With the sparkling tributaries of the harbour and the iconic Opera House, Sydney really is the gem of Australia. There is just so much to witness and do in this big city, it is not possible to do it all in one visit. But if you take our lead, we will at least make sure that you see the high spot of Sydney.
1. Take a Tour of the Opera House
The Sydney Opera House is believed by many to be the most photographed building in the world, challenging India’s Taj Mahal. Completed in 1973, it is one of the most impressive example of modern architecture. Whilst it is most popular for its beautiful pearl white exterior, the Opera House is also a world-class performing arts centre.
On a tour of the Sydney Opera House, you can look into the interior which has 1000 rooms and hosts over 1600 shows a year. The tour takes you offstage where you can learn the secrets of the legends who have graced these halls including Cate Blanchett, Mikhail Baryshnikov and even the Foo Fighters. At the end of the tour, roll back outside and just soak in the view at one of the touristy harbour restaurants.
2. Walk Across the Sydney Harbour Bridge
After walking through the Sydney Opera House, see it from the best vantage point that is the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Known by locals as “the coathanger”, the bridge is an inbuilt part of the Sydney skyline. If you happen to be in town on New Year’s Eve, it is the center-piece for the vibrant fireworks show.
You can also walk across the bridge. From the city side, one can take a short walk towards Milsons Point where you can have some fun at Luna Park or wander through the peaceful streets of Kirribilli, which is also home to the Prime Minister of Australia.
3. Experience Nightlife Like the Locals
One of the best-loved food experiences in Sydney is visiting Doyle’s in Watson’s Bay. Catch the transport from Circular Quay and then munch on crunchy, hot fish and chips overlooking the harbour, like so many others have since 1885.
Moving back into town, the best place to enjoy the nightlife of Sydney is Darling Harbour. Here you will find mellow sports bars, sophisticated lounge bars and nightclubs that will keep you moving your feet until late in the evening. If you prefer to do something more venturous, you can try out Laser Skirmish, have fun playing ten-pin bowling and don’t forget to try your hand as a race car driver at Race Centre.
4. Hike the Manly Scenic Walkway
A short ferry ride from Circular Quay, Manly has always been a touristy place to visit on weekends for its carnival ambiance. It is also the starting point for the Manly Scenic Walk, which takes you 10 kilometers from beautiful Shelly Beach to Spit Bridge.
Along the way, you will also come across the secluded beaches, thick bushland, dazzling views from cliff-tops and brightly colored birds. It is difficult to believe that you are in the center of a large active city. The entire walk will take about 3 hours and makes for a enjoyable day-trip within Sydney.
5. Take a Day Trip to the Blue Mountains
One of the most charming places near Sydney would have to be the World Heritage Listed Blue Mountains. Located less than two hours away from Sydney, one can easily explore the mountains and make it back to Sydney in just one day. However, there is many more things to do if you are able to make out a couple of days to stay in the mountains of Blue.
The most prominent site in the Blue Mountains is the Three Sisters. These aren’t women though but rather the unique rock formations that according to Aboriginal legend, were once three siblings who turned to stone.
There are also many attractive and beautiful towns in the Blue Mountains to explore. It is the perfect place to hunt for old and unusual gifts to take home.
6. Take a Day Tour of Port Stephens
If you have never seen dolphins in the wild and really want to see then you must simply take a day trip to Port Stephens. Only a few hours from Sydney, this beautiful coastal town is renowned for its crystal water, golden beaches and its dolphins, of course.
About 70 bottle-nose dolphins call this town as their home and they can be seen often from the sea-coast or boat side. If you like to be on land, then take a 4WD with you and head to the Worimi Conservation Lands where you will be addressed with huge sand heaps, some over 30m high. You can drive down them or even sand board on them.
7. Go Shopping in Style
Sydney is known as the shopping capital of Australia with many known and upcoming designers and established High Street brands as well. Head to Paddington Market on Saturday morning, if you are searching for the former. Here, you will find modern jewellery, funky new designs and some beautiful crafts that make great gifts for your special ones.
If you want the High Street Brands, then see them in style at the historic Queen Victoria Building. Built in 1898, this Romanesque building is a destination in itself with its glorious stained glass windows and huge glass dome. Of course, you will also find all your favorite brands and can take a break and have a coffee at one of the many stylish cafes.
8. Visit the Hunter Valley
The Hunter Valley isn’t just a wine region, it is also a classy place where you can hangout and enjoy the finer things in life for a few hours. Home to some fantastic spas, indulge in a treatment before visiting some of the local food stores. Here you will find locally pressed olive oil, handmade chocolates and creamy fresh cheeses.
Of course, the wine is a leading attraction here and there are plenty of cellar doors to stop at along the way to try the best local wines. If you need to make the best out of the delicacies, you can also try horse riding or a round of golf.
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