First Time in Sydney? 5 Must See Sites

Sydney Harbour from the North Shore with views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Opera House and Sydney skyline

When asking people for words associated with Australia, Sydney is often one of the first words to come to mind. With it’s famous Harbour Bridge and Opera House dominating TV (Hello Oprah!), books and postcards it’s little wonder it’s the name on tourists lips when visiting Australia; and with it’s decent weather even in winter and plenty of flights into and out of the city, it is a place with plenty to do all year round.

Here are just five things that you should see in Sydney if you’re visiting for your first time.

Mrs Macquaries chair was carved by convicts - Sydney, New South Wales

Take a walk around Sydney’s Harbour

When visiting Sydney for the first or four hundredth time you can’t miss taking a walk around Farm Cove and Circular Quay.

Beginning the walk down at Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, a chair carved into the stone by convicts, this is one of the best places in Sydney to get photos of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House. As you continue the walk around Farm Cove you can either walk along the waterfront or through the Royal Botanic Gardens.
Continuing the walk you the distinct white sails of the Sydney Opera House will come into view. If you have time take a tour of the Opera House or take time to enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants around Circular Quay.

Manley Beach in Summer, Sydney, Australia

Head to Manly by Ferry

From Circular Quay take a ferry out to Manly Beach. The 20minute journey takes you past the Sydney Opera House and Kirribilli House, the Prime Minister of Australia’s residence, to Manly which has beaches on both sides of the suburb.

A little quieter than Bondi Beach but still with plenty to do take a walk down the Corso, the pedestrian plaza in the center of Manly or along the waterfront for plenty of shopping, restaurants and night clubs. Of course if the sun is out head into the water and try and find a spot to lay your towel!

If walking and nature is more your style there are some great coastal walks nearby.

Some of Adriano Zumbo's creations in Sydney - macarons and passionfruit and mango tart

Having morning tea with with a Zumbo creation

Adriano Zumbo is one of the most renown patissiers in Sydney, sky rocketing to national fame in 2010 after his appearance on Masterchef Australia with the notoriously difficult croquembouche.
Now famous for his macrons – fondly known as Zumborons – his wild and wacky flavours which change by the month to include seasonal flavours and anything his mind comes up with (this month’s speciality include banana, pandan and coconut, popcorn, watermelon and orange and baby powder…)

Whilst his macarons are what he is famous for his other desserts do not disappoint. If on offer be sure to try a mango and raspberry tart – my personal favourite.

Be sure to visit his original studio in Balmain; The blink-and-you-miss-it store front can be easily found by the queues of people streaming in and out so be sure to get in early for the best array of flavour to choose from.

Adriano Zumbo also has patisserie shops in The Star, Manly, and Rozelle.

For more details check out his website.

Sydney Tower Skywalk

Feeling brave then take on Sydney Tower SKYWALK

Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge is amazing but it’s also amazingly expensive so why not take the Sydney Tower SKYWALK for a quater of the cost?!
The SKYWALK is set at 268 metres above the city (twice the height of the Sydney Harbour Bridge!).
The 45 minute guided tour consists of a glass floor viewing platform which offers a bird’s-eye perspective of the city below, and some of the best views of Sydney.

Entrance to the tower and observation deck costs: Adults $12.50, Children $7.50, and Family passes for $38 if you book online.
SKYWALK tickets are: Adult $48.50 and Child (above 8 years only) $30.50 when booking online.

Everleigh Market in Sydney eating carrots and turnips

Explore the Markets

Sydney is teaming with great markets to fill your day but here are my two favourite which are open on weekends.

If you’re a bit of a foodie then Everleigh Market‘s at the Carriageworks will delight you. The market directors have ensured that only top quality produce is featured at the market with a maximum of 2-3 stalls containing the same foods. Much of the produce is organic and to ensure quality to the customer the produce travels a minimum distance ensuring its freshness.

Searching for vintage clothing or art? Then the Paddington Markets on Oxford Street may be more your cup of tea. With local artists show casing their crafts you are sure to find quirky statement jewlerry (Scrabble pieces made into rings!) or beautiful carpets and prints. The market also has quite a few Indie and Vintage stalls with good quality pieces perfect for any fashionista!

Have you been to Sydney? What would you suggest first time visitors see?

Sydney Things To Do on raveable

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  • Reply
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    […] First Time In Sydney? Five Must See Sites – by Nicole Travel Bug – As a native Australian, Nicole gives you her 5 must see sites in Sydney for first time visitors. Sydney is my favourite destination in the world. Just thinking about it gives me smiles. Nicole makes some good choices here in her article. You should check it out! […]

  • Reply
    August 15, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Those macaroons are just awesome! Sydney is such a distinct city in Australia!

    • Reply
      October 19, 2012 at 8:38 pm

      Zumbo macarons are my favourite, Adam!

  • Reply
    August 19, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    Sydney Tower Skywalk looks like a good cheaper option for the Harbour Bridge climb. Good tip!

    • Reply
      August 19, 2012 at 11:31 pm

      Thanks for the tip Liv!
      I want to try the skywalk when I’m in Sydney next month so will be sure to include it. 🙂

  • Reply
    February 25, 2013 at 1:48 am

    Don’t forget to try a pie at Harry’s Cafe on Wheels – a classic Sydney dish down by the Navy docks. Wish I had done the Harbour Bridge Climb – on the list for next time!

    • Reply
      February 25, 2013 at 7:12 pm

      Oh, might have to check out Harry’s Cafe on Wheels when I’m in Sydney next!

      Enjoy the Bridge Climb – it is so much fun. 🙂

  • Reply
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    April 10, 2013 at 8:42 am

    I haven’t made it to Sydney yet but it is on the list for sure. It’s only an hour flight from Melbourne (where I am) so no excuses really. The beaches and harbour are particularly attractive to me!

  • Reply
    January 23, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    I do recommend Watsons bay, a ferry from Circular Quay or a bus from Bondi
    from the ferry wharf walk up to the bus interchange then look at rocks (ha ha) or climb up and take a bushwalk

  • Reply
    March 3, 2015 at 10:34 am

    Great list, may I suggest as a really cheap alternative to Harbour Bridge Climb the Pylon Lookout last I checked around $13.00 to walk up with same views as Bridge Climb. And as a fellow sweet tooth I’m happy to see the inclusion of Adriano Zumbo I’m surprised Gelato Messina was not there!

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