I usually prefer our more rural destinations more than our city destinations. And yet – Suddenly Sydney. I’m gobsmacked. I wish I had the time to stay longer, but we used our time well, and discovered six amazing things not to miss in Sydney Australia.
The Sydney Opera House – When visiting Sydney the Opera House will always top any list, as it does in our six Amazing Things not to miss in Sydney Australia. At first glance I thought, “Huh – it’s not as white as I was expecting.” At second blush I was enamored. Wow. When you are inside, you realize what a marvel of architecture and engineering is. You don’t need to know anything about architecture or engineering to see clearly what an impressive
specimen it is.
We booked a tour ahead on line, although we could have walked up that day and got on a tour. We are here in the “shoulder” season, so at other times of
the year these two-hour tours fill fast. Our tour guide Lyn was incredibly knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the history, construction and current state of one of the most iconic buildings in the world. I loved the tour and would do it again in a heart beat.
We learned that the multiple theaters within the building are home to several resident companies, as well as an ever revolving schedule of visiting shows and artists. While in Sydney we actually saw an outdoor opera, just across the bay looking back at the Opera House. This seasonal show happens each March and April and it was a beautiful location to watch La Boheme outdoors with the lights of Sydney in the background.
We also got tickets to attend a dance/circus performance (think Cirque de Soleil on a small-scale) inside one of the theaters. The multiple theaters in the opera house can seat anywhere from 200 to 2000 people, depending on the theatre, the show and the configuration.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge – built in 1932 this bridge towers over the harbour with it’s beautiful
arched structure. The bridge is the worlds largest (but not longest) steel arch bridge with 6 million hand driven rivets. You can drive across, walk across, cycle across or take a boat and look at it from underneath. There is also a museum in the top of one of the Pylons. Although there is no lift, it’s worth the 200 steps and the $8.50 to see the view.
But – the most amazing thing about the Sydney
Harbour Bridge is you can walk to the top as part of the Sydney Bridge Clilmb.
First let me tell you, it’s very EXPENSIVE. Choke. But I talked my husband into it, even though this is the kind of tourist activity he despises. But, in hindsight, he loved it. And once you spend the
nearly four hours it takes from start to finish doing the bridge climb, the price no longer seems so high. You are completely outfitted (remove all your clothing and wear the gear they provide), you are connected at all times to the bridge with a tether guide cable, you have a radio and headset that you use to listen to your guide. You learn about construction, history, people – but most of all, you have the most amazing view you will ever see. Particularly if you are lucky enough to enjoy the climb on a sunny and calm day like the day we went. They climb rain or shine, and only stop the tours if the wind is 80km per hour. You also get one heck of a work out.
It’s difficult to describe this experience, but I sure am glad we did it. Once in a lifetime.
The Rocks and Circular Quay – the hub of
Sydney’s tourism activity is The Rocks and Circular Quay. Here is where you find the Sydney Opera House, the Cruise Ship Terminal, The Ferry Terminals, the Harbor Tour Boat Terminal, the Sydney Harbour Bridge as well as many restaurants, bars and shops. It’s a very hopping place with outdoor seating, views that go for miles and a happening vibe.
Coogee to Bondi Coastal Walk – we had exceptional weather the day we did this four mile one way walk along the Pacific Coast, but honestly it would be spectacular no matter the weather. We
took an Uber from our condo in Rushcutter’s Bay to Coogee (mid-day $17) and after a lovely cappuccino at Little Jack Horner we started the walk. This meandering, paved and well-marked path is very popular with locals and visitors alike. It is often touted as one of the most beautiful shoreline walks in the world. And I have to agree. I took so many photos – the turquoise blue water, the crashing waves, the cliffs and sandstone outcroppings. Beautiful. Easy. A must do.
Manly Ferry and Manly Beach – on our last day in Sydney we rode one of the many Sydney City Ferry boats to the popular destination of Manly – a small suburb of Sydney. Manly now is a tourist destination with many shops and restaurants, but we headed straight to Manly Beach for a bit of
R&R. Manly is a surfer’s beach and much of the beach is off-limits to swimming due to high surf and strong undertow. But areas on both ends of the beach are safe for swimming and lifeguards are on duty making sure everyone has a good time. A beautiful spot and a great place to work on your tan, watch the surfers and enjoy the Pacific views.
Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney – Last but not least in our list of six Amazing Things not to miss in SYdney Australia. During our time in Sydney we were staying in an Airbnb in Rushcutter’s Bay, about two miles from Circular
Quay. There is metro and bus service, Uber and cabs, but since we really enjoy walking, we walked into town each day. And each day we took a different path through Sydney’s stunning Botanical Gardens. First let me say, this city is awash in green space. Lovely pocket parks and grand expansive parks seem to be around every corner. But the 200-year-old Royal Botanic Gardens was my favorite. We have visited many botanical gardens around the world. I don’t believe we have visited any that were both FREE and so well manicured and presented. Clearly a favorite for locals for the beautiful lawns to play and relax, the forested hills, the blooming flowers, the abundant bird life and
the waterfront views. All of this, a public park, free for the taking. One of my most favorite things we discovered in Sydney.
So there are my six amazing things not to miss in Sydney Australia. I know I will need to return to this beautiful place, and find six, 12 or a hundred more amazing things. And hopefully, it won’t be too long until I do.
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