Ever since we saw Finding Nemo in 2003, we wanted to visit Sydney. In 2018, we were finally able to go. We were a bit disappointed when we found out P. Sherman 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney was a non-existent address, but we had a great time nevertheless. We spent 5 days in Sydney and Bondi Beach, which is way too short if you want to experience everything Sydney has to offer. We didn’t have time to explore beyond Circular Quay and the city center. Read on to find out about our 7 favorite places to visit in the city center of Sydney. Best of all: All these places in Sydney are completely free to visit!

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1. The Circular Quay area

Our favorite thing to do in Sydney was to walk around Circular Quay (which we did a lot!) and take in the surroundings. The major highlight of this area is of course the Sydney Opera House, by which we were completely amazed. Everyday, a new cruise ships docks at Circular Quay which is fun to see. Furthermore, there are lots of nice places in Circular Quay to have a bite and a drink and watch the beautiful surroundings. It’s the perfect spot to spend an afternoon in Sydney.

Circular Quay in Sydney, Australia

2. Sydney Opera House

We remember the first time seeing the Sydney Opera House and being completely speechless. We would have never thought that a building could leave you speechless. The Sydney Opera House is beautiful on photos and in movies, but in real life it’s even more mesmerizing. Of course we couldn’t stop taking pictures of the Opera House. Walk around Circular Quay to find the perfect photo spot (or read our best photo spots of the Sydney Opera House blog post). It’s beautiful any time of the day, but during sunset it’s breathtaking. The Australian sunsets never disappoint, and the Opera House really shines when it’s lit up by the setting sun.

Sydney Opera House, Australia

3. Sydney Harbour Bridge

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is a beautiful bridge and is a very nice photo subject. Walk along the shore for different perspectives. If you have some extra cash, you can also climb the bridge. From up high you’ll have an amazing view over Sydney and the Opera House, but it’s an expensive activity. We had to save climbing the bridge for a next visit to Sydney.

Sydney Harbour Bridge, Australia

4. Cruise ships at the harbor

Every day there’s a different huge cruise ship in the harbor of Circular Quay. It’s lots of fun to check out the cruise ships (too bad you can’t board them) and imagine what it would be like to stay on one. If you’re lucky and at Circular Quay around the right time, you can even see a cruise ship leaving the harbor!

Cruise ship at Circular Quay in Sydney, Australia

5. Sydney Museum of Contemporary Art

The Museum of Contemporary Art is located at Circular Quay and is a nice museum to check out when in the neighborhood. Their collections frequently change and there is a very nice rooftop bar with views over Circular Quay, the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. There’s no entrance fee, which makes it a fun and free thing to do in Sydney.

Opening hours:
Thursdays – Tuesdays: 10.00-17.00
Wednesdays: 10.00-21.00

Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, Australia

6. Sydney Royal Botanic Garden

The Royal Botanic Garden is a huge park close to the Sydney Opera House. You’ll find lots of people walking and jogging in the park or having picnics on the fields. It’s a very nice area to walk in and the view of the Opera House is beautiful from the water side.

View from the Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney, Australia

View from the Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney

7. Shopping streets in Sydney

Sydney is a nice city to do some shopping. George Street, Pitt Street and the surrounding streets are perfect for your shopping needs.

The Strand Arcade

The Strand Arcade isn’t only perfect for your shopping needs but also for your photography ones. The interior of the Arcade is beautiful and there are pretty tiles all over the place (even in the toilets). This place is a must if you’re into taking photos.

The Strand Arcade in Sydney, Australia

Getting around Sydney

We were staying in Bondi Beach and went to the city center of Sydney daily by either bus + train or bus + ferry. We bought a pass for public transport at the airport (Opal) which was very easy to use, you just had to make sure enough money was loaded on your pass before traveling. We used Google Maps for time tables of public transport and it was always accurate (even the delays were mostly accurate).

There is so much to see in and surrounding Sydney, five days isn’t nearly enough. If you have the time and the money, we would definitely recommend you stay longer in the Sydney area. We will for sure be back one day to explore more of Sydney!

Have you ever been to Sydney? Let us know in the comments below!

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