Whether you’re visiting for a couple of days or a couple of weeks, plan to maximise your Sydney activities to enjoy all this luminous city has to offer. Many of Sydney’s most popular attractions are close to the CBD, making a perfect walking tour itinerary.
Head to Circular Quay to marvel at the iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge up close. From the Opera House it’s a pleasant walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain to the Art Gallery of NSW and the State Library for the latest exhibitions. A stroll toward the Harbour Bridge takes visitors past the Museum of Contemporary Art to the historic Rocks district.
Sydney’s beautiful coastline is another big drawcard. Surf or swim at Bondi or Coogee Beach in the south, or Manly and Dee Why to the north. Charming smaller beaches like Shelley Beach and Balmoral Beach near Manly, or Tamarama Beach near Bondi, are worth seeking out. For a relaxing seafood lunch with views across the water to the city, Doyles at Watson’s Bay is a Sydney dining institution.
Festivals and shows
Major festivals enliven Sydney activities throughout the year. The Vivid Festival, in autumn, features incredible light and sound shows. The Sydney Festival is a showcase of arts events that runs through January. And of course, the Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras is a highlight in February and March culminating with the parade on Oxford Street.
At other times of the year, make the most of the thriving music, theatre and entertainment scene. Check out performances at the Opera House, Sydney Theatre Company and Belvoir Street Theatre.
The great outdoors
Sydney is surrounded by fantastic national parks, but visitors needn’t leave the city to make the most of nature and the outdoors. Taronga Zoo is an easy ferry ride from Circular Quay. Otherwise enjoy the many breathtaking walking trails, like those at The Gap on South Head, or the six kilometre Bondi to Coogee Beach coastal walk.
Those who love the water can sail or paddle the harbour.
Sydney activities – never mind the weather
Even on rainy days there’s plenty to do. The Australian Museum is across the street from Hyde Park in the CBD. Or visit the Powerhouse Museum near Darling Harbour, with its focus on technology, science and engineering. Also near Darling Harbour is the Sydney Sea Life Aquarium and the fun of Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. Shop in Pitt Street Mall or the opulent Queen Victoria Building, and stay to indulge in a luxurious high tea.
Also see our Sydney Travellers’ Guide