Sydney Travel Guide


One thing that is not in short supply in Sydney are beautiful Pacific Ocean beaches. Anywhere in the city, except perhaps in the far west suburbs, you will never be more than half an hour away from one. Starting from popular Palm Beach to the north, you can take your pick along the coast: there is Whale, Avalon, Bilgola, Newport, Bungan, Mona Vale, Warriewood, Narrabeen-Collaroy, Long Reef, Curl Curl, Freshwater, North Steyne, Manly and Shelly! There are several small beaches around Sydney Harbour, and moving southwards one reaches the famous Bondi Beach, with its magnificent sweep of golden sand lined with an eclectic mix of ice-cream parlours, designer cafes and surf shops. The list goes on and on: a beach for everyone, all equipped with kiosks, white sand and golden bodies. Eight miles (13km) from the city centre, Manly is perhaps the most famous of these northern beaches; it was here, in 1902, that newspaper editor William Gocher first defied the state law against public bathing and today the white sand of the south beaches and the golden sands of the north beaches are crowded with swimmers, sunbathers and surfers. Manly can be reached by ferry from Circular Quay or by foot via the Manly Scenic Walkway from Spit Bridge in the city. This walk can take three or four hours but offers some of Sydney’s most breathtaking views, as well as skirting some of its most exclusive neighbourhoods. Another spectacular but much shorter walk is along the cliffs from Bondi to Bronte Beach, which takes walkers past the famous Tamarama Beach and is very popular with joggers and, at the weekend, with families.

Museum of contemporary Arts
Australia's first major museum for the international contemporary arts. With a constantly changing program of exhibitions and special events - including Aboriginal and Australian works - the MCA challenges, excites and informs. The MCA Store, open seven days, offers an extensive range of contemporary products, books and specially-crafted souvenirs. Facing the Opera House and Circular Quay is the MCA Cafe, one of Sydney's most popular cafes which is open seven days. The Museum is also available as a function venue.

Australian Museum
Go on an adventure across Australia as you explore the Australian Museum's exciting and changing exhibitions. Aboriginal Australia, dinosaurs, birds and the fragile environment are just part of the experience awaiting visitors to the Australia Museum. There is always something happening at the Museum. The videos, talks, live entertainment and special events will make your visit unforgettable.

Taronga Park Zoo
A visit to the world-famous and award-winning Taronga Zoo is a must when visiting Sydney. Spectacularly located on the shores of Sydney Harbour and only 12 minutes by ferry from Circular Quay. Taronga is home to more than 3.000 animals from all around the world. See koalas, kangaroos, Sydney's only platypus exhibit, Tasmanian devils, giraffes, chimpanzees, seals, elephants. bears. lions, tigers, orangutans and the state of the art reptile and amphibian exhibit, Serpentaria.

Royal Botanical Gardens
The Royal Botanic Gardens form a beautiful area on the foreshores of Sydney Harbour. This outstanding botanical and horticultural collection covers more than 30 hectares. Features include The Tropical Centre with plants from the Australian and the world's tropics. an exceptional Palm Grove in the heart of the Gardens, the Rose Garden and a Garden Shop, with a wide range of horticultural and botanical publications and appropriate gifts. Two other associated botanical gardens are Mount Tomah Botanic Garden in the Blue Mountains where cool climate plants art displayed and the Mount Runnan Botanic Garden. This native plant collection is located in Sydney's south-west near Camden.

Darling Harbour
The waterside tourist precinct of Darling Harbour, close to the central business district, is crossed by a monorail and offers plenty of entertaining diversions, museums, carnival rides, restaurants and shops. For example there is the Imax Theatre with Australia’s largest cinema screen; the magnificent Chinese Garden with its serpentine paths and placid pools; and the huge Star City Casino and the Sydney Entertainment Centre. An absolute must-see is the Sydney Aquarium (, one of the world’s best aquariums, which has underwater walkways through two huge tanks filled with an amazing array of sea creatures. There is also a giant plexi-glass room suspended inside a seal pool, and an impressive re-creation of the Great Barrier Reef. Also look out for the Powerhouse Museum and the National Maritime Museum.

Circular Quay

Circular Quay is built around Sydney Cove and is considered by many to be the focal point of the city. The first European settlement in Australia grew around the Tank Stream, which now runs underground into the harbour here. For many years this was the shipping centre of Sydney, but it's now both a commuting hub and a recreational space, combining ferry quays, a railway station and the Overseas Passenger Terminal with harbour walkways, restaurants, buskers, parks, the Museum of Contemporary Art and, of course, the Sydney Opera House.

The Domain is a large grassy area east of Macquarie St which was set aside by Governor Phillip for public recreation. Today it is used by city workers for lunchtime sports and as a place to escape the bustle of the city. On Sunday afternoons, it's the gathering place for impassioned soapbox speakers, who do their best to entertain or enrage their listeners. It is also the venue for free events held during the Sydney Festival in January and the popular Carols by Candlelight at Christmas. The Art Gallery of New South Wales is in the northeast corner of The Domain. It has excellent permanent exhibitions of Australian, European, Japanese and tribal art, and has some inspired temporary exhibits.

Sydney Harbour
The harbour is the defining characteristic of the city. One of Sydney’s most famous landmarks, the Harbour Bridge (known locally as the ‘Coat Hanger’) was completed in 1932 after claiming 16 lives during its construction. The bridge spans the 1,600ft (500m) gap from the north to the south shore, which was previously only accessible by ferry, and accommodates pedestrian walkways, two railway lines and an eight-lane road. Visitors can experience the bridge in an adventurous way by climbing to the top as part of an organised group for breathtaking views and a feeling of personal achievement. For the less daring 200 steps lead to the Pylon Lookout for equally fantastic views at 285ft (87m) above the water, with three levels of exhibits on the way up depicting the history and construction of the bridge.

Sydney Opera House
One of the world's great performing arts centres is also Australia's number one tourist attraction. Daily tours of the Concert Hall, Opera Theatre, Drama Theatre and Playhouse. The Sydney Opera House is the home of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Australian Opera, the Australian Ballet, the Sydney Theatre Company, the Sydney Dance Company, Musica Viva, the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

The Rocks
Nestling beside the great arch of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and overlooking the famous sails of the Opera House is The Rocks, a unique 19th century village. Restored to its early charm, the area is a hub of culture. business, social life, shopping and relaxation. Visit Susanah Place. explore the shops. discover Cadmans Cottage or Campbells Storehouse. You can have a meal or just coffee, visit an exhibition or display even find comfortable accommodation.

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