9 Top Destinations to Visit in Sydney

Sydney is a fantastic city for any intrepid traveler with amazing places to explore and activities to experience. If you are visiting Sydney for the first time, these top 9 destinations to visit in Sydney are essential hot spots for tourists.  One of the biggest cities in Australia, Sydney features iconic images such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Opera House, and of course, the legendary Bondi Beach, or Palm Beach, the home of the famous television show ‘Home and Away’. Besides these world famous structures and sun-kissed seaside meccas, Sydney has a wealth of gems for you to discover and enjoy.

Parks and Beaches

Barangaroo. rachmadaryw. Pixabay.com.

1. Barangaroo

Historic Barangaroo has been a site of spiritual and cultural significance for the Aboriginal people, long before European colonisation. Barangaroo has recently undergone an extreme face-lift as part of Sydney’s largest urban renewal projects and it is now proudly titled, Sydney’s new Harbour foreshore playground. It is located on the western harbour foreshore and is easily accessible from any train station in the city centre. Although Barangaroo's development continues to evolve with more additions planned until 2023, it offers tourists excellent cafes, bars, restaurants, arts and crafts, and multicultural experiences. You can picnic in the Barangaroo Reserve, a six-hectare headland that features a spectacular sandstone foreshore and 75,000 native shrubs and tress. Walk, cycle or join a guided tour and learn about the history of Barangaroo and its rich indigenous heritage.

Sydney Botanical Gardens. pmorgan. Pixabay.com

2. The Royal Botanical Gardens

The Royal Botanical Gardens is an idyllic horticultural centrepiece located in the heart of Sydney. One step inside the gates, and you can escape from the hustle and bustle of the crowds and stroll down winding paths that are lined with colourful native flowers and trees. You can breathe in the fresh scented air and visit one of the many gardens on display like the HSBC Oriental Garden and the Palace Rose Garden. After you have finished exploring the gardens, enjoy a picnic under the shade of a mighty tree. You might even be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a laughing Kookaburra, a Crimson Rosella, or a flying fox. But beware of the bold Australian White Ibis – they are guilty of stealing a snack or two.

Ibis bird. MrsKirk72. Pixabay.com

3. Dee Why Beach

Although most tourist have Bondi Beach on their list when they travel to Sydney, I recommend some of the other beaches that are located on the North Shore. My personal favourites is Dee Why Beach, which has a family friendly beach for swimming and a rock pool. Enjoy the magnificent views of the ocean from The Bicentennial Coastal Walkway, a cliff walk that takes you past Long Reef golf links and down to North Curl Curl Beach. Soak up the rays on the beach, surf, or chill out and sample Dee Why’s fine dining at the beach front cafes and restaurants.


Cruising on a Tall Ship. Diana Jane Heath

4. Sydney Tall Ships

A great way of experiencing the beautiful Sydney harbour is on-board a Sydney Harbour Tall Ship.

Sydney Opera House/Tall Ship. Pattyjansen. Pixabay.com.

As you travel out into the sparkling harbour on an authentic Australian historical vessel, and with the wind in your hair and the sails billowing in the breeze, you can enjoy a range of dining or entertainment options. You can choose a Champagne Brunch Cruise or a Twilight Dinner Cruise. If you are feeling adventurous, why not join the Convicts, Castles and Champagne Tour or the wildly entertaining, Attack of the Pirates. A great way to celebrate New Year's Eve is to cruise the harbour while enjoying dinner, drinks and live music with the Tall Ship's Fireworks Cruise.

5. Harbour Jet-Boat

If you are a thrill-seeker, why not try the Sydney Harbour Jet-boat. Take a ride on the wild side with the Thunder Jet’s Twist Ride or the Extreme Adrenaline Ride that speeds out to Bondi Beach and offers you a totally different perspective on this famous stretch of sand. You can also take home a video of your exhilarating Thunder jet-boat ride to prove to your friends and family that you truly are an adrenaline junkie.

Sydney Harbour Bridge Kevin910. Pixabay.com.

6. The Harbour Bridge Climb

The Sydney Harbour Bridge (affectionately known as the ‘coat-hanger’) is one of the famous enduring icons of Australia. It has even featured in the Hollywood movie Independence Day. Although many travellers are happy to sit back and admire its grand steel arch and study concrete and granite pylons from a safe viewing distance on the Circular Quay foreshore, the best way to appreciate this gem of Sydney is take part in the Harbour Bridge Climb. As you begin your climb, you will not only appreciate the sacrifice of those who gave their lives while building this mighty structure, you will be rewarded with spectacular panoramic views at the top. 

Bars and Restaurants

7. Ivy Precinct

For a great night out in Sydney, look no further than the Ivy Precinct on George Street. The Ivy Precinct is the number one place for first class dining, entertainment, and retail therapy. You can sample an Aussie beer at The Royal George pub, enjoy a cocktail while sitting at the Marble Bar at the sophisticated Establishment, dance the night away at the Marquee Sydney or The Scary Canary, or buy yourself a new outfit in a trendy boutique.

8. The Opera Bar

The Opera Bar is situated in Circular Quay, near the Opera House steps. You can sit back, relax, and enjoy the delicious food and world-class wine as you admire the uninterrupted views of the majestic Sydney Harbour Bridge, which is a spectacular sight day or night.

9. Gowings Bar & Grill

Gowings Bar & Grill came as a surprise to me as I had no idea it existing until a few months ago. I discovered this little culinary gem after a recommendation from a friend. It is located inside the historic Gowings and State Theatre buildings on Market Street. Stylish, spacious and sophisticated, the Gowings Bar & Grill offers comfy couches to relax, an extensive wine list and mouth-watering cuisine. Gowings Bar & Grill is a mix of European Brasserie style and contemporary design and it offers breakfast, lunch (closed for lunch on Sundays) and dinner, and the bar is open until 12 am. As well as the Bar & Grill, there is a boutique hotel (OT Sydney Hotel) next door with 200 guest suites. Happy Travelling!  

Diana Jane Heath

Diana Jane Heath is a freelance writer living in Sydney, Australia. As well as being a passionate Sydney-sider, her favorite places around Australia include Western Australia, Melbourne, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania, and Lord Howe Island. Diana has traveled to iconic cities such as London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Paris, and Bern, and traveled extensively around New Zealand. As well as being a travel blogger, Diana works as a product buying guide writer for the Morning Chores website. When she is not writing about travel or reviewing products, Diana shares creative writing tips on her website, www.creativesdestination.com.au. Diana has published a short story collection, Tales for the Sisterhood, which is available on Amazon.