10 Classic Sydney Experiences

Looking for the must-do Sydney experiences? The most famous Sydney experiences? Sydney’s greatest hits? There’s so much to see and do in this fantastic city. But if you only have a limited amount of time to spare, here are the Sydney activities that you can’t afford to miss.

1. The Sydney Opera House

Image source: Destination NSW

It doesn’t get much more Sydney than the Opera House, possibly the city’s most recognisable icon. At the very least, you have to admire the architecture - gleaming white buildings with sail-shaped roofs – from the outside. If you’ve got time to check out a show, there are over 40 of them here each week featuring everything from opera to theatre to music both contemporary and classical.


2. Sydney Harbour Bridge

Image source: Destination NSW

Another recognisable icon and one of the most quintessential Sydney experiences, the Harbour Bridge has sweeping views of the city and its magnificent harbour. And for views that really can’t be beat, you can journey to the summit on an unforgettable Bridgeclimb experience.  Climb at dawn, dusk or even night-time to see Sydney in a new light.

3. Darling Harbour

Image source: Destination NSW

Once a dockside area, Darling Harbour is now a buzzing entertainment precinct with frequent events and a tonne of things to do. There are more than 120 shops, over 50 restaurants and cafes and two beloved museums: the National Maritime Museum and the Power House Museum.

4. Circular Quay

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The city’s main ferry terminal and the home of the Opera House, Circular Quay is the place to go if you want to get anywhere else via the harbour. If you don’t feel like going anywhere, perhaps you could chill here and have lunch on the Quay? A selection of classy restaurants and bars leads from the ferry wharves to the Opera House, and the Royal Botanic Gardens is just behind.

5. The Rocks

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Originally Sydney’s convict settlement, The Rocks is now a place to grab a drink in an old-fashioned pub or pick up some bargains from the markets. The Rocks is one of our must-do Sydney experiences for its looks too: preserved historic buildings, cobblestone streets, narrow alleys and views of Sydney Harbour.

6. Bondi Beach

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No visit to Sydney is truly complete without a visit to Bondi, one of the world’s most famous beaches. Take a dip in the shimmering blue water and follow the foreshore around the curving arc of sand. If you’ve got time, the Bondi to Coogee walk is a six km seaside wander with amazing ocean views.

7. Taronga Zoo

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This award-winning zoo is just 12 minutes away from the city by ferry and boasts spectacular views of Sydney Harbour. With more than 4,000 animals from 350 species to see, from the Sumatran Tiger to the Australian koala, there’s no shortage of variety.

8. The Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras

Image source: Steven Yee; Destination NSW

For 40 years, this has been one of Sydney’s liveliest and most colourful events. An annual pride parade for the LGBT community, it includes a parade down Oxford Street complete with floats plus a dance party. For more information and to see what’s happening this year visit


9. Surry Hills

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This previously sordid suburb in the inner south-east of Sydney is now a hotspot for shopping, food and bars. Go vintage shopping along Bourke or Crown Street, check out some of Sydney’s finest bars or drop into the Brett Whitely Studio, the former home of the famous artist.

10. The Blue Mountains

Image source: Destination NSW

And when you need to get out of the city and back to nature for a bit, head to the Blue Mountains and enjoy the sweeping natural views of this World Heritage-listed area, the home of the Three Sisters rock formation.


Final ideas for classic Sydney experiences

You could also check out Port Jackson, visit the Sydney SEA LIFE Aquarium or travel to the top of the Sydney Tower Eye. In Sydney, the most famous experiences are only the starting point for all there is to do.