Overview: Sydney could really be one of the most pedestrian-friendly cities in the world, with something of interest to be found on every street... more »
Sydney could really be one of the most pedestrian-friendly cities in the world, with something of interest to be found on every street... more » corner.
Darling Harbour, with its waterfront museums and wildlife attractions, is often the key focus for visitors to Sydney. But, as this walk will show, there are plenty of attractions in the center of the city, such as the fascinating Hyde Park Barracks. Built by convicts to house convicts, the displays within the barracks offer a stark but realistic view of life in the early colonies.
This walking tour offers a combination of entertainment and education that will not only enlighten you about Sydney's sometimes sordid history but also amaze you with its innovation and determination to evolve into a world-class city. less «
Tips: Bring water, especially on a hot day, and a tote bag or backpack for picnic supplies. Make sure to apply sunscreen before setting out ... more »and take a hat. A camera is a must. less «
The best place to start this walk is not on the ground but up in the sky, looking out over the city from the Sydney Tower's observation deck 250 meters above the city. From here, you can pinpoint all the places that you will be walking to during this walk.
The Sydney Tower is Australia's tallest free-standing structure and offers something for... More the whole family. There's the observation deck for a bird's-eye view, the skywalk for the most adventuresome, plus the educational and fun OzTrek, a virtual reality ride in the motion seating cinema that provides a glimpse of Australia's history and landscape.
100 Market St. (access from the Westfield Shopping Center)
Sydney Tower Observation Deck
Adults AU $25
Kids AU $15
Daily 9:30am-4:30pm (every 45 minutes)
Adults AU $65,
Kids AU $15
(Includes Sydney Tower admission)Less
Leaving the Sydney Tower, head left down Market Street toward Hyde Park and cut through the park via Archibald Fountain to the other side. Straight across from the park is the Hyde Park Barracks.
Designed by a convict (architect Francis Greenway) and built by convicts, this squarish and stark Georgian building has had a varied history. Initially... More convict quarters, it later was used as an immigrant depot, a woman's asylum, and a law court. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Building, the barracks today serve as a reminder of the early days of Australian settlement.
Tip: Check out "Convict Sydney," an exhibition running at the Baracks until May 2013 aimed at educating visitors about the life of convicts. You can wander the streets of 1820s Sydney on the giant map, try on a set of leg irons, lie in a convict hammock and even look up your relatives on the convict database. There's also a convict's kids' trail.
Hyde Park Barracks
Queens Square, MacQuarie Street
Closed Good Friday, Christmas Day
Adults AU $10
Kids AU $5
Family AU $20
Leaving the Hyde Park Barracks, head north on MacQuarie Street and turn left into Martin Place for a quick detour to the Museum for Australian Currency.
This small museum, located inside the Reserve Bank of Australia, showcases the story of Australia's currency from colonial times to present day. There's even a $1,000 note to feast your eyes on.
Museum of Australian Currency
65 Martin Place
Closed public and New South Wales bank holidays
Head back to MacQuarie Street and then continue north, passing by the State Library of NSW.
MacQuarie Street was designed by Lachlan MacQuarie, governor of New South Wales from 1810-1821, as a ceremonial thoroughfare. As a result, the street became where the wealthy wanted to settle. Most of the grand residences that once lined the street have... More now gone, but many of the official buildings remain.
As you walk north along MacQuarie Street you'll see, on your right, many of these buildings: Parliament House, State Library of New South Wales and Government House, as well as the Royal Botanic Gardens (also created by Gov. MacQuarie) behind them.Less
Continue on MacQuarie Street until you reach Albert Street on the left. Turn onto Albert Street and walk to the corner of Albert Street and Phillips where you will find the Justice and Police Museum.
Housed in the old Water Police Station (1854-1886), the Justice & Police Museum highlights the seedy side of the city, with exhibits of weapons,... More forensic evidence on notorious cases such as the Shark Arm Murder, the Pyjama Girl Case and the Graeme Thorne Kidnapping, and at least two stuffed dogs. There's also a re-created police charge room, a magistrates courts and prisoner cells.
Justice & Police Museum
Phillip and Albert Streets, Circular Quay
Adults AU $10
Kids/Concession AU $5
Family AU $20Less
If you continue along Alfred Street toward George Street you will come across the tree-lined concrete-paved Herald Square. Right in the middle of this busy square is the extraordinary Tank Stream Fountain.
This Stephen Walker creation features various Australian wildlife bronze figures frolicking among the bubbling streams and fountains. While... More it's the bronze animals--frogs, snakes, goannas, echidnas, crabs, birds and tortoises--that capture visitors' attention, what is underneath is equally fascinating.
The water for the fountain comes from the underground stream that flows beneath Sydney's streets and buildings.
From the Tank Stream Fountain, it's only a short walk to George Street and Sydney's oldest European settlement. When you reach George Street, turn right and you'll be in the Rocks, a world heritage listed area with many old buildings, hidden alleyways, shops and cafes.
Wander freely around the area, but keep a look out for the fascinating Suez... More Canal alleyway to the left off George Street. Constructed in the 1840s, it was once the gathering place for the notorious Rocks Push gang. They dominated the area in the 19th century, robbing and assaulting police and pedestrians, and engaging in running warfare with other gangs around Sydney.
The Suez Canal alleyway is located between George Street and Harrington Street. When you reach Harrington Street, turn right and and then take the next left into Argyle Street.
At the end of Argyle Street is the Argyle Cut. An amazing engineering feat, the Argyle Cut--which connects Darling Harbour and Millers Point with the Rocks and Sydney Cove-was created by slicing through the natural sandstone ridge.
Tip: With plenty of cafes and restaurants, the Rocks is a good place for a lunch break.Less
Walk under the Argyle Cut to the stairs opposite the Garrison Church (the colony's first military church). At the top of the stairs, turn left and head down Watson Road to Observation Park and Sydney Observatory.
Observation Park is possibly one of the most overlooked places in Sydney, but those who are smart enough to head there will discover... More that this park offers one of the best viewing points for an overview of Sydney and the iconic Harbour Bridge.
Wander the gardens, take lots of photos and then head into the Sydney Observatory.
There's also plenty to see and do inside the Sydney Observatory, from displays about astronomy from the aboriginal perspective to information about the meaning and location of stars in the Southern Hemisphere to the opportunity to see these stars in the 3-D Space Theater.
Tip: If you've packed a picnic lunch, then Observatory Park is the perfect place to stop and eat.
Watson Road, Observation Hill
Daytime, daily 10am-5pm
Nighttime 90-minute night telescope/3D theater session at 8:15pm most nights
Closed Good Friday, Christmas Day,Boxing Day
Gardens and observatory exhibitions Free.
Day Telescope/3D Theater
Adults AU $7
Kids 4-15 AU $5
Family (1 adult and 3 children) AU $20.
Nighttime Telescope/3D Theater
Adults AU $17
Kids 4-16 AU $10
Family (1 adult and 3 children or 2 adults and 2 children) AU $47
Night visits must be booked and prepaid prior to arrival. You can book online at the Sydney Observatory website.Less
From the Sydney Observatory, retrace your steps via the Argyle Cut back to the Rocks. Once on the eastern side of the bridge highway, look out for the Argyle Steps (67 steps), which lead up Cumberland Street. Once on Cumberland Street, take the Bridge Stairs (69 steps) to access the one-kilometer pedestrian walkway that leads to the Pylon Lookout... More and Bridge Museum.
The view from the walkway is pretty spectacular but the one from the Pylon Lookout, which is 87 meters above sea level, is even more so.
There are three levels to the Pylon Lookout. The first two are enclosed and feature information, a video, displays, photographs and stories about the construction of the bridge. The second level focuses on how the bridge was actually built plus the story of opening day. And the third level is, of course, the lookout. In total, you will climb 200 steps to get to the lookout but it's definitely worth it.
South East Pylon
Sydney Harbour Bridge
Closed Christmas Day
Adults AU $9.50
Kids 8-12 AU $4
Kids 7 and younger Free
Please note: Kids younger than 5 are not allowed up the stairs to the lookout.Less
Having looked out over Sydney Harbour from the Pylon Lookout, it's time to head back to Circular Quay. Return to Argyle Street and head east through the Rocks to Circular Quay West. Turn right and wander along the waterfront to where the ferries are docked.
With plenty of benches, restaurants and entertainment, it's a great place to sit and... More relax while you decide on where to go next. You could catch a ferry around to Darling Harbour and explore the Maritime or Powerhouse Museum or Sydney Aquarium and Wildlife Park.
Or maybe go farther afield with a ferry to Taronga Zoo, Luna Park or Parramatta.
In Sydney, there's no chance of being bored. There is simply so many fun and amazing things to do and see.Less