Must See, Must Do! – Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Take the ferry from Circular Quay to Manly

(slow ferry, not the jetcat) For a water tour of Sydney better than any tourist ride! Along the way you will pass the Opera House (one of the seven wonders of the modern world), the best of the Harbour and all of Sydney’s expensive waterfront property. Once there, walk through the Courso at Manly to the beach and have lunch before ferrying back to the city. A few food options include: Le Kiosk on Shelly Beach or their take away fish’n’chips. To get there from Manly Beach facing the ocean, walk to the right along the ocean to Shelly Beach and there it is. For lighter fare, try the Barking Frog café on the North Steyne strip (48 North Steyne), or the exotic Alhambra Café & Tapas Bar (1/54 West Esplanade). In truth, you can’t go to wrong at any of the good looking cafes along the beach or the new bar/restaurants that have opened in the ferry terminal.

Harbour BridgeClimb

Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House
© Kenta Tanaka
For about A$155, you can actually walk up, across and back down the Sydney’s great landmark. What a view. It’s not frightening and very safe. You can choose to do a day or night climb. For more detail see their web site. Look into price deals before travelling to Australia. It’s popular so book early. And no drinking before your climb – they give you a breathalyser test before you go up.

Bondi Beach

Take the long beautiful walk from Bondi through the rocks to Tamarama, Bronte and Clovelly beaches. Best ocean views in Sydney. Bring your camera for snaps of the magnificent coastline and beaches. Stop and eat at one of the great Bondi restaurants/cafes or the cafes at Bronte.

The Sydney Fish Market

Corner of Pyrmont Bridge Rd and Bank St (the on-ground tram system stops here). Mind-blowing array of fish and seafood – in fact, the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. Don’t miss this if you love to eat! Buy a bottle of wine, sashimi sliced for you on the spot, freshly shucked oysters or fresh fish and chips and sit out on the water to feast.

Taronga Zoo

Giraffe at Taronga Zoo
Giraffe at Taronga Zoo
© Kenta Tanaka
Kangaroos, koalas, penguins, wombats, beautiful native Australian birds from laughing kookaburras to lorikeets – take the ferry across and take it all in. Go to and click on Taronga.

Chinatown for Yum Cha

Fantastic Chinese food is brought to your table on carts and you can choose what you want to taste. Best places to try this true Hong Kong experience for lunch during the week or brunch on the weekends are the Regal or Kam Fook in Chinatown (near Town Hall) or the New Marigold, Silver Spring. Also excellent cheap, cheap, cheap shopping in Market City, Chinatown.

Botanic Gardens and the Opera House

Book a concert, opera or dance performance at the Opera House and/or take a tour of the venue to see behind the scenes. The Botanic Gardens are right next door for a beautiful walk by the water. If it’s summer, the outdoor cinema in the Gardens is well worth the ticket price for the views, food and scene in general.

Walk around The Rocks

Sydney’s most historic area just near Circular Quay. Lots of shops, cafes, restaurants and old architecture to explore. Sailor’s Thai restaurant ($$$) is nice and right on the water. Good Irish pub in the area too. Beware the strip of restaurants along Circular Quay West in front of the Tall Ship berths – it’s generally terrible and priced to take advantage of tourists.

Visit a few of Sydney’s unique “suburbs”

Leichhardt, Sydney’s Little Italy, is a great place for coffee and a very good Italian meal anywhere along Norton St., and Balmain, with a great Saturday Street Market, is another great place for walking, shopping and eating and you can get there by ferry (to Mort Bay Pier). Fantastic views of the city from here. Good pubs too.

Olympic site at Homebush Bay

Public tours available. Call the NSW Travel Centre (9667-6050) for details. The Easter Show is on for two weeks around Easter for a taste of the Country in the City.

About the Author

Blair Palese
Blair Palese
Blair Palese is a freelance food and travel writer based in Sydney, Australia. An American by birth, Blair has lived and worked in the US, UK and Australia as a writer, researcher, communications specialist and project manager for environmental and social cause issues for the last 12 years.

For both work and play, Blair has traveled to more than 35 countries internationally but she never gets enough of Italia! Prior to “going freelance”, she coordinated Greenpeace International’s “Green Olympics” campaign for the 2000 Sydney Games, was Head of Public Relations for The Body Shop International in the UK and coordinated Communications for Greenpeace International and Greenpeace USA.

Her goal in life is to find a way to continue traveling and sample the diverse cuisine of planet Earth.