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Sydney Attractions

Places to visit, points of interest and top things to see in Sydney

8.4 /10
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Sydney Opera House
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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.

It stands as one of the 20th century’s most famous buildings and having a photo taken in front of its famous sails is high on most visitor’s lists. During special events it’s usually illuminated in bright lights to reflect a particular theme, making it just as captivating by night as during the day.

The Sydney Opera House is home to the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Theatre Company, The Australian Ballet and Opera Australia, with shows scheduled throughout the year for visitors to experience its interior. Alternatively, you can join one of the daily guided tours to get a behind-the-scenes look at this famous venue and learn about its fascinating history... read more arrow

7.8 /10
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Museum of Sydney
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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.

Australia’s first Government House served as the social, ceremonial and political heart of the New South Wales colony during its initial years and the focal point of the first contact between the indigenous Gadigal people and the colonizing British. It was demolished in 1846, but its foundations were exposed by archaeologists in 1983 and the modern museum constructed ten years later.

The Museum of Sydney showcases the city’s colonial and contemporary history through artifacts, paintings and photographs, as well as new digital media. A giant video screen spans the height of the building and details the physical changes that have taken place in the city, while there are panoramic views across its modern landscape... read more arrow

7.8 /10
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Featherdale Wildlife Park
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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.

Today the Featherdale Wildlife Park is dedicated to educating the public about conservation and is home to Australia’s largest native animal collection. There are over 1,700 animals from more than 260 different species, including the largest captive population of koalas in Australia, with more than 200 individual bred here since they opened.

They also conduct vital conservation work with endangered yellow-footed rock wallabies and tiger quolls, together with Tasmanian Devils. Their bird collection includes threatened species such as regent honeyeaters and plains wanderers, as well as species that aren’t kept anywhere else on earth... read more arrow

7.8 /10
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Sea Life Sydney Aquarium
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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 exhibits cover both fresh and saltwater environments, including Australia’s riverine species and the fragile nature of these ecosystems. You can walk through the underwater tunnel of Shark Valley (within what is one of the world’s largest oceanariums) to witness lemon sharks, gray nurse sharks, zebra sharks and eagle rays. Then see two of only five dugongs on display in the world from the above and below viewing tunnels of Dugong Island.

The Great Barrier Reef exhibit includes a tropical touch pool where you can interact with some species, as well as an immense oceanarium with a constant water temperature of 25 °C... read more arrow

7.8 /10
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Customs House Library
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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. Since 2003, it has been home to the City of Sydney Library, which is set across three levels in the heritage-listed building.

Step inside the entrance to see a 4.2m x 9.5m scale model of Sydney's city center on the ground floor, which is viewed through a glass floor and can be literally walked over. You can also view photographs of the building throughout its history as one of Sydney’s undisputed icons.

The Customs House Library is renowned for its fusion of both contemporary and traditional design features, with a grand, timber-lined reading room on the second floor to relax in. Take advantage of the complimentary Wi-Fi to catch up on emails and social media, with public access computers if you don’t have your own... read more arrow

7.8 /10
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Taronga Zoo
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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. Not only is there native Australian wildlife, but animals from across the globe, with the grounds divided into eight zoogeographic regions.

Download their iPhone app to take advantage of the self-guided walking routes around the zoo, with plenty of information about each animal species. Get up close to Asian elephants, Sumatran orangutans, ring-tailed lemurs and Western lowland gorillas, then step inside their serpentaria to see boa constrictors, iguanas, chameleons, Komodo dragons and freshwater crocodiles. Or experience Australia’s unique fauna, including platypus, southern hairy-nosed wombats, koalas, kangaroos and emus, together with a diverse array of native bird species... read more arrow

7.8 /10
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Royal National Park
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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.

Tall limestone cliffs back idyllic and secluded beaches, while hardy, salt-tolerant species dominate the coastal heathland that stretches inland. There are also small remaining areas of littoral rainforest in the “Palm Jungle” along the Coast Walk, together with large tracts of both “wet” and “dry” sclerophyll forest.

Lush valley floors provide a home for towering Australian cedar trees and large eucalyptus species, with ferns and wattles dominating the understory. There are also small tracts of temperate rainforest, characterized by iconic Port Jackson and Moreton Bay figs.

Mangroves and salt flats along the shoreline provide a feeding ground for honeyeaters, herons, egrets and spoonbills, while Sydney rock oysters and the distinctive Neptune’s necklace seaweed can be found in and around the tidal rock pools... read more arrow

7.8 /10
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The Rocks
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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.

Admire one of the colony’s original buildings at Cadman’s Cottage that dates to 1816 or tour the terrace houses of the Susannah Place Museum that were built in 1844 by Irish immigrants. You can peer inside the restored 19th-century cells and charge room of the Justice and Police Museum or visit the heritage-listed Sydney Observatory to experience the southern night sky and learn more about the history of space flight in their 3D theater. Also, don’t miss a visit to the Dawes Point Battery, which lies next to the southern pylon of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and was the first fortification to be built in New South Wales... read more arrow

7.8 /10
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Royal Botanic Gardens
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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.

A historic hand-hewn sandstone seawall wraps around Farm Cove all the way to the Sydney Opera House, with the gardens gradually sloping up from here. It’s divided into four main areas - the Lower Gardens, the Middle Gardens, the Palace Gardens and the Bennelong precinct - together with grassy lawns where you can have a picnic and numerous other smaller gardens.

Be sure to visit the Cadi Jam Ora - First Encounters garden that acknowledges the indigenous inhabitants of Sydney and their relationship with the land, with Aboriginal Heritage Tours held here each Friday morning. Then step inside the 1885 glasshouse where a diverse selection of orchids and begonias flower amidst tropical plants and explore the more than 200 species of ferns found in the walled fernery that was built by stone once worked by convict labor... read more arrow

7.8 /10
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Darling Harbour
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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. Soak up the comings and goings at its historic wharf area, watch live street performers and musicians or get some retail therapy at its numerous shopping destinations.

Darling Harbour is home to the National Maritime Museum that details the city’s rich maritime history dating all the way back to the first settlers, with full-size ships and a submarine to explore. Or come face-to-face with some of Australia’s most loved sporting heroes and historical figures at Madame Tussauds, including the notorious bushranger Ned Kelly.

It’s also here that one of Australia’s most impressive and largest aquariums is found at SEA LIFE Sydney, with an underwater, walk-through tunnel inhabited by huge sharks... read more arrow

7.8 /10
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Sydney Tower Eye
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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.

Look out across the iconic beaches of Sydney through high powered binoculars, with views stretching all the way to the Blue Mountains in the distance. The Observation Deck also features multilingual touch screens to help you learn more about the landmarks being viewed across the city, such as the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Entrance to the Sydney Tower Eye also includes Australia’s first 4D cinema experience, offering a unique perspective on the city and why it draws millions of visitors each year. In addition to 3D visuals, it features wind, water and bubbles, offering a cinema experience like no other... read more arrow

7.8 /10
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Wild Life Sydney Zoo
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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. The exhibits feature native trees and plants in their landscaping to provide a natural home for koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, platypus and even Tasmanian devils.

WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo is divided into ten different zones, including the Kakadu Gorge where crocodiles roam and the Daintree Rainforest that is home to the unique cassowary bird. There’s also a fascinating Night Fall exhibit where you can catch a glimpse of Australia’s nocturnal species, such as ghost bats, yellow-bellied gliders, bilbies and spotted tailed quolls. The Butterfly Tropics feature lush ferns and palms that provide a home for colorful green tree pythons and a variety of butterfly species, while the Devil’s Den is dedicated to these feisty creatures which are endemic to Tasmania... read more arrow

7.8 /10
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Capitol Theatre
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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.

The site was used by Sydney’s early settlers as a market for produce and hay (hence the name “Haymarket”), with the building designed by architect George McRae and structural engineer Norman Selfe. It originally housed a fruit and vegetable market, however, its distance from Darling Harbour meant it lacked commercial viability and its lease was transferred to the Wirth Bros in 1912.

It was then that it had its first use as a performance venue, the Wirth Bros Hippodrome, with circus acts, vaudeville shows and theatrical plays performed here. But after a decade of success, punters lost interest in the Hippodrome and in 1927 the site was divided into the Manning Building and the Capitol Theatre... read more arrow

7.8 /10
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Wharf Theatre
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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.

Walsh Bay’s Wharf 4/5 was at the time a derelict space, with its ironbark timber warehouse having been built to load cargo onto ships. Its size and location made it attractive as a modern theater space, with it designed specifically to retain its historic integrity. In 1984 it was officially handed over to the Sydney Theatre Company and the architectural team behind the transformation was awarded the Sir John Sulman Medal by the Royal Australian Institute of Architects for their work.

Today it is a major arts precinct in the city, with the Sydney Dance Company, Sydney Children's Choir, Bangarra Dance Theatre and Sydney Philharmonia Choirs among the other companies utilizing the space... read more arrow

7.8 /10
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Powerhouse Museum
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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.

While the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences has been in existence for more than 125 years, its Powerhouse Museum opened its doors in 1988. It’s set within what was an early 20th-century electric tram power station and has given this Sydney landmark a new lease on life.

The museum is set across 12 permanent exhibitions and a range of temporary displays, including the oldest operational rotative steam engine in the world, the Whitbread Engine. It was built in 1785 by Boulton and Watt and was acquired from Whitbread's London Brewery in 1888... read more arrow

7.8 /10
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Manly Sea Life Sanctuary
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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 aquarium is divided into three sections - Penguin Cove, Shark Harbour and Underwater Sydney - with everything from octopuses to lion fish, seahorses and baby sharks on display. Penguin Cove is home to a colony of Manly’s famous little penguins and is the aquarium’s newest attraction, while Underwater Sydney features many of the species found in the surrounding waters.

Shark Harbour boasts a four million liter aquarium where a variety of sharks, stingrays, turtles and tropical fish are displayed. It’s also here that guests can participate in an exhilarating Shark Dive Xtreme experience and swim with massive gray nurse sharks... read more arrow

7.8 /10
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Sydney Harbour Bridge
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The Sydney Harbor Bridge is an iconic image, along with the Opera House, of the city of Sydney in Australia.

Climb the Harbour Bridge

Experience 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. You can opt to climb at dawn, during the day, at twilight or at night, with the full experience taking just over three hours. If you’re short on time, you can opt for the Express Climb that takes you to the middle of the bridge and up to the top in a little over two hours or the BridgeClimb Sampler, which ascends to the inner arch in an hour and a half.

The BridgeClimb is fully harnessed and guided, with a comprehensive briefing and assistance every step of the way. There are also dedicated climbs with Mandarin-speaking guides and special climbs for events such as Australia Day and Anzac Day... read more arrow

7.6 /10
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Art Gallery of New South Wales
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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.

The Australian art collection includes celebrated works by John Glover and Arthur Streeton, as well as 20th-century icons Sidney Nolan, Russell Drysdale and Arthur Boyd. Admire the desert paintings by indigenous artists living on remote Western Desert outstations and bark paintings from the saltwater coastal communities, then peruse the ceramics and bronze work from across Japan, China and Southeast Asia. There’s also a small collection of works from the Pacific Islands, including one of the world’s most important private collections of art from the New Guinea Highlands... read more arrow

7.4 /10
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Luna Park Sydney
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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. A number of its buildings are heritage-listed and it has been a popular filming location for movies and television shows.

The Midway is the main thoroughfare in Luna Park, providing access to Coney Island, Crystal Palace and the Big Top. Sideshow games like “Laughing Clowns” and “Goin’ Fishin’” line the way, together with thrill-seeking rides such as the “Hair Raiser” and the historic “Wild Mouse”. The Ferris Wheel and “Tumblebug” can also be accessed from here, along with the “Ranger” and “Breakdance”.

Coney Island - Funnyland retains many features from when it first opened in 1935 and is the only 1930s funhouse left in the world... read more arrow

7.4 /10
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Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney)
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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.

Depending on when you visit, the museum might be showcasing major thematic exhibitions or collections of particular artists, as well as new works by emerging artists and solo exhibitions. The art deco-style building is worthy of attention in its own right and stands as one of Sydney’s most iconic landmarks.

The Museum of Contemporary Art also features a significant number of contemporary pieces by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. These include works from Arnhem Land dating back to the 1950s and The Arnott’s collection of bark paintings.

Once you’ve finished touring the gallery, be sure to visit the MCA Store, which specializes in Australian and international contemporary art books and quirky gifts... read more arrow

7.2 /10
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Chinatown (Sydney)
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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. It gradually moved to its current location in the 1920s, centered around bustling Dixon Street.

Sydney’s Chinatown is packed full of restaurants serving authentic dishes, as well as bakeries and sweet shops where you can grab a snack on-the-go. There’s also a range of herbal stores and market shops selling Chinese goods and souvenirs, including brightly colored kites and green teas. A large complex called Market City has been built on the site of the old produce markets, with modern shopping boutiques, Asian restaurants and a large indoor entertainment complex. The historic Paddy’s Markets are also found here, with everything from clothes to food, crafts and plants on sale... read more arrow

* Regular pre-pandemic touristic activity level.

You can also rate and vote for your favorite Sydney sightseeing places, famous historical landmarks, and best things to do in Sydney by visiting the individual Sydney attraction pages.