Darling HarbourSydney Australia offers so many amazing things to see and do, it’s hard to narrow to a top 5.  However, if visiting Sydney is a once in a lifetime event, you really want to work in the following:

SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE

Among the short list of International Icons is the Sydney Opera House, so of course, visiting this incredible structure is a must!  Danish architect Jørn Utzon’s design for the Opera House was one of 233 submitted for a competition in 1956.  Open to the public every day of the year with the exceptions of Christmas and Good Friday, Sydney Opera House houses multiple performance venues.  In an average year 1,500 performances are attended by 1.2 million people.  Opera Australia, The Australian Ballet, the Sydney Theatre Company and Sydney Symphony Orchestra are among the most popular performing arts companies drawing large crowds.  If you’re in Sydney and a particular performance doesn’t peak your interest, you can take a guided tour or simply walk about on your own.  The scope of the structure makes it an iconic image from a distance as well as a breathtaking sight up close.

Opera House

THE ROCKS

On the southern shore of Sydney is an urban locality known as The Rocks. Featuring a variety of arts & craft shops, jewellery stores, galleries and themed pubs, this area is quite popular with tourists and residents alike.  In addition, The Rocks Market operates each weekend with an average of 100 open stalls.  If you want an Australian opal or special piece of art created locally, you must visit The Rocks.

DARLING HARBOUR

Adjacent to the city centre of Sydney, Darling Harbour offers enough entertainment to keep your whole family busy.  Sydney Aquarium is one of the largest in the world making it the place to go for seeing Australian sea creatures up close and personal.  If the aquarium just wet your appetite for more about the sea, visit the Australian National Maritime Museum to discover more history and stories as it relates to Sydney.   Sydney Wildlife World is where you’ll find exhibits on Australian habitats from rainforest to red centre showcasing over 6,000 furry, cute, scaly, hairy, spiky and poisonous creatures.  The Star Casino is a great location to catch a wide range of leading local and international entertainment events.   If you need a bit of calm in the middle of all the excitement, check out the Chinese Garden of Friendship where serenity of beautiful winding pathways, pavilions, lakes and waterfalls will calm your nerves and restore your energy.

HARBOUR BRIDGE CLIMB

If you’re able to take the stairs, you cannot miss the experience of the Harbour Bridge Climb.  After all, you’ll be scaling one of Australia’s most loved icons and the 360 degree panoramic views are nothing short of breathtaking.  Learn the fascinating history of the bridge from concept to construction.  Day climbs are best for those interested in the construction aspect of the bridge while twilight climbs capture the imagination with stunning views.  You must be 10 years of age or older and in good health but otherwise there are no restrictions.  As well as the bridge itself, you can enjoy the Bridge Exhibition where you’ll learn the stories of the engineers, designers, tradesmen and labourers who built it through interactive displays and photographs.

BACK TO NATURE

Not everything about Sydney is urban entertainment or harbour related.  Bondi Beach, an east coast beach facing south, is famous for surfing or just enjoying beautiful sand and clear water.  Because it’s part of Sydney’s eastern suburbs, you may even see it from your beach-front accommodation or find yourself in a cafe looking out at the ocean.

Just 50 kilometres west of Sydney, you’ll find the The Three Sisters sandstone rock formations that are part of the Blue Mountains.  Called Blue Mountains for the blue appearance from a distance, you can explore caves or enjoy a nature walk through the valley.  Along with millions of eucalyptus trees, you may spot a yellow-bellied glider which is a nocturnal gliding possum or a grey kangaroo while walking about exploring aboriginal culture.  Villages and small towns dot the road through the range where you’ll find galleries, historic homes, hotels and eateries.

Whatever you decide to do during your visit to Sydney, make sure you remember your camera.   With so many incredible locations and views, you don’t have to be a professional photographer to take amazing photos.  Once you experience Sydney, you’ll want to look back on it many times over but you might as well make up your mind to visit again.  You simply won’t get enough of Sydney in one visit.

Bio: Doreen Brown is a mum of two living in Sydney Australia. She loves cooking, travelling and sharing her holiday tips with others. Read more about her favourite hotel destination in Sydney here. 

Sydney Skyline Sunset