If you get a postcard from Australia, odds are you will either see a picture of the Uluru, or Sydney Harbour. Though it is not the capital city, it is definitely an important part of the Australian way of life, and a symbol of the nation – something like New York is to the United States. Its integral role as a tourist destination has led to great development of its landmarks, places Sydney siders want people visiting their town to remember and cherish, and have gone out of their way to make as entertaining as they are magnificent.
The Opera House
This unusual architectural feat is the crowning glory of Sydney, Australia. The clean white sails sweep through the horizon as they play the part of the most recognizable structure in Australia, and the world. It doesn’t serve only as a beautiful sight, though you could look at it that way. Anyone interested to learn a bit about the Opera House could do so by simply applying for virtually any city walking tour. Those with a bit more of a leisurely budget could also reserve tickets for one of the shows and experience the musical magic first-hand, and even accompany the evening with a posh feast in one of the many restaurants and bars within.
As any coastal city looking to maintain its reputation, Sydney has a very busy harbour in its front yard. Visitors on a budget can simply enjoy a brisk walk around the Riviera, sit in one of the marina cafes counting yachts and sailboats and jet boats and everything. Chartering is where the fun is at though. There’s a daytrip for any budget and every taste. For the thrill-seeking tourist, there’s even an exciting jet boat thrill ride – 80 kilometers per hour of the fastest sightseeing in town. And best of all, Sydney is one of the rare places where you can go whale watching without sailing off far from the harbour, and if you’re there June through November, the chances you’ll sneak a peek are almost guaranteed.
Bondi Beach and Manly Beach
The two most popular beaches in Sydney carry an urban vibe much like beaches in any coastal metropolis. They are not that exotic, but there is no better place to experience an Australian Summer (which seems to drawl on throughout the year, according to the temperature), than at Bondi or Manly. And while you’re there, do not miss the ultimate surfing opportunity. There is power to the sentence “I learned to surf back at Bondi”.
Sydney Tower Eye
Stretching 250 meters into the air, much higher than the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Tower Eye pierces the horizon to send its lure across the entire city. Tall buildings such as this have been luring tourists since the dawn of time, and the Sydney Tower Eye is no different. The panoramic views of the city can be experienced from the safety of the tower inside (and a regular entrance ticket). It is definitely the best vantage point in the city, and just like in Paris, you can enjoy a hearty buffet at the top. That is, if you don’t mind the height!
Taronga Zoo and The Aquarium
Australia, or the land of kangaroos and koalas, would be incomplete without a fair share of wildlife parks. The Blue Mountains or the Outback are the best way to experience the flora and fauna, naturally, but for a tourist on a schedule, these outings might be a bit time-consuming. Taronga Zoo is a chance for everybody to get a chance to feed a wallaby or cuddle with a koala. The Aquarium is a fast way to experience the other Australia, the one usually reserved for divers. Here, one could catch a glimpse of what the Great Barrier Reef is all about by simply walking through the gorgeous underwater tunnel.
The Blue Mountains
If zoos and wildlife parks simply don’t cut it, the Blue Mountains are a destination for travelers looking for a natural getaway, and they are located just outside of Sydney. Hikers, campers, cave explorers, mountain climbers, 4WD enthusiasts – everyone is welcome to this rugged landscape brimming with wildlife. There are several vantage points and designated picnic spots for some relaxing intervals during the climb, and the best known of these are the Three Sisters. This odd rock formation overlooking a green valley has made its way into so many pictures, it has become a recognizable Australian landmark on its own.
Since Sydney is more of an active city vacation, and a straight up glamorous one, it would make sense to keep your entire stay there in this style. Sydney’s chic boutique hotels are a sure way to get a good night’s sleep in a tranquil environment, and the harbour is full of wonderful restaurants where you can enjoy virtually any type of cuisine as you gaze at the ships coming in and out of the bay, and careless sailboats skimming through the blue waves.