10 Things to do in Sydney
What to do
in Sydney? Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge!
Bridge Climb and the Sydney Opera House
The top 10 things
to do in Sydney is full of all the things that people think about when
they think about Sydney including the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb, Sydney
Harbour (see the top 5 page) and the Sydney
Opera House(?) Actually, the Opera House doesn't make the top 10 but that's
ok it's still on the list, just further down. The
Open Air Cinema (ranked 7) is something you really must do if it is
on whilst you are here. If the Open Air Cinema were on 12 months a year
it would rank even higher up the list.
6 Sydney Harbour Bridge including
the Harbour Bridge Climb
What sort of things can you
do on the Sydney Harbour Bridge other than just cross over it? You can
climb it, there's the Harbour Bridge Pylon Lookout and the Sydney Harbour
Bridge Climb (see below). That's surely it right? Well no - you can go
under it - a ferry to Darling Harbour
will do that quite nicely, and then there's flying
over it, which is pretty good too. On special occasions (see the Entertainment
page for anything pending) you can run or walk down the middle of it and,
for a couple of years, you could even have your breakfast on it (bring
back Breakfast on the Bridge!).
Sydney Harbour Bridge
The Harbour Bridge Climb
is easier than it first appears as the gradient leading to the top of
the bridge is not that steep. Negatives are the cost, the long period
of preparation and 'training' before you go up, no cameras (they will
sell you photos) and it can also get a little sweaty in their 'fashion'
Worth it? - Absolutely! -
It is an experience and a half - a must do, particularly if you like
being chained to something.
The Climb Must Go On
Tips - if you can, avoid
climbing the Harbour Bridge in the middle of the day. You are more likely
to enjoy yourself if you are feeling cool and relaxed. Climb the Harbour
Bridge alongside someone you like (or like the look of) - as once you
start that's it for the duration - no trading places. Having sheltered
on the Sydney Harbour Bridge whilst we waited for a storm to pass, I
can testify that the weather has to be pretty bad for the Bridge Climb
to be cancelled.
You don't want to
climb the Harbour Bridge? - Skywalk instead
outside the Sydney Tower Eye
Being about the same size
as the Eiffel Tower, the Sydney Tower gives you a pretty good view of
Sydney. If you choose to Skywalk outside of the Sydney
Tower Eye it gets even better with a complete view of the entire
city. You could say it is a real eyeful, maybe they should change the
name (again) to the Sydney Eyeful Tower.
Harbour Bridge Climb vs.
Being twice as high as the
Harbour Bridge, this is the best view in town. It is also a lot cheaper,
takes up less time and is easier to do than the Sydney Harbour Bridge
Climb. Against this, the Bridge Climb will feel like more of an accomplishment,
hey! You have just climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge! There is nothing
to stop you from doing both of course. Whichever you do, you will be
mesmerised by the sight of the most beautiful city in the world stretching
out beneath, and all around you. You came to see Sydney didn't you?
Now you have.
The Good Looking Sydney
Harbour Bridge - Looking Good
That would be it for most
bridges, but the Harbour Bridge has another quality most others lack.
You can look at it! Now that's daft right? Of course you can look at
it! But our bridge gets looked at from all over the place - from Sydney
Heads and Sydney's Harbour Islands to all sorts of wonderful places,
Where to see the Sydney
One tip is to take your camera
around the Rocks area for some stunning views. Then there's Kirribilli
and Milsons Point on the North side of Sydney Harbour. The issue maybe
too many photographs but hey, it's a good looking bridge, just enjoy
Crossing the Harbour Bridge
There are a few different
ways to cross the world's widest long-span bridge and tallest steel
arch bridge. Train, bus, walk or cycle are all good options. Swimming
under it is not so good and could prove fatal, but it has been done.
If you are driving you can avoid paying the Harbour Bridge Toll by only
driving north. This is a bit of a challenge and not really worth the
How to Pay the Harbour Bridge
So how do you pay? If you
are hiring a car there is a good chance they have it covered for you.
Ask if you are unsure. Failing that you will need an account as they
no longer take cash. The good news is you have two days after you cross
the bridge to set up this account. If you don't, they will fine you.
We have provided a link on our links page to set one up - click below.
Air Cinema (and Moonlight Cinema)
The Open Air Cinema is another
must. Located close to Mrs Macquaries Chair in the Royal Botanic Gardens,
it is the most expensive, hardest to get into and the most 'must do' of
a number of outdoor cinemas
in Sydney. With drink to hand, big screen in front of you with Sydney
Harbour, the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House as a backdrop, the
Open Air Cinema is sure hard to beat. If the movie is getting dull just
admire Sydney at its best - at night. Sadly, the Open Air Cinema is only
open during the summer.
Mrs Macquaries' Chair
Book your ticket well in
advance and arrive as early as possible. Reasonably good nosh and drink
are available. Reserve your seat as soon as you get in and then, if
you can, grab a table – or better still, you reserve the seats
whilst someone else grabs a table. When you've finished eating give
the table up to someone else – you're be sat down for most of
the night anyway. Expect to have to wait to get out and it may take
you a little while to find a cab. Better option is to drive. If you
arrive early enough you should be able to park in the Domain on the
road to Mrs Macquaries' Chair. If you're staying in the city consider
Reserve your tickets
We urge you to book your
tickets ASAP as the best shows will sell out in days, if not hours.
find the Moonlight Cinema in Centennial Park. It doesn't have any seats,
it is more of a BYO (Bring Your Own - see below) affair. None-the-less
it is well worth going to, it just lacks the 'Wow' factor of the Open
BYO - Bring Your Own
Bring Your Own (BYO) is an
Aussie institution favoured by the majority of Sydney restaurants and
cafes. The major exception to this being high class, expensive restaurants.
It is a wonderful concept as it means you can drink some of that fantastic
wine you bought during your trip to the Hunter
BYO Rules and Charges
BYO rules and charges (corkage)
vary. It is increasing common that you are only able to BYO wine, not
beer or spirits. Corkage maybe charged per person or per bottle, it can
even be a mixture of both. There is no standard way of charging it but
BYO rarely costs much. Please check before you order to avoid any unpleasant
surprises when the bill arrives.
8 Palm Beach, Whale and Bilgola
Beach (on the Northern Beaches)
The 35 kilometre trip or so
up to Palm Beach will make you feel at Home whilst you're Away - if you
like your Aussie soaps that is. An hour or so drive from the airport,
Palm Beach was my first stop and should be yours to if you love beautiful
Palm Beach is a very idyllic
location with more than its fair share of resident millionaires. Palm
Beach is at the end of the peninsular so the ocean beach and Pittwater
are walking distance apart.
You can hire a boat and go
for a paddle down Pittwater. The excellent and recently opened 'Boathouse'
on the wharf is a wonderful spot to grab something to eat, soak up the
scenery and watch the seaplanes land and take off.
Palm Beach Lighthouse
There is a track up to the
Palm Beach Lighthouse to enjoy. There is also a slightly hard to find
public footpath at the end of the road, by the swimming pool, at the
southern end of Palm Beach.
Seaplanes at Palm Beach
As mentioned above, there
at Palm Beach
Be blown away by a scenic
flight over Sydney Harbour and then by the aerial views of Sydney's
gorgeous Northern Beaches before gently splashing down on Pittwater
at Palm Beach. Dine in style at the upmarket Jonah's Restaurant before
being flown back to Rose Bay. This will be a very special day that you
are unlikely to forget.
Jonah's Cliff-top Garden
Bring your camera and don't
be afraid to ask the pilot to take your picture by the plane. Once you
have relaxed and enjoyed your food, ask the waiter to take your photograph
out on the terrace and/or in the cliff-top garden.
How Do I Get To Palm Beach?
The L90 bus regularly runs
all the way to Palm Beach from the bus terminus near Central Train Station.
It's a long journey in excess of two hours. On the way you will get
to see the Harbour Bridge (as you travel over it), the Opera House,
glimpses of Balmoral, Middle Harbour, Long Reef, Narrabeen and magnificent
views into Palm Beach. Sounds good doesn't it. Trouble is you will see
far more of the road and traffic than the sights.
The neighbouring Whale Beach
is arguably a ‘better’ beach than Palm Beach but it doesn't
have as many cafes and restaurants. The trees along the edge of Whale
Beach offer lots of shade, it has BBQ facilities, an ocean pool and
a children's play park right on the beach. Understandably, it is popular
Bilgola Beach (further
south from Palm and Whale Beach)
can be found just south of Palm Beach and Whale beach. A beautiful spot
surrounded by bush and if you're lucky, peace and quiet. Bilgola is
an excellent chill out if you avoid weekends and/or arrive early. Bilgola
has a pleasant kiosk by the beach and an ocean pool if you don't like
the look of the Bilgola waves.
in many ways and is, sadly, top of the skin cancer league. Slap it on
every time you step outside – the sun here is a killer. As anyone
who's experienced it will testify, sunstroke is extremely unpleasant and
will cost you at least a day or two of your holiday as you recover, so
bring or buy a hat.
Royal Botanic Gardens
The Royal Botanic Gardens is
a beautiful park on the foreshore of the most beautiful harbour in the
A walk through the Royal
Botanic Gardens at dusk will make you feel like you're David Attenborough
as the resident flying foxes get in a flap. That said efforts are being
made to encourage the bats to 'pull up stumps' and live in someone else's
garden. A bit sad really. Only time will tell if this works.
Lunch with the Wildlife
There's a cafe in the middle
of the Royal Botanic Gardens where you can compete with creatures of
various sizes for your lunch. Alternatively bring your own, find a patch
of grass and watch the boats go by. The Royal Botanic Gardens is a must
place to visit and it won't cost you a cent.
Royal Botanic Gardens -
Free Guided tours
Explore the world of plants
and the history of Sydney's magnificent Royal Botanic Gardens with a
knowledgeable Royal Botanic Gardens volunteer
guide. All tours depart
from the Information Booth outside the Gardens Shop at the Palm Grove
Macquaries' Chair and Point
[Classic Sydney Harbour Bridge
/ Opera House views and a great vantage point for photographs]
The only problem with Mrs Macquaries'
Chair is its popularity - beware the tourist bus (if you're riding on
one sit at the front and get off first!). Best bet is to arrive early
morning or late afternoon. If you want to avoid having the ugly Blues
Point Tower appearing in the background of your photographs move south
along the point - at the right angle it will be suitable obscured. (Alternatively
pop in to see Prime Minister Tony Abbott and have the monstrosity knocked
haven't even got to Bondi Yet
you started off with the top
thing to do in Sydney then you might already be starting to wonder
how you are going to do it all. After all there is still another 140
plus top things to do in Sydney to consider before you get to the end
of this list. It's ok to 'cheat' a little - if we can call it that.
There are tours out there that will combine a number of the top things
to do if you are short of time. You may not get to spend as much time
on them as you might like, but you can always return. There is no law
against doing the same thing twice.