Sydney, Australia is perhaps one of the most visited cities in the world. With so many activities to choose from, it’s pretty hard to decide what to do during your visit. To make things easier for you, here are 5 things – some overtly touristy and some seemingly so mundane you’d probably never thought to do – that you should definitely consider doing.
1. Tour the Sydney Opera House during the day, then watch a performance there at night
Seated majestically at the edge of Sydney Harbour, the Sydney Opera House (SOH) is undoubtedly Australia’s most iconic building, and one of the most prominent performing arts centers in the world. Aside from its obvious aesthetic beauty, what is it about the SOH that makes it such a legend?
For 37 AUD (approximately 28 USD), get into the heart of the SOH on a guided tour that provides access to restricted behind-the-scenes areas of the SOH. Conducted by guides who are extremely passionate about the SOH, you’ll be amazed by how this architectural and engineering marvel came to be: brick by brick, against all odds. From the curvature of each concrete slab to the reason why each tile is shaped as such, guides on the SOH tour point out miniscule details on this gargantuan structure that you simply need to be present to witness. Here, seeing is believing. And believe it or not, many performances at the SOH are actually held below sea level!
The tour also gives sneak peeks of rehearsals of ongoing performances, the construction and deconstruction of stage sets, and explanations as to why different materials are used in different theatres to provide the best audio-visual experience tailored to each performing arts genre. But what good is it to know this if you don’t get to experience it for yourself? To encourage you to do so, the SOH provides a 10% discount off selected performances for visitors who have purchased the SOH tour tickets. Few ever get the opportunity to watch a performance at the SOH, so while you’re there and have a 10% discount, why not take it? Note: tour tickets may be purchased on the spot and need not be booked in advance. Tickets for performances the 10% discount applies to, however, are subject to availability; visitors are therefore not guaranteed the chance to watch a performance on the same day as the tour.
2. Have seafood by Darling Harbour
Located at the edge of Sydney’s Central Business District, Darling Harbour is perhaps one of the most beautiful harbours you’ll ever set your eyes on. Lined with restaurants, cafes, and bars, the harbor is the perfect place to have a plate of fish and chips – or any seafood for that matter – as you feel the cool of the sea breeze with each bite. Talk about poetic!
Do also check out the weekly fireworks display every Saturday at 9pm – it’s pretty spectacular with the harbour as a backdrop.
3. Go up the Sydney Tower and look down on the city lights at night
You’ve seen the Sydney Harbour Bridge during the day, now it’s time to view it in its splendor at night. Along with the rest of the city’s skyline, observe as this city comes to life at night. What better way to do it than from the centre and on high? At 26.50 AUD (approximately 20 USD), you get a breathtaking view of the entire city, and understand why it has been dubbed as one of the world’s global cities.
Money-saving tip: there is currently a promotion if you book your tickets online!
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4. Get a bronzed tan at Bondi Beach
Australia is known for its beaches, so visiting a beach on your trip to Sydney is a definite must. After a 30 minute ride from the city centre, your first glimpse of the crystal clear ocean juxtaposed against Bondi Beach’s luscious white sand will answer all questions as to why Bondi Beach is Australia’s most famous beach and not just any beach. With such a splendid view, it’s no wonder that Bondi Beach is often crowded in the summer - both on weekdays and weekends. So vamos a la playa, and get a nice bronzed glow while you take it all in!
If you’re not one for the crowd or for sun tanning, Bondi Beach is nevertheless a picturesque spot laden with cafes and beachfront shops that you shouldn’t miss out on when in Sydney.
5. Ride the world’s steepest incline railway
Sydney’s Blue Mountains are named as such because light rays are passed through eucalyptus vapours that rise from the region’s abundance of eucalyptus trees. In addition to admiring the vast Blue Mountain range on land, visitors may also wish to do so mid-air while hanging between cliffs. For 35 AUD (approximately 27 USD), enjoy unlimited rides on the Scenic Skyway, Cableway, and Railway.
The Scenic Skyway is a carriage – notably with a glass bottom – that runs between two cliffs, allowing commuters the chance to look at the scenery directly under their feet. The Scenic Railway, on the other hand, prides itself as the world’s steepest incline railway with an incline of 52 degrees, but is adjustable according to passenger preference. That’s definitely one way to go downhill!
Time is of the essence!
Of course, the list of things to do in Sydney goes on. But if you don’t have much time to spend in Sydney, these 5 experiences unique to Sydney will definitely be worth your (short) while.
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