Around The Harbour
Nothing says Sydney like the white sails of the Opera House against the backdrop of the coat-hanger shape of the Harbour Bridge. Those with a head for heights can buckle up and do the Bridge Climb, while cultural buffs can take a backstage tour of the Opera House. Many visitors simply choose to explore the area on foot, perhaps stopping for a bite to eat at one of the many cafes close to the water.
This sprawling sanctuary right in the heart of the city is a favourite among city workers who use the gardens as a running track in their lunch hour. Kids will love the Choo Choo Express train tour, there are daily guides and talks, and whenever you need a break there are cafes and restaurants to stop and take a breath. The gardens even have their own app and Wi-Fi. Whoever said nature and technology were exclusive?
From Friday to Sunday each week The Rocks dedicates much of its cobbled streets to markets. While there’s more of a foodie focus on Fridays, you can still find gifts, homewares and Australiana, and whether you’re wanting to buy big, or simply have your senses knocked sideways by the energy, you’ll have an unforgettable experience.
Stepping into the halls of the cool, quiet MCA can be a shock, compared with the high noise of The Rocks. Housing works by living Australian and global artists the museum prides itself on supporting a whole spectrum of styles, embracing diversity and eclecticism. There really is something for the curious novice and the die-hard enthusiast, but if you’re just looking for a quiet corner head to the café, which boasts a spectacular view of the harbour and is free to the public.
A short walk by the water from The Rocks and you’ll discover the Walsh Bay Arts Precinct, a collection of warehouse-style buildings, housing all things theatre and dance in Sydney. In addition to the big cultural draw, you’ll also be spoiled by some spectacular waterside restaurants, cafes and bars. A favourite backdrop for films and TV, the stunning views alone are worth the short walk.
One of the city’s better kept secrets is our “energetic” rainfall. When the weather is wet there are few better places to head than the Queen Victoria Building in the heart of the city. While this heritage-listed building hosts four floors of shops, cafes and restaurants, even if shopping isn’t your thing, the building itself is a site to see.
Taking up some valuable real estate right in the heart of the CBD, Sydney’s Hyde Park provides a splash of green for those spending the day in the city. Host annually to Night Noodle Markets and the Sydney Festival, during the day it’s a great place to sit and grab some lunch. Watching over the park is the impressive St Mary’s Cathedral. Free tours are run each Sunday, or you can contact the cathedral direct for a weekday tour booking.
If you’re walking through the city, chances are you’ll follow the crowds and find yourself in the pedestrianised Pitt Street mall. Home to most of our high-street stores, it’s also where you’ll find the Sydney’s Westfield mall, which hosts all of the international high-end designers. Our tip? Take your credit card and some comfortable shoes.
With what has to be the world’s best zoo view, Taronga has an incredible commitment to conservation and wildlife, something that is reflected in the passion of the volunteers and keepers. Constantly surprising visitors with new exhibits, the zoo also offers a high ropes course for adults and children, night concerts in the summer, and an overnight camping experience like no other.