Sydney Things to Do Tips by martin_nl
Sydney Things to Do: 2,345 reviews and 4,184 photos
The first building at the same place where you will now find the Observatory, used to stand a windmill and that was also the first european building. The Observatory houses some of the oldest astronomical instruments of Australia. Entrance to the Observatory is free. However if you want to have a peek through the telescopes you have to make an appointment for the evening and then you do have to pay a few dollars.
Address: Watson Road
Directions: The Observatory can be found on Observatory Hill, The Rocks.
Phone: 02 9217 0458
Right in the middle of the CBD you can find Martin Place which I always referred to to as My Place, since my name is Martin ;-)
Anyway Martin Place is a the biggest pedestrian area in the city and also the biggest square. Quite often you will find street performances here like didgeridoo players. The square is surrounded by many colonial buildings. A good example of that is the Post Office building and the Virgin Megastore.
A permanent sight on Martin Place is the ANZAC memorial. In the Christmas season you can also find a huge christmas tree stationed at the bottom of the square.
Martin Place is a busy place especially on weekdays around lunchtime. Many workers go here to enjoy their lunch in the open air.
Directions: Martin Place is situated in the northern half of the CBD and between George and Maquarie Sts.
Pinguins in the aquarium
The Sydney Aquarium has the largest collection of sea animals in the country. There are over 11000 animals of around 650 species. The highlights of the museum are the 145m long tubes that run through the huge water tank, that includes sharks and lots of other fish. Other aquariums have pinguins, sea lions and of course lots and lots of fish in them. This is the best aquarium I have been to so far.
If you would like to see some of the animals you can find in the Aquarium take a look at my Sydney Aquarium travelogue.
Address: Aquarium Pier
Directions: Darling Harbour
CBD on a rainy day
The Central Business District or CBD is a pretty big place in Sydney. You could also call this the city centre. In the north it borders Circular Quay, on the west the Bradly Highway and Sussex Street all the way to the Sydnety Central Railway Station and in the east Hyde Park and the Botanic Gardens. This is roughly taken of course. It's a great place to walk and there is so much to see and do, you'll never get bored. There are many restaurants, zillions of shops, parks, fountains, museums, the AMP tower and of course all the other sights.
The area is very busy on business days at the typical hours around 9am, lunch time and 5pm. In the weekend it is almost deserted unless you walk in the shopping streets. CBD is a great place for cheap food, because you'll find food courts everywhere selling Asian, Italian, American and other food. At the end of the afternoon you can get discounts of 50%!!
If you want to see some nights shots of the CBD take a look at my Sydney CBD by night travelogue.
National Maritime Museum
This is a great museum. Don't take the guided tour, for it is boring, but explore the museum yourself. The parts I was most interested in was the explorers part. Mainly because the Dutch were the first Europeans to discover Australia. There are quite some displays about this and a lot of other history of Australia. For a long time Australia was even called New Holland. There are also exhibits that focus on the surfculture and watersports, the navy, the aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders.
Address: 2 Murray Street, Darling Harbour
Directions: Walk across Pyrmont Bridge from the city. Or take the monorail to Harbourside. Or the LRT to Pyrmont Bay. Or Sydney Ferry to Pyrmont Bay Wharf.
Phone: 02 9298 3777
The Queen Victoria Building, or QVB as referred to by the locals, takes up an entire city block and is completely filled with about 190 shops. All sorts of shops like clothing, jewellery, shoes, art, hairdresser etc. are presented. There are also loads of places where you can have a classy - read expensive - sandwich. However the lower ground level of the QVB is connected to the Myer department store and there you will find a superb foodcourt with cheap food of all sorts.
When you visit the QVB make sure you go to the top level where you can find Peter Lik's Gallery. You'll be amazed by his photography. Prices are quite steep, but if you want to have a souvenir like this, this is the best place to go.
Directions: The block bordered by George, Market, Druitt and York Sts. But you can't miss it really!
Fountain in Hyde Park
Almost everyday I used to walk through Hyde Park. It's quite a nice park with this big fountain. On sunny days the place is packed with people sunbathing or enjoying the shades under one of the many trees. If you get here in the evening walk quietly and you might see a couple of possums, or the odd shagging couple if you walk here very late, or should I say early?
Directions: Next to Elizabeth Street and the St. Mary Cathedral.
Interior of St. Mary's Cathedral
I walked pass this church almost everyday to get my groceries. I hardly ever stopped to take a look until it was almost time to leave the city and move on to the next place. As I was standing in front of the cathedral that day a somewhat older Australian couple stood next to me and I heard their conversation. It was so funny. They said that this was such an ancient building... In fact the the first fase of the building wasn't finished until 1882 and the cathedral was complete only in 1928. So not ancient at all. I do have to give it to the architects, the cathedral does look ancient!!
Address: College Street
Directions: East of Hyde Park and north of Philip Park.
You'll find Il Porcelino in Florence, Italy too!!
In front of the Sydney Hospital on Maquarie Street you can find Il Porcellino a bronze warthog. If you think I've lost my mind and that I should place this tip under my Florence, Italy travel tips you are not entirely wrong. This is a copy of the original one in Florence and was a gift given by the municipality of Florence. The warthog symbolises the friendship between Italy and Australia.
Other intersteting things about the hospital are the Victorian style buildings the hospital is made out of and the peacock fountain in the courtyard. The Hospital can be used as a very handy shortcut to get from Martin Place to the Domain and the Art Gallery.
Directions: At the top of Martin Place on Maquarie Street and connected to the Domain on the other side of the building.
The stretch of green in between the Botanic Gardens and Hyde Park is called the Domain. This is a fantastic place in the summer, not just to have a picnic, but also for all the festivals that are organised here. Think of Carols in the Domain, NYE, Sydney Festival, concerts and loads of other activities. The Art Gallery is also situated in the Domain.
Directions: South of Botanic Gardens and northeast of Hyde Park.
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