The Best Places to Visit around Sydney Harbor for First-timers

There is so much to explore in Sydney, whether you are looking for something active or quiet, by the ocean or in the mountains.

Begin your journey in the city, Sydney is a vibrant and dynamic urban cluster. I like treasure hunting in markets and boutique shops in Paddington, sipping coffee in local bakeries, admiring the modern architecture, catching a show, exploring art, and going to an event… In Sydney, City Snapshots, I found that Sydney is filled with friendly people and a relaxing vibe.

At the same time, the city is so green and surrounded by nature. Although Visitors can’t cuddle a Koala in New South Wales now, it was almost therapeutic watching them just lazing on a tree, doing their own thing. Feeding the Wallabies was fun, while Australia offers distinctive endemic species, or the marsupials, that could be rarely seen elsewhere in the world. Another place that I recommend is the Taronga Zoo, a city zoo located in North City by the water. Of course, glamping in the Zoofari Lodge and ‘meet and greet’ with the giraffes in the morning would definitely be a highlight of the trip!

Moving away from the center, the Blue Mountains in Sydney’s backyard. The Scenic World Blue Mountains Australia took me on an incredibly scenic trip through the mountains, and I was stunned by the blue haze the covers the mountain ranges. There was a reason that the mountain looks blue and it was amazing witnessing it with my own eyes, Check out Nature Calls… & the Blue Mountains, for the pictures that I took around the mountains, you can really see the blue haze in them!

From the mountains to the ocean – Sydney Harbor is one of the largest natural harbors in the world, and the city thrives on it. There are lots of amazing spots a traveler would explore! As I was flipping through my photos during my BridgeClimb experience; It is one of the only few bridges that visitors can climb, and definitely the best among these bridges in the world. I thought I would give myself a reminder of some of the favorite places around the harbor.

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Sydney Harbor Bridge… & Bridge Climb


The Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb is, to me, one of the best ways to have a great panoramic view of the Harbor and all its glory. The bridge is technically one of the tallest structures in the city – nothing escapes your eyes when you are standing on the top of the bridge, in the middle of the harbor. The climb is actually pleasant and safe, for more tips and afterthoughts, visit The Few Only Bridge Climbs in the World: Sydney BridgeClimb!

Sydney Opera House: fun facts


There are two iconic structures in Sydney that are known to almost everyone in the world. I have already talked about Sydney Harbour Bridge, and the Sydney Opera House is, of course, the other. The opera house is one of the most recognizable architecture that no one would be mistaken and it can’t be replaced.

Located on Bennelong Point, the iconic architecture was a winning design by a Danish architect, Jørn Utzon, out of the 233 submissions in a design competition held in 1956. For more about Utzon, visit the Design Museum in Copenhagen, and learn more about his style and portfolio. The original cost planned to build the opera house was only 7 million dollars, and four years. It ended up costing a whopping 102 million dollars, most of them being paid for by a State Lottery and taking 14 years to build. While the Opera House was officially opened in October 1973, Paul Robeson was the first performer at the site, climbing the scaffolding and sang “Ol’ Man River” to the construction workers during their lunchtime.

Today, more than 11 million people visit the Opera House every year, and it’s named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007. The building is aesthetically built with state-of-the-art technology, pumping seawater from the Harbour directly for cooling to make sure the musical instruments are operated at the right temperature and humidity. Of course, it is still a prestigious performing location, with operas, music shows, and many performances taking place all year round. If you are not going there for an event, you could still take a guided tour to have a sneak peek of the halls and foyer spaces of this world-class architecture; or just have a fun night out in the Opera bar, where you can get up close and personal to the building and the water.

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Manly Beach Ferry


The other way to have a good look at the front of the Opera House is by ferry. The opera house is located in the Circular Quay, and there are a number (F1 to F7) of ferry lines servicing the city, and the ferry to Manly (F1) is my favorite.

First of all, the ferry ride is everything but boring. The historic ferries were in service since 1959 and the view on the route is breathtaking. For around $15 two-way, the ferry is a great way to get a good look at the two iconic architectures from all angles, as well as the eastern part of the harbor at a lower price.

The ferry ride reaches the Manly Wharf in about 30 minutes one way, and Manly is a beachside suburb of northern Sydney. The Corso is the commercial area that leads to Manly Beach from the Wharf. It’s what Manly is all about: leisurely walk along the pedestrian street, grab some fish and chips, and then enjoy it sitting on the beach. Beware of seagulls attack though! The Manly beach is also a famous surfing spot, if you are into surfing, you might even consider staying by the beach for 1 to 2 days. There are surfing supplies available in the shops around the beach.

Darling Harbor & Fish Market


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Daring Harbor is open to the public. The curvy coastal line offers a long waterfront promenade, with food, shops, and entertainment. The Wild Life Sydney Zoo and Sea Life Sydney Aquarium allow travelers to visit the cute animals without getting out from the heart of the city. The Koala Breakfast is an incredible and unique experience. It’s an opportunity to meet the adorable koalas while enjoying a hot or cold breakfast buffet in a bush garden setting. Remember to make a reservation because seats are limited and they are filled up pretty fast.

I visited the zoo and the aquarium with a combo ticket offer and it has a lot to see. They have a collection of koalas, wallabies, kangaroos, Tasmanian devils, wombats, crocodiles, and other reptiles, birds, and fish that opened my eyes.

Australian National Maritime Museum is on the other side of the harbor and the museum showcases the maritime history and the discovery history of Australia. The great thing about visiting these places is that they are so close to the city center. Once I got out and I could go right back to the hustle and bustle of nightlife in the evening. More, visit the Madame Tussauds Sydney, Cockle Bay Wharf at Darling Park, IMAX Theatre, Darling Quarter, and Chinese Garden of Friendship; or simply take a stroll at the harbourside to ship, dine and play, check out the Convention jetty, and set sail for Glebe Island here.

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Australia is all about its nature, Marsupials, and all kinds of deadly creatures; To get close with them, one doesn’t have to go far, the Wild Life Sydney Zoo and Sea Life Sydney Aquarium are located right in the Darling Harbour; the intimate enclosure is perfect for short-term travelers who want to have a taste what the country has to offer. 

One more thing, if you are into seafood, don’t forget to take the Light Rail and visit the Sydney Fish Market! The Light Rail takes off from the Central Station at Haymarket and it goes around Darling Harbor. The Fish Market offers an array of seafood – buy the food that you like and the shops will make them the way you like it. I had a giant plate of oysters, prawns, and mussels and I could barely eat anything more for a price of under $15. I saw the diners at the next table were having a giant crab and the claws are the size of a 16-ounce steak…?!

If you are a seafood friend, the Sydney Fish Market is a paradise. The food area is not big but it is filled with people who are excited by the valuable prices and wide range of seafood laid out right at the front of the counter. For me, the oysters and crabs are my favorites; I was amazed that the crab claws are the size of a steak! They will be steamed right at the counter and enjoy the wonderful food at one of the tables at the corner with an open view of the dock.

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Bondi Beach & Bronte Coastal Walk


Last but definitely not least, visit Bondi Beach. It’s amazing that in merely 45 minutes, we were at the world’s famous beach from the city center. Take a train to Bondi Junction, and there are buses lined up outside that head to the beach for about 20 minutes. I was distracted by the amazing view of the blue water, and I left my camera on the bus when I got off, I had to chase the bus all the way uphill to the Campbell Parade, and luckily the camera was still there! For anything, it was the best location to have a little jog. The sand of the beach is fine, and the color of the water is indeed mesmerizing. If you are visiting during the summer, you must not pass up the chance to spend some time on the beach and enjoy some sunshine.

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A perfect beach should have perfect sands and water, and more importantly, waves. A top-up is an infinity pool next to the infinite pacific ocean. @Bondi

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Even if you are there in winter (which might not be ideal to go into the water, but it’s a great time to go surf with consistent clean waves), there are other things to do other than beachy things: Skateboarding, surfing, and exploring the Bondi Markets. Just sipping a cup of coffee at the Bondi Pavilion and enjoy the view; many city’s best restaurants are located in the area. Explore art and check out the cool graffiti created by local artists. To be a little bit more luxurious, visit the Bondi Icebergs Pool. The Icebergs’ swimming club is a well-known winter swimming club with outdoor infinity pools by Bondi Beach. It has the best views of Bondi beach but travelers may not be able to have a dip. Having said that, it is possible to visit the club’s bistro there it offers indoor and outdoor seating and a panoramic view of the Beach and the pools.

One of my favorite beaches on the Bondi beach in Sydney – I like visiting there especially when it’s not scorching in the summer, but the sun comes out and the beach is not so crowded. I love the beach because of its variety and accessibility: It is merely 30-minute away from the bustling city center, and even if visitors don’t plan on swimming or surfing on the beach that day – they could have a walk along the waterfront, chill out on the sand, marvel at the magnificent views along the Coogee walk or simply enjoy a cup of coffee at a beachside cafe. There’s always something to do and have fun, the place is dynamic but also relaxing.

After a drink in the club, go out and walk along the coast to Coogee and Bronte. The edge of the cliff is a breathtaking urban coastal walking track with a breathtaking view and special rock formations.

The Bondi to Coogee walk is an urban coastal walk that stretches six kilometers along the shoreline, it features stunning ocean views, beaches, parks, cliffs, bays, cafes, hotels, restaurants along the track. All types of visitors can walk leisurely and do something special there.

Bondi Beach stretches about 1 kilometer along the shoreline, with fine sand that visitors can sunbathe on and consistent clean waves that surfers can go surfing basically all year round (the best time to surf is in July). Apart from the active sports, the area offers so much more for all types of visitors. Sit down at an outdoor café or have a meal in a restaurant that is among some of the best in Sydney. Enjoy a breathtaking view above the Iceberg’s swimming club, which has an infinity pool right by the ocean. Take a walk along the beach and take pictures of some graffiti created by local artists, and then walk further along the coast to Coogee and Bronte, the edge of the cliff is a tourist track, featuring some unique rock formations.

For active travelers, so swimming, surfing, diving, and more! What interests you the most? Comment and share with us if you have any recommendations!

 

23 comments

  1. Sydney is truly full of fun and interesting things to do and see. I didn’t get to hike the big bridge but loved walking the park in the harbor at sunset as bats filled the sky. I’d love to visit that Iceberg Pool bar sometime too.

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