Travel writers frequently use three words to sum Sydney up: glitzy, fashionable and vibrant. Sun-drenched Sydney certainly offers the Australian dream, where travellers can surf the waves, muse over the iconic Opera House and climb the instantly recognisable Harbour Bridge. It’s time to dive headfirst into Sydney and come up with your own three little words…
Sydney Opera House
The Sydney Opera House was always destined to be a beauty. In 1957, a competition was formed to determine who would design the now-renowned, luxurious performing arts center. Over 200 architects (many of them famous) from 32 countries entered the competition, but it was a Danish architect by the name of Jorn Utzon who was ultimately chosen for his -- as one judge put it -- “genius” design.
Needless to say, the Sydney Opera House, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has become one of the most recognized and photographed images in the modern world. The nautical inspired design features two performance halls and a restaurant in a remarkable landscape within Bennelong Point.
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Overlooking looking Sydney Harbour and surrounded by Hyde Park, The Domain, and The Botanical Gardens, the five-level Art Gallery of New South Wales features extensive collections of Australian, European, and Asian art. It is also one of the largest galleries of Aboriginal art in the country.
Before or after touring the gallery, visitors can choose to dine in the Gallery Cafe or the Art Gallery Restaurant, which boasts magnificent and panoramic views over Woolloomooloo Bay. There is also gift shop praised by tourists for its distinctive collection. Admission to the Gallery is free.
Located just north of Hyde Park is Sydney’s Parliament House which is housed within a handsome Georgian building. It is in fact the oldest public building in the city and remains in use as a parliament house. The complex dominates Macquarie Street with its impressive colonnaded front verandah. Some of the rooms are open to the public and avid ghost hunters will be interested to learn that sightings have been reported! And I’ll let you into a secret; you can beat the heat by staying in the heart of the city at one of Accor’s Sydney hotels so you can hit the sights early.
Royal Botanic Gardens
Opened in 1816, the Royal Botanic Gardens has gorgeously lush landscapes and overlooks Farm Cove. It is centrally located in the heart of Australia's cultural domain of art galleries, museums, and performing arts. It is the oldest botanic garden and scientific institution in Australia.
Conveniently close to the Sydney Opera House, the Royal Botanic gardens showcases an impressive array of plants and is full of natural beauty, where residents and visitors alike come for peace, relaxation, education, and to learn more about plants and horticulture. Entry is free to the garden and exhibition with the exception of the Tropical Centre.
St. Andrew's Cathedral
St. Andrew's Cathedral is the oldest cathedral in Australia. Founded in 1819, St Andrew's Cathedral was consecrated in 1868 and underwent a major restoration process in 1999-2000. A visit to this Australian landmark is nothing short of breathtaking. Located directly above Town Hall Station, it is easily accessible by train and is a popular tourist attraction.
The Strand Arcade
Established in 1891 and once known as a “browser’s paradise”, The Stand Arcade, located right off the Pitt’s Street Mall, is now a shopper's delight. Serving as a peaceful refuge amidst the hustle and bustle of the main Mall, the multi-level Victorian-style shopping arcade is considered Sydney’s epicentre of style and fashion. It houses many of Australia’s top designer labels, jewellers, unique shops, and beauty salons.
Circular Quay was primarily used for shipping and gradually turned into the transport and recreational area it is today. Now considered the hub of Sydney's Harbour, Circular Quay is a bustling area at a small inlet called Sydney Cove. Circular Quay features a number of malls, parks, walkways, and restaurants. It also has bus stops, ferry quays and a rail station.