Sydney, located on the Pacific coast in the southeastern part of Australia, is famous for its beautiful bays, national parks and museums.
What to do in Sydney
Sydney is the capital of the Australian state of New Wales. The first residential areas of the city were built in 1788. For many years, the British Empire regularly sent criminals here. Because of this, after fifty years, the population was 40% prisoners.
Today, little reminds of these unpleasant pages of history. Sydney, rightfully considered the cradle of Australia, is a popular resort city with modern avenues, beautiful squares, and skyscrapers. In the historic center, old colonial houses with gabled roofs, verandas, wooden columns in the style of rustic Gothic, Victorian Revival, Renaissance have been preserved.
There are many private and municipal beaches. Glamarama Beach, Bondi Beach, Manly Beach enjoy a good reputation. Rescue teams work on these beaches, there are showers, indoor pavilions, cafes, water rides, volleyball courts.
Sydney offers an interesting cultural program. People go surfing, scuba diving, sport fishing, go to conquer the Blue Mountains, cut by canyons. There are many fern and eucalyptus forests in the vicinity, among which hiking and horse trails are laid.
The menu in Sydney restaurants satisfies even picky gourmets. Modern Australian cuisine combines the traditions of different countries and is distinguished by its exquisite taste. Popular treats at local restaurants include layered meat pie, kangaroo steak and baked sea fish.
Rest in Sydney gives a lot of positive emotions for the whole family. Parents with children enjoy spending time in the city zoo, on rides, in the national maritime museum. For those who wish, excursions by sea on a glass-bottom boat, yachting, diving courses are available.
Sydney’s central harbor is named after the governor of New South Wales, Ralph Darling. The pedestrian area consists of residential, business complexes, cafes, restaurants, shops. On the embankment there is a spiral fountain by Robert Woodward, which is included in the state heritage register.
Nearby are the Zvezda entertainment complex, a children’s playground, the Sydney Aquarium, and the Darling Spa Hotel. Many sights of the city are concentrated around the harbor: the Chinese Garden, Madame Tussauds, Wildlife World.
There is a scenic area at the southern end of the harbor based on the early colonization of Australia. Many of the old houses here were destroyed during the construction of the Sydney Bridge, but those that have survived give the streets a special flavor. Now they are open beer pubs, elite restaurants, art exhibitions, antique shops. Walking in the Rocks, you can go to a large market, a museum of modern art, a sailors’ church or the First Fleet Park.
Chinatown was formed by Chinese immigrants during the Australian Gold Rush. The entrance to it is decorated with a gate made of wooden pillars, decorated with intricate patterns and calligraphic inscriptions. Today it is a popular tourist area.
The main street of Dixogn Street is lined with traditional Chinese style houses. Inside there are Asian restaurants, antique shops, shops with original Chinese goods. In the center of the quarter there is a wooden sculpture “Golden Water” by Lin Li. It is believed that it brings good luck.
A legendary place — it was here that James Cook landed in 1770, and 18 years later the settlers founded the British colony. The harbor of the port is built up with modern buildings and is famous for its rich infrastructure.
Important architectural objects are the Opera House, the Harbor Bridge, the road tunnel under the harbor. Ferries, yachts, boats, cruise liners moor in the port. Those who wish can book excursions to Fort Denison and Goat Island.
The Sydney Opera House is listed as a World Heritage Site and is under the protection of UNESCO. The original building of reinforced concrete frames has an expressionist design. The walls are lined with shell tiles, glass and granite panels.
Inside there is a concert hall for 2679 seats, a theater stage, a recording studio, a walking platform, a cafe, a restaurant, a souvenir shop. The Opera House is the hallmark of Sydney and one of the most iconic buildings in the world.
The estate of 1793 has been well preserved to this day. The future hosts, John and Elizabeth MacArthur, arrived in Australia with the Second Fleet, determined to start a new life. They built a farm near the Parramatta River, raised sheep, grew olive trees.
Australian Colonial style brick cottage surrounded by an orchard. Today it is a house-museum illustrating the life of the aristocrats of the colonial era. A 200-year-old olive tree, Chinese elm, and pine trees grow in the manor park.
The Viceroyal Residence in the center of Sydney was built in 1847. The two-story Gothic Revival building features battlements, elegant towers, arches, balconies and verandas. Now the governor’s office is located in the interior of the palace.
The architectural complex is surrounded by a large garden with exotic trees, manicured lawns, flower beds, fountains, greenhouses. An Australian star anise grows next to the house, planted immediately after construction was completed. The huge tree reaches a height of 30 meters.
A steel arch bridge across Sydney Harbor links the North Shore and downtown Sydney. The object, designed by a British company, is the sixth longest arch bridge in the world (1149 meters with a width of 48.8 meters).
The arch with a span of 504 meters rises above sea level at a very high altitude of 134 meters. The bridge provides road, rail, bicycle and pedestrian traffic. Harbor Bridge is a historical monument of the country. On New Year’s Eve, colorful fireworks are launched from here.
The historic Customs House stands proudly off the Sydney waterfront. It was built shortly after the founding of the colony to regulate the import and export of goods. The Gregorian mansion is decorated with columns, arches, terraces. A round clock is mounted in the center of the facade. The inner walls are finished with plaster and decorated with plaster moldings.
In 1990, the customs service moved to a new office. The old house was restored and began to be used for exhibitions and celebrations. Tourists are waiting for a museum, a cafe, a restaurant of national cuisine.
sydney town hall
The Victorian City Hall on George Street stands where the cemetery of the early settlers used to be. During construction, not all the graves were reburied, so several tombs of unknown people can be seen in the courtyard. The monumental stone structure includes a vestibule, front rooms, wide corridors, and offices.
The concert hall houses the world’s largest pipe organ. The richly decorated mansion with an intricate roof has an original clock tower. At its top hangs a bell.
At the entrance to Sydney Harbor stands the oldest lighthouse in Australia — Macquarie. The first building was built of wood in 1791. For a hundred years, it fell into disrepair, and the authorities decided to build a new lighthouse, which replaced the old structure. The white stone structure is a beautiful round tower with a balcony. At the very top is a double-leaf Fresnel lens. The lighthouse works offline.
The Sydney Television Tower is one of the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. The height of the metal structure is 309 meters. The last floor is at an altitude of 260 meters.
There are three high-speed elevators inside the tower. Any of them takes tourists to the top in 40 seconds, where the main observation deck of the city, a souvenir shop and a restaurant for 200 people are located. In the evenings, the Sydney TV Tower is illuminated with bright lights and looks very beautiful.
Temples of the city
Cathedral of the Virgin Mary
St. Mary’s Cathedral, built in 1821 in the English Gothic Revival style, is recognized as a national shrine. The church has the shape of a cross, and its facade is framed by two towers. A bell tower was erected above the intersection of the transept and the nave.
The interior walls are decorated with paintings illustrating the Way of the Cross of Jesus Christ. The canvases were created in Paris and specially selected by Cardinal Morgan for the cathedral. There are 40 colored stained-glass windows inside, and in the transverse nave there is a copy of Michelangelo’s Pieta.
St. James Church
There is a small church on King Street, consecrated in 1824. The building, designed by Francis Greenway, is a gem of Sydney. Its spire is featured on Australian ten dollar bills printed from 1966 to 1993.
The interior of the temple is austere and beautiful. The pews for worshipers are made of red cedar, the ceiling is decorated with stucco, the altar is framed with organ pipes and decorated with paintings depicting the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Church of St. Andrew
Andrew’s Cathedral on George Street is one of the main Gothic buildings in Sydney. It is the official residence of the Anglican Archbishop and Metropolitan of New South Wales.
The facade is decorated with beautiful octagonal towers, openwork stucco, lancet windows, arches. The floor is paved with mosaic tiles. Stone sculptures are installed along the walls, and multi-colored stained-glass windows are inserted into the windows. The north transept contains an 1866 pipe organ.
Sydney is home to the oldest museum of anthropology and natural history in Australia. The collections contain numerous objects grouped into different departments. Exhibitions dedicated to zoology, mineralogy, paleontology, introduce the history of Australia and the culture of its indigenous people.
Tourists can explore the skeletons of extinct animals, archaeological finds, rare minerals, gold nuggets, and jewelry.
The first public art gallery appeared in Sydney at the end of the 19th century. It was located in the Garden Palace, built for an international exhibition. After the fire, the palace collapsed, and new buildings were picked up for the gallery.
The museum collection presents Australian, European and Asian art. Among the selected works are “Landscape with Goats” by John Constable, “Port Gulfar, Belle-Ile” by Claude Monet, “Head of a Peasant” by Vincent van Gogh, “Thea Proctor” by George Washington Lambert.
National Maritime Museum
The Maritime Museum in Darling Bay consists of galleries that tell about the discovery of Australia, the relationship between natives and colonists, the navy, the flora and fauna of the world’s oceans. On the tour, you can learn interesting information about the First and Second British Fleets and see maps of the coastline compiled by navigators 200 years ago.
Museum ships are displayed on the pier: the barque James Craig, the destroyer Vampire, the replica HM Bark Endeavor and even the real Onslow submarine.
Museum of Power Plants
The Powerhouse Museum in Sydney is a great place for family outings. It is an advanced science center covering different kinds of technologies. Unique exhibits are preserved here, including an old rotating steam engine, passenger steam locomotives of 1854, a copy of the Strasbourg astronomical clock, created in 1887.
Permanent exhibitions tell about the development of transport, the steam revolution, space exploration, as well as contemporary environmental issues.
Madame Tussauds museum
The Darling Harbor Wax Museum, opened in 2012, is the only one in Australia. It houses a large collection of wax figures. The sculptures are life-sized, all the details are carefully worked out, so the faces look like they are alive.
Mel Gibson, Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Chan, Bruce Willis, Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson meet guests at the Sydney Museum. The Dalai Lama, Queen Elizabeth II, James Cook, Albert Einstein and the incomparable Madame Marie Tussauds are especially popular.
House of Vaucluse
A colonial manor near Sydney built for the Wentworth family in 1839. The architectural ensemble in the Gothic Revival style consists of a mansion, stables, a kitchen wing, barns and gardens. The estate is equipped with a museum that introduces the colonial interior and the life of immigrants. The tour shows the premises in which cottage cheese, cheese, butter were prepared, a cellar for storing food and wine, the owners’ rooms, a library, a living room.
Elizabeth Bay Manor
An aristocratic villa in east Sydney is a prime example of Australian colonial Empire style architecture. The mansion, erected for Alexander Macleay in the 19th century, is famous for its central oval-shaped front hall, high lantern tower, and original staircase.
The decor of the house clearly reflects the way of life in colonial Sydney. Guests are shown the private chambers of the owners, the reception hall, the library, and antique furniture. But the main highlight of the museum-estate of Elizabeth Bay is the collection of insects collected by A. Maclay.
Nature and parks
Chinese Garden of Friendship
Chinatown Park, modeled after the private gardens of the Ming Dynasty, opened to the public in 1988 as part of Sydney’s bicentennial celebrations. The entrance to the garden is decorated with large marble sculptures of lions.
The territory is planted with flowers, Chinese plum, pine, bamboo trees. The central element of the garden is an artificial lake with lotuses and a waterfall. Nearby are a tea house and pavilions for relaxation. In one of them there is an exhibition of Chinese porcelain.
The park area in Darling Harbor is designed for outdoor walks and city events. Deciduous, coniferous trees are planted here, fountains, benches, lanterns are installed. In the middle there is a playground with inflatable slides, carousels, and a sandbox. For athletes there are simulators and treadmills.
The Wildlife Park opened at Wild Life Sydney in 2006. The large zoo is located on several levels of a modern building. The microclimate inside is supported by powerful air conditioners. There is no roof on the upper tier — the exhibits are in the open air.
The Sydney Zoo has 10 zones inhabited by crocodiles, koalas, tropical butterflies, kangaroos, and echidnas. During the tour, guests get acquainted with Australian animals and take colorful photos.
Darling Harbor Aquarium is one of Sydney’s top attractions. Inside the modern complex, water tanks are installed, where representatives of the river and marine fauna of Australia live. Tourists can see the Great Barrier Reef fish, sharks, Australian fur seals, little penguins, dugongs, rays. Crocodiles, snakes and turtles live in a separate zone.
Royal Botanic Garden
The garden, founded by the first settlers under the guidance of the botanist Charles Fraser, was intended for plant acclimatization and scientific work. This is 29 hectares of land planted with trees from different parts of the globe.
The territory is divided into sections representing the Australian, European, Asian and American flora. The park has a palm grove, a rose garden, a garden of succulents. Pavilions, fountains, a research center and a shop have been built among the trees.
Western Sydney Conservation Area
Previously, the area around Sydney was used for grazing and gardening. Now it is a national wildlife park, 27 km long.
The reserve includes eucalyptus forests, plains, mountain ranges, rivers. Parrots, gray-haired bats, foxes, rabbits live in the protected area. Hiking trails are laid inside the park, camping and picnic areas are equipped.
Blue Mountains National Park
The park, with an area of 270 hectares, is located 80 km from Sydney. This is the most visited reserve in the state, receiving millions of tourists a year. Here you can see picturesque meadows, rare Wollemi pines, rocks and grottoes.
Sandy mountains of the Three Sisters, Bridal Veil waterfall, Burragorang lake are very popular. Travel companies offer interesting excursions in the park, including rock climbing, canyoning, mountain biking.