25 Best Things to Do in Sydney

25 Best Things to Do in Sydney

The first European settlement of Sydney was in 1788 at Sydney Cove (now known as The Rocks), nearly 20 years after Captain Cook first landed in Botany Bay (20 miles or so south of the CBD). The reason for the move was simple – Botany Bay was too exposed to the elements, Port Jackson (the original name) was seen as one of the finest natural harbours in the world.

In its first years, the city struggled to survive – only under the leadership of Governor Macquarie in the early 1800s did the settlement start to evolve as a permanent town or city. (the name Macquarie is to be found all over Australia). By 1901, more than 1 million lived in the city.

Now there are more than 5 million inhabitants and, geographically, the city is twice as big as London and three times the size of New York.

Sydney. It has a special ring to it, doesn’t it. It brings to mind the Opera House, the Bridge, Bondi Beach, glorious weather and so much more. In more recent times its the Olympics, the Mardi Gras – a city that knows how to celebrate, to have a good time.

And its so true! A stunning location and, for 9 months of the year, great weather makes the city an outdoor haven. It has so many beautiful beaches and bays it defies comprehension – and if you bore of them, drive (or catch a train) for an hour or so and you can come across even more!

For most of its existance, the city was something of a cultural backwater, a city of the other side of the world from its ‘Mother Country’. But the 1960s saw that change with the opening of the iconic Opera House and Sydney hasn’t looked back. Now its a full-on, party city with all the vigour of a ‘new city’, taking the best of the US and Europe and making it work. Its a city where you feel that ‘anything could happen, so why not give a go’ attitude prevails. Its a great place to visit and, while arguments abound about which city in Australia is the better (Sydney or Melbourne), most tourists go for Sydney as the place to visit. And with those beaches, the better weather and access to stunning natural environs such as the Blue Mountain National Park and the surrounding coastal parks, it is an amazing city to visit.

Here are the best things to do in Sydney:

1. Darling Harbour

Darling Harbour, Sydney

Darling Harbour is an old dockland area in the city centre which had a $1 billion reconstruction in the late eighties.

Apart from shopping there’s a whole range of things to see and do – the Maritime Museum, a wildlife park, an aquarium, the Chinese Garden and a huge choice of eating venues from take-away to coffee shops to pubs to seafood restaurants.

Other attractions include a Boeing jet simulator, IMAX cinema with the world’s largest screen, the Powerhouse Museum.

Star City Casino with its theatres and many hotels are located here, with all the facilities they provide. Sydney Enterainment Centre, which stages large sports events and concerts, is on the edge of Darling Harbour.

Getting there is easy – it’s in the city centre so walking is an option, it’s close to Town Hall train station and the monorail and light rail routes include Darling Harbour.

2. Blue Mountains

Blue Mountains, Sydney

We didn’t bother booking a guided tour to the Blue Mountains, instead we bought a train ticket from our local station in Sydney which we then exchanged at the end of our 2 hours train journey for an ‘Explorer Bus’ booklet which acted as our ticket from then on.

We missed our train to the Blue Mountains by literally a minute so we ended up having to wait around Wynyard Station for an hour for the next one. Do take your ipod as its a 2 hours journey and we were in a carriage with a man who sang to himself while listening to his music and reading his hymn sheet. It was pretty funny as he couldnt sing but you don’t wanna be listening to that for 2 hours! What I love about Australian trains is that you can move the back of the seats to determine which way you face in the train which I think is genius!

Anyway, once we arrived at Katoomba we caught the bus to the mountains where we trekked about between the stops. The booklet contains a map and info which is good as you might get lost! You can hop on and off the buses as you please (at the stops obviously).

I recommend the short cable car journey (Skyway) purely for the view plus you can get lunch at one of the stops, visit Echo Point (the three sisters) and if you go into Leura make sure you visit The Candy Store (Leura strand arcade), get some sweets for the journey back – i got myself some ring pops, a candy I haven’t seen since I was a child!

Take your camera, wear sensible shoes and keep an eye on the time – you don’t want to miss the last bus back to the station!

3. Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House, Sydney

You can book your tour at the SOH store on the lower concourse at Sydney Opera House. It seemed easy enough to just book at the store when we got there – we were there early in the day, so tours may book up later in the afternoons.

The most popular tour lasts one hour and starts every 30 minutes between 9am and 5pm and includes a tea or a coffee. There are approximately 200 steps on this tour.

Adult – $23.00.
Australian Seniors/Students/Children 16 and under – $16.00.
Family price: $63.25 (2 adults + 2 children under 16).

There is also a special ‘backstage tour’ for $140 per person. But, I thought we got a great tour with the $23. Our guide, Peter, was really good and was telling us at times that we were ‘sneaking’ in to places. We were able to go in the smallest of the five theaters and of course the two largest. You can not take photos while inside the actual theaters because of the sets and things being owned by others. But you can take photos inside the building but outside the main halls. And of course you could take as many as you want outside (but you don’t need to go on the tour to be able to wander around outside).

Peter told us all the history of building the opera house and a funny story about how they messed up the foundation at first and had to blow it up and start over – and they decided to do this on Friday at 5pm when all the people of Sydney would be worried about where to go drink for the evening, and apparently it was a good choice because he said no one noticed and they got no calls about the explosion!

Another interesting thing is that the main building structure was completed when the original architect quit and took his designs with him, so a new person had to come in and start from scratch with designing the inside. But from the looks of it, he did a great job.

If you have an extra hour, be sure and take the opera house tour, but if you are pressed for time (and money), just wander around a bit outside and take pictures on your own.

4. Taronga Zoo

Taronga Zoo, Sydney

The Zoo is one of the major tourist attractions in Sydney. The best way to get there is by ferry from Circular Quay. Once you arrive at the ferry landing on Mosma, take the tram up to the Zoo. You get a bird’s eye view of the park and of Sydney Harbor.

I must say I was a bit disappointed with the Zoo. It was undergoing major restoration/construction and many of the exhibits and animals were not available for viewing. We were lucky enough to meet a travel writer who was staying at our hotel who gave us free passes to visit the Zoo. The free passes made up for any dissappointment as the entrance to the Zoo is a bit on the pricey side.

We did enjoy what little animals there were to see. One of the reasons why I wanted to visit the zoo was to see the koalas and kangaroos. You’re allowed to be photographed with the koalas but you are not allowed to touch them.

This particular Koala had a joey in her pouch.

The koala area is located upon entering the park.

Make sure to take in one of the many bird and seal shows given throughout the day.

Showtimes are posted along the park and can also be indicated on the park map.

The zoo is open everyday of the year including Christmas Day. The price of admission is $46 for Adults and $26 for children (4-15) and is open from 9:30 am – 4:30 pm.

5. Harbour Bridge

Harbour Bridge, Sydney

What a neat concept!!! I had never thought of climbing a bridge before but when offered the chance I sprung for it. We arrived at the headquarters ahead of time as directed. We were given an orientation, and then were directed to take off all jewelry, cameras, etc for storage in a personal locker. Then we were fitted for coveralls, and utility belts. The belts held a communicator and a safety snap.

As we prepared to leave for the climb the door swung open and in staggered the latest group, moaning, groaning and screaming about their terrible ordeal!! All in jest we hoped.

There were about 10 of us from all over the world and Australia and we were led by a young lady guide. We came to the foot of the bridge, climbed some stairs and then set off up the girder. Our safety snaps were fastened to a cable and we had to move the snaps along as we walked.

The climb is gradual and when we reached the top the guide took our pictures with the Opera House in the background. The view was spectacular and just as we summitted a flight of military transport planes zoomed over us. It seems there was a parade in town for the returning Peacekeepers from Timor.

On the way down, I remember going down a flight of stairs and looking to my side and being eyeball to eyeball with the passengers in train cars as they passed over the bridge not three feet from my head.

After crashing the door and moaning and groaning for the next group we disposed of our gear, collected our personals and then bought pictures and jumpers to commemorate the trip.

The Climb had only been open for a few weeks and notables, who had already made the climb had their pictures posted.

6. Rocks

Rocks, Sydney

Under the shadow of the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge is the fascinating historic area of Sydney known as The Rocks. Today it is a mix of quirky shops, art galleries, museums, bars, pubs, restaurants, the odd little park, walking areas, history, with the occasional accommodation establishment all somehow mixed together.

The Rocks was the first area of Sydney to be settled in 1788 and therefore has a very important place in the history of Sydney and therefore Australia. As the settlement of Sydney expanded, The Rocks had a notorious reputation for crime – luckily for Sydney visitors, the area is well “gentrified” and the only chances of crimes are the high prices charged by some of the shops and restaurants.

The Sydney Visitors Centre and The Rocks Discovery Museum are well-worth a visit and so too is strolling along the pedestrian only zones such as Nurses Walk – an area where the first hospital for the fledgling colony of New South Wales was established. Interestingly, the first members of the nursing staff for that hospital were convict girls and women.

The overseas passenger terminal is located beside The Rocks and some of the ships are so large that they dwarf The Rocks area.

During the weekends The Rocks Market is open along parts of Argyle and George Streets.

The Rocks Discovery Museum

Located in a renovated sandstone warehouse, The Rocks Discovery Museum has an amazing array of artifacts, time lines and so much more and all housed in a 2 story building that dates from the 1850’s. The floor boards creak and at times it’s necessary to duck the head when walking through doorways – perhaps we have grown taller in the past 150 years!

The Rocks has been such an integral part of the history of Sydney and therefore Australia and we are lucky that so much has been preserved – and some was even found in rubbish dumps and now displayed in the museum.

Interactive games for kids as well as intriguing exhibits from the past.

Entry is free and the museum is open 10am – 5pm daily (Closed Good Friday and Christmas Day).

7. Queen Victoria Building

Queen Victoria Building, Sydney

I had heard of the magnificence of the Queen Victoria Building (QVB) and wanted to explore the building so dear to the hearts of Sydneysiders.

We caught the train from near our hotel and alighted at the Town Hall station. We followed the signs and suddenly we found ourselves in the lower ground floor of the huge structure. In a way it was a pity that we arrived that way, as it would have been better for a “first look” to walk towards the building from ground level and see the vastness of the building that fills an entire city block.

Over a couple of hours we walked most of the interior building and window shopped – and there is an amazing array of shops from the chain stores like Country Road and Esprit that can be seen in almost any shopping centre in Australia, to the quirky arty crafty shops and many in between. The QVB is also home to the ABC Shop where many fine books, CD’s, DVD’s and lots more await your pleasure. There are up market cafes and coffee shops and a few grab and go eateries and all surrounded by late 19th century grandeur.

What sets the QVB apart from the many shopping centers is the opulence of the building itself. From the cast iron balconies and magnificent stairwells to the stained glass windows, the dome and the multi faced clocks that are such a distinctive feature of the building.

Once outside there is a small public area containing a large statue of Queen Victoria. The story tells that during the renovation of the building, the owners wanted a statue of Queen Victoria, so they travelled to Melbourne and offered to buy the statue that overlooks the city of Melbourne from the banks of the Yarra River – no deal they were told. So they hunted the world looking for a cheap statue and found the one that now graces the entrance to the QVB in the Republic of Ireland where statues of the late queen are considered passé.

8. Circular Quay

Circular Quay, Sydney

Snuggled in between the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, the Circular Quay (pronounced “Key”) is the nerve center for Sydney city transportation. Ferries, buses, “jet-cats” and CityRail trains all stop in at the Quay. It’s also an easy place to snag a taxi, should you feel the need.

In addition to the transportation angle, the Quay is a good place to just walk around. There are lots of little takeway cafes and such. There are quite a few buskers (street performers). Some are quite talented, others pretty much suck. My husband was totally freaked by one of those “statue mimes”. I knew the guy was alive, but I sucked him in and told him to drop a coin in the hat in front of the statue. The guy comes to life and my sweet husband just about jumped out of his years.

And, since I’m so into photography, the Quay is also an excellent place to compose and shoot city scenes of Sydney.

The Circular Quay is a good starting point for all sorts of foot exploration throughout Sydney. It’s a short walk to about anywhere in downtown Sydney that would interest a tourist.

9. Chinatown

Chinatown, Sydney

Dixon Street in Sydney is Chinatown – an eclectic mix of restaurants, cafes, shops selling all types of Oriental products, foreign currency converters and people from all corners of the globe taking in the atmosphere. The odours are distinctly Asian with the pungent aroma of Hoy Sin sauce predominating. Luckily the area is pedestrian only as it can get very crowded along Dixon Street.

A wander down Dixon Street and you will be accosted by over-zealous restaurant touts trying to lure you into their establishment. Yes business is tough and very competitive, but I usually try and avoid eating establishments where they have someone out the front trying to entice passers by into their place.

Great areas for a quick and inexpensive meal or simply people watch from one of the street seats. Close by is The Chinese Garden of Friendship and Paddy’s Market.

10. AMP Centre Point Tower

AMP Centre Point Tower, Sydney

The AMP Tower is located at 100 Market Street, is accessible from the Pitt Street Mall and stands upon Centrepoint (to which some people refer the tower to) which is an office building and shopping centre. When we entered the shopping centre we spotted lots of security staff and once we bought a ticket for the AMP Tower we were guided by them towards the elevator and contantly watched by them. It felt a bit weird!

The ascent of the tower is achieved by 3 high speed double deck elevators which complete the trip in around 40 seconds. We must admit that the feeling in our tummy was quite weird, but it was a fascinating experience. At the observation deck there are several binoculars so you’re able to observe Sydney completely. We were lucky; the weather was beautiful and the sky was very clear. We could see all the places we visited till then, like The Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Opera House and the Royal Botanic Garden. Even the port of Manly (where we took the ferry to Circular Quay) and the airport were visible.

We also spotted some places we still had to visit, like the Sydney Aquarium and the beach of Dee Why. The top of the tower even contains two rotating restaurants and a coffee shop.

When we were at the observation deck we read some interesting facts about the AMP Tower. Not completed untill 1981, some of the interesting facts behind the construction of the AMP Tower include a 35,000 gallon (130,000 liters) water tank at the top of the tower that acts as a stabiliser on windy days. There are 56 cables that weigh 7 tons each that hold the tower in place. The tip of the AMP Tower is 320 meters (1,050 feet) above sea level and it took a lenghty 7 year period to complete it.

But anyway, the observation deck is about 250 meters (820 feet) above ground level. It is a fully-enclosed viewing platform and features a small gift shop and a readout displaying data on the conditions of the tower, like wind speed, direction and sway amplitude. We also noted the Skywalk platform, it’s about 260 meters (853 feet) above sea level and is an open-air viewing platform. We were not allowed to go there as it is only accessible as part of planned and booked tours.

11. Bondi Beach

Bondi Beach, Sydney

The beaches of Sydney are world class. Why not make a day of hanging out at one of the many beaches located here in Sydney?

I loved Bondi Beach. We spent a nice leisurely day here. The water was a bit rough and it was chilly out but that stop many of the beachgoers from enjoying a beautiful day at the beach.

It’s got to be one of the most famous beaches in the world, and certainly in Australia where it ranks as one of the most visited tourist destinations in the country. It’s synonymous with sand, sea, surf and sun. The beach is broad and the waves come crashing down, leading to crowds of surfers awaiting the next swell. The southern part of the beach is particularly popular with surfers, having a powerful rip current. The northern end is best for the less adventurous.

12. Skyline of Sydney

Skyline of Sydney, Sydney

While it’s a must do to see the harbour from around The Rocks and Darling Harbour, to get an idea of what the original enchantment was all about you need to get about as far away from those two sites as possible.

An activity I would recommend is to head for the north shore where the nooks and crannies of the little bays lend a serene enchantment unavailable in the hustle and bustle of the CBD. Out on the harbour or walking the north side gives you at times spectacular views and you’ll also see some of the natural animals that you won’t get walking down George Street.

Sydney at night is just as beautiful as it is in the day. We enjoyed walking around the city and seeing the Opera House and Bridge illuminated. Sydney definitely has a good nightlife and we loved watching all the activity.

13. Luna Park

Luna Park, Sydney

Luna park is an amusement park which opened in the 1930’s. Entrance to the grounds are free and there are all sorts of entertainment and rides to please all “types” of kids, young and old.

There are live venues and resturants with views of Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Luna Park is one of Sydney’s icons and well worth a visit. Its located on the foreshore at Milsons Point next door to North Sydney Olympic Swimming Pool.

Ferries operate from Circular Quay to Milsons Point or you have the choice of walking over Sydney Harbour Bridge or catching a train from Circular Quay, Wynyard or Town Hall.

14. Hyde Park

Hyde Park, Sydney

Hyde Park was a wonderful park in the heart of the city. Hyde Park was named after the famous Hyde Park in London and for me it has the same charm. We visited at the perfect time of the year when the weather was not too hot and the park was lush and green. The park has beautiful trees and fountains and plenty of places to relax and get lost in thought. My favorite part of the park was the Archibald Fountain. Surrounding the park is St. Mary’s Cathedral, The Australia Museum, Anzac Memorial and the hospital.

My husband and I spent our first morning in Sydney stroling through the park in the early morning light. We stopped for a bagel at a cafe and enjoyed our breakfast on a nice park bench.

We came back several times during our trip and the park was full of activity, joggers, children playing games, vendors seeling snacks and beverages, people picnicing, skaters, bike riders and a nightime food festival.

Sandringham Gardens

Sandringham Gardens is located in Hyde Park. The gardens were created for King George VI to look like the King’s home in Sandringham, England. The King died before the planned visit in 1953. In 1954, Queen Elizabeth II (King George VI’s daughter) visited the gardens and used a ceremonial key to unlock the gates.

We visited the gardens in the early morning sunshine and it was beautiful. There were no other people but us and the Garden has a peaceful quietness about it.

15. Jenolan Caves

Jenolan Caves, Sydney

A visit to the Jenolan Caves might seem boring to some, but it is a definite adventure not for the claustrophobic. The underground limestone caves consists of three different caves – Lucas, Imperial and Chifley.

Journeying through the cave is slightly strenuous because of the constant climbing of stairs and rock formations.

However, once deep inside the cave, one will be greeted by astonishing views, lighted and accompanied by sound effects.

Depending on the season you visit the caves, temperatures will definitely change when you venture deeper.

Don’t forget your camcorders and cameras to capture the moment. Comfortable walking shoes are extremely advisable. A cheerful guide will transport you into the past history of the caves.

16. Sydney Harbour

Not all of Sydney Harbour is a hive of activity. As we tramped around Little Sirius Cove, the natural beauty of the harbour became more apparent. It’s quite extraordinary how quickly you can get away from the madding crowd if you are prepared to walk just a short distance. This is about a kilometre (0.6 miles) west of Taronga Park Zoo.

The cove itself is named after the flagship of the First Fleet, Sirius. At the time of the first white settlement, this was almost like on another planet and so, where noise and smell were likely to offend as the ships were careened (the process of hauling the boats onto their sides in order to clean and perhaps repair the hull), it was done on the other side of the harbour.

There is a tiny beach that was popular with aboriginal people as a place to gather and eat shellfish. Today a sea scout hall sits on the shoreline.

17. Aquarium

Aquarium, Sydney

Wow! We loved the Sydney Aquarium. The Aquarium has sharks, eels, rays, tropical fish, seals, penguins, salt water crocodiles, sea horses and so much more. The tanks are incredible. We especially loved the walk through tunnels where sharks and seals swim right over your head and next to you in their underwater world. The tunnels were great for watching the sharks try to eat each other and the seals being naughty.

The tropical fish and jelly fish were beautiful. We sat down and just watched the aquarium animals; it’s so relaxing. We both liked that the Aquarium pays homage to the movie “Finding Nemo” and has some examples of the movie’s characters (after all the goal of the movie was to get to Sydney).

The saltwater crocodile is in a large pen. We had to climb stairs to look down at him in his habitat. There was a sign that reads “Be careful, it’s a long fall; if the fall doesn’t kill you, the salty will”. I found that rather amusing and a great way to keep people in line.

18. Kings Cross

Kings Cross, Sydney

When we first made our Sydney hotel reservation, we learned that the Victoria Court Hotel was only a few blocks from King’s Cross, Sydney’s red light district. I heard stories of transvestites, prostitutes, drug dealers, strip shows, rampant crime and such. I spoke to the folks at the hotel and they assured me that it was no issue, and that the Cross was no problem, so long as you stayed out of it late at night. Sounds like any American city to me.

Anyway, when I finally got to Sydney, I had to go check out King’s Cross, to find out what all the notoriety was about. It turned out, by the light of day, to be a pretty mild place. In some ways, I was a little disappointed. It was like going to see a really adult movie, when you’re about 15, only to find out that it’s adult because of the themes, rather than a lot of filthy language or naked women.

Putting it another way, it was kind of like learning that the school bully is afraid of thunder. It’s like being a weatherman in a desert. Rather than being an Aussie Sodom and Gomorrah, the Cross was more of a shoddy daytime Disneyland for people with nothing better to do. And as for safety, I’m not even sure about the nighttime warning. I know for a fact that lots of people sleep on th streets in King’s Cross at night.

Go check out the Cross during the day, just to see it all. And remember, as bad as it is, or is supposed to be, they still have a McDonald’s right there on Darlinghurst Street. You might be careful about ordering a Happy Meal.

Two funny things about the Cross and our visit.

First, they have street plaques dedicated to famous individuals of ill repute, “First cross dresser to climb Mt Everest”, that sort of thing. (I made that one up, but you get the idea).

Also, visiting King’s Cross forced me to explain the concept of a red-light district to my very innocent teenaged daughter.

19. Saint Mary Cathedral

Saint Mary Cathedral, Sydney

Located across from Hyde Park is St. Mary’s Cathedral, an imposing gothic structure which was built after the one that first stood here was destroyed by a fire. It’s a beautiful building made of the yellow-block sandstone which the city of Sydney is built of. The cathedral is an excellent example of an English-style gothic church and is the center of Sydney’s catholic community.

We were enjoying a beautiful day walking around and decided to pay it a visit. It’s quite beautiful with amazing stained glass windows. It’s a functioning religious building with daily mass.

The Cathedral is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Sydney. Inside the cathedral are beautiful stained glass, sculptures and a statue for the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Inside is very beautiful but no photography is allowed so you’ll just have to see it for yourself.

20. Botanical Gardens

Botanical Gardens, Sydney

Located behind the Opera house, the Botanic Gardens and Domain was a fantastic treat! With great views of the Opera House and a jogging path, this park is a wonderful location to just explore and get lost in.

The gardens are jammed packed with rare and exotic plants and flowers. Some of the more rarer plants can be found behind metal fences to keep individuals from stealing them. The “Wollemi Pine” is one of the most protected and endangered of the trees found here in the garden. In 1994 one Wollemi Pine was discovered in the Blue Mountain range after being thought extint. You can find a few of the Wollemi Pines planted in the garden. The first tree was grown from a seedling.

There is so much to see and do in the Gardens. You can even have a picnic on one of the many lawns. Throughtout the gardens you will find signs encouraging you “touch trees and step on the grass”.

21. Manly Beach

Manly Beach, Sydney

This is the well known Manly Beach. It’s surrounded by shops, restaurants, artists, souvenir shops, and has just about a little (or alot) of everything. Located within 15 minutes from Sydney CBD by ferry (quickest way to reach it). It’s easy to walk around here, lots to see. My favorite memory of Manly beach was visiting here on Australia Day about 10 years ago and they had a sand castle competition going on, sand castles being built by people of all ages, with sand castles of all sizes, shapes and descriptions.

Great beach for swimming, sun bathing, people watching, or just enjoying the scenery. Tons of souvenir and surf related shops.

A nice place to visit for a day, but if you are looking for a really nice beach, try going a little farther north.

The Coastal Walk is well worth your time, if you enjoy walking. Bring some good walking shoes, your sunscreen, bottled water and a camera.

22. Featherdale Wildlife Park

Featherdale Wildlife Park, Sydney

Featherdale is another Wildlife Park located outside of Sydney. The Park is a nice set up with different areas for Kangaroos, Koalas, reptiles, birds, native Australian animals, penguins and domestic farm animals.

My husband and I came here as part of a tour we had purchased. Things went very well as we walked through the park visiting the Wombats, Koalas and Wallabies until we got to the Kangaroo enclosure. The Kangaroo enclose said just that: “Kangaroo”, not “Kangaroo and extremely aggressive Emus”. I have a bird phobia since childhood (goose attacked me when I was two) and since then all birds freak me out. This park already lets the smaller birds wander free which was disturbing me enough before I came into this enclosure.

I was happily feeding a Kangaroo when out of the corner of my eye I saw a feather at about eye level. I looked right and there was a huge Emu looking at me. Ugg!!!!!!! With that I knew I had to get out of there as my heart began to pound frantically in my chest. As I made my quick way to the exit I avoided several Emus that were running about. Just when I was almost to the exit, it was blocked, yes; by an Emu. Now the adrenaline kicked in and I ran back to the entrance and ran out as quick as I could. Once outside I realized I left my poor husband behind but I was so terrified that I was crying.

Several staff members came up to me and I explained (as hubby emerged) that I have a terrible bird phobia and there was no posting that Emus were wandering out of the cage. They said Emus can be aggressive but they were rather tame. A bird bigger than my husband, that can pluck out your jugular is not one that should be roaming around with kids. Every other park has them in cages. They should too here.

After gathering my composure, we sat down in the picnic area for an ice cream. I was so done with the Park after that experience.

If you’re not afraid of birds, it’s a lovely park with a nice array of animals. Animal encounters here are free and you can take as many pics with them as you want (Taronga park charges for animal encounters).

23. Chinese Garden of Friendship

Chinese Garden of Friendship, Sydney

The Chinese Garden of Friendship was one of the sights I had to see when in Sydney. We walked to Darling Harbour from Chinatown for a nice afternoon visit. The Garden was created in 1988 to celebrate Australia’s Bicentenary. Chinese Garden is the result of a close bond of friendship and cooperation between the sister cities of Sydney and Guangzhou in Guangdong Province, China. Entering the gardens made me feel as if I was transported to another world. It was hard to believe such beauty of nature existed in a sprawling city like Sydney. The gardens are filed with fowing water, plants, trees, stones and lovely architecture. Creatures such as birds, lizards and fish call the Gardens home.

Walking through the gardens there are various rock sculptures, bridges, ponds, waterfalls and pavillions. It was so peaceful and calming to walk through Dragon Wall, the Courtyard of Welcoming Fragrance, Water Pavilion of Lotus Fragrance, Gurr, Twin Pavilion, Rock Forest, and the Penjing. There are several rock stairs throughout the garden so be careful climbing or with children as it’s easy to be distracted and slip. Hubby and I enjoyed the simple beauty and tranquility we felt as we wandered about the gardens.

We spied various lizards along our travels around the property and stopped at various waterfalls just to take in the beauty. The water elements in the garden were both stimulating with the rush of the waterfalls and calming with the stilness of the ponds. This was a peaceful and beautiful way to spend the afternoon together. I’m glad we visited this special place.

24. Paddy’s Market

Paddy's Market, Sydney

Paddy’s is Australia’s oldest traditional markets, and operates in 2 locations, at Haymarket and Flemington, with Haymarket being more central and more popular. Paddy’s Haymarket is located on the corner of Hay Street and Thomas Streets, directly opposite Chinatown and the Sydney Entertainment Centre. Market City is in the same building, offering warehouse outlet shopping.

You will find everything you want at Paddy’s for bargain prices. They sell fruit and vegetables, to souvenirs, clothing, bags, food, jewellery, cosmetics – the list is endless.

In 1842 Sydney City Council took control of the Markets and officially named them Paddy’s Markets. In December 1993 paddy’s Markets moved to its Haymarket site. And in 1997 control of the Markets was transferred from government to industry and the stallholders became shareholders! That sounds pretty fair to me!!!

Paddy’s Haymarket is open Wednesday to Sunday and Public Holidays from 9am to 5pm. Paddy’s Flemington is open Friday 10am-4.30pm, Saturday 6am-2pm and Sunday 9am-4.30pm.

Paddys Haymarket is easily accessible via either the monoral or light rail, or by foot from Central Sydney.

25. Palm Beach

Palm Beach, Sydney

Many tourists come to sydney and are told to see Bondi beach. This is a trick, Australians keep their own favourite places a secret. I guess the secrets out now. Palm beach AKA Summer Bay is a beautiful secluded beach where a small house might cost over 10 million dollars each. It is also where the Australian drama ”Home and Away” is filmed.

This is a real contrast from the city as Palm beach is almost totally inhabited by Australians, so if you want to meet some, you’ll find them here.

I suggest eating lunch in Avalon before or after visiting palm beach for the variety of choice. Anything in palm beach is really expensive.

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Post Author: Aylen

I live each of my travels three times: first with its preparation, then during its realization and finally with its sharing through my writing.