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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 the 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 Bridge, Sydney. © Tourism New South Wales
Museum of Sydney, Sydney. Photo by Patrick Bingham-Hall, courtesy of the Historic Houses Trust of NSW
1

Museum of Sydney

Colonial Sydney exhibits

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.



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

Powerhouse Museum, Sydney. © Tourism New South Wales
2

Powerhouse Museum

Interactive science and culture

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.



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 Website

Brett Whiteley Studio, Sydney. Courtesy of the Brett Whiteley Studio
3

Brett Whiteley Studio

Modern art master's 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.



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

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney. Courtesy of Tourism Australia
4

Art Gallery of New South Wales

Classic art collection

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.



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

Sydney Aquarium, Sydney. Courtesy of Sydney Aquarium
5

Sydney Aquarium

Marine life and conservation

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.



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

Bondi Beach, Sydney. © Tourism New South Wales
6

Bondi Beach

Impressive beach and waves

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.



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

Waverley Council Website

Vaucluse House, Sydney. Photo by Patrick Bingham-Hall, courtesy of the Historic Houses Trust of NSW
7

Vaucluse House

Mock-gothic mansion

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.



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

Elizabeth Bay House, Sydney. Photo by Patrick Bingham-Hall, courtesy of the Historic Houses Trust of NSW
8

Elizabeth Bay House

Colonial mansion

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.



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

Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney. Courtesy of New South Wales Online Image Library, © Tourism New South Wales
9

Royal Botanic Gardens

Inner-city oasis

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.



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

Botanic Gardens Trust Website

Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney. © Tourism New South Wales
10

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Iconic bridge

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.



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

Sydney Tower, Sydney. © Tourism New South Wales
11

Sydney Tower

Sky-high observation deck

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.



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

Sky Walk Website

Taronga Zoo, Sydney. Courtesy of Tourism Australia
12

Taronga Zoo

Harbourside wildlife sanctuary

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.



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

Horse Riding in Centennial Park, Sydney. Photo by Peter Solness (Wildlight Photography), © Tourism New South Wales and Peter Solness (Wildlight Photography)
13

Horse Riding in Centennial Park

Urban horse ride

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.



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

Sydney Observatory Night Visit, Sydney. Photo by Jann Tuxford, courtesy of New South Wales Online Image Library, © Tourism New South Wales and Jann Tuxford
14

Sydney Observatory Night Visit

Nightime southern skies

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.



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

Sydney Harbour Ferry Ride, Sydney. Courtesy of Tourism Australia
15

Sydney Harbour Ferry Ride

Sightseeing by boat

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.



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

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