Things to Do at Circular Quay

Perched on the edge of Sydney’s vibrant central business district, Circular Quay offers stunning views of the Opera House and other major landmarks that flank the coast. As well as offering great sights, the area promises visitors an eclectic selection of things to do, whether it’s during the day or under the veil of darkness.

Circular Quay, Sydney

1. Culture

Just like the rest of Sydney, Circular Quay offers a buzzing cultural scene that’s both creative and fascinating. It acts as a central location for many of the city’s community celebrations because of its prime location in between the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge – two of Sydney’s most iconic landmarks. These are just some of the best activities on offer throughout the year.

See the Fireworks

And those fireworks you see going off in Sydney on New Year’s Eve? They take place at Circular Quay.

Enjoy the Art

For art aficionados, there’s plenty to get stuck into too. The Quay is home to the Museum of Contemporary Art, as well as the City of Sydney Library, which is set inside a beautiful, heritage-listed building.

Oz Whale Watching

Set out beyond the harbour and enjoy an exhilarating experience in the deep blue sea. Here you can spot the Humpback Whales which cruise along this ocean region, getting up close and personal with these incredible creatures. Marvel at the Whales as they do a breach, fluke up dive, tail throw or simply cruise along water’s surface.

2. Eat Good Food

Circular Quay Cafe

Sydney is a multicultural hub of delicious cuisines from all over the world, and Circular Quay is no different. Along the waterfront, there are numerous outdoor eating areas where you can tuck into everything from local Aussie treats to international fare. To the east of the Quay, there is a whole bank of open-air restaurants which lead up to the stunning expanse of the Opera House and beyond – the perfect place to grab a bite to eat while enjoying the world-famous sights of the city. Here are just a few of the choices on offer.

Searock Grill

If you are looking for the local seafood cuisines, there is no better place than Searock Grill. Renowned for not just their seafood, but steak as well! The restaurant offers a perfect blend of mouth-watering delights along with the breathtaking views of the Sydney Harbour. We recommend visiting just before sunset, to enjoy the sun before it transforms the region into a blanket of soft orange and pink.

Yukis At The Quay

If you are after something light and tasty, the Yukis promises the freshest sushi and sashimi in the city. Located on the top level of the overseas passenger terminal, visitors can see where the rocks meet the harbour, with front-seat views of the Sydney Opera House. The menu is everchanging, with the Japanese cuisines blending together the traditional methods with modern styles. This restaurant is a little bit more upmarket, so it is perfect for a romantic date night or pre-theatre dinner.

3. Take a boat ride

Circular Quay Cruise

One of the main reasons visitors head to Circular Quay is to catch a boat heading to one of the city’s other landmarks. From the harbour, you can pick up a cruise to Manly, Watsons Bay, Mosman, and Taronga Zoo – it’s basically the gateway to some of Sydney’s best-loved activities.

During the week, you’ll see hordes of Sydney commuters hopping aboard various ferries, while the weekend sees a more laidback tribe heading to hotspots like Manly beach for a spot of surfing.

Tribal Warrior Harbour Cruises

One of the best ways to really learn about the city of Sydney is discovering the history of the area. Join in on the Tribal Warrior Harbour cruise and meet the local aboriginal people as they describe the area’s history and their ancestors’ daily lives. This experience really opens your eyes up into the city’s exceptionally long cultural history.

Thunder Jet Boat

If you are after some thrills and spills, try out the thunder jet boat. Offering an exceptional experience onboard a jet boat, to whiz you through the bright blue harbour. The boat has over 800 horsepower, guaranteeing some screams on board as you slide, spin, and jump across the waves. The ride lasts either from 30 to 45 minutes, which gives plenty of time for your hair to be severely dishevelled.

Lunch Cruise

For a more relaxing journey, join in on the lunch harbour cruise. Simply sit back and relax onboard the boat and tuck into the mouth-watering delights served to you. Washing it all down with a glass of sparkling or pot of beer. This is perfect during those famously sunny Sydney days, as the harbour and skyscrapers sparkle under the summer sun.

4. See the Greenery

After taking the city’s skyscrapers and bustling streets, head to the quieter region known as the Royal Botanical Gardens. The gardens are home to a blanket of glorious green, with pinks, reds, blues, and more scattered about in the trees, bushes, and flowers. The area is roughly a third the size of the entire CBD, featuring perfectly manicured gardens and lawn areas. The locals usually come here for their lunch breaks, morning walks, and picnics during the summer season, with the entire atmosphere, relaxed. At the foot of the botanical gardens is the harbourside, with the walking paths heading from farm Cove to the Sydney Opera House, to finally Mrs Macquaries Chair.  This lets you see the sights of the city by simply walking or cycling around, finishing up in the lush grass gardens to refuel over a picnic.

5. Enjoy the Drink

What better way to end a day of sightseeing than with the drink in hand amidst the city’s laidback atmosphere? There are tons of bars littering the area, with a few featuring some of the best views in the city.

Circular Quay is at the heart of Sydney’s culture and history, promising visitors a little taste of everything. Whether you’re on the hunt for some creative encounters, simply want to try some delicious Aussie cuisine, or want to see Sydney’s famous landmarks up close and in person, Circular Quay is the place to be.

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