Best Places to Visit in Sydney Australia
10. Taronga Zoo
Located in Sydney’s Mosman neighborhood on the harbor’s hillsides, the world-class Taronga Zoo gives visitors a close-up view of Australia’s indigenous creatures as well as animals from all over the world. Highlights include the zoo’s Roar and Snore experience, which lets visitors stay overnight to observe nocturnal fauna, and the Nura Diya tour, which features guides who share stories about Aboriginal life. Although the zoo can be reached by car or bus, most visitors opt for a short ferry ride to the nearest wharf. From there, the entrance to the zoo is accessed by short gondola ride. Zoo tickets are available that cover ferry and gondola fares.
9. Australian National Maritime Museum
The premier attraction in Sydney’s recently redeveloped Darling Harbour, the Australian National Maritime Museum is best known for its historic seafaring vessels, which include the 19th-century tall ship James Craig and a full-scale replica of Captain James Cook’s Endeavor. The museum’s seven main galleries cover the nation’s maritime history, from the discovery of the Land Down Under to the country’s naval defense in World War II and beyond. Tickets are available that include entrance to the museum as well as tours of several of the vessels moored outside.
8. The Rocks
Situated between the Harbour Bridge and the northern edge of Sydney’s Central Business District, The Rocks is the city’s oldest neighborhood. Named after its rocky shore, The Rocks was Australia’s first permanent European settlement and the place where the country’s convict history began. By the late 1800s, the area had degenerated into a slum filled with taverns and brothels where crime ran rampant through the narrow streets. In the 1970s, the city began a huge restoration project to save the district’s historic homes and warehouses. Today, the redeveloped neighborhood is a popular tourist destination packed with art galleries, chic boutiques, trendy restaurants and souvenir shops.
7. Royal Botanic Gardens
Founded in 1816, the Royal Botanic Gardens is wedged between the Sydney Opera House and The Domain public green space. Overlooking the harbor, the urban park contains more than 7, 500 species of plants, many of which are native to Australia. Standout collections include the Tropical Centre, which features plants housed in pyramid-shaped greenhouses, and the Rare and Threatened Species Garden, which includes an ancient Wollemi Pine, a genus of tree that dates back 200 million years. There is no entrance fee to the park, and free guided tours are available as well.
6. Darling Harbour
Once home to Sydney’s industrial docks and wharves, Darling Harbour was redeveloped during the 1980s with culture and tourism in mind. Situated immediately adjacent to the Central Business District, the neighborhood is now home to some of the most popular tourist attractions in Sydney, including the Australian National Maritime Museum, the Sydney Aquarium, the Aboriginal Centre and an IMAX theater with the world’s largest screen. The kid-friendly Harbourside Shopping Centre boasts a bowling alley, laser tag facility and a jet flight simulator. The east side of the waterfront features upscale shops, bars and restaurants.
5. Sydney Harbour Bridge
The iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge is both the main method of crossing the harbor and a travel destination for adventurous visitors. Completed in 1932, the bridge features an arch that stands 134 meters (440 feet) above sea level and spans 503 meters (1, 654 feet). In 1998, the city opened a Bridge Climb attraction that allows hardy visitors to ascend to the top of the arch. Participants are equipped with protective clothing and secured to a wire lifeline during the three-and-a-half hour climb and descent. For those who want a less-adventurous view from the bridge, the Pylon Lookout Museum is a popular attraction. The museum is accessed from the footpath that runs along the eastern side of the bridge.