Sydney Opera House
Visit Sydney – Waterfront
Visit Sydney cruise terminals at Circular Quay or nearby Darling Harbour are both ideal locations to take a walking tour of Sydney and the Central Business District. Find handicrafts at The Rocks Market, located at the north end of George Street, right beside the Circular Quay terminal. The Museum of Contemporary Art and the Museum of Sydney are within walking distance of the waterfront.
Just north of Circular Quay is Dawes Point Park, located at the foot of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. For adventure seekers, try the BridgeClimb. It’s open to visitors for a fee. Across the Sydney Harbour Bridge is Luna Park, which is an amusement park.
Sydney Waterfront Ferries
Catch a ferry to Manly Beach. Take a ferry to the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium and adjoining Wildlife Sydney Zoo where you can see a koala in downtown Sydney. Alternately, take a ferry north to the Taronga Zoo.
Sydney Harbour Bridge
The Sydney Opera House is on the peninsula at the east edge of Circular Quay. Take a Sydney Harbour Lunch Cruise. South of the Opera House is Government House and then the extensive Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust is found. In the Botanic Gardens on the small peninsula bordering Farm Cove you will find Lady Macquarie’s Chair, which provides excellent views over the city.
The Domain Park adjoins the Botanic Gardens to its south and contains the well known Art Gallery of New South Wales. The Domain Park transitions into Hyde Park, with Parliament House along the border of the Domain.
Anzac Bridge, Sydney Tower, © Can Stock Photo / iofoto
Visit Sydney – Hyde Park Area
Hyde Park includes the Sandringham Gardens, the Pool of Reflections and the Anzac Memorial (Australia & New Zealand Army Corps), St Mary’s Cathedral and the Australian Museum border Hyde Park. The Sydney Tower Eye is one block off the park. The tower has great views over the city at a height of 309 m (1,014 ft), plus a Skywalk for the more adventurous. Sydney Town Hall and the shops of the Queen Victoria Building (known as the QVB) are near Hyde Park too.
Circular Quay, © Can Stock Photo / jeayesy
Visit Sydney – ANZAC Bridge Area
ANZAC Bridge spans Johnstons Bay near the Central Business District.
Sydney Fish Market
Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre
Chinese Garden of Friendship.
Paddy’s Markets is a well known flea market found just south of the Garden of Friendship.
The Australian National Maritime Museum is two blocks north of the Convention Centre and can also be reached by crossing the Pyrmont Bridge from the Sydney Aquarium.
Dawes Point Park, © Can Stock Photo / ianwool
Visit Sydney – Hotel Recommendations
Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel at Circular Quay
Holiday Inn Darling Harbour
The Grace Hotel
Get Around Sydney – Opal Card
To get around Sydney your best bet for a stay of one or two days is to use a chip credit card. Older credit cards without a chip won’t work though. You can tap your credit card to ride the airport rail express to the downtown. The airport is about a half hour south of the main downtown tourist attractions. For most routes, you will need to tap your credit card before and after your ride to record the correct fare. You can also use chip credit cards on other trains and ferries, but not buses. Buses currently don’t take credit cards, so you will need to buy single fare Opal trips from vending machines. With credit cards you alway pay full fare, so it’s more expensive than an Opal card.
For longer stays, you can use an Opal card to save money. The Opal Card discounts combination rides. You preload cash on to your Opal Card and fares get deducted when you tap the card before and after your ride. You can use the Opal Travel App on your phone too. The Opal card works on buses, trains, light rail, the metro and ferries. The Opal Card can be used to get to downtown Sydney, Manly Beach, Bondi Beach and the Blue Mountains. If you buy your Opal Card at the airport there is a minimum amount you must preload on the card. The Opal Card also tracks a daily maximum fare that it will charge you, which saves a lot of money if you ride the bus out to the Blue Mountains and back.
Unfortunately visitors aren’t able to get a refund for the balance remaining on their Opal Card when they leave. So, you almost need to hire an accountant to figure out whether to buy single fare Opal trips from vending machines, use your credit card or get a preloaded Opal Card.