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“New Years”
Review of Observatory Hill

Observatory Hill
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Sydney Sunset DSLR2 Photography Tour
Ranked #82 of 474 things to do in Sydney
Certificate of Excellence
Level Contributor
26 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“New Years”
Reviewed October 8, 2012

Ended up watching the fireworks from here on New Years. Loved it. We got to see 3 different lots! The view during the day is spectacular too.

Visited January 2012
Thank MorganBrownRussell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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142 reviews from our community

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English first
Level Contributor
164 reviews
140 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
“Come to the Hill, Come to the Observatory”
Reviewed September 4, 2012

Two attractions in one. The hill gives commanding, panoramic views of much of Sydney Harbour and other areas. It's a pleasant retreat from the traffic of the city. It's beautiful and tranquil. It's nice to visit this place in both day and night.

Now to the Observatory itself. Yes, there is still an Observatory here. Sydney Observatory is worth a visit during the day to inspect the historical artefacts it contains. It's free to get in, and they also have clean toilets and a drink vending machine.

The Hill can be reached by walking up from near Wynyard station. Look out for bicycles on the shared path!

Visited July 2012
Thank Lupin4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
91 reviews
42 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“A little oasis”
Reviewed August 22, 2012

What a lovely spot to sit and look out over the harbour. The grass is neatly mown and the large trees provide shade in summer. You can have weddings here in the rotunda too if you want to.

Thank LyndyLipman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bayonne, France
Level Contributor
166 reviews
129 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
Reviewed August 9, 2012

The view from the hill is beautiful. You can see the bridge and the water. You can go in the mseum of the observatory, it is free

Visited July 2012
Thank Marion P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pulau Ubin, Singapore
Level Contributor
65 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
“Witness the dropping of the time-ball at the Observatory Hill”
Reviewed July 29, 2012

The Observatory Hill offers a wonderful view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and a distant view of Anzac Bridge. The quality of the views is weather-dependent. On a clear and bright day, the views are amazingly beautiful that I would not mind spending quite a bit of time sketching and just simply admiring the views from the Observatory Hill.

This is one of the places in Sydney when one can enjoy an excellent (though weather-dependent) view from an elevated ground.

Daytime admission for a self-guided visit to the gardens and the exhibition galleries of the nearby Sydney Observatory is free. At the exhibition galleires of the Sydney Observatory, I learnt about the transit of Venus, got acquainted with various astronomy and meteorology devices and learnt about how the Aboriginal people perceive the constellations in the southern sky.

The most interesting part of the visit was to witness the dropping of the time-ball at 1 p.m. each day. Visitors to the Sydney Observatory are strongly recommended to time their day-time visit such that they could witness the dropping of the time-ball.

The Sydney Observatory is one of the few places in the world where one can still find a functioning time ball that is used to tell time. I read up the website of the Observatory and learnt that in the days before radio was invented, the only way to convey accurate time was through visual signal. The time ball at the top of the tower at the front of the observatory was the reason for the establishment of the Observatory. Yes, the time-telling function seems to be more important than the function of studying astronomy. The time-ball was built by the well-known engineering firm of Maudslay Sons & Field in England.

A few minutes before 1 p.m., the time ball would be raised to the top of the mast and dropped at exactly 1 p.m. everyday. I felt as if I was being transported to a time in the past, before radio was invented.

If you ask why the time ball was dropped at 1 p.m., I read that initially when the time-ball was first installed, it was dropped at twelve noon. However, a few months later, the Government Astronomer, Rev Scott, changed the time to 1 p.m. This was because he was busy observing the sun crossing the north-south meridian at 12 noon such that he could not be present in the tower to attend to the dropping of the ball.

I didn't realized how a simple small detail could tell us so much about a part of the history of Sydney. I think I am likely to visit the Observatory Hill again when I visit Sydney in the future.

NEAREST TRAIN STATIONS: Circular Quay, Wynyard.

Visited May 2012
Thank oceanskies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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