The Royal Botanic Gardens, a veritable oasis of greenery, boast breathtaking views of Sydney Harbour and the city skyline. The gardens were the first area of land cultivated by Europeans on the Australian continent, though the gardens themselves were not opened to the public until 1816. Visitors can explore the Herb Garden, the Fernery, the Rose Garden, a walled Succulent Garden and the HSBC Oriental Garden. The harbor side of the main pond offers a splendid view of the harbour. Keep your eyes out for the ibis or cockatoos that call this place home.
The controversial but decidedly beautiful sail-like roofs of Sydney's most recognizable icon glisten against the backdrop of Sydney Harbour. The Sydney Opera House was constructed over a fourteen-year period and caused an opera’s worth of drama. Danish architect Jorn Utzon has reportedly never laid eyes on his masterpiece, as he resigned in 1966 due to political difficulties and construction delays. The now world-renowned architectural wonder was finally completed in 1973, much to Sydney’s collective relief. Today, the Sydney Opera House has an impressive yearly program of up to 3000 contemporary and classical performances, and is a striking cultural sanctuary to take in theater, opera and ballet. Riveting guided tours take visitors behind the scenes and into the establishment’s many interesting rooms.
Built in 1858, the Observatory operated until the 1980s and gained an international reputation for its work. This elegant, sandstone complex is now part of the Powerhouse Museum. The permanent exhibition, by the light of the southern stars', is highly informative while there is also a temporary exhibition programme and associated events. On a clear night, the stars and planets are visible through a telescope and can be accessed via guided tours every evening throughout the year. Bookings are essential for this family-oriented activity. Admission price varies depending on time of day.
This 2,000 seat Capitol Theatre was originally a luxury picture palace and circus, with the seal pit still under the auditorium. The Capitol fell into disrepair, but an extensive renovation restored her to her former glory. The elegant Florentine garden theme features Grecian statues, gold, velvet and a wonderful starry night ceiling. It hosts a variety of shows, from big musicals through to classic old film screenings.
Dating from 1871 and located at its present site overlooking Woolloomooloo Bay since 1885, this is one of Australia's premier art institutions. Located on the Domain. The buzz on entering the building is truly palpable; the visitors come, enjoy and do not want to leave. The permanent collection includes Australian, European, Asian and contemporary art. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander works on display in the Yiribana Gallery are totally unsurpassed. There are also an exciting and diverse temporary exhibition programs. Admission is usually free except for the charges applying for some temporary exhibitions. See the website for more details.
Stretching over the sparkling waters of Sydney Harbour, the Sydney Harbour Bridge is certainly a wonder to behold. The steel through arch bridge was designed and constructed by Dorman Long and Co Ltd back in 1932 and has since become one of Sydney's most iconic tourist attractions. Thanks to its arched shape, many Sydney residents call the bridge "The Coat Hanger", and while this might sound a bit mean-spirited, the bridge is well loved. Standing at 134 meters (440 feet), the Sydney Harbour Bridge is the tallest steel arch bridge in the world. Its height and notoriety inspired many daredevils to climb across the bridge illegally, which in turn inspired BridgeClimb, a tour that takes visitors up and across the bridge. For visitors who prefer the safety of the ground, the bridge can also be viewed from the south-east pylon, and walkers can traverse it on the bridge's footpath.