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Things to do in Sydney

Sydney has a balmy climate, waterfront location and outdoor lifestyle. Go for a swim at Bondi Beach or take a Sydney Harbour Ferry Ride from Circular Quay. The Sydney Harbour Bridge can be crossed on foot and Sydney Tower will help you get your bearings. The city's colonial past is dominant in The Rocks and at the Museum of Sydney. Most museums are scattered across the city, such as the Powerhouse Museum at Darling Harbour. They open daily from 9.30am to 5pm.

Sydney Harbour Ferry Ride, Sydney. Courtesy of Tourism Australia

Museums and Galleries

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  1. 1. Art Gallery of New South Wales - Museums and Galleries

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    Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

    The premier Art Gallery of New South Wales has a commanding position in the Domain. Significant European, Asian and contemporary collections are masterfully hung in traditional and modern surrounds. Australian art, featuring Roberts, Streeton and McCubbin, is particularly good.Show this on map

    Cost

    Free; temporary exhibitions may charge

    Opening hours

    Daily 10am-5pm (until 9pm Wed)

    Address

    Art Gallery Road, The Domain, Sydney 2000

    Telephone

    +61 (0) 2 9225 1700

    Transport

    Martin Place Train Station

    Website

    Art Gallery of New South Wales Website

  2. 2. Brett Whiteley Studio - Museums and Galleries

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    Brett Whiteley Studio, Sydney. Courtesy of the Brett Whiteley Studio

    Brett Whiteley captured Sydney's spirit like no other artist. A visit to the Brett Whiteley Studio in Sydney's Inner East offers a rare glimpse inside an artist's life. Unfinished paintings and personal memorabilia seem untouched since Whiteley's death in 1992.Show this on map

    Cost

    Free

    Opening hours

    Sat & Sun 10am-4pm

    Address

    2, Raper Street, Surry Hills, Sydney 2010

    Telephone

    +61 (0) 2 9225 1740

    Transport

    Central Station

    Website

    Brett Whiteley Studio Website

  3. 3. Powerhouse Museum - Museums and Galleries

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    Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, Australia

    Powerhouse Museum, housed in a huge former power station near Darling Harbour, is one of the most creatively curated establishments around. It's hands-on and child-friendly, with exhibits like the 1930s cinema and Sydney's first train exploring Australian design, science and culture. Show this on map

    Cost

    A$10; concessions A$6; 4-15s A$5; under 4s free

    Opening hours

    Daily 9.30am-5pm

    Address

    500, Harris Street, Ultimo, Sydney 2000

    Telephone

    +61 (0) 2 9217 0111

    Transport

    Paddy's Markets Monorail Station

    Website

    Powerhouse Museum

  4. 4. Museum of Sydney - Museums and Galleries

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    Museum of Sydney, Sydney. Photo by Patrick Bingham-Hall, courtesy of the Historic Houses Trust of NSW

    The sights and sounds of colonial Sydney come alive at the contemporary Museum of Sydney near Circular Quay. Imaginatively staged exhibits explore Aboriginal culture and the city's development since 1788. Foundations of the first Government House are preserved on site.Show this on map

    Cost

    A$10; concessions A$5

    Opening hours

    Daily 9.30am-5pm

    Address

    Corner Phillip and Bridge Streets, Sydney 2000

    Telephone

    +61 (0) 2 9251 5988

    Transport

    Circular Quay Train Station

    Website

    Historic Houses Trust Website

Attractions

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  1. 5. Vaucluse House - Attractions

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    Vaucluse House, Sydney. Photo by Patrick Bingham-Hall, courtesy of the Historic Houses Trust of NSW

    A rare survivor of a colonial harbourside estate, Vaucluse House has formal gardens, a kitchen wing, stables and outbuildings. The lavish entertaining rooms feature period furnishings left by the original owners, the powerful Wentworth family. Refreshments are served in the tearooms.Show this on map

    Cost

    A$8; concessions A$4

    Opening hours

    Fri-Sun 9.30am-4pm (daily in Jan and NSW public holidays)

    Address

    Wentworth Road, Vaucluse, Sydney 2030

    Telephone

    +61 (0) 2 9388 7922

    Transport

    Bus 325

    Website

    Historic Houses Trust Website

  2. 6. Taronga Zoo - Attractions

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    Taronga Zoo aninal keeper, Sydney, Australia

    A classic ferry-trip destination, Taronga Zoo is stunningly located on the North Shore. The emphasis is on conservation and education, and themed animal exhibits are housed in revamped enclosures. For photo opportunities head to the giraffes and koalas.Show this on map

    Cost

    A$41; concessions A$28; 4-15s A$20; under 4s free

    Opening hours

    Daily 9am-5pm

    Address

    Bradleys Head Road, Mosman, Sydney 2088

    Telephone

    +61 (0) 2 9969 2777

    Transport

    Ferry to Taronga Zoo

    Website

    Taronga Zoo Website

  3. 7. Royal Botanic Gardens - Attractions

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    Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, Australia

    Royal Botanic Gardens' inner-city oasis stretches from Circular Quay to Woolloomooloo. Picnic lawns surround themed gardens exploring herbs, rainforest, roses and succulents. The Tropical Centre's glass pyramid displays exotic plants while threatened plants remind visitors of the gardens' conservation work.Show this on map

    Cost

    Free

    Opening hours

    Daily 7am-8pm (until 6.30pm Mar & Oct, 6pm Apr & Sep, 5.30pm May & Aug, 5pm Jun & Jul)

    Address

    Mrs Macquaries Road, Sydney 2000

    Telephone

    +61 (0) 2 9231 8111

    Transport

    Martin Place Train Station

    Website

    Royal Botanic Gardens Website

  4. 8. Sydney Harbour Bridge - Attractions

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    Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney. © Tourism New South Wales

    The unmissable 1930s Sydney Harbour Bridge spans the water from The Rocks to Milsons Point. Walk across in 20 minutes and climb 200 steps to the pylon lookout for views and informative exhibits. The brave tackle the challenging Bridge Climb.Show this on map

    Cost

    Pylon Lookout A$9.50; concessions A$6.50; children A$4

    Opening hours

    Pylon Lookout Daily 10am-5pm

    Address

    Bridge Stairs, Cumberland Street, The Rocks, Sydney 2000

    Telephone

    +61 (0) 2 9240 1100

    Transport

    Circular Quay Train Station

    Website

    Sydney Harbour Bridge Pylon Lookout Website

  5. 9. Sydney Tower - Attractions

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    Sydney Towers, something dramatic and fun

    Soaring over the city, Sydney Tower has views all the way to the Blue Mountains and harbour heads. Admission includes a virtual-reality show exploring Australian culture. The brave can don a harness and take the Skywalk on the tower's roof.Show this on map

    Cost

    A$25; concessions A$19.50; children A$15; Skywalk A$65; children A$45 (over 10s only)

    Opening hours

    Daily 9am-10.30pm; closed Christmas Day

    Address

    100, Market Street, Podium Level, Sydney 2000

    Telephone

    +61 (0) 2 9333 9222

    Transport

    Town Hall Train Station

    Website

    Sydney Tower (aka Centrepoint Tower)

  6. 10. Sydney Aquarium - Attractions

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    Sydney Aquarium, Sydney. Courtesy of Sydney Aquarium

    Sydney Aquarium in Darling Harbour is hugely popular. Underwater tunnels re-create Australia's river and ocean habitats, and feeding sessions are frenzied. The highlight is the Great Barrier Reef theatre and its mesmerising flurries of fish. Conservation issues are highlighted throughout.Show this on map

    Cost

    A$31.95; concessions A$22.50; 4-16s A$17.95

    Opening hours

    Daily 9am-10pm

    Address

    Aquarium Pier, Darling Harbour, Sydney 2000

    Telephone

    +61 (0) 2 8251 7800

    Transport

    Darling Park Monorail Station

    Website

    Sydney Aquarium Website

  7. 11. Bondi Beach - Attractions

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    Bondi Beach and skaters, Sydney, Australia

    Australia's most famous beach has a long curved stretch of sand and impressive waves. Bondi Beach lifeguards patrol the shark-netted beach daily and there are pools for calmer swimming. Cliff-top walks to neighbouring Tamarama and Bronte beaches are highly recommended.Show this on map

    Cost

    Free

    Opening hours

    Daily all day

    Address

    Queen Elizabeth Drive, Bondi, Sydney 2026

    Telephone

    +61 (0) 2 8362 3406 (Waverley Council's Beach Services Divisions)

    Transport

    Bus 380 to Bondi Beach

    Website

    Bondi Surf Bathers' Life Saving Club Website

  8. 12. Elizabeth Bay House - Attractions

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    Elizabeth Bay House, Sydney. Photo by Patrick Bingham-Hall, courtesy of the Historic Houses Trust of NSW

    Below Kings Cross, 1830s Elizabeth Bay House was considered the finest in the colony. It's still a stunning piece of architecture. Highlights are the curved staircase topped with an oval dome and the meticulously re-created interiors evoking aristocratic colonial life.Show this on map

    Cost

    A$8; concessions A$4

    Opening hours

    Fri-Sun 9.30am-4pm

    Address

    7, Onslow Avenue, Elizabeth Bay, Sydney 2011

    Telephone

    +61 (0) 2 9356 3022

    Transport

    Kings Cross Train Station

    Website

    Historic Houses Trust Website

Special things to do

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  1. 13. Sydney Harbour Ferry Ride - Special things to do

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    Sydney Harbour Ferry Ride, Sydney. Courtesy of Tourism Australia

    No visit is complete without taking a Sydney Harbour Ferry Ride. Ferries depart from the city centre's Circular Quay to Taronga Zoo, Balmain, Manly or upriver to Parramatta. Watsons Bay is popular for fish and chips and dramatic cliff-top walks.Show this on map

    Cost

    A$5.20-A$7.70; concessions A$2.60-A$3.80

    Opening hours

    Daily, varies according to route

    Address

    Circular Quay, Sydney 2000

    Telephone

    +61 (0) 2 9246 8300

    Transport

    Circular Quay Train Station

    Website

    Sydney Ferries Website

  2. 14. Horse Riding in Centennial Park - Special things to do

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    Horse Riding in Centennial Park, Sydney. Photo by Peter Solness (Wildlight Photography), © Tourism New South Wales and Peter Solness (Wildlight Photography)

    Hire an escort and go Horse Riding in Centennial Park, south-east of the city centre. Boots and helmet are provided. Centennial is a grand park in the European tradition, with wide avenues, woodlands and formal gardens.Show this on map

    Cost

    A$70; escorted only

    Opening hours

    Daily; various hours

    Address

    Moore Park Stables, Centennial Parklands Equestrian Centre, Lang Road, Sydney 2021

    Telephone

    +61 (0) 2 9360 8747

    Transport

    Bus 339 to Fox Studios

    Website

    Moore Park Stables Website

  3. 15. Sydney Observatory Night Visit - Special things to do

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    Sydney Observatory Night Visit, Sydney. Photo by Jann Tuxford, courtesy of New South Wales Online Image Library, © Tourism New South Wales and Jann Tuxford

    It is possible to visit during the day but a Sydney Observatory Night Visit is much more atmospheric. The two-hour tour includes a visit to the 3-D space theatre and viewing through telescopes, guided by an experienced astronomer.Show this on map

    Cost

    A$15; concessions A$12; children A$10

    Opening hours

    Daily 6.15pm-10pm (from 8.15pm Oct-Mar)

    Address

    Watson Road, Observatory Hill, The Rocks, Sydney 2000

    Telephone

    +61 (0) 2 9921 3485

    Transport

    Circular Quay Train Station

    Website

    Sydney Observatory Website

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