Top 10 things to do in Sydney
From Barangaroo to Bondi and everywhere in between, these recommended attractions and activities will open your eyes to a fresh view of Sydney.
Whether you decide to stay in the CBD or book an apartment in a city-fringe suburb, Sydney's public transport system - trains, buses and ferries - will get you to where you’re going. You can also get a lot of sightseeing done on your own two feet, especially around The Rocks, Circular Quay and Barangaroo.
1. Hop off to Barangaroo
West of The Rocks at the edge of the harbour is Barangaroo, a new area of downtown Sydney that includes great restaurants, beautiful parkland, enticing shopping and fascinating indigenous tours. To find Barangaroo, walk from The Rocks along the foreshore under the Sydney Harbour Bridge to Darling Harbour or take a ferry from Circular Quay to Barangaroo Wharf.
Even if you've been to Sydney multiple times, if you haven't seen the city from the breezy top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge it's time to step out. The Sydney BridgeClimb experience gets consistent five-star reviews for good reason. It's a massive, long-lasting thrill over and up one of the world’s legendary harbour bridges.
3. Take a dip at Bondi Icebergs
Bondi Icebergs Club runs Sydney's most famous outdoor pool, which has been providing Sydneysiders and visitors with invigorating swims since 1887. There's a large lap pool and a smaller kids' pool, both watched by qualified lifeguards. The pool is open all year round every day of the week except Thursday. You'll also find ocean pools at Coogee, Bronte and Clovelly.
4. Hike from Bondi to Coogee
If you only have time for one big walk in Sydney, make it this one. Divided into four stages, this six-kilometre coastal walking adventure leads you across beaches, around headlands and past beautiful coastal parks. The views are stupendous and there are plenty of opportunities for eating and drinking along the way. All the beaches along this walk are connected to the CBD by bus routes. See more about beaches.
5. Find a pub, new or old
From historic hotels like The Fortune of War, which has been pumping ale in The Rocks since 1828, to hip and happening craft brewery bars like Young Henrys in Newtown, Sydney loves a good pub. And it's not all about the beer. The menus are often just as enticing as the brews. While Aussie classics like Chicken Parmigiana (Chicken Parma for short) still feature, you’re just as likely to find kangaroo sirloin, spatchcock or slow-roasted brisket.
6. Muse away an hour or two at the Museum of Contemporary Art
Conveniently located at The Rocks, this art museum always has something mind-boggling to show you. Exhibitions are often fully-immersive, with lighting, video projections and soundtracks to draw you into a deeper art experience. Visiting the MCA is one of the best free things to do in Sydney and the café on level four has spectacular views of the Sydney Opera House.
7. Explore Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
A trip to Australia isn't complete without experiencing indigenous culture. Visit Sydney's Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park to see ancient artworks set against a seriously gorgeous natural backdrop. The Aboriginal Heritage Walk here stretches 4.4 kilometres and takes roughly three hours to complete. Along the way, you'll see Aboriginal rock art and engravings, as well as an historic occupation shelter where local families lived for generations.
Appreciate Sydney's most memorable city feature by seeing it in action. There are seven venues within the Sydney Opera House, so it should be easy to find a production that grabs you. The largest is the Concert Hall; the tiniest is the Utzon Room. At any moment in time you'll find music, drama, dance, cabaret and comedy. Check the Sydney Opera House website for what's on.
9. Walk the city with a local
Want to see this city's coolest spots through the eyes of a real Sydneysider? Sydney walking tours are a great way to get insider stories on the most fascinating parts of the city. There are plenty of tours to choose from, so you can pick a focus that suits your interests. Take a street art tour of Newtown, a gallery and lunch trip around Redfern, inner city history and architecture tours or a night ghost tour of the historic Rocks area.
10. Ride a bike in Centennial Park
Next to Paddington in the city fringe is beautiful 360-hectare Centennial Park, which has trails for biking and walking. You'll find the bike hire place on Grand Drive and the choice is impressive - from 4-seater pedal cars and tandems to comfort bikes and tagalong bikes for parents with small kids. The park is a glorious oasis of greenery, trees and ponds. There's wildlife too - parrots, swans, coots, bats, lizards, eels and turtles.