City Guide: Sydney
Sydney is without any doubt one of the most fascinating metropolises in the Southern hemisphere. Tons of different attractions a unique location in a bay, make Sydney a city definitely worth visiting!
On my journey through Australia & New Zealand, Sydney was one of the destinations I was looking forward to visiting the most. I had the pleasure to enjoy two full days in the city and started my first day with exploring “old” Sydney.
The Rocks & Observatory Hill Park Sydney
With “old” Sydney I’m referring to the area called “The Rocks” or “Harbour Rocks”, which is located close to the fascinating Harbour Bridge.
The Rocks are the place where the immigrants set foot on Australia for the first time. The area is characterized by old harbour buildings and cobblestone.
There are also lots of boutiques and small cafés. Thus, I’d definitely recommend strolling around The Rocks for some time. After this experience, I continued to the Observatory Hill Park Sydney, which is a mere ten minutes away.
While the observatory as such is not too fascinating, I quite enjoyed the great views of the area you got when climbing up Observatory Hill.
The Barangaroo Reserve and the area below Harbour Bridge are also worth noting as areas to see in this part of Sydney.
Harbour Bridge & Circual Quay Sydney
While I’ve already enjoyed The Rocks and The Observatory Hill Park, the real highlights of Sydney are without any doubt the Harbour Bridge and the Circual Quay.
Especially the Harbour Bridge Sydney is more of a photo opportunity than a sight as such. Meanwhile, the Circular Quay is really worth enjoying as there are lovely restaurants and cafés and great views of the harbour to enjoy.
Plus and more on that later, there is the opportunity to board a ferry to other spectacular places in and around Sydney.
Sydney Town Hall & Darling Harbour
Usually, the inner city is the immediate highlight of a city. That’s not the case in Sydney. While I enjoyed walking in the city center and having a look at Sydney Tower and the Sydney Town Hall, none of those buildings really amazed me as much as other parts of Sydney.
I also decided to walk to Chinatown and the famous Sydney Paddy’s Market to get an idea of these areas. Yet, it’s nothing too special in my opinion.
On my way from there to Darling Harbour, I paid the Chinese Garden of Friendship (a very peaceful and relaxing experience) and the Tumbalong Park (modern and hip) a visit.
Both areas are fun and definitely worth checking out. In contrast, I didn’t find Darling Harbour to be any special when visiting at daytime.
Thus, I returned at nighttime another day and really liked the lighting of the area. Yet, I somewhat expected a little more of Darling Harbour.
Royal Botanical Garden & Sydney Opera House
You might already recognize that Sydney is just too big to write just a few sentences about it. So, if the above was not enough for you for one or two days, you should definitely check out the Royal Botanical Garden (you’ll also find Sydney Observatorium there) and Mrs Macquarie’s Chair.
Not only do the gardens offer an amazing retreat from the busy city, but there are also beautiful plants and even more amazing views of the harbour offered.
Especially when you are approaching Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, you’ll be able to enjoy some of the best views of the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. The maybe most known landmark of Sydney is reachable directly from the Royal Botanical Gardens and is already stunning from outside.
If you are especially interested in the Opera House, you might also book a tour to see it from the inside!
Hyde Park & St. Mary’s Cathedral Sydney
While not as spectacular as some other areas of Sydney, I’d also recommend checking out the Hyde Park area. Not only is the park itself with the Anzac Memorial worth seeing, but there are also several historic buildings in the approximate.
Be it the State Library of New South Wales, The Parliament, The Mint or the Hyde Park Barracks, there are several nice buildings you should at least walk-by.
The Archibald Fountain at Hyde Park is where you should turn left (or right) depending on where you are coming from, so you can admire Saint Mary’s Cathedral, which might be one of the most beautiful churches on the whole continent.
If you are in this area already, you might also be interested in checking out the Art Gallery of New South Wales, which is famous for its interesting exhibitions.
Manly Beach and views of Sydney Harbour
To conclude a visit to Sydney, you should definitely jump on one of the many ferries getting you to different destinations. The destination as such is not even so important as the views of Sydney Harbour when leaving and coming back are stunning enough as such.
For those of you who love taking pictures: That’s also the best way to capture the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge! We decided to head to Manly Beach in the evening and really enjoyed the scenic ride as well as the lovely little Manly, which is a great place to have a dinner or just a leisurely walk.
Summing up my experience in Sydney
Sydney definitely didn’t disappoint me. The city is so diverse and has so many things to offer that I spent dozens of hours just walking around.
Yet, I feel like there’s still a lot more to see, especially when it comes to the destinations you can only reach by ferry. Exploring Sydney is not just about the landmarks, it is also about great parks, lively areas and first and foremost about stunning views!