Photo credit: Destination NSW
Sydney is a buzzing and vibrant world city alive with attractions and events all year round. Explore its rich mix of colonial and indigenous history, incredible variety of cuisine, superb shopping, multicultural festivals, internationally famous beaches, museums, fascinating exhibitions and world-class theatre productions.
Home to arguably the most beautiful natural harbour in the world, Sydney has much to see and do - the Harbour Bridge, the Opera House, Circular Quay, the Rocks, Taronga Zoo, Bondi Beach and much, much more.
Sydney is located on Australia's south-east coast on the Tasman Sea, and is Australia’s largest city.
NSW TrainLink’s Intercity services connect the city with the greater Sydney surrounds.
If you are coming by plane, the T2 Airport line runs from the domestic terminals (T2 and T3) and international terminal (T1) every 10 minutes towards the City. The trip will take between 10 and 20 minutes, depending on the starting and ending point of your trip.
The Airport line runs from around 5am until midnight, 7 days a week. You will need an Opal card or Opal single trip ticket to travel. A station access fee will apply when you use either the Sydney Domestic or International airport stations.
Sydney is serviced by regular trains, buses, trams and ferries and there are several taxi and car hire companies. In addition, the City Sightseeing double decker open top bus visits many of Sydney's spectacular landmarks. Bus tours are also available to major regional attractions.
It is easy to get around on trains, buses, ferries and light rail services when visiting Sydney by using an Opal card. You can explore and experience much of Sydney and surrounding regions on public transport. Use the Trip Planner or download a transport app to help plan your travel.
No trip to Sydney is complete without visiting Circular Quay - with the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge on one side and the Opera House on the other. For breathtaking views of the harbour and surrounding areas, take a BridgeClimb tour, or stroll across the Harbour Bridge and enjoy a delicious lunch while soaking up the village atmosphere of Kirribilli.
Take an organised tour of the Opera House to explore the 1000 rooms and 300 corridors, then see a concert and experience the perfect acoustics first hand.
Amble along the walk from the Opera House to the Royal Botanic Garden which cover 30 hectares and boast numerous species of plants. Enjoy a picnic on the manicured lawns then hop on board the Choo Choo Express for a scenic tour.
While at Circular Quay take a scenic dinner cruise around the harbour. Then wander around to the historic The Rocks with its narrow cobblestoned laneways and galleries, restaurants, boutiques, souvenir shops and beautifully restored, infamous ’pubs’.
From Circular Quay you can catch a ferry to Manly and relax on the beach while devouring delicious fish and chips. You can also ride a ferry to vibrant Darling Harbour which teams with restaurants, cafes and boutiques in a picturesque water-side setting. While there, see a film on the largest screen in the southern hemisphere at the IMAX Theatre and explore the free Maritime Museum with its amazing exhibits. Stroll across the Pyrmont Bridge to the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium where visitors can walk under water and come face-to-face with scary sharks and majestic giant rays, then move on to WILD LIFE Sydney to cuddle a koala and see other Australian animals.
At the southern end of Darling Harbour, catch your breath and enjoy the tranquillity of the Chinese Garden of Friendship, then meander to nearby Chinatown to enjoy top quality Asian cuisine.
For amazing 360 degree views across the harbour and beyond, the Sydney Tower Eye Observation Deck is a must-see, as is OzTrek with its 180 degree cinema screens, 3D holographic imagery and ‘real-motion’ seating. From the roof of the Sydney Tower, venture onto the Sydney Skywalk to experience open-air views a breathtaking 260 metres above the city.
Visit Sydney's renowned Taronga Zoo and observe the large range of exotic animals. Stay overnight and wake to the roar of a lion or an elephant trumpeting.
Don't miss the Art Gallery of NSW with its five levels of permanent exhibitions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, colonial and 20th century Australian art, old European masters, Asian galleries and contemporary works. Major temporary exhibitions from other galleries and collections are also regularly presented. The Museum of Contemporary Art, dedicated to exhibiting new, exciting and inspiring contemporary art from across Australia and the world, is also well worth a look.
Sydney has a wide selection of museums to immerse yourself in. The Australian Museum focusing on natural history and indigenous studies has an amazing hall with hundreds of animal skeletons, including a blue whale hanging from the ceiling. For modern hands-on science demonstrations and fascinating temporary exhibits, don't go pass the Powerhouse Museum and to learn about the history of convicts in Sydney, see the Hyde Park Barracks Museum.
Catch a show at one of Sydney's numerous and architecturally significant theatres. Visit the Capitol Theatre for its stunningly ornate décor and the State Theatre for its gold elaborate décor and the second largest crystal chandelier in the world. Have pre-theatre drinks and enjoy the stunning harbour views at the Wharf Theatre, which is Sydney Theatre Company's home base.
The kids will love the iconic Luna Park which never fails to thrill with its diverse range of rides and games for all ages. Right on the harbour it offers stunning views day or night.
Travel to Bondi Beach, Australia's most famous beach, and lay on the golden sand before taking a dip in the rolling surf. People watch, shop in designer boutiques and dine at one of the myriad of funky cafes and restaurants. Take the highly popular walk from Bondi Beach to Bronte Beach with spectacularly beautiful views.
For quaint cafés, superb restaurants and boutique shopping, travel easily by public transport to Paddington, Newtown, Balmain, exclusive Double Bay and Vaucluse and many other areas. Shop until you drop at the Queen Victoria Building which Pierre Cardin once said is the most beautiful shopping centre in the world, and don't forget to visit the highly decorated 19th century Strand Arcade.
Enjoy a day trip to the Hunter Valley, Australia's oldest wine producing region, and experience wine tasting and delicious lunches amongst the vines. Trip up to the Blue Mountains and relish the crisp, clean air and distant blue horizons before heading to a colourful village for a first class lunch or dinner.
Event information is supplied by Destination NSW. For a more comprehensive event guide and the exact dates for events in Sydney, visit the Destinations NSW website.
|Vivid Sydney||May-June||A 23-day festival of light, music and ideas where art, technology and commerce intersect|
|Kinky Boots Musical||August||Cyndi Lauper’s hit musical Kinky Boots must leave Sydney this August!|
|World Polo Championship||21 – 29 October||An 8 day festival and polo tournament held at Sydney Polo Club, Richmond NSW.|
|NRL Grand Final Day||October||The pinnacle event of the Rugby League season, held on the first Sunday of October every year.|
|Sculpture by the Sea||October – November||The outdoor sculpture exhibition returns to the stunning Bondi to Tamarama coast walk.|
|Mammoths - Giants of the Ice Age||18 November – 13 May 2018||For the first time in Australia, journey into the Ice Age to discover fossils, life-size replicas and the world’s only real preserved baby mammoth, Lyuba. This thrilling exhibition premiers in Australia, at the Australian Museum, Sydney on 18 November 2017.|
|Sydney New Year's Eve||December||The best New Year’s Eve celebrations in the world|
|Australian Open of Surfing||February 2018||The World Surf League's best will hit Manly Beach for the country's largest surf, skate, music and lifestyle festival|
|Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras||March 2018||40th anniversary of the world's most joyous and spectacular celebration of LGBTQI pride|
|Sydney Royal Easter Show||April 2018||Delighting people of all ages with the biggest celebration of the country in the city|