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 Sydney's top 5 page) and the Sydney Opera House(?) Actually,
the Sydney 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 Sydney 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 Sydney Harbour Pylon Lookout and the famous 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 what's
on pages 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 Sydney Harbour Bridge
Climb is easier than it first appears as the gradient leading to the
top of Sydney Harbour 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' gray suits.
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 Sydney Harbour Bridge in the middle of the day, the light
is better and the Harbour Bridge Climb is less likely to be a sweat.
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.
Discounted Bridge Climb
We have added an extra link
for a slightly discounted weekend day climb. Follow the link below for
You don't want to
climb the Sydney 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
Sydney 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 Sydney 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, it's there.
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 Sydney Harbour
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 Sydney Harbour Bridge Toll
by only driving north. This is a bit of a challenge and not really worth
How to Pay the Sydney Harbour
Bridge Toll (e-Pass)
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. The Open Air Cinema, close to Mrs Macquaries Chair in the Royal
Botanic Gardens, is the most expensive, hardest to get into and the most
'must do' of a number of outdoor cinemas in Sydney. With a drink in hand,
big screen with the Sydney City Skyline, Sydney Opera House and Sydney
Harbour Bridge as a backdrop it is hard to beat. If the movie is getting
dull just watch the fruit bats fly off to feed or admire Sydney at its
best - at night. Sadly, the Open Air Cinema is only open during the summer.
Mrs Macquaries' Chair
Book your ticket to the Open
Air Cinema well in advance and arrive as early as possible. Reasonably
good nosh and drink are available. Reserve your Open Air Cinema 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 walking.
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 well worth going to, it just lacks the Wow! factor of the Open Air
BYO - Bring Your Own
Bring Your Own (BYO) is an
Aussie institution favoured by the majority of Sydney restaurants
and cafes. The major exception being high class,
expensive restaurants. BYO Rules and charges (corkage) vary. BYO
may be just limited to wine only. Corkage maybe charged per bottle. At
other times it is charged per person.
8 Palm Beach, Whale and Bilgola
Beach (on Sydney's 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 an wonderful spot to grab something to eat, soak up
the scenery and watch the Seaplanes.
Palm Beach Lighthouse
There is a trek up to the
Palm Beach Lighthouse to enjoy although you may have to 'rough it' slightly
as the main path was being upgraded the last time I did it. 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.
Its a long journey in excess of two hours. On the way you will get to
see the Sydney Harbour Bridge (as you travel over it), Sydney 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 offers 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.
Explore the Northern Beaches
The Northern Beaches are
known locally as God's Country and you are about to find out why. Riding
like motorbike royalty on the back of your trike you will roar up the
coast with the sea and coastline before you and the spirit of adventure
behind you. You will motor all the way to Palm Beach where you will
be shown all the very best spots to give your camera a serious workout.
Ku-ring-gai National Park
After Palm Beach, you will
take an even more scenic route back to Manly via Church Point, past
Scotland Island, before heading into the bush and Ku-ring-gai National
Romantic Slice of Northern
Alternatively, for those
looking for a slightly more romantic slice of paradise:
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 in
Sydney is a beautiful park on the foreshore of the most beautiful Sydney
Harbour in the world.
A walk through the Sydney
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.
Cycle tour including the
Royal Botanic Gardens
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
/ Sydney 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 Julia Gillard and have the monstrosity knocked
Sydney City Sights and Bondi
Beach - Half Day Tour
Well, if 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 odd things
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.