Aerial view of Sydney

Aerial view of Sydney (©Hamilton Lund/Destination NSW)

Top Things To Do in Sydney

By Roshan Sukhla on 06/09/17
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Sydney is a harbour city, and what better way to start exploring than by hopping on a ferry or a harbour cruise. You'll sail right by the World Heritage-listed Sydney Opera House and then cruise under the world-famous Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Head to the water and discover our famous beaches, like Manly and Bondi, or perhaps you want to meet some Australian wildlife up close at Taronga Zoo or Sydney SEA LIFE Aquarium. 

There's plenty of world-class shopping in the CBD and surrounds and you'll never go hungry with food options from around the globe.

Culture vultures will be at home in our galleries and museums like the Art Gallery of NSW, Australian Museum and Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. 

The city's green spaces are open and just waiting for you to explore. Discover the harbourside Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, the expansive Centennial Parklands and the historic Cockatoo Island.

Whether it's your first time here or your fifth, there's always something new to discover in Sydney.

Sydney Opera House

(Courtesy Sydney Opera House)

Attractions

Sydney Opera House

The iconic sails of the Sydney Opera House have come to represent ingenious, innovative design in what is the country's most famous building. Built in 1973, today it is home to Australia's top performing arts companies including Opera Australia and the Australian Ballet. Book a ticket to a show or take a tour, you won't regret it!

Bondi Beach

(©Hamilton Lund/Destination NSW)

Attractions, Areas to Explore

Bondi Beach

Australia's most famous beach is right here in Sydney. Take off your shoes and walk along the glistening golden sands of Bondi. Wade through the water and you'll feel the bliss of the beach. If you go swimming, please remember to slap on some sunscreen, only swim between the red and yellow flags and listen to the lifeguards on duty.

BridgeClimb

(©Geoff Jones/BridgeClimb)

Activities, Attractions

BridgeClimb

This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you won't want to miss when you are in Sydney. Climb up the Sydney Harbour Bridge, right to the summit and you'll feel on top of the world. The tour is fully guided and you are safe throughout the climb, plus the Climb Leader will support those who are nervous about heights, no worries!

Taronga Zoo

(©Malcolm Williams)

Attractions

Taronga Zoo

The unique animals of Australia can be found at Taronga Zoo alongside a wide variety of species from around the world. Discover wondrous creatures like red kangaroos, rock wallabies, emus, echindnas, koalas, platypus, quokkas and Australian birds. As you wander around the zoo, take in the incredible water views looking back to the city.

Barangaroo

Sydney Harbour Bridge views at Barangaroo Reserve (©Roshan Sukhla)

Attractions, Areas to Explore

Barangaroo Reserve

One of Sydney's newest parklands is Barangaroo Reserve. Nestled between The Rocks and Walsh Bay, this harbourside park offers phenomenal city views from the Sydney Harbour Bridge around to the ANZAC Bridge. Pack a picnic and head to the Stargazer Lawn, wander around Nawi Cove or take the Wulugul Walk which follows the 1836 foreshore.

Australian Museum

(©Michael Nicholson)

Attractions

Australian Museum

The Australian Museum, a world-class research institute and museum, was Australia's first museum and turns 190 in 2017. Kids will love the "Wild Planet" exhibition featuring over 400 animals, while the First Australians galleries feature the Museum's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island collection.

Manly

(Courtesy Hello Manly)

Attractions, Areas to Explore

Manly

The trip to Manly all starts with a spectacular ferry ride from Circular Quay as you sail out past the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. The coastal hub is a mecca for surfers and beachgoers with gorgeous sandy beaches, waterside dining and plenty of shopping. You can go diving and snorkelling, learn to surf or try your hand at kayaking!

Art Gallery of New South Wales

(Courtesy Art Gallery of NSW)

Attractions

Art Gallery of New South Wales

This is one of our favourite places in the city. It features a great mix of Australian and international art, with ever-changing world-class exhibitions on display. Make like a local and head to AGNSW on a Wednesday night for Art After Hours, a fun-filled event with talks, tours, musical performances, films, drinks and more.

Darling Harbour

(Courtesy Darling Harbour)

Activities, Attractions, Areas to Explore

Darling Harbour

Darling Harbour is in the midst of a reinvention with the new ICC Sydney now open. The area is still a mecca for family fun with attractions like WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo, Madame Tussauds Sydney and SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium. Various events and festivals are held here throughout the year, so you never know what fun you might stumble across!

Queen Victoria Building

(©Roshan Sukhla)

Attractions, Shopping

Queen Victoria Building

The Queen Victoria Building, or QVB as it is known to locals, is Sydney's grand dame of shopping. A trip here is nothing short of a shopper's dream with everything from luxury fashion brands to jewellery, accessories, arts, gifts, beauty and so much more. There's also cafes and restaurants for a pit stop to refuel before more shopping.

Centennial Parklands

(©Centennial Parklands)

Attractions

Centennial Parklands

You'll love exploring the greenery of Centennial Parklands. There's so much to do here, you can go birdwatching, or pack a lunch and relax with a picnic. Hire a bike and cycle around the vast pathways, or hop on a horse for a spot of horse riding. If you are getting hungry, stop by the Greenhouse cafe or try Centennial Homestead.

Cockatoo Island

(©Ethan Rohloff/Destination NSW)

Activities, Attractions, Areas to Explore

Cockatoo Island

The historical Cockatoo Island, located in Sydney Harbour, makes for a great day trip destination. Pack a picnic and explore the island's colonial history, tunnels and walking paths. You can even stay overnight in the camping grounds— we recommend the glamping option. You'll love waking up with splendid water views all around you.

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (©Roshan Sukhla)

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (©Roshan Sukhla)

Attractions

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Pushing architectural boundaries outside, the MCA Australia, pushes them inside too, with an outstanding array of Australian and international artists. The works are contemporary and thought-provoking, with both major exhibitions on display and free galleries to explore and roam at your leisure right at Circular Quay!

Royal Botanic Garden Sydney

(Courtesy Royal Botanic Garden Sydney)

Attractions

Royal Botanic Garden Sydney

The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney is the green heart of the city with picturesque harbour views to one side and the Sydney Opera House to the other. It doesn't get much better then this. Take a wander through the splendid Rose Garden, or learn all about our native Australian plants and the Aboriginal history of the Cadigal people.

Map of Top Things To Do in Sydney