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Trip List by StrawberryFrangipani

Iconic Sydney

Nov 25, 2007  Local Sydneysider
4.0 of 5 bubbles based on 8 votes

Top 10 must-dos for every Sydney visitor

  • Category: Best of
  • Traveler type: Culture, Sightseeing, Shopping, Never been before, Repeat visitors, Theater
  • Appeals to: Business travelers, Couples/romantics, Honeymooners, Singles, Families with small children, Families with teenagers, Large groups, Seniors, Students, Budget travelers, Active/adventure, Tourists
  • Seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
  • 1. Sydney Harbour Bridge

    Perhaps the most infamous landmark in Sydney, the Harbour Bridge is affectionately known as "the Coat Hanger" to locals. Perfect postcard-like photos may be taken from Circular Quay, however, the BridgeClimb (AU$200), although expensive, is an exhilarating experience.

    A cheaper alternative is the Pylon Lookout (AU$10), where a panoramic view of the city and museum of the Bridge's history may be seen, however it is not part of the steel-arch bridge itself.

  • 2. Sydney Opera House

    An iconic symbol, the Opera House is an infamous performing arts centre, host to a vast array of performances. This architectural sensation can be sufficiently marvelled from the exterior. Tours of the interior halls and rubrics of the mechanics behind the audio and visual projections are available (AU$32.50), but are seemingly nonessential.

  • 3. Royal Botanic Gardens

    A vast array of exquisite flora spanning a 30ha expanse. This tranquil oasis is perfect for a sunny warm day. Be prepared for an intriguing encounter with the fruit bats!

    The Domain, adjacent to the Gardens, is also recommended, and those trekking to Mrs. Macquarie's Chair will reap the reward of an unparalleled picturesque view of the Harbour Bridge and surrounds.

  • 4. The Rocks

    Home to the first colonial settlement in Australia, the historic, quaint sandstone buildings and cobblestone paths now host an eclectic collection of shops. Along George St you'll encounter:
    - High-end shops - eg.Gucci, Burberry, Ralph Lauren
    - Restaurants, cafes - including the famed Pancakes on the Rocks, bustling 24hrs a day
    - The Rocks Market - weekends only; unique but pricey goods primarily geared towards tourists
    - The Puppet Shop (77 George St) - my personal favourite; a cave-like myriad of hand-made puppets for sale and from shows. Engaging in conversation with the friendly French owner behind the counter about his passion for puppets while he makes them is sure to captivate and charm.

  • 5. Taronga Zoo

    Frequented by tourists and locals, Sydney's premier zoo spans an impressive 38ha. The shows are a must, especially the seal show, and the walk-in kangaroo and emu enclosure proved enjoyable (even though I am terrified of emus).

    Taronga Zoo is definitely more diverse and a more worthwhile attraction than the newly opened Wildlife World (Darling Harbour). It is easily accessible by ferry, allowing breathtaking views of the city to be captured, followed by complimentary cable car.

    *The public transport trip planner is an excellent tool - it provides detailed instructions of traveling from one locality to another, simply by typing in desired localities. www.

  • 6. Sydney Tower + OzTrek

    See the city and sprawling suburbs from the highest building in Sydney and a 3D virtual tour of Australia (AU$24.50). This revolving tower also offers Skywalk (AU$100), an exhilarating walk on the outside edge of the 260m above street level tower - not for the faint-hearted!

  • 7. Darling Harbour

    By day, Tumbalong Park is full of children playing on the colourful equipment, paddleboats, carousel, and walking under/across the sprinklers and fountains which turn on and off at regular intervals, avoiding getting wet.

    Sydney Aquarium is also a recommended attraction, popular with both children and adults.

    Harbourside Shopping Centre contains retail stores, souvenir shops, fast food chains, bars and restaurants. Thai Foon, a Thai restaurant, is highly recommended - it is classy but well-priced, and overlooks the Harbour. Wok-on Inn is recommended for Thai and Chinese takeaway.

    By night, the Harbour transforms into a brightly-lit vicinity of restaurants, bars and clubs, and on weekends, are extremely lively into the early hours of the morning.

  • 8. Chinatown and Paddy's Market

    What trip would be complete without a visit to a city's Chinatown? Experience delectable culinary delights in the Chinese restaurants spanning door-to-door alongside Dixon and Sussex St.

    For factory outlet shopping, head to the 2nd floor of Market City, where brands such as Lonsdale, Esprit and Seduce can be found.

    Paddy's Market, located below Market City, is a souvenir paradise - keyrings, clothing, bags, accessories and gadgets with printed cultural icons, as well as fruits, vegetables and seafood, can be bought for cheap prices.

  • 9. Star City Casino

    Sydney's only casino, with 2 floors of gaming and a fire-spitting fountain at the entry. Obtain free membership for $10 free credit to be used on machines or table games. Try the restaurants too - the Garden Buffet is a popular international buffet.

  • 10. Queen Victoria Building and Pitt St Mall

    These two adjacent centres in the heart of the city are shoppers' paradises! Queen Victoria Building (QVB) contains boutiques, service outlets, and cafes housed in a grandeur 19th century building. The uppermost level must be visited; it contains various historical exhibits and models.

    Pitt St Mall is home to the two largest department stores in Australia, Myer and David Jones, and should be frequented by all shoppers. Chocolate lovers will most definitely enjoy the rich chocolate cafe, Max Brenner, located in the confectionery section of David Jones. The mall also contains various boutiques.