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Sydney Activities Guide

What to See and Do in Sydney

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View from Observatory Hill to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Photograph By David Messent/Photolibrary/Getty Images

It's best to know what Sydney activities you'd like to do when you visit Sydney, Australia. But if you haven't planned beforehand, here are some possible Sydney activities which could include visits to a number of Sydney attractions:

Walking tour

Take a day's walking tour. Start at Circular Quay, head to Sydney's historic Rocks district, visit the Sydney Opera House, cross to the Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens, enter Sydney's city centre, and continue on to Darling Harbour. If walking's not your thing, try the red Explorer bus which used to be operated by the State Transit Authority but is now managed by CitySightseeing Pty Ltd.

Climb that bridge

See that steel span over Sydney Harbour that is as much an icon of Sydney as the Sydney Opera House? Large numbers of people delight in climbing that span as part of their Sydney activities. (Me, I've got a fear of heights.) Not only is there the adventure of the climb but you get spactacular Sydney views from the top. Not a free activity though. See BridgeClimb.

Or, if you wish, you can cross the bridge on foot. Unlike BridgeClimb, this bridge walk is free.

Cruise the harbour

Take a cruise on Sydney Harbour. Sydney, after all, is a harbour city. Go on a sightseeing cruise, a dinner cruise, or dance cruise, or simply catch a ferry to whatever destination you choose on the ferry routes. Cross the harbour to Manly or head to Watsons Bay for seafood at Doyles. Check your choice of Sydney cruises at Circular Quay and make your ferry tale come true.

Go to the beach

Particularly in the warmer months, Sydney's beaches are the place to go. Go swimming, surfing, water skiing or simply laze in the sun and bake. Be safe on the beach.

Snorkel or dive

Yes, there's an underwater Sydney. Discover the best spots for snorkeling or scuba diving. There are scuba diving courses as well, so you can get your diving certificate.

Go sailing

You can hire a boat or yacht from one of the Sydney marinas along the eastern coast. If rowing's more your style, you can hire a rowboat or kayak as well.

Visit the museums

There's the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Sydney Museum, and the Police and Justice Museum in the Circular Quay area. At Darling Harbour you'll find the Powerhouse Museum and the Australian National Maritime Museum. The Australian Museum is adjacent to Hyde Park in the heart of the city. Check out our list of Sydney museums.

Visit the Sydney Aquarium

The Sydney Aquarium is right at Darling Harbour. View sharks at close hand, discover the variety of fishes from all over Australia from the Nemo clownfish of the Great Barrier Reef to the water creatures of the Murray-Darling river system.

Talk to the animals

Or at least see them close hand. Taronga Zoo is just across the harbour from Circular Quay. Take a ferry. A smaller, more intimate setting for close encounters with Australian fauna is at Featherdale wildlife park in Sydney's west.

And, yes, there's Wild Life Sydney at Darling Harbour within walking distance of Sydney city centre.

Explore the Opera House

If you wanted more time at the Sydney Opera House (rather than fleetingly as part of a day's tour), you might want to join a scheduled Opera House tour not only of the performance areas but also behind the scenes. There are restaurants and bars on the premises when you hanker for food and drink. You might want to attend a performance as well, but for this pre-booking is advised. Visit sydneyoperahouse.com.

Go for that dining experience

Check out Sydney Cuisine and the Sydney Dining Guide next page.

Get out of Sydney

Take a daytrip (or take a couple of days or more) north, south or west of Sydney. If you want to dawdle in the regions, try the Blue Mountains west of the city or the Hunter Valley wine region in the north.

And there's more to do

There are many more Sydney activities you can choose to do. Check with the Sydney visitor centre at the Rocks, tour operators at Circular Quay, or your hotel reception desk.

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