Sydney Things to Do Tips by aussiedoug
Sydney Things to Do: 2,320 reviews and 4,108 photos
Bridge from The Rocks
I could almost rewrite the intro to my Paris - The Seine & its Bridges Tip and say that you must see The Sydney harbour Bridge - our veritable coathanger, from all sides and from all angles.
The attached photois is taken from Cumberland Street not far from where you climb the steps to walk across the Harbour Bridge to Milsons Point & Kirribilli and only a few minutes from where you check in to do the Bridge Climb.
If you're interested in doing the Bridge climb then the current prices till March 2006 are as follows:-
Rates valid from 1 September 2005 to 31 March 2006 (excluding peak periods)
Exclusive Dawn Day or Night Twilight
Monday-Sunday Monday-Friday Saturday-Sunday Monday-Sunday
Adult $295 $165 $185 $245
Child $195 $100 $125 $185
PEAK PERIOD RATES
Rates valid from 25 December 2005 to 8 January 2006
Exclusive Dawn Day or Night Twilight
Monday-Sunday Monday-Sunday Monday-Sunday
Adult $295 $200 $260
Child $195 $130 $190
I think when you convert US dollars & Euros & Japanese Yen the prices don't seem quite so bad after all. I'd love to do this climb, but I'm afraid of heights & I'd hate to freeze half-way up. Now that would be embarassing, not to mention terrifying (the master of understatement strikes again. lol!)
Address: 2 Cumberland Street, The Rocks, Sydney
Directions: You'll see the signs thoughout The Rocks pointing you in the right direction, or if you're a chicken like me showing you where NOT to go! lol!
Phone: 02 8274 7777
Shelley Beach & Fairy Bower
Yes the master of understatement strikes yet again. lol!
Of course I haven't seen all the beaches of the world. I can only make my comparisons fairly on Hawaii, the island of Oahu & the west coast of the United States. These places are so important to me because as a young surfer, I started riding a surfboard at age 11, the places I read mostly about were Hawaii & southern Californian beaches. the famous big waves of Hawaii's North Shore. The then famous to us Aussies places in SoCal like Malibu, Huntington Beach (surfing through the piers!), Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Baja California & of course farther north in the cold waters of Santa Cruz.
Well my fellow VTers in six trip to the good ole U.S. of A I've seen all of the Californian coastline from San Francisco to San Diego & many parts of it not once, but a number of times & I'm here to tell you that NONE of the urban beaches in the U.S. & that's what we're talking about here, beaches that are a part of a city & its suburbs, are anywhere as good or as pretty as most of Sydney's beaches.
Now when you think of Sydney's beaches what obviously comes to mind are those 2 tourist icons, Manly & Bondi. Well there's nothing wrong with visiting either,or both, of those, but you are doing yourself a real disservice if you are a beach lover & you don't explore both our northern beaches & also some of our southern beaches. Check my Avalon page for one of our better nthn beaches & my new Coogee page for what I believe is the pick of our sthn beaches.
The photo I've attached is of Shelley Beach & Fairy Bower which is a lovely 15 minute walk around the oceanfront from Manly Beach.
Address: Nthn Beachs nth of Manly, Sthn south of Bondi
Directions: For Northen Beaches either catch a ferry to Manly then a bus nth or a 190 series bus from Wynyard Station in the city (may have Palm Beach on the front up top).
For Coogee the most direct buses are the 373 & 374 from the city.
HMAS Vampire & HMAS Onslow
THE AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM
We had a fascinating day out here today with one of my wife's brothers family. For the budget traveller it's a gr8 option as entry to the Museum section itself is FREE! And, it's no dry old Museum, but a fun, fascinating visit with some multi-media & interactive parts to it. There's a little kids' section to keep the younger ones occupied for a while. Franlkly, I'd like to go back here without my girls & haved a real serious look around I enjoyed it so much.
Mind you, if you want to see the destroyer HMAS Vampire, the Owens Class Submarine HMAS Onslow & the Barque - James Craig, you do have to pay to see these things. If you can spare the cost which was $18 for adults & $9 for children.
I must finish by saying that it's not just for the Nautical Barnacles as my title implies. That was just for a humourous title. I really enjoyed visiting here & would highly recommend it to you.
Address: 2 Murray Street, Darling Harbour
Directions: Despite what sounds like a specific address above it's easy to find at the end of the Darling Harbour Shope just after the Pyrmont Bridge. Look for the Lighthouse, the Destroyer & the Submarine.
Phone: 61 2 9298 3777
MCA from Circular Quay East
Yes, the MUSEUM of CONTEMPORARY ART is in a magnificent building in a magnificent setting on Circular Quay west looking across Sydney Cove towards the Opera House.
Now for a little more about the building itself. I remember when I lived in Sydney before going to college that is was the Maritime Services Board Building which is a 6 storey masonry clad building (at Quay level) with a central tower and flanking wings. The building exhibits characteristics of the Art Deco style: the use of vertical element to articulate the facades, the stepping up of the central tower (see my attached photo -click to enlarge) and in particular the detailing and materials of the major internal spaces. Its monumental characteristics, symmetry and use of sandstone still show that it was once a government building.
Hey, but what about the ART you're asking (& fair enough too!). Been here twice, once by myself then a week later with my 6 year old twin girls. We were fascinated & sometimes a little bit bewildered by the current exhibitions which are Le Bul a sculptor, Bridget Riley a painter &
Yes, it's interesting, sometimes challenges, definitely sometimes thought provoking & so worthwhile having a squiz at. If you're interested in Art at all you really have to see this & the Art Gallery of N.S.W. for an interesting comparison is buildings & collections/exhibitions.
Address: 140 George Street, The Rocks
Directions: You can't possibly miss it. It's the big, still official looking building on the Rocks side of Circular Quay.
It can be accessed from either Circular Quay level or the George St address above.
Check their website, it is soooo cooooool!!!!
The Calmness of Water
This follows on logically from the last Must See of Hyde Park because you will find this place almost at the southern end of Hyde Park with Liverpool Street right behind it.
This marvellous memorial particularly for the memories of our ANZAC heroes fallen in battle also contains displays & information about all conflicts Australian forces have been involved in since the Boer War in the late 1890's up till the first Gulf War.
There are two ways you can access this Memorial. I'd strongly suggest climbing the stairs & entering from the higher top level as there is a striking scuplture that is most dramatic in appearance by looking down on it initially. Also at that level there is a panel in each section of the interior of the wall dedicated (& named for) the different campaigns in the different wars.
The building itself is, I believe & feel, a wonderful piece of architecture. It was designed in what is described as an Art Deco style by Bruce Dellit who was only 29 years of age at the time & apparently caused an uproar amongst his contemporaries by the design he won the competition with & I guess the fact that he was only 2 years into his career. It is beautiful stone & I believe he has really captured the essence of what I feel is important about this Memorial & it is not the glorification of war itself, but the selfless sacrifice of the many young men & women who lost their lives in these different conflicts in the hope that our lives might be better. I must admit I was close to tears on a couple of occasions. I had a Great , Great Uncle in the Light Horse & also my father had been in New Guinea in WWII then in Japan with the British Commonwealth Occupation Forces so I could see elements of both of them in certain parts of the displays.
Well worth a visit for some thoughtful contemplation.
Address: Hyde Park South, but read my recommendation below
Directions: I'd recommend approaching it from the nthn end of Hyde Park as you can walk in a straight line, down what amounts to a tree lined avenue that ends at the War Memorial.
Aussie Relics in Macquarie Place
MACQUARIE PLACE is indeed what the above title implies.
Yes this historic little triangle of green just up from Circular Quay is all that is left, just a little part of the Gardens of the Governor of the Colony. Then, the visionary Governor (imho) Lachlan Macquarie gazetted it as public land.
Now the beauty (both literally & metaphorically speaking) is that you can enjoy all this in the space of about 15 minutes. But, even better you can enjoy a meal at either Obelisk Cafe (see my 7th Restaurant tip) or Bar Macquarie while you enjoy the cool, green of the little park then leisurely explore what I might loosely term as a few little Aussie icons, & believe me we don't have too many of these things to remember/celebrate our early history.
In this little park under the spreading branches of a couple of giant Moreton Bay figs which almost seem to be guarding these things you will find the following:
Most noticeable in the photo (please click & enlarge it) are a cannon & the anchor from HMS Sirius. See my Museum of Sydney must see for more info on this ship. The cannon was first placed ashore during 1788 & first mounted at Dawes Point. Unfortunately Sirius was shipwecked at Norfolk Island. Divers recovered her anchor in 1907. These 2 things are all we have left of this historically important vessel.
Behind these you can see the Obelisk, erected in 1818 at Macquaries instigation. It determined all distances in the still relatively fledgling Colony. It is made of convict hewn sandstone, just as many of the grand sandstone buildings you can find throughout our city were indeed done. There is a bit more, but I think it will have to go in a travelogue.
Address: Macquarie Place
Directions: From Circular Quay find Customs House. Walk up the small road on the right hand side of Customs House & all off 30 seconds later you will see the verdant triangle that is Macquarie Place.
Archibald Fountain thru' to ANZAC War Memorial
It's funny how you see something so often ,yet know so little about it so yesterday I decided to undertake a decent exploration of Hyde Park.
What I've discovered, to your benefit dear reader, is that this is a really worthwhile place to enjoy over a couple of hours.
It has some fascinating history that you have to put your imagination hard to work to envisage as it's not evident at all. It's hard to believe that when Governor Lachlan Macquarie developed this park in 1810(named after its counterpart in London) as a part of his grand plan for Sydney it began as an exercise & recreation area for his 73rd regiment & the officers actually laid out a racetrack that ran for just over 2Km. Apparently there was a grandstand that I believe would be pretty well where Bar Quattro & St James Station is.This was so successful that it continued (except for a 5 year break after the 73rd was transferred out) until around March 1825.
I found it difficult to conjure up images of any of this, but there is plenty to enjoy without having to relive the history. That's why you can allow yourself a couple of hours. You can use it to relax & recharge the batteries after busy sightseeing &/or shopping. You can take a picnic lunch or a simple couple of sandwiches & a drink (as so many of the city workers do) & just relax if you want. There are many ways to enjoy this lovely place. There are a number of statues with different stories & of course there is the not to be missed ANZAC War Memorial which I will add as a stand alone tip because I believe it to be worthy of such. You can start at Bar Quattro with a coffee & a snack or you could finish there for lunch, but be warned it would be best to book your table that morning as I went the other day for lunch & couldn't get a table.
Hyde Park is bounded by Elizabeth St in the west, College St in the east, St James Rd (which turns into Prince Albert Rd at the sthn end of Macquarie St) in the north & Liverpool St in the south.
Address: Elizabeth Street (
Directions: If riding a train on the city circle line you can alight at either St James (best spot I think) or Museum (better for the ANZAC War Maemorial) stations. If riding the Sydney Explorer Bus then Stop 15.
Main Dormitory Building
HYDE PARK BARRACKS MUSEUM
Yes, peel back the layers of history in this building that has been thefollowing:
1819 - 1848 MALE CONVICT BARRACKS
Built from 1817 - 1819 to house 600 male convicts in secure overnight lodging. When you visit this place try one of the hammocks they slept in on level 3 & see how comfortable it would have been, especially if you were a little taller & fatter than average.
1848 - 1886 FEMALE IMMIGRATION DEPOT
The hammocks were replaced by iron beds. Many of these were young Irish orphans seeking a new life in the Colony of New South Wales living here until hired out.
1862 - 1886 FEMALE INFIRM, DESITUTE ASYLUM For less fortunate women this became an increasing part of the central dormitory building (which you see in the attached photo) eventually taking up Levels 2 & 3. They were terminal patients, demented individuals & other social outcasts
1887 - 1979 COURTS & GOV'T OFFICES
After female housing was finished in 1886 the Hyde Park Barracks undertook extensive refurbishment to change not only the main dormitory building, but also all the surrounding smaller buildings, for courts & other legal offices. In the last century (seems strange saying that about the 20thC)The Clerk of Peace, Industrial Courts, the Public Trustee, the Master in Lunacy (how crazy did he have to be? lol!) were housed here.
1979 - Present
Just on 100 years ago there were plans to demolish the Hyde Park Barracks, but eventually in1975 a decision was made to use these buildings as a Museum. The Historic House Trust of New South Wales (www.hht.net.au) has administered it since 1990.
Like the Museum of Sydney this is another gr8 museum, in my opinion, not only a fascinating part of our colonial history, but also a very manageable one to navigate. It will only take you a couple of hours or so to gain a great deal of knowledge & enjoyment out of this place.You can visit it at a cost of $7 for individuals, $3 for ch'n & concessions or $17 for a family. Open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Address: Queen's Square, Macquarie Street, Sydney
Directions: Orientate yourself from Hyde Park. It is diagonally opposite the NorthEast corner of Hyde Park at the end of Macquarie Street.
Other Contact: 1300 63 777 (Infoline)
Phone: 02 9223 8922
Oldest Cathedral in Oz -built from local sandstone
I've said it bfore & I'll say it again (& not for the last time. lol!), it's funny how things happen. My plan on this day (with limited time) was to head up to Hyde Park, snap a few photos & have lunch at Bar Quattro where I've had coffee a couple of times before.
But, (you knew that was coming didn't you!), I was walking past here to get to Hyde Park, took a couple of exterior photos & decided to have a squiz (aussiespeak for look) inside.
To say I wasn't disappointed has the master of understatement striking yet again.Two aspects of the interior impressed & delighted me, & can be summed up as, the feel & the looks.
For me as a person who picks up on the feeling & atmosphere of a place, I experienced a lovely calmness & spiritual (if you want to call it such) peacefulness. As impressed as I was with both Notre Dame & Sainte Chapelle, neither of them had this feel to them.
The looks had a number of aspects that I enjoyed. Lovely stained glass windows (26)that aren't that common in Sydney, illustrating miracles & parables of Jesus & the great east window showing images of the life of St. Andrew. Beautiful timber & I must visit again to see if any is either red cedar or mahogany. The interior is not too big or complicated. But that works for it, not against it somehow.
I could have enjoyed a chamber music performance by a group of students from the associated St Andrews Cathedral School at 1:10 p.m., but time was against me (& hunger as well).
So, if you've been traipsing the streets siteseeing, or undertaking intensive retail therapy in the nearby QVB you may well be in need of a relaxing, calming (especially after the prices in the QVB shops) visit to St Andrews Cathedral. Rest awhile here & recharge your batteries.
And just to finish off, for all of the above I didn't have to pay a cent (although one can make contributions voluntarily).
It is Australia's oldest cathedral founded in 1819 but not consecrated until 1868 You can tour the cathedral at 11am & 1pm on weekdays & 12pm on Sundays.
Address: Cnr of George & Bathurst Streets, Sydney
Directions: Right next to Sydney Townhall. I travelling by govt
bus alight at George St/Bathurst St stop from: - 339, 413-423, 428-440, 501, X01, X23-28, X38-40 (X denotes Express Bus). Sydney Explorer Bus Stop 1. Town Hall is the nearest Train Station.
Phone: 02 9265 1661
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