deck for about AUD20.00 or go to 360 bar (free entry) get a drink and enjoy the view for similar price. Note that there is a $20-30 minimum spending per person on 360 bar, but at least you're getting a drink with rather than just paying to go to the observatory deck with tonnes of people. 360 bar opens from 4pm daily.

Darling Habour(south-west of the CBD) is good a nice walk, more photos, and an assortment of eaterys from seafood to steaks and everything in between. Walk over the Pyrmont Bridge if you want some good photos of Darling Habour.

Haymarket (south of CBD) is where you will find Chinatown, and Sydney markets (thu-sun off memory). Needless to say, more shopping and asian food galore.

Surry Hills (immediately south-east of Haymarket) is an artistic sort of area where you can find offbeat and vintage stuff. Good for cafes and bars and alot of health-conscious type of foods.

Kings Cross (east of CBD) is the redlight district. Lots of gay-lesbian bars and clubs.  Need I say more?

Bondi beach (10-15 minutes drive east of CBD) is a popular beach. Lots of regular events and festivals going on there.

Away from all that, you can visit the Blue Mountains (about 1.5-2 hours drive North-west of Sydney CBD). Good natural scenery, hikes, bush-walk, etc.

Think I've said enough. Shoot me a message if you need any specifics.

Have fun!

Outlined below is a response I had provided on a BLOG to a young tourist from Toronto, Canada visiting Sydney. I have outlined a suggested itinerary which will enable you to visit the best highlights of this gorgeous city. I am a Sydneysider and adore living here - hope this information will assist you. Please take the opportunity of seeing the outstanding world-heritage sights just outside of the Sydney metro area, eg Blue Mountains and Jervis Bay - they are stunning.  Also outlined are links to information sites that will provide you with lots of information .. enjoy!

Australia is an ENORMOUS country, about the size of mainland America (excluding Alaska and the Florida Keys), so it is good advice not to try to do too much. To give you an indication of size, have a look at a map of Australia then realise the distance between Sydney and Melbourne is nearly 900 kms.  Sydney and its environs really needs at least 2 weeks to see the highlights, but my recommendations are as follows:

You will be extremely jetlagged coming from Toronto (19 hours PLUS stop-overs) so you should spend the first day acclimatising - you don't say what time you will be landing in Sydney but you will need to shower and have at least 6 hours sleep upon arrival.  Hopefully, you will be staying in or near downtown so travelling into Sydney won't be a problem. Sydney has a great network of trains covering the downtown and suburban area - my suggestion is to get one of the many "package deals" offering cheap deals on the trains/buses and ferries network which will take you all over the city. In the afternoon, you can catch a train to Circular Quay, hop on a ferry and travel across the most beautiful harbour in the world to view Taronga Park Zoo.  Taronga is known as the "Zoo with a View" as it is perched in a magnificent location overlooking the magnificent vistas of Sydney Harbour.  Alternatively, you can book the following Sydney Harbour Cruise (which includes entry into Taronga Park Zoo): … ZOOEXPRESS

In the evening, wander around the historical ROCKS area of Sydney.

Day 2 = Complete one of the famous SYDNEY WALKS; go for a swim at Manly or Bondi
No trip to Sydney would be complete without undertaking some of the famous SYDNEY WALKS which offer spectacular views over the many inlets and bays.  Each walk is about 2-3 hours one way and will be a highlight of your trip to Sydney. The walkways are well marked and popular with many local runners and overseas visitors.  Weather will be getting very warm so remember to wear your swimming cossies (ie Aussie-speak for costumes), take a backpack with towel, suntan lotion, plenty of water and wear a good hat.

Click on the following link (or copy and paste it into your browser): … 1138/walks

My recommendations are: 
(1)  The absolutely SENSATIONAL SPIT BRIDGE TO MANLY Walk which offers unparalleled views (showing many different aspects) of Sydney Harbour and ends in charming Manly with its trendy restaurants, pubs and cafes.  Getting to the Spit Bridge by bus and returning to the city (from Manly) by way of the famous MANLY FERRY.   
(2)  The famous BRONTE TO BONDI cliffwalk is also highly recommended (there are a few steps but the walk is suitable for anyone of average fitness). You will end up at the iconic Bondi Beach where you could spend the rest of the day people-watching from some of the countless cafes and restaurants or join the hordes of European backpackers skylarking on the beach!  You can get back to the city by taking a train direct from Bondi.

Day 3 =  Book a tour of the famous OPERA HOUSE;  Do the SYDNEY HARBOUR BRIDGE CLIMB then acquaint yourself with the city
I am not sure how much money you will have but I strongly recommend undertaking the Sydney Harbour Bridge walk (it's a good idea to book well ahead - the dawn or sunset walks are the best).  The cost varies (depending on the type of tour) - click on the following link: … pgodaEQA2A

Here is some info on the Opera House Guided Tours (which only cost AUS $35.00).  There are also tours that take you backstage but they cost more. … 7-2482SOH1

My advice is to book both tours (Bridge Climb and Opera House) well in advance so that you can get on the tours on the day you want. Both tours are extremely popular with locals and tourists alike.  I have done the Bridge Climb and can thoroughly recommend it as one of the most memorable experiences you will have in Sydney. The Climbs are extremely safe, well organised and will be enjoyed in the company of other locals and tourists. The climb is not difficult for anyone of average fitness.

Once you have undertaken these two "MUST DO's" in Sydney, I suggest you stroll across to nearby DARLING HARBOUR to enjoy some people-watching and a light meal.  Sydney is one of the most multicultural cities on earth and is full of restaurants offering every cuisine available.  The city has some great night life in the following areas:  Downtown George Street and nearby Kings Cross (packed with pubs and some rather sleazy clubs) - just be careful in this area as it has been known as a bit of a trouble spot at night for pickpockets, drug-related crime - it's safe (by American standards) but you just need to be careful;  Newtown is full of trendy cafes, countless multicultural restaurants; Oxford Street is the Gay centre of Sydney with lots of gay bars and nightclubs. The following link will provide you with some information:

Days 4, 5, 6 and 7 = Visit the World Heritage Listed BLUE MOUNTAINS:
Stay in Katoomba (Days 4, 5 and 7)  and Caves House, Jenolan on Day 6
You can either hire a car or travel by train through the vast western suburbs of Sydney, up into the Blue Mountains (which to you Canadians are just hills - but very scenic neverthelss).  I suggest getting the train because parking can be a headache in and around popular Katoomba.  Katoomba and the gorgeous little village of Leura, are iconic and idiosyncratic little villages with world class Hotels (like the 1920's Carrington), fabulous restaurants, sweet little cafes all set in the beautiful forested hinterland of the Blue Mountains (so called because of the blue tinge of the mountains due to the Eucalyptus forests). There are numerous Backpacking Hostels in Katoomba as it is extremely popular with European backpackers.  The following links will provide you with some information on this absolutely spectacular region which is only 2 hours west of Sydney:

There are so many things to see and do up in the Blue Mountains, it is impossible to list them all here.  However, my suggestions for the TOP FIVE are as follows:

- You absolutely MUST complete one of the magnificent walks in this part of Sydney.  My strong suggestion is the 3 hour 100 year old NATIONAL PASS WALK which will take you across spine-tingling canyons cut into the sides of sheer cliff faces. I have hiked all over the world (including Canada) and I can tell you that the National Pass Walk is one of the most spectacular walks in the world. It is graded Medium - it has a lot of steps but is suitable for anyone with moderate fitness. My strong suggestion is that you get someone to accompany you.  Even though the pathway is well marked, people can and DO get lost.  Remember, the Blue Mountains NP is a WILDERNESS AREA and surrounded by virgin forests - be very, very careful and take PLENTY of water and snacks.  Mobile phone coverage is erratic here due to deep canyons. View this link: … ional-Park

- Visit SCENIC WORLD and take the steepest gauged railway in the world
The Scenic Railway is the steepest railway incline in the world and is now one of the most popular man-made tourist attractions in Australia. The ride takes you down the steep descent past Orphan Rock, through a tunnel and the beautiful fern-damp cliff face.
Adjacent to the Scenic Railway is the Scenic Cableway, the steepest aerial cable car in Australia. The Scenic Cableway takes you on a 545 metre ride into the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area rainforest of the Jamison valley. Scenic World also features a spectacular Scenic Walkway. A popular option for visitors is to descend into the valley via the Scenic Railway, stroll along the Scenic Walkway and ascend to the top via the Scenic Cableway.  Also at the same site is the magnificent Scenic Skyway.The original Skyway was Australia's first cable Skyway for passengers and was built in 1958. The new Skyway with a glass bottom floor, can carry up to 84 passengers across the Jamison Valley at a height of 200 metres. The views are breathtaking.

-  If you have time, do the CLIFF WALK around Katoomba to view the famous Three Sisters;

- An absolute MUST DO is to visit JENOLAN CAVES!! 
While the Blue Mountains often portrays Jenolan Caves as one of its own tourist attractions, Jenolan Caves is actually part of the spectacular Oberon area. Jenolan Caves is however within easy reach of the Mountains making it ideal for a day trip.  There are plenty of buses leaving between Katoomba and Jenolan Caves but you will need to book - the staff at your backpackers hostel often have all sorts of tours going, so enquire.
Open daily, award-winning Jenolan Caves is one of Australia's national treasures - the world's oldest and Australia's most awe-inspiring caves, with dazzling formations and pure underground rivers.  You can tour any of 10 show caves, each astonishing in its own way.  There is a cave tour to suit people of all ages and fitness levels.  With prior notice, there is even limited wheelchair access.
Challenge seekers can enjoy an exhilarating ‘Adventure Caving' experience, crawling, squeezing and climbing in undeveloped caves, with only their headlamp to light the way.  Jenolan also offers evening tours, including the popular‘Legends, Mysteries & Ghosts' tour. 

You will need to book ahead to stay at CAVES HOUSE.  View this link:

Return to Katoomba to spend the last night before travelling by train back to Sydney.

Day 8, 9 and 10 = Hire a car (or motorbike) and do the famous GRAND PACIFIC DRIVE (from Sydney to Jervis Bay - stay at Huskisson and return)
This is one of Sydney's most iconic drives and is enormously popular with local bike riders.  The road is famous for its hairpin bends and turns and jaw dropping coastal scenery.  Remember we drive on the LEFT-HAND side of the road and seat belts are compulsory for EVERYONE in the car.  If you don't want to drive, you can take a tour but driving is not difficult and you get to see more.  Leaving Sydney, travel along the Grand Pacific Drive which takes you through sections of the second-oldest park in the world, ie the beautiful Royal National Park (but you will only skirt the rim of it).  STOP AT STANWELL TOPS to see the incredible views that stretch right over the southern coast and see the daredevils hang gliding right over the cliffs;  Follow the road through beautiful coastal towns perched on the steep escarpment.  STOP AT SCARBOROUGH PUB for lunch - it has unbeatable coastal views and is a great place for a light dinner;  The road passes through gorgeous towns of Thirroul - lovely place to swim but the beaches here are not patrolled and can get some pretty wild surf.  Ensure you STOP AT KIAMA to see the famous blowhole - Kiama is a fabulous little town that has a lot of interesting things to see and do. 

The south coast of NSW is absolutely gorgeous and Huskisson is the heartland of the pristine Jervis Bay (which is only 2-1/2 hours south of Sydney).  I recommend you stay at one of the many B&B's or you can stay at the lively, iconic and recently renovated Huski Pub (which has great meals, bands playing on the weekend and is extremely popular with locals and tourists alike).  There are heaps of fabulous cafes, restaurants and a quaint little theatre in the seaside town of Huskisson.  It really is typical of an Australian beachside town without the huge over-development of the far northern coast of NSW and the Gold Coast of Queensland.  Whilst you are in Huskisson, I strongly recommend you visit Hyams Beach (said to have some of the whitest silicon sand in the world) and the exquisite, unspoilt environs within Boodoree National Park. There is an entry fee into Boodoree NP but there are heaps of lovely walks (the Ruined Lighthouse) and hikes (the hike to the remote Steamers Beach where there are sealions) within the park and a visit to the surfing beach of Caves Beach is recommended.  Here is a link showing you some pictures of the gorgeous Boodoree NP and the crystal clear aquamarine waters of Jervis Bay: … ESxfH5SAiE

Jervis Bay has large pods of resident dolphins and visiting whales (in season) - a whale- or dolphin-watch cruise on Jervis Bay (which is 4 times larger than Sydney Harbour) is highly recommended (but you may need seasickness tabs if the weather is inclement).  There is so much to see and do in the beautiful Shoalhaven, you really need longer time.  This link will assist you: … pQodMgMAFw

WHEN YOU RETURN TO SYDNEY - DRIVE BACK THROUGH THE SPECTACULAR RAINFOREST HINTERLAND OF KANGAROO VALLEY - REMEMBER TO STOP FOR A COFFEE AT CAMBEWARRA LOOKOUT Café where the views stretch for miles up and down the Shoalhaven River and coast.  STOP at the iconic little mountain town of Kangaroo Valley with its many art and curio shops - Like the town of Berry, Kangaroo Valley is a favourite place for people have a love of art and craft.  It has some quaint little antique shops and great cafes.

When you return to Sydney (after your travels to Queensland), I highly recommend you get a tour up into the famous wine-growing district of the HUNTER VALLEY to visit some of the wonderful wineries and taste some of the delicious wines (recommended reds, eg Cabernet Merlot or whites, try the delicious Verdellos).  There are many reasonably priced bus tours - you don't want to drink and drive here.  Drink driving in Australia carries huge penalties.  The Hunter Valley has some of the most beautiful places to stay stretching from modest B&Bs, world-class (and very expensive) Hotels, backpacker accommodation and reasonably priced motels.  However, if you are travelling with a bus tour, you can day trips there.

Enjoy Sydney - it really deserves its place as the most liveable city on earth!

My suggestion in relation to your overall trip is not to try to do too much in a short space of time but, rather, concentrate on one or two areas of Australia per visit.  Cairns is a really lovely town (I have been there a few times) - you will really enjoy your diving trip.  A diving trip on the Great Barrier Reef is a must do and it sounds like you are doing that.  Whilst you are there, you should visit the DAINTREE FOREST which is absolutely magnificent.  Also, try to get out to stay on one of the islands (for a short time).  View this link .. there are many, many things to do in and around Cairns: … pgodqRQAOw

Quite frankly, only things that I have seen of interest in Sydney or around is Jenoval Caves.