Things to do in Sydney
Sydney is a cosmopolitan world city brimming with attractions and events all year round. It offers a rich mix of colonial and indigenous history, shopping, cuisine, festivals, museums, exhibitions and world-class theatre productions.
Home to the most beautiful natural harbour in the world, Sydney has much to see and do - the Harbour Bridge, the Opera House, Circular Quay, the Rocks, Taronga Zoo, Bondi Beach and much, much more.
Explore Sydney's rich mix of colonial and indigenous history, incredible variety of cuisine, superb shopping, multicultural festivals, internationally famous beaches, museums, fascinating exhibitions and world-class theatre productions.
Where is it and how do you get there?
Sydney is located on Australia's south-east coast of the Tasman Sea and covers almost 1120 square kilometres.
All NSW TrainLink North Coast, North Western, Western and Southern train services (with connecting coaches where relevant) run to Sydney and back, often daily.
To check times, use the booking form on the left.
Sydney is serviced by regular trains, buses, trams and ferries and there are several taxi and car hire companies. In addition, the City Sightseeing double decker open top bus visits many of Sydney's spectacular landmarks. Bus tours are also available to major regional attractions.
What to do and see
No trip to Sydney is complete without visiting Circular Quay - with the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge on one side and the Opera House on the other. For breathtaking views of the harbour and surrounding areas, take a BridgeClimb tour, or stroll across the Harbour Bridge and enjoy a delicious lunch while soaking up the village atmosphere of Kirribilli.
Take an organised tour of the Opera House to explore the 1000 rooms and 300 corridors, then see a concert and experience the perfect acoustics first hand.
Amble along the walk from the Opera House to the Botanic Gardens which cover 30 hectares and boast numerous species of plants. Enjoy a picnic on the manicured lawns then hop on board the Choo Choo Express for a scenic tour.
While at Circular Quay take a scenic dinner cruise around the harbour. Then wander around to the historic The Rocks with its narrow cobblestoned laneways and galleries, restaurants, boutiques, souvenir shops and beautifully restored, infamous hotels.
From Circular Quay you can catch a ferry to Manly and relax on the beach while devouring delicious fish and chips. You can also ride a ferry to vibrant Darling Harbour which teams with restaurants, cafes and boutiques in a picturesque water setting. While there, see a film on the largest screen in the southern hemisphere at the IMAX Theatre and explore the free Maritime Museum with its amazing exhibits. Stroll across the Pyrmont Bridge to the Sydney Aquarium where visitors can walk under water and come face-to-face with scary sharks and majestic giant rays, then move on to WILD LIFE Sydney to cuddle a koala and see other Australian animals.
At the southern end of Darling Harbour, catch your breath and enjoy the tranquillity of the Chinese Garden of Friendship, then meander to nearby Chinatown to enjoy top quality Chinese cuisine.
For amazing 360 degree views across the harbour and beyond, the Sydney Tower Eye Observation Desk is a must-see as is OzTrek with its 180 degree cinema screens, 3D holographic imagery and realmotion seating. From the roof of the Sydney Tower, venture onto the Sydney Skywalk to experience open-air views a breathtaking 260 metres above the city.
Visit Sydney's renowned Taronga Zoo and observe the large range of exotic animals. Stay overnight and wake to the roar of a lion or an elephant trumpeting.
Don't miss the Art Gallery of NSW with its five levels of permanent exhibitions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, colonial and 20th century Australian art, old European masters, Asian galleries and contemporary works. Major temporary exhibitions from other galleries and collections are also regularly presented. The Museum of Contemporary Art, dedicated to exhibiting new, exciting and inspiring contemporary art from across Australia and the world, is also well worth a look.
Sydney has a wide selection of museums to immerse yourself in. The Australian Museum focusing on natural history and indigenous studies has an amazing hall with hundreds of animal skeletons, including a blue whale hanging from the ceiling. For modern hands-on science demonstrations and fascinating temporary exhibits, don't go pass the Powerhouse Museum and to learn about the history of convicts in Sydney, see the Hyde Park Barracks Museum.
Catch a show at one of Sydney's numerous and architecturally significant theatres. Visit the Capital Theatre for its stunningly ornate décor and the State Theatre for its gold elaborate décor and the second largest crystal chandelier in the world. Have pre-theatre drinks and enjoy the stunning harbour views at the Wharf Theatre, which is Sydney Theatre Company's home base.
The kids will love the iconic Luna Park which never fails to thrill with its diverse range of rides and games for all ages. Right on the harbour it offers stunning views day or night.
Travel to Bondi Beach, Australia's most famous beach, and lay on the golden sand before taking a dip in the rolling surf. People watch, shop in designer boutiques and dine at one of the myriad of funky cafes and restaurants.Take the highly popular walk from Bondi Beach to Bronte Beach with spectacularly beautiful views.
For quaint cafés, superb restaurants and boutique shopping, travel easily by public transport to Paddington, Newtown, Balmain, exclusive Double Bay and Vaucluse and many other areas. Shop until you drop at the Queen Victoria Building which Pierre Cardin once said is the most beautiful shopping centre in the world, and don't forget to visit the highly decorated 19th century Strand Arcade.
Enjoy a day trip to the Hunter Valley, Australia's oldest wine producing region, and experience wine tasting and delicious lunches amongst the vines. Trip up to the Blue Mountains and relish the crisp, clean air and distant blue horizons before heading to a colourful village for a first class lunch or dinner.