The glistening harbor, rugged coastline and famous beaches define Sydney’s charm and one of the best ways to see the metropolis is by foot, ferry and train. There is a tourist information centre at Circular Quay where you can pick up maps and brochures before setting off on an exploration that can never see it all, not even after living in the city for years.
Sydney has everything; galleries and performing arts, live music, great food, interesting bars and pubs, nightlife, gardens, museums, history, beaches, and fun for the kids. Planning your time here has a lot to do with your interests. We’ve put together a few highlights – a ‘Sydney Sampler’ if you will – but honestly, we’ve barely scratched the surface.
The settlement of Sydney all began at The Rocks, an enclave of historic sandstone buildings around the west end of Circular Quay. Here you’ll find old pubs, art galleries, and restaurants. At the top of the hill sits the Observatory where you can star gaze at night if you book ahead. Climb the Harbour Bridge for a bird’s eye view of the city. Visit the nearby Museum of Contemporary Art, wander passed street performers to the iconic Opera House (great at sunset!) and the Botanic Gardens for a picnic. Head south for the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Australian Museum, before heading back toward Circular Quay for the Museum of Sydney. This can all be done on foot.
Cockle Bay Wharf is attractive day and night with harbour lights and fireworks reflecting off the water. Cockle Bay is a culinary playground choc full of restaurants and swanky bars. There are fountains and a water park for the kiddies, an Imax theatre, Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, the serene Chinese Gardens of Friendship where you can have tea, and Chinatown is right next door. Kids and animal lovers will enjoy Sydney Aquarium and Wildlife Sydney.
Jump on a ferry to visit Taronga Park Zoo. Do the harbourside walk at Cremorne Point. Drop in to the Mosman Rowers Club along the way for refreshments and jump on a ferry at Old Cremorne or Cremorne Point Wharf. Maccullum Public Pool at Cremorne Point sits right on the harbour with excellent views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Bring your swimmers!
Catch the bus to the famous Bondi Beach. From here you can do the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk taking in lesser-known beauties such as Tamarama Beach, Bronte Beach and Clovelly Beach. From Coogee you can catch the bus to Centennial Park for some roller blading or a stroll. Cross Oxford Street and wander through the leafy residential streets of Paddington, a town of Victorian terrace houses, independent art galleries and small corner pubs. You can connect with the train at Edgecliff Station, after stopping for a pint at the Lord Dudley. Alternately, you can continue down Oxford Street passed the boutiques, bars and restaurants back to Hyde Park in Sydney’s CBD. The Saint Mary’s Cathedral is a magnificent gothic cathedral made from the local sandstone. Inside the soaring columns, vaulted ceilings, stained glass, and massive pipe organ inspire awe.
There are two popular routes between Sydney and Melbourne; the Coastal Drive and the Heritage Drive.
The Coastal Drive. This drive hugs the coast passing through coastal towns, along sweeping beaches, and over estuaries and lakes. At every turn the view will take your breath away. You'll have opportunities to swim, fish, relax on beaches, hang out at beach side campsites and enjoy water sports, hiking, the wildlife, and the vibrant culture of these coastal communities.
The Alpine Coastal Combo Drive. This road trip takes you across sweeping plains to Australia’s capital city, Canberra, with its museums, music, food and wineries, over to the food and wine district of Victoria’s High Country, and down through the spectacular scenery of The Great Alpine Way, joining the Coastal Drive at Metung to take in the Gippsland Lakes, Wilson’s Prom, Phillip Island and the Mornington Peninsula.
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