Most visitors to Sydney head straight for vibrant Circular Quay – it’s where you’ll find the city’s most famous landmarks including the harbour, Opera House (and its wonderful waterfront bar) and Royal Botanic Gardens. Take a sightseeing cruise around the harbour and head to the Royal Botanic Gardens for views of the Harbour Bridge through the flowers and to watch the sun set at Mrs Macquarie’s Chair. To the west of Circular Quay, The Rocks has an atmosphere of its own, with pretty narrow lanes, markets, boutique shops and cosmopolitan cities.
Darling Harbour buzzes with activity. A former dockside area, this small harbour has been transformed into a major tourist sight. The harbourfront is lined with restaurants and trendy al fresco bars along the waterfront at Cockle Bay Wharf, King Street Wharf and the Harbourside shopping centre. The Chinese Garden of Friendship here is one of the largest traditional Chinese gardens outside of China. Darling Harbour is also where visitors will find one of the city’s most popular family attractions, the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium.
Sydney’s beachside suburbs were made for chilling out and making a splash in the surf. Catch the 30-minute ferry from Circular Quay over to Manly Beach in Sydney’s northern beaches – one of the city’s favourites, with its buzzing atmosphere, pedestrianized plaza and range of restaurants, cafés and bars. Popular Bondi Beach lies just four miles east of central Sydney, with its laid-back beach vibe, pristine sands and eclectic café culture. While surfing is big news all over Australia, the reliable surf here makes Bondi one of the best places to learn. At the tip of the northern beaches lies Palm Beach – the filming location for Home & Away.
Sydney's Central Business District
Shopping opportunities are abundant in Sydney’s CBD. On George Street, the architecturally splendid 19th-Century Queen Victoria Building occupies an entire block with over 150 boutiques alongside cafés and restaurants. Over the Christmas period, its central dome is a must-see, when it showcases a huge Christmas tree. The CBD is also home to the Sydney Tower, the city’s tallest structure with a glass-floor viewing area and revolving restaurant.