Sydney - Sightseeing
Sydney's CBD (Central Business District) is where you'll find the city's excellent array of shopping streets, malls, markets and stylish boutiques - especially around George and Pitt Streets.
Centerpoint, on Pitt Street, is an air-conditioned mall offering 140 shops, while the Glasshouse and the MLC Centre, linked by a footbridge, offer more of the same.
The Queen Victoria Building is a recently reconstructed arcade, its resplendent Victorian architecture home to a wealth of shops, bars and restaurants, speciality gift stores and delis.
The Strand Arcade, Pitt Street, is a buzzy enclave of funky stores, fashion and homewares - it's a great place to spot fresh new designs, as many of Australia's emerging talents have set up stall here.
The popular Skygarden development is shopping central when it comes to famous names and international chains - but there's a good smattering of Australian favourites here too. Here, in the real estate between Pitt Street Mall & Castlereagh Street, is the heart of Sydney's retail offering. Not too far away, Piccadilly is a swanky shopping centre focusing on fashion, accessories and stylish gifts.
Australian department store Grace Brothers operates an impressive flagship store on Market Street, with seven floors devoted to cosmetics, fashion, electrical and home furnishings. But Syndey's oldest department store, David Jones, still aims to carry "a stock that embraces the everyday wants of mankind at large"- so one would hope you'd get what you're looking for here!
The picture-perfect Darling Harbour offers a rich stew of tourist-friendly sights and attractions. Harbourside shopping offers a more informal alternative to the crowded streets of the CBD, while Cockle Bay’s upscale bars and restaurants attract tourists and locals alike with their al fresco terraces and open-air concerts.
Throughout the year there’s always something going on here. The Darling Harbour Circus and Street Theatre, the Darling Harbour Jazz Festival, the Darling Harbour Waiter's Race and the Winter Concert Series offer a colourful calendar of events.
Throw in the excellent National Maritime Museum and Sydney Aquarium, the world's largest movie screen and an indoor theme park and you’ve got at the very least a full weekend’s worth of attractions here.
Circular Quay and Sydney Opera House
The heart of Sydney Harbour, Circular Quay is a bustling waterfront spot, where ferries leave to take visitors to Manly Beach, Sydney’s legendary (and great fun) Taronga Park Zoo, Watsons bay and tours along the coast. Jet Boat trips from here offer a thrilling (and fast!)- tour of the harbour.
Here, too, you’ll enjoy great views of the Harbour Bridge. Take the boardwalk to Sydney Opera House - the world’s most iconic opera house is every bit as impressive up close as you’d imagined. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, you can take guided tours of the Opera House’s stunning interior. Hard to believe the building is approaching 40 years old, yet still looks as timeless as it did when its inaugural concert was held in 1973.
Sydney Harbour Bridge and The Rocks
With an impressive span of 1,650 feet, the Harbour Bridge is a stunning engineering feat - and you can climb to the top (should you be brave enough) for a city walk with a difference. The Express Climb takes just under 2.5 hours, climbing through the inner arch of the bridge to those thrilling views at the summit.
The Rocks area consists of lovely, time-worn sandstone buildings, a great clutch of pubs and a scattering of attractions - including Australia's oldest observatory. The views of the harbour from the Observatory Hill are stunning.
Susannah Place, Gloucester Street, is a preserved row of four terrace houses including a wonderfully reconstructed 1915 corner store.
There’s a couple of decent theatres here too, offering a programme of summer performances on the wharfs, while the Rocks market offers all manner of Aboriginal crafts for sale.
Luna Park is a large, traditional open-air funfair, you can’t really miss it - just look for the huge Ferris wheel - and enter through the grinning clown’s mouth!
The Sydney Tower
The 325 metre tall Sydney Tower above the Centrepoint shopping center is the tallest building in Australia, offering fantastic panoramic views of Sydney and the surrounding area. There’s a restaurant and bar at the top too - which might make the trip a touch more rewarding.
Lady Macquarie's Chair
Offering the best view of the city’s skyline, Lady Macquarie’s Chair is a historic point of interest in its own right. The ‘chair’ was carved out of a sandstone ledge for the Governor’s wife, who loved the views back to the city from this spot. From Circular Quay, Lady Macquarie's Chair is a brisk 20 minute walk past the Opera House and along the ‘Foreshore walk’ of the handsome Royal Botanic Gardens, which are also worth visiting for their wide collection of southern hemisphere specimens.
Sydney’s Chinatown is a rich and vibrant neighbourhood, home to the city’s sizable south-east Asian communities. Centred on the Dixon Street pedestrianised area, and bounded by George Street in the east and Darling Harbour in the west, Chinatown’s no-fuss eating options make up for in taste what they may lack in finesse or fancy trappings. At the southern end of Dixon Street is Chinatown’s Market City - home to huge Chinese superstores, outlet-style fashion warehouses, street markets and Chinese Medicine specialists.
before dawn, for a glimpse of sunrise. The island’s south-east is home to a string of stunning beaches.