1. Walk the Sydney Harbour Bridge
While many visitors can spend up to several hundred dollars to climb the arches of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, there is a much cheaper option with a view almost as good. Walking the pedestrian footpath over the Harbour Bridge won’t cost you a penny! The Harbour Bridge spans 1,149 meters, and provides some of the best views of the Sydney harbor and the Opera House. The footpath is set away from the car lanes and railway tracks, and provides an up close view of one of Sydney’s most recognizable landmarks. While access to the Harbour Bridge is free, if you’re looking to go a little higher, there is also the option of climbing the Southeastern Pylon Lookout for a fee. The Pylon Lookout takes visitors 87 meters above the water, and houses a historical exhibition about the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Click here for admission and opening times to the Pylon Lookout.
Sydney Harbour Bridge
Sydney, New South Wales, 2000
Phone: (02) 9240 8500
2. Visit the Sydney Fish Market
A seafood lover’s delight, the Sydney Fish Market is the largest seafood market in the Southern hemisphere. The selection of seafood is staggering with more than 100 species of fish, crustaceans and mollusks for sale daily. The Sydney Fish Market sits on the edge of Blackwattle Bay so everything is literally “fresh off the boat”.
Entry is free and inside are a variety of shops selling almost every type of seafood under the sun. If you don’t feel like cooking your own food, there are several cafes and restaurants that will sell you your seafood selection and then prepare it to your liking. Not limited to just seafood, the Sydney Fish Market also has several specialty food stores including a wine shop where visitors can pick up a chilled Sauvignon Blanc to go with their basket of king prawns.
Sydney Fish Market
200/9 Bank St
Sydney, NSW, 2009
Phone: (02) 9004 1100
3. Picnic in the Royal Botanic Gardens
Living up to its name, the Royal Botanic Gardens is fit for a king. The gardens span 30 hectares and house more than 45,000 species of plants and flowers which remain colorful year-round thanks to Sydney’s temperate climate. Entry to the gardens is free, and having a picnic on the lush green lawn makes for a wonderful afternoon, while providing stunning views of the Sydney Opera House and harbor.
However, it’s not all flowers and plants. Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens also have an amazing variety of wildlife. Giant bats, known as flying foxes have taken up residence in a few of the trees where they hang upside down like large furry seed pods. When evening begins to fall, the mass exodus of bats on their nightly feed is a spectacular sight as they fly over the city. The gardens are also a haven for local birds. Large white cockatoos are some of the most endearing residents, however, despite being lovely to look at, visitors are discouraged from feeding them.
After the picnic, take a free guided tour of the gardens led by one of the volunteer guides to get an inside look at what it takes to keep the grounds of the Royal Botanic Gardens maintained.
A map of Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens can be found here.
Royal Botanic Gardens
Mrs Macquaries Road
Sydney, NSW, 2000
Phone: (02) 9231 8111/ (02) 9231 8125 – Weekends
4. Visit Government House
Located within the grounds of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Government House has the distinction of being designed by Edward Blore, the same man who designed the architecture of Buckingham Palace. The building is a magnificent example of Gothic Revival architecture, and was home to 27 New South Wales Governors until 1996 when it became an official site for the Governor to meet heads of state.
Entry into Government House is free, and visitors have access to both the the house and the beautifully manicured gardens.
Sydney, NSW, 2000
Phone: (02) 9931 5222
5. Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk
The Bondi to Coogee walk is 6 kilometers long and starts on the cliffs overlooking Bondi Beach. It takes most people about 2 hours to complete the trail, and has some lovely coastal scenery along the way. In the summer months the trail can get quite crowded, so going early in the morning or in the evening is advisable if you want to avoid the masses. Make sure to wear good shoes and put on plenty of sunscreen as there’s not a lot of shade along the trail. Overall, the terrain is pretty even, although there are a few hills and flights of stairs.
The walk takes you through Tamarama Beach, home of Sydney’s first seaside theme park, Bondi Aquarium. This later was renamed Wonderland City in the late 1800’s. A large wooden roller coaster took up much of the beach, along with other rides and swings, and there was even an elephant that gave rides to people on the sand.
Make sure to stop at Waverley Cemetery, arguably one of the best places to spend eternity. With a million dollar view that overlooks the Tasman Sea, the cemetery is a wealth of local history. It’s still an active graveyard consisting of more than 50,000 graves, some of which date back to 1877.
At the end of the trail is Coogee, a trendy beach town similar to Bondi. Filled with cafes, restaurants and boutiques, it’s a great place to relax after the long walk.