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Last updated : Nov 2009
Sydney Sightseeing
Sydney Sightseeing Guide - TravelPuppy.com
Who can disagree with the claim that Sydney has the most magnificent harbour in the world? Its complex coastal geography of headlands and secluded bays is the stunning setting for 2 of the modern world’s most ambitious architectural achievements, the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Consequently, it is hardly surprising that much tourist attention is focused on the harbour, with the revived cobbled charm of The Rocks, the perpetual motion of people arriving and departing Circular Quay and the enduring awe that visitors experience at the steps of the Opera House.

However, behind these modern monoliths, there is a wealth of history, culture and tradition. In inner city Sydney, Macquarie Place and Macquarie Street are characterised by their imposing Victorian banking chambers and community buildings, while further afield, the areas of Kings Cross, Darlinghurst and Paddington are thriving cosmopolitan societies, each with their own distinct character.

Kings Cross, renowned more for its red light district, has a bustling café civilization, while Darlinghurst comes alive every March for the world famous Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade. Paddington has a more refined feel, with its fashionable restaurants, antique shops, galleries and restored Victorian terraces complete with wrought-iron lace verandahs.

Art Gallery of New South Wales

Featuring the Yiribana Gallery, the world’s biggest permanent exhibition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, the Art Gallery of New South Wales is 1 of Australia’s foremost art museums.

Among its most inspiring exhibitions is its Australian art collection, extending from the early colonial period to the mid 20th century. The recently completed Asian Galleries showcase the gallery’s momentous Asian collection and touring exhibitions. Short listed portraits in the Archibald Prize (Australia’s most prestigious art award) are exhibited here each year.

Address: Art Gallery Road, The Domain
Telephone: (02) 9225 1700.
Facsimile: (02) 9221 6226.
Email address: artmail@ag.nsw.au
Website address: www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au
Opening hours: Thursday to Tuesday 10.00 am to 5.00 pm, Wednesday 10.00 am to 9.00 pm.
Admission: Free (some special exhibitions may charge entrance).
Transport: CityRail Martin Place/St James, bus 441.

Bondi Beach

Bondi is 1 of the world’s most perfect beaches, a white crescent of sand strung between two rocky headlands, located just 15 minutes from the city centre.

The waterfront scene, with its street musicians, surf shops and bars is ideal for a summer evening’s prowl or a lazy saunter past Campbell Parade’s cafés, restaurants and Sunday markets.

Topless sunbathing is tolerated and swimmers should stick to the patrolled areas of Bondi Baths or North Bondi, on the southern rocks. The coastal walk takes in the whole gamut of beach cultures, from the wild surf and glinting bodies at Tamarama to the palm fringed views of Bronte and the soothing sea pools at Coogee.

Address: Campbell Parade, off Bondi Road
Opening hours: Daily, 24 hours a day.
Admission: Free.
Transport: Bus 380, 382 or L82, CityRail Bondi Junction and then bus 380, ferry from Circular Quay to Rose Bay and then bus 380.

Centennial Parklands

A grand park in the European tradition, the Centennial Parklands features statues, landscaped gardens, ponds, historic monuments and houses, formal gardens, wildlife habitat areas and grand avenues.

There is a café, restaurant and facilities for every active pursuit under the sun.

Address: Southeast of the Sydney, bordering Paddington, Moore Park and Bondi Junction
Telephone: (02) 9339 6699.
Facsimile: (02) 9332 2148.
Email address: info@cp.nsw.gov.au
Website address: www.cp.nsw.gov.au
Opening hours: Daily, 24 hours a day.
Admission: Free.
Transport: Bus 378, 380, 382 or L82 to Paddington / Woollahra Gates, bus 357 or 359 to Musgrave Avenue Gates, bus 355 to Jervois / Robertson Road Gates or bus 339 or 340 to Randwick / Govett Gates.

Darling Harbour

A previous dockside area, this small harbour has been transformed into a major tourist site. The vast, paved and landscaped recreation ground is packed with restaurants and shops, as well as several of tourist attractions.

These include the Sydney Aquarium, Australian National Maritime Museum, Powerhouse Museum, IMAX Theatre and the Chinese Garden of Friendship, a gift to Sydney from its sister city of Guangdong in China.

Darling Harbour

Website: www.darlingharbour.com
Transport: CityRail Town Hall, monorail Darling Park or Harbourside, ferry Darling Harbour.

Sydney Aquarium

Address: Aquarium Pier
Telephone: (02) 8251 7800.
Website address: www.sydneyaquarium.com.au
Opening hours: Daily 9.00 am to 10.00 pm.
Admission: A $25, concessions are available.

Australian National Maritime Museum

Address: 2 Murray Street
Telephone : (02) 9298 3777.
Website address: www.anmm.gov.au
Opening hours: Daily 9.30 am to 5.00 pm.
Admission: Free.

Powerhouse Museum

Address: 500 Harris Street
Telephone: (02) 9217 0111.
Website address: www.phm.gov.au
Opening hours: Daily 10.00 am to 5.00 pm.
Admission: A $10, concessions are available, some special exhibitions may charge an extra entrance fee.

IMAX Theatre

Telephone: (02) 9281 3300.
Website address: www.imax.com.au
Opening hours: Daily 10.00 am to 11.00 pm.
Admission: A $16 for 2D films, A $17 for 3D films, concessions are available.

Chinese Garden of Friendship

Telephone: (02) 9281 6863.
Email address: edgarm@shfa.nsw.gov.au
Opening hours: Daily 9.30 am to 5.00 pm.
Admission: A $6.

Fox Studios Australia

Fox Studios produced the principal photography of The Matrix Trilogy (1999/2003), Moulin Rouge (2001), Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002) and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005).

The adjoining entertainment precinct includes markets, shops, mini golf, cinemas, restaurants, bungy trampoline and an indoor children’s playground.

Address: Lang Road, Moore Park
Telephone: (02) 9383 4333.
Facsimile: (02) 9383 4005.
Email address: fox_studios@gandel.com.au
Website address: www.foxstudios.com.au
Opening hours: Daily 10.00 am to 12.00 pm.
Admission: Free.
Transport: Bus 272, 290 - 299, 355, 372-377, 391, 393 or 395.


The All Day Pass & Tower & Aquarium package from Captain Cook Cruises includes entry to Sydney Aquarium, Sydney Tower and a hop on, hop off harbour cruise departing from Circular Quay.

Tickets are available for purchase from any of these attractions and cost A $59.

The Darling Harbour Super Ticket, which costs A $62 and available at the Sydney Aquarium, includes entry to the Sydney Aquarium and the Chinese Garden, Matilda Rocket Harbour cruise, a monorail ride, a meal at the Aqua Bar and Grill, reduction entry to the Powerhouse Museum and IMAX Theatre and discount travel on the People Mover train.

Combined ferry and attraction admission passes are available for purchase from the Sydney Ferries ticket office at Circular Quay. For example, the A $33.50 Zoo Pass includes return ferry and bus transport to Taronga Zoo, entry to the zoo and an aerial cable ride.

Rose Seidler House

The designs for Australia’s 1st modernist home, Rose Seidler House, so appalled local residents they almost succeeded in preventing the building’s construction.

Created by the great Canadian / Australian architect Harry Seidler for his parents, the concrete house has glass walls, a sun filled deck and panoramic views of Ku-ring-gai National Park. The house has been refurbished to its original scheme, with 1950's furnishings and objects.

Address: 71 Clissold Road, Wahroonga
Telephone: (02) 9989 8020.
Facsimile: (02) 9487 2761.
Email address: info@hht.net.au
Website address: www.hht.nsw.gov.au/museums/rose_seidler_house
Opening hours: Sundays, 10.00 am to 5.00 pm.
Admission: A $7, concessions are available.
Transport: Train to Wahroonga.

Royal Botanic Gardens

A short walk from the Opera House, the Royal Botanic Gardens sits on a slope which over looks the harbour. It covers 30 hectares (which is 74 acres) in the heart of the Sydney.

Established in 1816, it is Australia’s oldest scientific institution and home to over 1 million specimens. Highlights include the Sydney Tropical Centre and the Rose Garden, there is a hop on hop off trackless train to get around the attractions.

Address: Macquarie Street (main entrance)
Telephone: (02) 9231 8111.
Facsimile: (02) 9251 4403.
Email address: feedback@rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au
Website address: www.rbgsyd.gov.au
Opening hours: Daily 7.00 am until sunset.
Admission: Free.
Transport: CityRail St James, Martin Place or Circular Quay.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Not to be outdone by the striking grandeur of the Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge is, in its own right, a feat of engineering genius. Tenderly known as ‘the Coathanger’, it took 1,400 workers (16 of whom perished in the process) 8 years to complete the bridge, which opened in 1932.

If the views from the Pylon Lookout across Sydney Harbour and over the Opera House are not magnificent enough, the Bridge Climb gives thrill-seekers the chance to walk to the top of the 50 storey high bridge (over the cars and trains rumbling across the deck below) and down the other side.

Paul ‘Crocodile Dundee’ Hogan, a bridge painter in a former lifetime, was 1 of the first to climb the bridge.

Pylon Museum and Lookout

Address: Access from stairs via Cumberland Street
Telephone: (02) 9240 1100.
Facsimile: (02) 9241 2151.
Email address: pylonlookout@bridgeclimb.com
Website address: www.pylonlookout.com.au
Opening hours: Daily 10.00 am to 5.00 pm.
Admission: A $8.50, concessions are available.
Transport: CityRail or ferry to Circular Quay.

Bridge Climb

Address: 5 Cumberland Street
Telephone: (02) 8274 7777.
Facsimile: (02) 9240 1122.
Email address: admin@bridgeclimb.com
Website address: www.bridgeclimb.com
Opening hours: Daily 7.00 am to 8.00 pm.
Admission: A $160 to A $225, concessions are available.
Transport: CityRail or ferry to Circular Quay.

Sydney Olympic Park

Built on the site of an old rubbish tip, the focal point of the best ever Olympics in 2000 is now an attraction in its own right, comprising 15 architecturally splendid venues as well as extensive parks and wetlands.

Separate guided tours of the venues are given and a self guided tour brochure is available from the website or the Visitor Gateway.

Address: 1 Herb Elliot Avenue, Homebush Bay
Telephone: (02) 9714 7888 or 131 500 (Australia only) (bus rides).
Facsimile: (02) 9714 7822.
Email address: info@sopa.nsw.gov.au
Website address: www.sydneyolympicpark.com.au
Opening hours: Daily 9.00 am to 5.00 pm (Visitor Gateway).
Admission: Free.
Transport: Train to Strathfield, then bus 401 or 404, train to Olympic Park, ferry from Circular Quay to Sydney Olympic Park Terminal then bus number 401 or 404.

Sydney Opera House

In April 1966 the designer of the Sydney Opera House, Jørn Utzon, left Australia, never to return. His grand architectural vision was only half completed, but arguments with the State government over the escalation cost of the project meant that the interior complex of auditoria, theatres, restaurants and bars was completed by other architects.

In spite of its compromised genesis, the building immediately became a world icon on opening in 1973. Utzon has never seen the completed building but in recent years has collaborated on a A $70 million interior renovation that will bring the building closer to his original vision, including a 14 metre long tapestry that was installed in September 2004.

The 4 main auditoria (the Concert Hall, the Playhouse, the Opera Theatre and the Drama Theatre) stage a total of 3,000 performances per year.

Address: Bennelong Point
Telephone : (02) 9250 7111.
Facsimile: (02) 9251 3843.
Email address: infodesk@sydneyoperahouse.com
Website address: www.sydneyoperahouse.com
Opening hours: Daily 9.00 am to 5.00 pm (tours), Monday to Saturday 9.00 am to 8.30 pm (box office), and 2 hours before Sun show.

Admission: A $23 (front of house tour), A $140 (backstage tour).
Transport: CityRail, ferry or bus to Circular Quay, bus 438 to Opera House steps.

Telstra Stadium

Address: Olympic Boulevard, Gate C
Telephone: (02) 8765 2300 (tours).
Opening hours: Daily 10.30 am to 3.30 pm.
Admission: A $26 (60 minute tour), A $15 (30 minute tour), concessions are available.

Observation Centre

Address: Level 17, Novotel Hotel, Olympic Boulevard
Telephone: (02) 8762 1111.
Opening hours: Daily 10.00 am to 4.00 pm.
Admission: A $4.40, concessions are available.

Sydney Aquatic Centre

Address: Olympic Boulevard
Telephone: (02) 9752 3666.
Website address: www.sydneyaquaticcentre.com.au
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 5.00 am to 8.45 pm, Saturday to Sunday 6.00 am to 6.45 pm.
Admission: A $18.50 (tour and swim), A $6 (swim only), concessions are available.

Bicentennial Park

Address: Bennelong Road
Telephone: (02) 9714 7888.
Opening hours: Daily, from sunrise to sunset.
Admission: Free.

Sydney Tower

Standing 250 metres (820 feet) above Market Street, Sydney Tower is the city’s tallest building, with views over the city, the Harbour, the Olympic Park and as far as Terrigal Beach, 100 kilometres (62 miles) to the north. Entry to the observation deck includes the Skytour, a 35 minute virtual tour / ride on the podium level.

Address: Podium Level, 100 Market Street
Telephone: (02) 8251 7800.
Facsimile: (02) 9223 0233.
Opening hours: Sunday to Friday 9.00 am to 10.30, Saturday 9.00 am to 11.30 pm.
Admission: A $22, concessions are available.
Transport: CityRail St James / Town Hall, monorail City Centre.

Taronga Zoo

The most desirable residence in Sydney is inhabited not by the upper echelons of society but by a collection of snow leopards, seals, koalas, kangaroos and wallabies.

Taronga Zoo’s situation, on Bradley’s Head, at Mosman, is one of the most beautiful vantage points on Sydney Harbour, located on elevated land along the waterfront.

The zoo is home to over 350 different species of animals, ranging from old time favorites such as gorillas, elephants, giraffes, orangutans and so on, to more bizarre representatives of the animal kingdom such as the platypus (an animal so peculiar looking that when settlers first came across it, they thought it was a hoax) and the echidna.

There are keepers’ talks and shows during the day, and the sky safari (little cable cars going over the zoo to give a bird’s eye perspective) is particularly popular.

Address: Bradleys Head Road (main entrance)
Telephone: (02) 9969 2777.
Facsimile: (02) 9969 7515.
Email address: tz@zoo.nsw.gov.au
Website address: www.zoo.nsw.gov.au
Opening hours: Daily 9.00 am to 5.00 pm.
Admission: A $27, concessions are available.
Transport: Ferry from Circular Quay, bus 247.

The Rocks

Nestled at the foot of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, The Rocks (Sydney’s historical birthplace) is a neighbourhood of sandstone cottages, winding streets and some of Sydney’s oldest pubs.

The site of the 1st landing from Plymouth in England, in 1788, the area is now a busy tourist enclave, with restaurants, cafés, galleries, museums and countless souvenir shops.

Among the district’s historic buildings are the Hero of Waterloo inn (built over a tunnel that was initially used for smuggling), the Sydney Observatory (on the site of the colony’s 1st windmill), Cadman’s Cottage (Sydney’s oldest building, built in 1816) and Susannah Place (a museum of working class life).

Other attractions include The Rocks Toy Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Address: The Rocks, Sydney Harbour
Transport: CityRail or ferry Circular Quay.

Sydney Observatory

Address: Watson Road, Observatory Hill
Telephone: (02) 9217 0485.
Facsimile: (02) 9217 0489.
Email address: observatory@phm.gov.au
Website address: www.sydneyobservatory.com.au
Opening hours: Daily 10.00 am to 5.00 pm.
Admission: A $6 (day tour), A $15 (night tour), concessions are available.

Cadman’s Cottage

Address: 110 George Street
Telephone: (02) 9247 5033/8861.
Website address: www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au
Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm, Saturday and Sunday 10.00 am to 4.30 pm.
Admission: Free.

Museum of Contemporary Art

Address: 140 George Street
Telephone: (02) 9252 4033.
Website address: www.mca.com.au
Opening hours: Daily 10.00 am to 5.00 pm.
Admission: Free (some special exhibitions may charge entrance).

The Rocks Toy Museum

Address: 2-6 Kendall Lane
Telephone: (02) 9251 9793.
Opening hours: Daily 10.00 am to 5.15 pm.
Admission: Free.

Susannah Place Museum

Address: 58-64 Gloucester Street
Telephone: (02) 9241 1893.
Opening hours: Saturday and Sunday 10.00 am to 5.00 pm.
Admission: A $7, concessions are available.

Tourist Information

Sydney Visitor Centre

Address: 106 George Street, The Rocks or 33 Wheat Road, Darling Harbour
Telephone: (02) 9240 8788 or (1800) 067 676 (Australia only)
Facsimile: (02) 9241 5010.
Email address: visitorinformation@shfa.nsw.gov.au
Website address:: www.sydneyvisitorcentre.com
Opening hours: Daily 9.30 am to 5.30 pm