Sydney — a coastal metropolis whose five million residents make it the largest city in Australia — is famous for many things. The glittering harbour, complemented by landmarks like the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
The dozens of sun-bathed beaches peppering the spectacular coastline. Pristine bushland right on the doorstep of the city, and manicured parks in the middle of town. A sophisticated food and drink scene befitting a city of this magnitude. But one thing you might not know about Sydney is the origin of this nickname.
Sydney Tourist Attractions
Sydney has an almost endless variety of activities and attractions to entertain. You can take to the harbour, come face-to-face with Australia’s diverse wildlife, go behind the scenes at art galleries and at the Sydney Opera House, or climb a city icon.
At Sydney Wildlife World, visit the butterfly nursery before getting up close to these gorgeous creatures in their steamy Flutterbys butterfly habitat. The ‘Shark Explorer’ glass-bottom boat at Sydney Aquarium floats above the Great Barrier Reef oceanarium. You’ll see shark feeding in perfect safety.
One of the most exhilarating ways to enjoy Sydney Harbour is on a Sydney Harbour BridgeClimb, a trek that takes you to the summit of the Harbour Bridge. Climb at dawn, day, twilight or night, or take the Discovery Climb, which takes you for a closer look at the inside workings of the Bridge.
Sydney is an incredible city, an urban wonder full of glamour and natural charm. It sits on the south-east coast of Australia along the Tasman Sea like a precious jewel in the wild, and it has everything it takes to be the greatest city in the world: amazing natural beauty, the planet’s most beautiful harbor, dynamic arts and culture landscape, innovative fashion scene, exceptional gastronomic reputation and an outdoor lifestyle most seductive than anywhere else.
The most spectacular New Year’s Fireworks display
One billion viewers from across the world confirm that the New Year’s Fireworks in Sydney are the brightest and most spectacular on the planet. This fabulous show consists of two pyrotechnic displays: 9PM Family Fireworks and Midnight Fireworks Displays, both organized according to a theme, synchronized with a soundtrack and held over the gorgeous Sydney Harbor.
Blue Mountains and Jenolan Caves
The Blue Mountains are located 2 hours drive west of Sydney and are made up of one million hectares of sandstone cliffs, forests, canyons, waterfalls and lookout points. The mountains are world heritage listed and popular with hikers with over 140 kilometres of walking tracks available for use to admire the beautiful scenery and wildlife.
To get a bird’s eye view of the Three Sisters and Katoomba Falls head to Scenic World and take a ride on the skyway with transparent glass underfoot to view the canyons below or the Cableway, Walkway and Railway. This is one of those tourist attractions that is worth the money as the scenery and photographs that you will get here are amazing.
Stay longer and get away from the hustle and bustle of city life with the many luxury resorts and cosy cabins to keep you warm in the winter or relaxed after a long day of hiking. Don’t forget to visit Leura while you are here. This quaint town centre boasts small galleries, antique shops and cafes perfect for a lunch stop with beautiful views.
Booming art and culture
Sydney is a major dynamic cultural hub, a melting pot of European and Aboriginal heritage, and this can be seen in its lovely collection of museums, galleries and theatres. The city is also home to festivals of all kinds and boasts a creative community of artists, musicians, designers and artisans.
The iconic Sydney Opera House, the magnificent State Theatre, the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the prestigious Museum of Contemporary Art Australia are among Sydney’s premier cultural institutions, but it’s the right blend of creativity, enthusiasm and innovation that really sets the capital of New South Wales apart from its strong contenders.
The city’s contemporary art scene is particularly exciting and it thrives in gallery-filled neighborhoods such as Waterloo, Paddington and Newtown. Delightful boutique cinemas, independent theatres and a vibrant live music sector are also part of Sydney’s charm.
Sydney Harbour Cruises
The best way to experience the iconic Sydney Harbour firsthand is to naturally board a cruise. From the perspective of a comfortable vessel you can look back upon the Harbour Bridge and Opera House to get up close views of the iconic Harbour Bridge. Some cruises may also take you to other destinations such as Taronga Zoo, Manly, Darling Harbour or other bays and inlets to view the scenery and beautiful harbour side mansions.
You can choose from a lunch cruise, high tea, sunset, dinner or even the more adrenaline filled jet boating and tall ship cruises. Sit back and relax as you listen to interesting and entertaining commentary throughout the cruise. This is definitely the best side of Sydney and cruises are the easiest way to get around.
Make sure there is plenty of space on your camera for all the photos that you will inevitably take. Many people fall in love with Sydney instantly after spending time on the harbour. Harbour cruises are also our pick for the best way to see the New Year’s Eve fireworks – more on that later.
The Rocks and Circular Quay
The Rocks are located in the heart of the city centre between the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. The Rocks have become famous for its markets and trendy restaurants, café and cruise terminal but this part of the city was the first place of European Settlement in Australia and the cobblestone laneways and old warehouses that remain give the city atmosphere and a glimpse into the past.
This part of Sydney would have been bustling with activity in the 1800’s as a commercial hub for the trade industry and convict transportation but it also attracted some seedy characters. If only the walls and buildings could talk. If you want to learn more you can join a walking tour or the very popular haunted Sydney tours that spend a significant amount of time here telling you the stories of debauchery from the early settlement era.