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Sydney City Guide

Ashley Greenwood 2016-07-27 11:19

The Great Outdoors 

When you’re in Sydney, you’re going to want plenty of time to enjoy the weather and stunning scenery. The Bondi to Coogee Walk is one of the most spectacular walks and coastlines you could hope to see and takes in some of Sydney’s most iconic beaches. The free Sculpture by the Sea exhibition near Bondi (this year it is held from 20th October – 6th November) transforms the beach in to a 2km sculpture park, and is well worth checking out! Another great route is the Spit to Manly Walk, which takes you from the Spit Bridge at Mosman, through the Sydney Harbour National Park with its fascinating Aboriginal rock art, past Manly Cove, and across North Head where you can get beautiful, sweeping views of the city from the North Head Lookout at the mouth of the harbour. If you’re lucky you might catch sight of migrating whales here, but even just admiring the skyscrapers and the glorious sunsets is well worth the visit. From here you can continue the walk down to Manly’s famous beach. 


Another great way to take in views of the city is to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge. If you are so inclined, you can pay to climb up the arches at twilight or dawn, but you can still get stunning views just strolling along the pedestrian path. Nicknamed “the coat hanger”, the bridge originally opened in 1932 and is the tallest steel arch bridge in the world – if you do the climb, you will be 134 metres above the water level! If you’re travelling with kids (or if you’re a child at heart) then we recommend a visit to Luna Park. You don’t need to pay anything for entry to enjoy the jovial atmosphere of this historic fun park, but you’ll need to pay a little to go on the rides. Opened in 1932, several of the buildings it contains are now listed heritage. 


For something a bit more relaxed, you can get a touch of serenity by visiting St. James’ Church and St. Mary’s Cathedral. Just a stones throw from each other, they’re perhaps two of the cities most beautiful religious buildings - St. Mary’s is a prime example of English Neo-Gothic style with a crypt you can visit after Sunday Mass. Take a short stroll through Hyde Park to see St James’ Church. Consecrated in 1824, the church was designed by Francis Greenway, who had originally arrived in Australia as a convict from England. 

Day Trip

The Blue Mountains

So named for their famous blue-tinged slopes, the Blue Mountains National Park is just a few hours from Sydney that is popular with rock climbers, mountain bikers. 

Hunter Valley Vineyards and Wine Tasting

Two hours drive north from Sydney to Hunter Valley which has been producing wine since the 1800s. 



Canberra was chosen as the site of a new Australian capital in 1908 as a compromise between Sydney and Melbourne. The chosen urban design came from a Chicago-based architect and featured geometric shapes aligned with significant topographical landmarks in the area. 

Cockatoo Island

Cockatoo Island is a UNESCO World Heritage-listed island in the middle of beautiful Sydney Harbour. The island later became the site of one of Australia's biggest shipyards, with the first of its two dry docks built by convicts. The island is easy to explore by foot and contains lots of little hidden spots just waiting to be discovered. 

Royal National Park

The Royal National Park is a great spot for those who enjoy hiking, swimming, cycling, surfing, rowing, aboriginal art, whale watching, or just chilling with a picnic. 


A City of Culture 

If you want to discover more of the cultural side of Australia and dig deeper in to Sydney’s history, you’re in luck! Start at the Rocks Discovery Museum, housed in a restored 1850s sandstone warehouse, it is an entertaining way to explore and understand more about Sydney’s oldest neighbourhood. Entry to the museum is free, and it is full of interactive games and touch screens, making it a great way to spend a morning with the kids and learn more about the area’s rich Aboriginal heritage. 


A visit to Sydney would not be complete without going to the iconic Sydney Opera House. Designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon and opened in 1973, the Opera House has become the symbol of Sydney, and of Australia. It is one of the city’s busiest music and arts centres, home to several venues with a varied and full program of over 1,500 performances each year. You can learn more about the inner workings of this iconic building by taking a Backstage Tour (available in Mandarin). 

For a taste of Sydney and Australia’s art scene, head first to the Art Gallery of NSW. This is Sydney’s premier art institution, displaying everything from Indigenous to Asian art. Established in 1871, the museum is a beautiful building containing a great collection of Australian and international art, all on display for free. It also hosts lectures, films, performances, and contains cafes and a restaurant. The Museum of Contemporary Art overlooking Circular Quay has recently expanded the gallery’s permanent collection and can also be seen for free, though its featured exhibitions have an entry fee. Located in a lovely Art Deco building on a spectacular site on the edge of Sydney Harbour in the famous Rocks area, it was founded in 1991 through the bequest of Australian artist John Power, who left his personal fortune to the University of Sydney to educate Australians about contemporary visual art. Exhibitions regularly feature Australian talent as well as international artists, and are a great way to get a better understanding of what defines Australian art. 


If you want to see how Chinese art is being delivered to the Australian public, visit the White Rabbit Gallery. This is a surprising little space founded by Kerr and Judith Neilson, focusing on works exclusively by contemporary Chinese artists produced after 2000. The collection now contains almost 2,000 works by over 500 artists. The museum closes twice a year, usually in February and August, in order to do a rehang and circulate the collection. Admission is free, and there is also an excellent tearoom downstairs. 

Where to Eat 

Sydney’s restaurant scene just keeps on getting better and the city offers many award-winning restaurants serving world-class food with excellent wine and great atmosphere. 

The Hero of Waterloo Hotel is a relaxed bar and restaurant serving modern Australian cuisine in very charming surroundings. 

The Bridge Room,located in a beautifully renovated Art Deco building behind Circular Quay, serves Asian-European dishes that are decorated with thoughtful details. 


At Sixpenny, Dan Puskas and James Parry, who both received SMH Young Chef of the Year awards. The delicate dishes often use ingredients from the restaurant's Bowral farm. 

The Secret Creek Cafe and Restaurant is a bit west of the city in the Blue Mountains. They serve native Australian wildlife such as grilled kangaroo and smoked trout. 


If you are missing Chinese food too much, you can try Spice Temple. The restaurant puts its own little twist on a range of regional Chinese dishes. The staff will tell you which one will go best with your meal. 

Quay, located on Sydney Harbour, offers stunning views of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. It serves up incredible dishes by famed chef Peter Gilmore at a super location. 

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