Day Long Walking Photo Tour of 20 Sights in Sydney, Australia

The loop I walked this day provided me with ample photo opportunities and around 10 miles worth of pavement covered. I am a fairly quick sightseer, though I do take lots of photos, and the walk from start to finish including a brief lunch stop lasted about 6-8 hours. Adding breakfast and dinner onto this would pretty much exhaust you, but allow you to feel you’d seen just about all of downtown Sydney’s major tourist spots in a day. Below is a summary of the itinerary and at the bottom I’ve broken it up by place with brief explanations and photos I shot in Sydney.

day long walking photo tour of 15 sydney sights
Itinerary:  The location of my base hotel was near the Rocks district, the Harbour Bridge and Circular Quay. I started by walking down through the Rocks district, past the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, along Circular Quay and past the ferry terminals and the Opera House to the Royal Botanical Gardens. From there I continued to the Art Gallery of New South Wales, which is very worth seeing and offers free admission. I continued through to Hyde Park for a nice view of St Mary’s Cathedral and the park itself is Australia’s oldest with a lovely tree lined walk. From there it was a few minutes to St Andrew’s Cathedral, again Australia’s oldest, and a fine example of the Gothic Revival style.

About two blocks down George Street, Chinatown begins. Though this isn’t particularly interesting if you have high expectations or have been to large Chinatowns like those of San Francisco and New York, the Chinese Friendship Garden is reasonably priced and worth a visit. From there you can visit Paddy’s Markets, which offers a huge selection of touristy trinkets, bazaar goods and a large fruit and vegetable market in the back. If that market leaves you with a taste for more you can possibly stop by the Powerhouse Museum before grabbing lunch at the Fish Market. Close up views of many sea delicacies you’ve never heard of provides an excellent photo opportunity. Need more fish? The Australian National Maritime Museum offers free admission and free Wi-Fi.

Next to the museum is the Pyrmont Bridge, a pedestrian bridge with a flare and great view of the city and Darling Harbour. The Sydney Observatory is also free and as a member of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences offers informative plaques. The park around the Observatory is very nice with benches and large trees, good for cooling off or taking a rest. It’s downhill from here to Lower Fort Street and the Miller’s Point community that you can see on your way to Dawes Park and Sydney’s Harbour Bridge. A late afternoon stroll unto the bridge will give you some great views of the harbor and the Opera House with boats cruising the blue waters.

My suggestion is to use the Google Maps app on your smartphone. You can search the locations ahead of time and save them as stars them on the map. Do this while you have Wi-Fi and you will still be able to access the map with locations when you no longer have service. If you let location services work, you can use the GPS tracker to follow your route around the city from star to star during the day all without having cell service. People in these neighborhoods are also super helpful about offering directions when asked. Most of them speak English and don’t at all mind pointing you along your way.

Places of Interest:

Rocks districthistoric area of downtown Sydney, traditional sandstone architecture gave it the Rocks name. Offers many shops and restaurants.

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Museum of Contemporary Art Australia : offers free admission to some exhibits and aims “to engage audiences with contemporary art and ideas through the presentation of a diverse program of exhibitions and special events.”

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Circular Quaya large transit hub for trains, ferries and busses, but also has restaurants and good views of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. Check out the Spice Room for some excellent Indian food.

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Sydney Opera HouseArchitecturally stunning, it opened in 1973.

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Royal Botanical GardensCelebrating their 200th anniversary this year (2016), the gardens cover 74 acres and have diverse plant species. Mrs Macquarie’s Chair is a big photo draw here, though I’m not entirely sure why.

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Art Gallery of New South Wales offers free admission, has lots to see in various styles

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Hyde Park 40 acres, oldest park, big fountain, lovely old tree lined path, big monument

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St Mary’s Cathedral : Geometric Decorated Gothic, Roman Catholic, longest Australian church, consecrated in 1882

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St Andrew’s CathedralGothic Revival, Anglican Church, Stained glass windows, Australia’s oldest, completed in 1868

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Chinatownhas an actual gate, lots of restaurants, some shops

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Chinese Friendship Garden pagodas, plants, teahouse and tranquility. adults AU $6

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Paddy’s MarketsHaymarket location dates back over 150 years. lots of stalls, trinkets and a fruit and veg market.

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Powerhouse Museum : you have to pay to go in here, so I did not go… it is part of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences group.

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Sydney Fish Market“largest market of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and the third largest seafood market in terms of variety in the world”

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Australian National Maritime Museumfree admission, maritime collections and exhibitions

Pyrmont Bridge : opened in 1902, a pedestrian bridge since 1981 in the swing style with a great view of the city

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Darling Harbourhome to restaurants, attractions and more…

Sydney Observatory : free, park, historic site, telescopes, planetarium, member of Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences

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Lower Fort Street in Miller’s Point : historic neighborhood, protested area…

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Dawes Park : historical park with great views of Sydney Cove, at the end of Harbour bridge

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Sydney’s Harbour Bridgesteel through arch bridge, finished in 1932, length = 1,149 m (3,770 ft)

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For more about my Sydney trip, check out this post about arriving in Sydney and look forward to my future post about visiting the Blue Mountains and maybe another on Sydney’s beaches.

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About amy de simone
Amy is an active volunteer, traveler and photographer. She is interested in art, libraries, museums and nonprofits. She holds an M.A. in Library & Information Studies and a B.A. in Italian Language & Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

2 Responses to Day Long Walking Photo Tour of 20 Sights in Sydney, Australia

  1. Carol says:

    Beautiful photos and excellent commentary. Bravo!

  2. UrbanFeet says:

    Great and inspiring work! Itineraries seems helpful

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