Guide to Sydney

Sydney, the number one destination on a traveller’s bucket list when visiting Australia. Boasting spectacular skyscrapers and sapphire bays, the iconic city is known for its chic style and bustling atmosphere.

Guide to SydneyCredit: Tourism Australia

The History of Sydney

The Indigenous People of Sydney

The original inhabitants of the City of Sydney were the Australian Aboriginal Gadigal people. Their territory stretching along the southern side of Sydney’s Harbour to what is now known as Petersham. In the rest of Sydney’s metropolitan area, 29 clan groups are collectively known as the Eora Nation, which the Gadigal people also belong to. The word ‘Eora’ means ‘here’ or ‘from this place’, which represent the many tribes well as a whole community of the region.

Sydney’s European Discovery

In 1788, the first fleet of Europeans arrived at Sydney’s shores, made up of 11 ships that set sail from Portsmouth, England. There were over 750 convicts on board the vessels, as well as a large number of sailors and marines guarding the prisoners. Seeds, livestock, and 2 years supply of food were also on board in preparation for the new land. Following the arrival of the First Fleet, the British encountered the Indigenous community around the bay of Port Jackson. The Aborigine were very generous towards the newcomers, but sadly many of the tribes and people of the region were wiped out due to the diseases the British introduced to the country. The city of Sydney was named after Thomas Townshend Lord Sydney, who was the very first British Secretary of State in 1783. At first, the Europeans found the region very difficult due to a lack of food, but things greatly improved after the second fleet arrived in 1790.

Things to see & do in Sydney

  • Sydney Opera House

    Sydney Opera House

    It is the most recognisable modern landmark in the entire world, as well as being the token symbol to all of Australia’s postcards and advertisements. Designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, the building is World Heritage-listed building and is a commanding presence within Sydney’s Harbour. The bright white roof structure is by far its biggest draw, designed in separate arching triangle shapes which reference a yacht’s sails that match the bay’s nearby ships. Many travellers visit the building without even heading inside, as the main attraction is the iconic architecture. Despite this, the indoors is still quite a treat to see, comprising of five performance spaces for dance, concerts, opera and theatre. The building was designed to have beautiful acoustics for the famous and moving performances showcased here, making it one of the most famous and popular music venues on earth.

  • Sydney Harbour Bridge

    Sydney Harbour Bridge

    Sydney’s harbour wouldn’t be the same without the giant ‘coathanger’ bridge. The Sydney Harbour Bridge is the tallest steel arch bridge in the entire world, connecting the two sections of Sydney over the width of Sydney Harbour. Back in the day, getting to and from the north side of Sydney was no easy feat, either involving a ferry or driving a 20-kilometre route which went over five separate bridges. The idea to build a bridge was discussed for many years, but it wasn’t until the 1900s when the idea started to become a realistic idea. Nowadays, this bridge is one of the busiest areas of the city, with cars, bikes, bus’, and even pedestrians heading over the arch. At the time it was said to be the largest and hardest structure Australia has ever attempted, with numerous deaths and injuries. But what became of the bridge was not just a connection to the north side, but one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions. The iconic arch contrasts beautifully with the sapphire waters of the bay, with many folks heading to the shores to snap an unforgettable shot of the landmark. People even climb it, which can guarantee you some epic sights of Sydney and its surrounds.

  • Darling Harbour Cruise

    Sydney Darling Harbour

    One of the best ways to see all of Sydney is by boat, giving you a better angle to see the landmarks and city sights. The Darling Harbour cruise takes you around the inner bay region before heading out to the outer ocean waters. Food and drinks are also served on board, which can be one of the most perfect lunch spots on your entire Sydney holiday.

  • Chinatown

    Chinatown, Sydney

    Although Australia’s city is known for each having a Chinatown, Sydney’s is by far the biggest in the country, if not the entire world. Loved by all, local or tourist, Chinatown’s authentic food and bargain paradise draw in hundreds of visitors every day! Located in the city centre next to Haymarket and Darling Harbour, the region is a prime spot for those staying within the city. Those up for a bit of shopping will be spoilt for choice, with hundreds of stalls and market sections to choose from. If you are a bit peckish, Chinese is not the only cuisine you’ll find here, with restaurants like Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, and Vietnamese all lining the streets.

  • Sydney Tower

    Sydney Tower

    Within Sydney’s impressive skyline the Sydney Tower has become an iconic part of the scenery for more than 30 years, is one of the must-do attractions in the city. The Sydney Tower Eye, often dubbed as Sydney Tower, showcase brilliant views of the entire city and its surrounds, is the tallest structure in Sydney. The Tower is 309 metres tall from top to bottom and can hold almost 1,000 people at any given time. Travellers can stroll around the full 360 lookout section, giving you the best views from all sides of the tower. There are two restaurants and a relaxing coffee lounge within, giving you the perfect place to refuel after snapping all the city shots you can.

  • Circular Quay

    Circular Quay

    Perched on the edge of Sydney’s central business district is Circular Quay, which offers stunning views of the Opera House as well as a number of delicious food spots. It is a multicultural food hub, presenting delicious cuisines from all over the world at the stunning waterfront region.

  • Hyde Park

    Hyde Park

    It is the oldest park in Australia, stretching out to more than 16 hectares of lush greenery. Hyde Park is split into north and south sections by Park Street which runs directly through the middle of the park. Each section an alluring amount of attractions, such as art and historic monuments, lush wildlife, and a widespread of events held throughout the year.

  • Bondi Beach

    Bondi Beach

    Bondi Beach is undoubtedly Australia’s most famous beaches. A stretch of coastline just 7 kilometres from the bustling city centre. The entire area has a laidback and chic vibe, with surfers, chic restaurants, and picturesque scenery creating this serene location.

  • Mrs Macquarie’s Chair

    Mrs Macquarie’s Chair

    A peninsula, named in 1810 after Elizabeth, the Governor Macquarie’s wife. Mrs Macquarie ordered a seat to be chiselled into the rock from which she could view the harbour, which was hand-carved by a number of convicts. These days, everyone who visits the chair can view Mrs Macquarie’s picture-perfect view of the harbour, while discovering the history behind this iconic attraction.

  • The Rocks

    The Rocks, Sydney

    Get a hearty dose of history and culture when you visit the famous Rocks. Located on the southern shore of Sydney’s iconic harbour, the area overlooks Circular Quay and is famously known as the spot where the first European settlers landed in 1788. It became the first place for housing and shipping docks in Sydney, with historic buildings and landmarks still left standing to this day. Stroll the streets and soak up the history.