The top 10 places to visit in Sydney
If you ask 100 people from around the world to name a city in Australia, we’re willing to bet at least 90 of them will say Sydney, and for good reason. Often labelled Australia’s unofficial capital, the city hosted more than 14 million domestic and international visitors in the year ending September 2018, a testament to its world-class combination of historical, cultural, natural and architectural attractions.
Whether you’re an Australian looking for a weekend away or a visitor from overseas, Sydney is the perfect destination for people of all ages. To help you make the most of your stay, we’ve listed 10 essential activities and attractions that will ensure your visit is a memorable one.
1. Go for a stroll around Circular Quay
Few locations in Sydney are as iconic as Circular Quay. With the graceful white sails of the Sydney Opera House and Royal Botanic Gardens on one end of the bay, the majestic Harbour Bridge on the other and a bustling promenade in between, Circular Quay is one of the finest places to experience the magic of this incredible city. Along the eastern side of the quay you’ll find a selection of amazing cafes and restaurants leading up to the Opera House, where there’s plenty of space to relax and soak up the beauty of the structure. Stopping for a drink at the Opera Bar next door is absolutely essential; it offers breathtaking views of the Harbour Bridge and the gargantuan cruise ships pulling in and out of the quay. Once you loop around to the western side, stop by the Contemporary Art Museum to browse the weird and wonderful free displays before snapping some photos of the Opera House across the water.
2. Take on the Bondi to Coogee Beach Coastal Walk
We’d put Bondi Beach itself near the top of this list, but a trip to the most famous beach in Sydney -- and perhaps all of Australia -- would not be complete without doing the wonderful Bondi to Coogee coastal walk. Stretching for six kilometres atop the cliffs and coastline of Sydney’s eastern suburbs, the walk perfectly encapsulates the waterside lifestyle that’s cherished so dearly by locals. It’s also the perfect chance to experience not one but several of the city’s best beaches, and the stunning scenery that comes with them, in a single afternoon. The walk will take you over sweeping cliffs, across idyllic beaches, through serene parklands and past charming rock pools on your way between Bondi and Coogee, with countless inviting swimming spots along the way. You’ll have no trouble finding some recharging and refuelling at one of the many cafes, restaurants, takeaways, kiosks and picnic areas dotted along the trail, and there are plenty of shopping strips you may find too tempting to bypass.
3. Explore the Royal Botanic Gardens
Conveniently huddled between Circular Quay and Potts Point, the Royal Botanic Garden has a stunning collection of attractions to enjoy. Better yet, it won’t cost you a cent! The Garden boasts a long list of unique features including the Australian Rainforest Garden, the Palace Rose Garden, Palm Grove, The Fernery, the Oriental Garden and many more. There are also Aboriginal experiences, educational programs and plenty of other events on during the year, so keep an eye on the Garden’s calendar to see what’s on.
4. Visit the Art Gallery of NSW
The Art Gallery of NSW is free to enter and is one of Australia’s leading art museums with collections of Australian, Aboriginal, European, Asian and contemporary art. The modern and contemporary works are displayed in expansive, light-filled spaces, offering stunning views of Sydney and the Harbour.
5. Check out the National Maritime Museum
The Australian National Maritime Museum is one of Sydney’s most underrated attractions. Even those who have no particular interest in Australia’s maritime past leave the museum beaming after experiencing its unique collection of displays and interactive exhibits, not to mention its fleet of historical vessels. Climb aboard warships, explore a real submarine, get up close to the fastest boat in the world and experience Navy life in the remarkable Action Stations exhibit. Spend an afternoon here, we promise you won’t regret it!
6. Have a breather in Hyde Park
Hyde Park is Australia’s oldest park and arguably its most famous. Comprising more than 16 hectares of public space, the park is the perfect refuge from the hustle and bustle of the city and take the time to soak in the Sydney vibes. Park yourself on a bench by the fountain to rest your legs and enjoy some good old-fashioned people watching or find a shady spot on the grass under a big leafy tree for a picnic. If you’re keen on exploring, visit the Anzac Memorial and the Pool of Reflection, along with the various statues dotted around the park -- can you identify them all?
7. Stop by Sea Life Sydney Aquarium and Wild Life Sydney Zoo
The best way to get up close and personal with Australia’s native wildlife is at the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium and Wild Life Sydney Zoo, which are conveniently located next door to one another in Darling Harbour -- just a short stroll from Fraser Suites Sydney. From sharks, turtles and clownfish to kangaroos, crocodiles and koalas, the two facilities house an abundance of animals to meet and greet.
8. Take a trip to the Blue Mountains
Although much of the Blue Mountains lies outside Sydney’s metropolitan region, any extended visit to Sydney would not be complete without a trip to the Blue Mountains. The spectacular region is perfect for anything from laid-back day trips to rewarding multi-day hikes. It’s not just about breathtaking views and immersion in nature, either -- the region’s various villages boast excellent dining, galleries, shopping, golf and plenty of other attractions.
9. Jump on a ferry
Ferries aren’t just crucial to Sydney’s public transport system: they’re also a great way to see the city from a new perspective. For the cost of a train ticket, hop aboard and enjoy the views of the Harbour and it’s countless inlets from water level as you cruise past the Opera House, under the Harbour Bridge and by the iconic Luna Park. If you have time, jump on the ferry to Manly and visit Sydney’s gorgeous Northern Beaches region.
10. Sample the flavours at The Rocks
Nextdoor to Circular Quay is The Rocks, a historical precinct overflowing with amazing bars, restaurants, cafes, pubs and shops. It’s a fantastic place to spend an evening, and there’s even markets to explore on Friday night, Saturday and Sunday.
Located in the heart of Sydney, Fraser Suites Sydney offers a range of carefully appointed luxury apartments and penthouse suites in an unbeatable location. Browse our accommodation packages to find out why there’s no better way to see Sydney.