First impressions are often the most lasting impressions, and we here at ACM Group are first-generation Australians, so we all have our strong memories of visiting Sydney tourist attractions for the first time, going up Sydney Tower, looking at the Opera House, checking out the Sydney Harbour Bridge or perhaps driving up to Palm Beach to get a sense of the expanse of Sydney and also the luxury at that high end of the Sydney coastline.
Whether you are visiting Sydney for the first time or returning again and again, you will always discover things to do in Sydney for a truly memorable day, week or extended holiday vacation period. Sydney is an amazing world class city, rich in history, offering a vibrant culture, plus spectacular natural beauty.
You can’t visit Australia without visiting Sydney, with its iconic harbour, beautiful beaches and eclectic culture; it really is a great travel destination. In order to make things easier on Asian first-time traveler to Australia, ACM Group Sydney have put together a list of Sydney tourist attractions you should visit first:
Sydney Tower is the tallest free standing structure at 309 metres (1014 feet) above the CBD offering 360 degree views of the city. This is a great place to start when visiting Sydney for the first time. It will give you a panoramic look of the city, it will also give you an idea what and where everything is located. Binocular allows you to zoom in on interesting points. Bring your camera for great snapshots of the view from the top.
The Rocks is the oldest preserved colonial district in Sydney. This is the great starting point to explore the city’s oldest neighbourhood and aboriginal heritage. A walk through the Rocks would give you a microcosmic tour of the city’s early years as British penal colony. Experience history at Sydney’s outdoors museum where entry is free. Discover the old district’s transformation and wander through modern cafes, restaurants and interesting shops and stalls.
Sydney Harbour Bridge is an arch steel bridge built in 1932 that goes across the Sydney Harbour. This bridge is 134 metres high and considered as the highest arch bridge in the world. The bridge carries rail, vehicles and pedestrians between the central business district and North Shore. A walk across the bridge features incredible views. Walk across the bridge for free at the Cumberland Street entrance and take the same panoramic views from the lower level.
Sydney Opera House is located on the Sydney Harbour at Bennelong Point. The white sails of the Opera House are the world’s most recognised buildings, one of the greatest in architecture and art. This masterpiece is considered to be one of the wonders of the modern world. The white sails of the Opera House are the world’s most recognised buildings, one of the greatest in architecture and art. This is Sydney’s most popular icons around the world. Today, it’s one of the busiest performing arts centres in the world, each year staging up to 2500 performances and events.
Royal Botanic Gardens is a 30 hectare of tropical plants, ponds, shady trees and green lawns overlooking the harbour. These beautifully kept gardens have everything from edible herbs to tropical greenhouse. Experience serenity in the city and harbour views from the garden. Join the free guided walk or follow a self-guided themed tour and take a picnic to admire city views at the gardens. The free guided walks depart daily from the Visitor Centre.
Royal National Park is the second-oldest national park in the world. This heritage-listed national park spans 16,000 hectares from the coastline to the spectacular Hacking River. This is home to over 100km of walking tracks, bush, beaches and waterfalls. This is an ideal spot to walk, hike or camp for people of all ages. A day trip to the park offers plenty of opportunity for bushwalking, barbecues, fishing, whale watching and bird watching.
Mrs Macquarie’s Chair is a chair carved into the sandstone by convicts for Major-General Lachlan Macquarie’s wife Elizabeth. The area around it is a popular lookout and the best position to the north-west view of Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge and the best spot to get photos. The view from Mrs Macquarie’s Chair is still enjoyed today by Sydneysiders and tourist. This is also the best place to go during balmy summer evening. A screen is set up for outdoor movie, films start when the sun goes down.
Australian National Maritime Museum visitors will learn the details of the history of the nautical stories of the country ranging back from the arrival of the first settlers throughout the course of their existence. Historic collection of naval vessels, dugout canoes and jet-powered hydrofoils are all on displays at the museum. Entry to the museum is free plus free admission to the permanent exhibitions, Maritime Heritage Centre at Wharf 7, the North Wharf and Marina and special exhibitions to view the historic vessels.
Museum of Contemporary Art is Australia’s only museum dedicated to collecting, interpreting and exhibiting contemporary art from across Australia and around the world. The Museum is overlooking Circular Quay. The permanent collection in the recently expanded gallery can be seen for free except the featured exhibitions. The contemporary artworks are displayed in expansive spaces with a stunning view of the Sydney and the harbour.
Bondi Beach is a crescent-shaped belt of sand along Sydney’s coastline. It’s one of Australia’s most famous beaches and among the world’s most well-known beaches. The beach is roughly a kilometre long and is patrolled by diligent lifeguards who make swimmers stay between the yellow and red flags. The vigilant lifesavers are famous and they become the subject of popular television shows. The great sand and clean waters sitting close to largest population centre makes it a popular location during summer. Bondi Beach is accessible via public transport and ideal for swimming and surfing.
Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk is one of the best discoveries; this is where you might spot a migrating whale from May to November. This walk is completely free and a perfect way to spend a summer day. There are plenty of beaches and cove to stop for a swim so you should not get too overheated.
Sydney’s Government House has been home to 27 governors since 1846. It’s located close to the nearby Botanic Gardens. This is a destination for high-profile visitors and government meetings. This hidden gem is decorated with beautiful paintings and exquisitely crafted furniture making the interior a beautiful spectacle in itself. The house has been a focus for public events and celebrations for over 160 years. It also host exhibition, concerts, festivals, symposia, lectures and other performances.
Manly Beach is Sydney’s premier beach resort which is a part of Sydney’s Northern Beaches. The water is crystal clear and the rock pool attracts over 8 million visitors a year. A short ferry ride from Circular Quay is a great day trip. The Manly Walk is one of Sydney’s best walks that take you from Spit Bridge through the Sydney Harbour National Park. Admire the fascinating Aboriginal rock art, across North Head past Manly Cove down to Manly beach. Set out a picnic or eat at the cafes and restaurants along the way.
Sydney Olympic Park is a major sporting and entertainment venue that boasts plenty of nature and family dining experiences. It’s situated in the city’s west, a short ferry ride or train trip away just 20 minutes from the CBD. It offers a wide playground for the entire family. It has many great attractions for the whole family like walking tracks through wetlands, bike tracks, barbecue and picnic facilities. The Olympic park host many performances by musicians and entertainers with concerts and stage shows.
Luna Park is a historic fun park that was restored in 1930s. This retro Coney Island offers the best value for your money. There’s no entry fee to this amusement park and only $10 per ride. Take on crazy rides like Tango Train, Ferris wheel or Giant Slides. This people’s park is a place where you can throw a party for the kids, host your dream wedding or stage a gala for thousands in the Crystal Palace. You can also catch a concert at the Big Top, eat classy cuisine at The Deck or take in the views as you ride the Ferris wheel.
Chinatown is the place to experience inexpensive Asian food. Visiting Chinatown is a rewarding experience for Asian first timers in Sydney. They offer some of the best food, festivals, shops and history. The food in Chinatown is some of the best you will taste outside of Asia. Head to the Dixon Street Food Courts where the locals are dining, make a decision out of the endless choices on what to eat. Sit down, and rest your feet after a long day of walking in one of the relaxed cafes and restaurants.
White Rabbit Gallery is exclusively devoted to contemporary Chinese art, it focuses on works produced after year 2000. The White Rabbit Collection is one of the world’s largest and most significant collections of contemporary Chinese art. This state of the art gallery is hidden on a backstreet in Chippendale. It’s a four-floor temple to 21st century Chinese art. The gallery also houses a gift-shop full of cheap, cheerful and colourful gifts, and a ground-floor tea house that also serves dumplings.
Centennial Parklands is one of the most historically and socially significant urban space in Australia. It was reconstructed as a public park and opened in 1888. This people’s park is a vision of Sir Henry Parkes to let the citizens of Sydney take in some air away from the town centre.
Sydney Aquarium set in the heart of Sydney on Darling Harbour boasts the world’s largest collection of all-Australian aquatic life featuring a number of habitats, 60 tanks and three oceanariums. Home to more than 12,000 aquatic animals from 650 species, in spectacular habitat displays. Take a trip to the vast southern oceans and see the fascinating platypus, little penguins, seahorses, giant sea turtle, sharks and stingrays. The place can often get quite crowded so buy your tickets online to skip the queue.
Eveleigh Market is an authentic farmers’ market in the heart of Sydney, it specialises in seasonal and homemade produce, with over 70 regular stalls selling the best regional NSW has to offer. Check out the Artisan Markets on the first Sunday of the month. It also showcases a diverse collection of high quality painting, furniture, sculpture, design, photography, craft, ceramics, glass, home wares, toys, and Indigenous artwork created by local and emerging artists and designers. Taste gourmet food every Saturday from 8am and enjoy the community feel whilst indulging in great coffee or organic produce.
King’s Cross is popularly known as the red light capital of Australia. Visit Kings Cross during the Sydney Guided Day Tour and see how the other half live during the day. Wander around Kings Cross and you will have your taste buds tempted by the many cafes, restaurants, bars and hotels that offer a wide array of menus. At night strip clubs, topless waitresses, adult bookshops and tacky nightclubs are abuzz when the bright lights come on and the action hots up. Be careful of spruikers outside nightclubs: they can be intimidating and aggressive. It is okay to look but don’t stare or make snide remarks as this could land you in trouble.