With gorgeous beaches, buzzing streets, delicious food and happy people, we’re sure you’re going to love it just as much as us. To make your time here as fabulous as possible, take a look at our recommendations of things to do while you’re in our harbour city.
Iconic Sydney experiences
Go wild at Taronga Zoo
While zoos might seem like an obvious tourist activity, Taronga is arguably the best of them all. Koalas overlooking the Sydney Opera House? What’s not iconic about that? To maximise your photo opportunities, take the ferry from Circular Quay and get ready for the commute of your life.
Visit the Sydney Opera House
Nothing says ‘Sydney’ like the iconic sails of the Opera House. It’s our picture-perfect landmark for a reason! For the ultimate experience why not make a night of it? See a show and sip on cocktails at Opera Bar beforehand.
Take a dip at Bondi Beach
Our city is famed for its beaches (more on that below…) and none is better known than Bondi. It’s a pristine stretch of white sand met by clear blue water, just a short trip from the city centre. Great for a quick, cooling afternoon dip, or a full day of leisure on the sand and in local cafes. The beach is an easy bus ride from Bondi Junction train station, or a 15 minute car trip from Oxford Street.
Take a day trip to Royal National Park
Sydney is a city made for day trips, and the Royal National Park should be at the top of your list. The park is 150 square kilometres of coastal bushland and tracks. Take the 26-kilometre Coast Track to see plenty of spectacular sites, including the Instagram-famous Wedding Cake Rock.
Take a day trip to Palm Beach
Fans of Aussie classic Home & Away might recognise this spot, but there’s so much more to Palm Beach than meets the eye. Escape the city for a day and head north for some kayaking or paddleboarding. You might even spot a whale while on the iconic lighthouse walk!
Climb (or walk) the Harbour Bridge
Next to the Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of our city’s icons. Known to locals as “the coathanger”, the bridge offers stunning views of the harbour. Take the pedestrian path, or scale the heights with BridgeClimb Sydney.
See Sydney by water
Whether you take one of Sydney’s famous yellow-and-green ferries to Manly, a private boat to one of the harbour islands, or get up close to landmarks on a kayak tour, Sydney Harbour has to be explored via water.
Party on Oxford Street
Sydney’s LGBTQIA+ communities come together on Oxford Street to celebrate, connect and make their voices heard. Home to our annual Mardi Gras Parade, it’s packed with fabulous bars and clubs offering drag shows, live music and dance floors galore.
Picnic in the Royal Botanic Garden
The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney is set on 30 hectares of lush greenland, on the tip of Sydney Harbour. It’s been open for more than 200 years, and is just around the corner from the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. As you’d expect, the views are gorgeous.
Sydney’s best art galleries
The Museum of Contemporary Art is home to the city’s dedicated selection of work by contemporary Australian artists. With a frequently-changing program of exhibitions and an enviable location right on the harbour, any art aficionado’s trip to Sydney would be incomplete without paying the MCA a visit. To take your trip to the next level, we recommend heading to one of their ‘Up Late’ Fridays, where live music at the rooftop cafe truly brings the museum to life.
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Located in the heart of Sydney in the beautiful grounds of the Domain, The Art Gallery of NSW is one of Australia’s leading art museums. Showcasing upwards of 40 exhibitions each year, it holds a broad collection of Australian, Asian and European art, so you’re guaranteed to find something you can appreciate. Visit on Wednesdays for Art After Hours, where the gallery stays open until 9pm for workshops, live music and more.
White Rabbit Gallery
Opened in 2009, The White Rabbit Gallery showcases one of the world’s most significant collections of Chinese contemporary art. It is independently-funded and fully refitted to accommodate new exhibitions twice a year, so you can be assured the art takes pride of place throughout the space. Be sure to visit the Tea House while you’re there for an authentic taste of Chinese and Taiwanese teas and dumplings.
Sydney’s most beautiful beaches
No list of Sydney’s ‘must-sees’ would be complete without Bondi. One of the city’s largest beaches, it’s as loved for its lifestyle as its crystal blue waters. If you’re feeling active, start at Coogee or Bronte and do the coastal walk all the way around – trust us, it’s worth the sweat.
Located a short (but beautiful) ferry ride from Circular Quay, life just seems to move at a slower pace in Manly. Its shores played host to the world’s first ever surfing contest in 1964, so why not make like a local and try taking to the waves while you’re here?!
If you hate the feeling of getting sand where it shouldn’t be, then Gordon’s Bay is the beach for you. Accessible only by foot, the offshore reef and surrounding rock pools make for great snorkelling or diving. It’s an exciting little adventure that’ll make you feel miles from the city.
Obelisk is one of Sydney’s few legal nude beaches, and sees plenty of visitors on sunny days. It’s not the biggest of beaches, and can be a bit of a trek to get to as it’s on a headland. But it’s a peaceful and secluded spot that attracts a lot of gay men.
Tamarama is Bondi’s smaller, more relaxed sibling. It’s just around the corner from Bondi, and is every bit as beautiful. A haven for surfers, this beach has a huge stretch of sand for soaking up the sun, and a grassy area at the back which is fabulous for picnics.
Little Congwong Beach
Congwong Beach, in the city’s south-east, is one of the best for swimming and snorkelling, with calm blue waters, protected by the north headland of Botany Bay. Just around the corner is Little Congwong, one of Sydney’s unofficial nude beaches, perfect for a skinny dip.
Where to Stay
Sydney is a sprawling city of countless neighbourhoods, each with their own personality. Here are some of the best areas to stay and celebrate Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.
Getting Around Sydney
Public transport is used across Australia by locals and visitors alike, and Sydney is no exception. We give you the low-down on how to navigate from buses to ferries and everything in between.
While there’s plenty to do in and around Sydney, there’s a whole country out there to be explored: from the sparkling waters and pristine coastline surrounding this mega-island, to the legendary and endless outback.