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10 Sydney 'Musts'

Updated on February 12, 2016

Superb Sydney

Surprisingly Sydney had not been top of my list for a visit but when I did actually go there recently I wasn’t just pleasantly surprised I was blown away by the city which is both welcoming and picturesque, and offers lots of things to see and do to suit the tastes of almost any visitor. In fact there was so much to do that I am already planning a return visit.

So if you find yourself lucky enough to be visiting here are my top ten things you must see or do.

The Harbour Bridge

Iconic and imposing it would actually be hard to avoid seeing it. Simply go to Circular key – where the first pioneers landed and there it is imposing and majestic. Photos are a must but you can also see it more close up by hiring a bike and cycling over it, walking over it or indeed completing the bridge walk at the dizzying height of

As you go about your explorations of the city the chances are you will have several opportunities to drive over it in buses or taxis as well. But I must own up to being one of the very lucky ones who actually saw it lit up in all its glory for the New Year’s Eve firework display – if you ever get the chance you simply must go!

Sydney Harbour Bridge

The Opera House

Another iconic sight the Opera house is breath-taking and can be accessed easily by simply heading to circular key. Just looking at it from the outside is awesome but my recommendation would definitely be to complete the tour which lasts about an hour costs about 30 Australian dollars and gives you access to lots of information about its history. But if you really want to experience the Opera house well you simply have to go to the Opera – a truly magical experience and tickets are often available at short notice and start at a very affordable 44 dollars. And of course if Opera isn’t for you there are also lots of other performances in the different theatres within the Opera house itself.

Manley Ferry & Beach

Start at circular quay again but board a ferry for Manley beach. The ferries leave about every 30 minutes and cost just a few dollars. The ride takes about 30 – 40 minutes BUT gives brilliant views of the Opera House, the Bridge and the whole of the harbour. There are actually two beaches at Manley, one where you disembark form the ferry and one on the other side of the promontory which is much more extensive and great too for relaxing and soaking up the sun or swimming, and of if you do want to try surfing there is a surf school on the beach offering 2 hour lessons for $60. The resort also has lots of shops bars and cafes.To complete the experience be to enjoy fish and chips by the beach before heading back on the ferry.

One of the Manley Beaches

Botanical Gardens

When we visited the botanical gardens, which are free, it was a roasting 34 degrees but we passed no end of people jogging around the outskirts. For the less energetic there is a train you can ride around but as many areas are shaded we enjoyed a walk to Macqueries point and then a cup of tea in one of the cafes – all very lovely. There are some stunning views over the Harbour and there are lots of helpful signs and maps to help you navigate around as well as information about the flora of course.

Opera House

Gallery of NSW

The gallery is Just a short walk from the botanical gardens and again entance is free. There are loads of different areas you could choose to concentrate on– we wandered through the European section and there were works by Van Gogh, Cezanne Monet, constable Picassso and Wilson to name but a few. When you hit 'gallery fatigue' there are a couple of lovely tea stops in the gallery although as it was a hot day we sought the shade of the nearby Pavillion Café just opposite the Gallery. Following that it’s easy to take a quick stroll thorough Wentworth park one of the many lovely Sydney parks.

Aquarium

Sydney Aquarium

Sydney is what it is because of the harbour so no vist to the city seems complete without a visit to the aquariuom to find out a bit about the sea life that surrounds the city. In addition to the various sharks, rays, platypuses, penguins other fish, including both the Nemo and Dori species as well as the flora and fauna of the barrier reef there were the wonderful creatures called Dugongs, large playful and in some ways so human ike that it is believed it was sighting these that made sailors believe in mermaids!

Maritime Museum

No visit to Sydney could be complete without visiting Captain Cooks vessel the Endeavour, although it is a replica it is made as an exact model so if you are at all over abut 4ft 6 you can expect a lot of ducking. In addition to the endeabour though the museum tells the maritime history of this amazing harbour city and of course on certain days there is the chance to sail round the harbour on a tall ship

Surfing at Bondi

Bondi & Coogee

One of the great attraction of Sydney is that it has the best of city life but also great beaches – a whole variety to choose from and none further than a 30 – 40 minute journey away from the centre by public transport.

Bondi is probably the one everyone will have heard of – but as well as enjoying the sand, sea and surf - and its worth mentioning at this point that all the beaches have life guards and safe designated areas for swimmers and surfers - then perhaps a leisurely lunch in one of the many beachside cafes or restaurants there is also a 6 K walk from Bondi to Coogee which is a must and gives you a wonderful opportunity to see the many different types of beach and natural or man-made swimming or rock pools including an 'ice' pool for the very brave– it does take a couple of hours and is undulating which can be tiring if it is hot – though many Sydney residents seemed to be jogging it.

It is well worth the effort and when you make it to Coogee celebrate with a drink or two in the wonderful Pavillion with several floors catering for families as well as adults only. I'd opt for the roof terrace and suggest a glass of Prosecco for just 8.50 dollars ( less than a fiver) there really is no excuse not too!

Bondi to Coogee Walk

Darling Harbour

Not too far from Circular quay and with its own bridge it is where the aquarium and maritime museum are located but there are also a great selection of restaurants and bars lining the water front.

restaurants in Sydney are competitively priced and there are restaurants to suit every taste and if you don’t make New Year in Sydney then head to Darling Harbour on a Saturday night when there is a reguar firework display over the harbour as well as a brightly lit big wheel.


Shopping

No visit to a city is comlete without a shopping trip and Sydney boasts several great shopping centres, Broadway and Westfield are both modern ‘malls’ and if you visit Westfield it could be worth a coffee or cocktail stop in the 360 bar of the 'tower' – great views but it can get busy and tables can only be booked for meals not just drink. There is also a great art deco style shopping centre called the Victoria centre - with a West End style theatre nearby.

Or try some of the local area shops - in any of the areas of Sydney you will not be far from some shops, cafes and restaurants and don't forget the markets at The Rocks or Manley for example.


Up to You

I hope you do get the chance to go and of course I am sure you will find your own personal Sydney favourites. But remember too that Australia is so much more than Sydney and if you have gone all that way then try visiting the Blue Mountains, not far from Sydney, or heading to Melbourne or any of the other cities. Then of course there is the outback with Alice springs or Uluru, or the Gold coast or further up to Cairns, port Douglas the barrier reef and rainforest.

I could go on!

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