Australia’s most iconic building is the Sydney Opera House which nestles on the shores of Sydney Harbour at Bennelong Point. This multi-venue performing arts center was designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon and completed in 1973, before being added as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.
Located around 45 minutes’ drive west of Sydney’s city center is the Featherdale Wildlife Park, set across seven acres of land in the suburb of Doonside. It was established in 1972, primarily as a nursery for Australian native trees and plants, while also providing a refuge for native animals.
With a magnificent setting at Circular Quay near the ferry wharf, the Customs House Library is set within one of Sydney’s finest historical landmarks. It was constructed from 1844 to 1845 to serve as the headquarters of the Customs Service before becoming a venue for exhibitions and functions in 1990.
The Museum of Sydney explores the people and events that have shaped the city, built on the ruins of the house of New South Wales' first Governor, Arthur Phillip. Remnants of the original 1788 building, such as drains and privies, can still be glimpsed today through glass openings in the museum’s forecourt and foyer, retaining what is a significant and symbolic site for the city.
Just a short ferry ride from Circular Quay across beautiful Sydney Harbour will take you to the world-famous Taronga Zoo. It boasts magnificent water views across its 69 acres (“Taronga” is an indigenous Aboriginal word meaning “beautiful view”) and is home to more than 4,000 animals from 350 different species.
Just to the south of Sydney lies the magnificent coastal cliffs, untouched beaches and native bushland of the Royal National Park. It stretches across 151 square kilometers and was the second national park to be established in the world, after Yellowstone in the United States.
On the doorstep of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and immediately adjacent to Circular Quay lies The Rocks, a historic neighborhood of charismatic sandstone architecture and cobblestone streets. It was established as Australia's first European settlement in 1788 and is today packed with fascinating museums, boutique shops and iconic pubs, making it worthy of an entire day’s exploration.
Australia’s oldest scientific institution, the Royal Botanic Gardens sprawl across 30 acres on the edge of Sydney Harbour. It was opened in 1816 and remains one of the most important botanical institutions in the world, home to an impressive collection of plants from Australia and around the globe.
Sydney’s hub for entertainment is Darling Harbour, which lies a ten-minute walk from the CBD or a short ferry ride from Circular Quay. It’s home to the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium and WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo for up-close animal encounters, as well as great cafes and restaurants overlooking the water.
Soaring above the city skyline as Sydney’s tallest structure, the Sydney Tower Eye measures in at 309 meters. It features a 360-degree observation deck that offers unparalleled panoramas across the city, making it one of Sydney’s most popular tourist attractions.
Located in the heart of Darling Harbour, adjacent to the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium and Madame Tussauds, is WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo. This award-winning, native wildlife park is designed like a rainbow serpent from the Aboriginal Dreamtime stories, with open-air exhibits enclosed by a stainless steel mesh roof that resembles the serpent’s ribs.
Entertaining Sydneysiders since the early 19th century, the beautiful Capitol Theatre is located in Haymarket. It hosts world class musicals, theatrical plays, ballets and concerts within its magnificent historic setting.
Home of the Sydney Theatre Company, who perform both here and at the nearby Roslyn Packer Theatre. The company was formed in 1978 and initially worked out of numerous rented premises throughout the city, with actors such as Geoffrey Rush, Hugo Weaving and Cate Blanchett having developed their careers here.
Home to more than 700 different marine species, the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium is one of Australia’s largest and most impressive aquariums. It’s set across 14 themed zones, including Jurassic Seas, the Shark Walk, Dugong Island, the Southern Ocean and the Discovery Rockpool, as well as the world’s largest display on the Great Barrier Reef.
The Powerhouse Museum is situated in the old Ultimo Power Station building, just a short walk from Darling Harbour. It’s the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences’ main venue (aside from the historic Sydney Observatory), with outstanding collections that span science, technology, communication, transport, furniture, media, fashion and contemporary culture.
Located in the beachside suburb of Manly on Sydney’s northern shores, the Manly Sea Life Sanctuary is a much-loved aquarium, dedicated to the conservation of marine species. It first opened its doors in 1965 as Marineland and has undergone numerous name changes and revamps since, eventually being launched as Manly Sea Life Sanctuary in 2012.
The Sydney Harbor Bridge is an iconic image, along with the Opera House, of the city of Sydney in Australia.Climb the Harbour BridgeExperience the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the most thrilling way possible with BridgeClimb, an adrenalin sports company that will take you up and over the southern half of the bridge.
Set across five levels on the edge of the Domain Parklands, the Art Gallery of New South Wales is one of Australia’s most popular art galleries. It boasts an impressive collection of Australian art, including one of the country’s largest galleries of indigenous art, as well as an extensive Asian gallery and the works of European masters.
Located just inland from Sydney and forming part of the Great Dividing Range, the Blue Mountains National Park is one of New South Wales’ most popular natural attractions. It’s home to the towering Three Sisters sandstone rock formations and sacred Aboriginal sites, with plenty of walking trails to discover its waterfalls, magnificent gorges and scenic lookout points.
Fronted by its famous nine-meter-wide smiling face, Luna Park Sydney is an amusement park situated at Milsons Point on the northern shores of Sydney Harbour. While it originally opened back in 1935, it’s undergone numerous name changes and revamps since then, reopening in 2004 after an extensive redevelopment.
Set within the former Marine Services Board Building on the edge of Circular Quay, Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art is one of Australia’s most impressive modern art galleries. It features more than 4,000 works by both Australian and international artists, spanning media that includes painting, sculpture, photography and moving image.
Located in Haymarket, in the southern part of Sydney’s CBD, Chinatown is the heart of Asian culture in the city. It was originally established in The Rocks area of Sydney in the late 19th century, before moving to near Market Street in Darling Harbour.
Home to Mount Kosciusko, the highest mountain in Australia, the Snowy Mountains form part of the Great Dividing Range in New South Wales. It’s a hub for winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding, with glacial lakes and magnificent snow gum forests that attract bushwalkers, anglers and mountain bikers throughout the year.
Scattered with vineyards and cellar doors, the Hunter Valley is Australia’s oldest wine-growing region and situated around two hours’ drive from Sydney. It’s renowned for its Semillon, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignons, with boutique restaurants serving locally-sourced produce overlooking the rolling landscapes.
Stretching from the southern edge of Sydney’s suburbs to the border with Victoria, the South Coast of New South Wales is one of the state’s most attractive regions. It’s blessed with beautiful beaches backed by the dramatic peaks of the Great Dividing Range and a picturesque landscape of rolling green hills.
Just a short flight from Australia’s East Coast, Lord Howe Island is a UNESCO World Heritage-listed destination of outstanding natural beauty. This crescent-shaped volcanic remnant forms part of a larger archipelago of islands and islets in the Tasman Sea, surrounded by coral reefs teeming with life.
Enclosed by two volcanic headlands, Port Stephens is both the name of a bay and a town to the north of Newcastle. The area is renowned for its white sandy beaches and protected bushland that makes it a popular holiday destination for locals.
While the coast of New South Wales is heavily populated with beach resorts and big cities, the outback of the far west is a different world altogether. Classic country towns offer a warm welcome, while rugged national parks boast magnificent desert landscapes and sacred Aboriginal sites.
Other New South Wales-related lists of tourist attractions and sightseeing spots: