15 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Sydney

by Jane Sophia
Sydney at night

Show the picture below to any one or as soon as a child of 5 comes across this beautifully and aesthetically designed building, the child or anyone would emphatically say, it is the opera house in Sydney.

opera house Sydney

The Sydney opera house has become an identity of this world city and the capital of New South Wales. In addition, it’s one of Australia’s largest cities.

Other immediately recognized landmarks of Sydney that have become synonymous to Sydney are the Sydney’s Darling Harbor and the Circular Quay Port.

It seems Sydney’s tourism and the life of the local residents revolve around the harbor but it is not so. It is not all its quay side folks but much more.

We will go around Sydney today, look at its extraordinary sightseeing places as a real American tourist.

  1. Port Jackson

Sydney is a naturally beautiful city that revolves around its naturally beautiful Port Jackson.

Here is an aerial view of Port Jackson.

Sydney Port Jackson

See how the Tasmanian Sea has smoothly entered Sydney creating a natural harbor and several quay sides that have later developed into strikingly beautiful tourist and residential areas of Sydney.

The majority of the tourists to Australia invariably land on Sydney first and I guess they don’t go beyond Sydney. I think even Melbourne takes a second seat as it is more of a destination for corporate overseas employees.

Port Jackson’s Tasmanian Sea water receives waters from Land Cove River and the Parramatta River.

Sydney Harbor Bridge

Port Jackson is where the familiar Sydney Harbor Bridge and the Sydney Opera House are located. Therefore, you can assume how important the Port Jackson landmark is to the tourists of Sydney.

It is the Port Jackson from where the prestigious Yacht Race is flagged off. The thrilling yacht race is from Sydney to Hobart.

Port Jackson area becomes the place of boisterous fun and frolic on every December 31st. The New Year eve celebrations at Port Jackson is enthusiastically participated by the Australians.

So, if you ever plan a trip to Sydney, try to be there on 31st December evening.

From the image of Port Jackson’s aerial view, you can see several islands were naturally formed that have become points of tourist interest in Sydney. Some of the islands off Port Jackson are:

  • Clark Island

Clark Island Sydney

  • Goat Island
  • Shark Island
  • Cockatoo Island
  • Fort Denison

All these islands can be accessed only by waterways. However, some islands that saw settlement early such as Berry Island are now connected to the Aussie mainland by roads.

  1. China Town

China Town, Sydney

This is the Chinese Garden of Friendship located in Sydney’s China Town.

The China Town is a big tourist attraction wherever it is. I once had been to the China Town area in Singapore and I could never forget the tourist crowd, the aroma from cooking food on a street full of roadside restaurants, the myriad shops selling all kinds of paraphernalia, the drinking and eating session going late into the night are all the identities of China Town anywhere in the world and the China Town in Sydney is no exception.

Sydney China Town

  1. King Street Wharf

See, I am still lingering the quayside of Sydney. I have more to cover in and around the Darling Harbor and Port Jackson before I move on to the other side of Sydney.

King Street Wharf

This wharf side of Sydney is where you can see all the joy ride on ferries and long distance cruise ships.

The whole of King Street wharf is in the hands of Captain Cook Cruises and Sydney Ferries Network.

Sydney Ferries Network

  1. Darling Harbor

I think I am late in arriving at the most familiar landmark in the world and in Sydney, Australia-the arched bridge of Darling Harbor.

To walk across the bridge is the first activity carried on by the tourists to Sydney, the dynamic and bustling city in Australia.

There are several attractions in and around the Darling Harbor.

  1. Paddy’s Market

When you are in an important tourist landmark anywhere in the world, you would find a shopping area nearby making use of the tourist crowd. It’s shrewd business acumen.

The Paddy’s Market in the vicinity of Darling Harbor comprises two red-stone buildings selling vegetables, fruits, sea produce, clothes, and small and big gift articles.

Paddy’s Market

It is the Paddy’s Market’s Haymarket. You can buy hundreds of small things. It is more of a flea market where all and sundry can sell anything from A to Z.

  1. Royal Opera House, Sydney

Royal Opera House, Sydney

Whether you are interested in fine arts or not, you have to go and see this stunning building that houses the Royal Opera House. If you don’t go there, you are one minus 8 million tourists who see this every year.

You can also go inside the theater but you have to join a long queue of tourists that pay to be a part of the guided tour of the pride of Sydney.

  1. Royal Botanic Garden

Royal Botanic Garden

Botanical gardens attract all of us irrespective of our age. The neatly and artistically laid out landscape, the rows and rows of flowering plants, and the tall tress some of which are a century old are pleasing to our eyes and mind.

The 200 years old Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney is quite large comprising an area of about 74 acres. Moving away from quayside of Sydney, the Royal Botanical Garden is a highly visited tourist attraction.

Here, an amazing number of fruit-eating bats called “flying foxes” were once hanging upside down on the tress.

Look at these bats in close quarters:

Since they were considered as a threat to the flora of the garden, somehow, they were all driven away.

What to see in Royal Botanical Garden:

  • Black Swan
  • Waterfowl
  • Band Lawn
  • Victoria Lodge
  • Wollemi Pine
  • Succulent Garden
  • Macquarie Wall and Spring Walk.
  • Rainforest Walk
  • Morshead Fountain Gate
  • Palace Garden
  • Rose Garden
  • Garden of Herbs

In just 74 acres, they have managed to cultivate and maintain so many varieties of garden. I think it will take a minimum of two hours to explore the entire Royal Botanical Garden.

  1. Royal National Park, Sydney

When I researched about the Royal National Park, one aspect attracted my immediate attention. It is the lyrebird that can be spotted here among other birds.

The lyrebird has amazing calls that seem to mimic various sounds.

Look at the video below showing the lyrebird freaking out with its calls.

Other birds that can be spotted in Royal National Park are:

  • Green Catbirds

Green Catbirds

Oops! What a green bird! Absolutely captivating!

  • Topknot Pigeons
  • Flightless Turkey
  • Kookaburras

After seeing a few videos of Royal National Park, Sydney, I think it has more things to see than the Royal Botanical Garden.

The flora, avifauna, scenic hiking trails leading to stunning viewpoints and locales compel you to spend a full half day in Royal National Park.

Sightseeing places inside the Royal National Park, Sydney:

  • Views of the Era beach from tall cliffs
  • Bungoona Lookout
  • Hocking River
  • Uloola Waterfalls

Era beach

View of the Era beach on the Royal National Park hiking trail called “Coast Track”.

  1. Hyde Park, Sydney

It’s another large public park in Sydney and is quite old. It is located in the center of Sydney city. In this park, a large number of fig trees are planted and they call it as “Weeping Fig”. No, I could not find the reason behind this name.

Here is a view of them in Hyde Park:

Hyde Park

The advantages of maintaining a park for more than 100 years are many. Some species of trees that might have become endangered or extinct can be still a part of an old botanical park. Such trees become talk of the town and they attract tourists and other interested academicians from all parts of the world.

I read the Aussies played cricket in Hyde Park long ago.

  1. Sydney Tower

Sydney Tower is an observation platform. Built mainly as a tourist attraction, it is the tallest building in Sydney measuring 1014 feet!

Being so tall and is visible from many parts of Sydney, the Sydney Tower acts as a landmark for tourists. The shopping market at the base must have been a development in the later years after seeing the influx of tourists to Sydney.

Here is a video of the Sydney Tower. The view from the top of the tower, especially from the circular platform that is called a ‘skywalk’ is dizzying.

The experience of seeing the entire Sydney city from a 360 deg angle can be thrilling. Even while looking at the video, I get goosebumps.

  1. Lavender Bay, Sydney

Lavender Bay, Sydney

Oh, I did not realize I would be returning to the wharfs too soon. I got a word about the Wendy’s Secret Garden in Lavender Bay in Sydney and I was told it is a big Sydney tourist landmark. More than secret garden, the name Lavender Bay caught my fancy and here I am at this prominent sightseeing place in Sydney.

The Wendy’s Secret Garden is located near the Lavender Bay. However, the Wendy’s garden is no more a secret garden ever since it allowed the public to enter the garden.

  1. Wylie’s Baths in Coogee Beach, Sydney

How about having a bath and a swim at the same time in the South Pacific Ocean? Yes, you can enjoy a swim or a bath with other tourists at the Wylie’s Baths in Coogee Beach, Sydney.

Wylie’s Baths is actually tidal swimming pool. I hear you; you are asking what a tidal pool is-right?

Here, see the video is self-explanatory.

I think it will be an experience of your lifetime, taking a plunge at the Tasmanian Sea first and allow yourself getting washed away into the adjoining swimming pool.

It is almost like an infinity pool in Sydney.

Here is a clearer image of the Ocean Pool.

Ocean Pool

If I ever go to Sydney, the Wylie’s bath would be my first sop.

  1. Ferry ride in Circular Quay

Ferry ride in Sydney

The ferry is big and almost looks a yacht!

Do you love a ride on a ferry, especially on the romantic South Pacific Ocean? From the Circular Quay in Sydney, the ferry ride is up to Manly Beach. The boat ride lasts for just 25 minutes.

Sydney map

  1. Spit Bridge Walk

It is a scenic walk to the Spit Bridge from Manly. The trekking is full of scenic coastal beauty and mind you folks, it can be a long and strenuous walk for 10 km!

On the way, you can have a good view of the harbor, tall cliffs overlooking the Pacific, etc.

  1. Taronga Zoo, Sydney

A zoo is a must in every major city’s tourism development. First of all, the children would be looking forward to a visit to the local zoo very eagerly. Some of the exclusive Aussie wildlife are:

  • Kangaroos
  • Wallabies
  • Wombats
  • Koalas
  • Kookaburras
  • Tasmanian Devil
  • Echidnas


  • Platypus


  • Thorny Dragon

Thorny Dragon

Oh, that looks very very thorny and very very scary.

I am sure you can all these rare Australian wildlife in the Taronga Zoo, Sydney.

Do you think I left out some more not-to-be-missed tourist spot in Sydney. If so, please leave a comment.

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