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45 Best Sydney Tourist Attractions With Hidden Gems 2024 Guide

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Visiting Sydney for the first time and looking to know what are the best Sydney tourist attractions? As expat locals, we’ve been tourists too, so we’re sharing what you really shouldn’t miss when you’re visiting this city.

Sydney is unique city in New South Wales, and home to the famous Sydney Harbour, Bondi Beach and Manly Beach, vibrant suburbs, national parks and wildlife all in one beautiful city. You can go from relaxing beach sunrises to meeting kangaroos, and ending the day having cocktails in the tallest building. How cool is that?!

Not only that, you can get a 2, 3 or 5 day unlimited pass to tourist attractions in Sydney! So save money and start ticking off these Sydney attractions bucket list today.


Table of Contents

1. Meet kangaroos and wombats in Sydney

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One of the most popular Sydney tourist places easily has to involve getting up close to kangaroos! Pre-book this wildlife experience here which takes you up close and personal with wild wombats and kangaroos at a Budderoo National Park and Moreton National Park, just two hours away.

The best way to experience any wildlife is in its natural habitat so hop on board for the closest viewpoint.

Included in the ticket is a classic Aussie BBQ (another bucket list tick), soft drinks and transport from the Central Station in Sydney as well as visiting two waterfalls in a sub-tropical rainforest.


2. Half day city tour of Sydney

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If you want to see the highlights of Sydney, then let an expert guide show you the way on this half day city tour. See the oldest street in Australia in an area called The Rocks, get the best viewpoints of Sydney Harbour Bridge, experience our famous coasts including Bondi Beach and discover some vibrant and historic suburbs and the CBD (Central Business District).

One of the best ways to experience a city is with a local and that’s what this tour is all about, taking you through cool streets and pointing out landmarks you may miss on your own. Best of all, learning the history and significance of these places to visit will make it much more memorable.


3. Let a local show you the secret beaches in Sydney

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Another local guide, another awesome highlight. Sydney is full of stunning secret beaches you can access by boat so jump on board this secret beaches tour.

Starting at Circular Quay on Sydney Harbour, you can get perfect boat pictures in front of Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge before heading past many landmarks along the Harbour. Anchor down at a secret National park beach for a swim and you may even spot a colony of fairy penguins! Perfect day living like a luxurious local around the Sydney Harbor Sea Bridge.


4. Climb the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge

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Arguably one of the most famous Sydney attractions is climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge!

Saying you have completed the Sydney Harbour Bridge 1,322 step climb is a top-level Sydney bucket list achievement. The climb is also not as scary as you may think either, you are harnessed and follow a safe walkway up one side and down the other. It is so worth the thrill for the viewpoint at the top.

If you can, book on for the Twilight climb as you are lucky enough to have three views, daylight, sunset over the blue mountains and night time with the bright Sydney City skyline as a backdrop. Remember to book in advance as time slots do fill up!


5. Take a tour around the Sydney Opera House

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One of the best places to visit in Sydney is obviously doing an iconic Sydney Opera House tour. You’ll get a chance to learn all about the history of the building as well as see the 300 corridors within the building.

It’s such a unique building, you will want to have an expert guide amaze you with facts and stories. Best of all, it only takes an hour so you can spend the rest of your day wondering around the many vantage points to take a million photos. Honestly taking photos of the Sydney Opera House NEVER gets old.


6. Visit the set locations of Home & Away at Palm Beach

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If you’re like me and you’ve grown up watching Home & Away, then you have to go and visit Palm Beach, aka Summer Bay. If you’re lucky, you might even catch them filming in the area.

Make sure you go to The Boat House for lunch and walk up to the top of the famous Lighthouse. Oh and of course, go and see the Home & Away Kiosk where you can actually buy Alf Stewart memorabilia. I know. You can book this Home & Away tour to Palm Beach which makes a fun day trip.

If you’re not bothered about Home & Away, read our Best Things To Do In Palm Beach guide before you go up there. I recommend hiring a car, but you can get the bus as well.


6. See the Sydney sights on a bike tour

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Zip through the city streets on this exciting bike tour.

Sometimes walking takes too long and buses don’t give us the best photo opportunities! So get on your bike and see the best views of Sydney. From Darling Harbour to the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney has so many places you can cycle through peacefully.

The tour is lead by a local guide too so you can get the insider tips and see the city through the eyes of a local.


7. Go snorkelling in Manly

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Sydney is literally surrounded by water so you must take a dive under and there is no place better than this Manly Beach snorkelling tour.

You don’t need previous experience to snorkel and all equipment is included so just bring your swimmers and get ready to explore under the sea at one of the most iconic beaches in New South Wales.

Manly Beach and Shelley Beach are full of pristine waters, colourful marine life and rocky reefs, you may even spot a famous blue groper! The tour is personalised by a local guide with knowledge of the marine and are an eco-tourism company to protect the wildlife so generations to come can enjoy the same view.


8. You must do a day trip to Blue Mountains!

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You will be amazed by how massive and magnificent the Blue Mountains are! Book this full day Blue Mountains tour to truly take in the beauty of this national park, visit a wild life Sydney zoo and

Be picked up from Sydney Central Business District on a comfortable coach and stop by Featherdale Wildlife Park, Leura Village, Echo Point to see the famous three sisters rock formation and even get access to Scenic World. With cable cars, a skyway gondala and steep train rides, Scenic world adds a unique view to the Blue Mountains.

Finish the day with a river cruise into the Sydney Harbour and Circular Quay, making it one of the best day trips from Sydney.


9. Sky dive over a Sydney beach!

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Are you brave enough to sky dive over a Sydney beach? We think so!

With this adventure, you can free fall for 60 seconds from 15,000 feet before cruising under the canopy for 5 minutes enjoying the Sydney coastline view. At just an hours drive from Sydney CBD to Wollongong in New South wales, a Sky dive in Sydney should be on your bucket list and is one of the best places in NSW to go sky diving.

Don’t leave this one till last minute, it does book up and you don’t want to be disappointed, so pre-book your skydive here.


10. Sydney Opera House performance

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No trip to Sydney would be complete without going to Sydney Opera House to see a performance.

If you’re looking to go to see a performance you can get cheap tickets to Sydney Opera House for an absolutely unforgettable night. Seeing Opera in the Opera House? Yes please!

If you really want to make a night out it, check out our favourite Fine Dining Restaurants In Sydney guide to help you choose some of the fabulous places to eat near the Opera House.


11. Visit The National Maritime Museum

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No city trip is complete without a museum visit, right? The Australian National Maritime Museum is one of the best Sydney attractions!

With one of the most unique and diverse water fleets in the world, the Australian National Maritime Museum is great for adults and kids to spend a day. Pre-book your entrance tickets here, jump on board a historic war ship, learn about Aboriginal maritime customs and even view the worlds fastest boat! All located in Darling harbour, you can have a full day of nautical fun.


12. Go to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair

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Wondering where everyone gets stunning shots of the Opera house and Sydney Harbour Bridge? Head to Mrs Macquaries Chair! It is loved by locals and is one tourist attractions that everyone loves because of its location.

Here, you’ll be able to get the perfect photo of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge any time of day. But make sure you go at sunset, this is the time of the day when Sydney Harbour really puts on a show.


13. Bondi Beach walking tour

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Bondi beach is famous around the world for its top surfing, chilled vibe and of course the Bondi Rescue TV show!

Join a Bondi Beach walking tour and get shown the best highlights, viewpoints, Aboriginal rock carvings and marine life by a local. Bondi Beach has a colourful history you can learn all about on this tour! If you’re looking to do some self-guided walks, check out our Best Walks in Bondi to see some of the mot well known places and hidden gems of the Eastern Suburbs


14. Walk around the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney

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The Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney is something every tourist in Sydney needs to visit for themselves. Nestled in between middle of Sydney CBD and Sydney Harbour, you’ll be able to walk around and visit the many gardens and of course the new Calyx building. Here they have lots of events on including an astronomy class which looks awesome.

As Australia’s oldest botanic garden, the Royal Botanical Gardens is truly picturesque and full to the brim of native flowers and plants to learn about. If you’re looking for somewhere to chill out between all of the walking around, then the Royal Botanical Garden is the place to visit.


15. Have lunch or dinner at Sydney Tower Eye

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Sydney Tower is one of the most iconic buildings in the Sydney skyline which is also known as the Westfield Tower. You can pre-book tickets to go up to the viewing platform near the top of Sydney Tower.

If you decide to explore it in the day time, go up on a clear day and you might be able to see the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Blue Mountains from there. I know, it’s actually true because we’ve been able to see the Sydney tower from Anvil Lookout in Blue Mountains!

You can also pre-book the Revolving Buffet Restaurant in Sydney Tower as you’ll have lunch or dinner at the top of Sydney’s tallest building. As it’s a revolving restaurant, this means you’ll constantly see a different view during your dining experience. I did this experience when I first came to Sydney and I promise you won’t find a more unique dining experience in Sydney.


16. Go on a special Sydney tall ships cruise

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I went on a Sydney tall ships cruise on my 30th Birthday and absolutely loved it! We drank too much wine and ate all of the canapes being served up and loved sailing back into Circular Quay while the city lit up at night time.

Hand on heart, I’ll always remember it being one of the best things I’ve done in Sydney because it felt so special. I recommend you book Sydney Tall Ships Cruise here to make sure you can get on one of their cruises.


17. Visit Sydney’s Taronga Zoo

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Meet Australia’s only Rhino at Taronga Zoo, one of the most iconic Sydney attractions. Get up close and personal to the squirrel monkeys or go behind the scenes in the Elephant enclosure.

Sydney Zoo is an awesome attraction for big and little kids alike, with over 40 species to marvel at and talks to learn from. Pre-book your entrance fee which also includes a return ferry ride from Circular Qua.


18. Indulge in the best fine dining restaurants in Sydney

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Food is one of the best things about travelling. Experiencing a culture through their cuisine is not only delicious but a travel bucket list for sure!

Sydney is full of luxurious fine dining restaurants and we have put together our list of favourites which you can read here, 10 Best Fine Dining Restaurants In Sydney. From digestation tasting menus to sipping cocktails opposite Sydney Harbour Bridge, there is a fine dining restaurant to add a little sparkle to your Sydney trip.

As Australia is close to Asia, you can experience some incredible Asian cuisine here so it’s worth including in your itinerary.


19. Join the popular Sydney crime tour

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Discover the creepy and unbelievable true crime stories of Sydney on this interesting tour.

Strolling through Sydney’s beautiful streets in daylight, you wouldn’t believe it had a dark side to tell. An expert local guide reveals all of the weird and wonderful crime history of Sydney which you won’t find in a history book. Perfect for true crime lovers, this tour will leave you guessing on the gaps in the crime stories!


20. Discover the beautiful Chinese Garden of Friendship

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Situated right in the heart of Darling Harbour, the Chinese Garden of Friendship is a beautiful hidden gem of Sydney.

Modelled after the ancient gardens of China, this stunning Chinese garden in the heart of the city is a tranquil place to spend your day. Discover exotic plants, a lake and stay for Chinese tea at The Gardens by Lotus.

After you’ve finished, take a walk all the way around Darling Harbour and around to Barangaroo.


21. Sydney Thrill Ride

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Another one for the adventurous, Sydney Harbor jet boat rides zoom along the harbour for a truly thrilling ride.

Sydney Thrill Ride hurls at up to 75 km an hour while you take in the iconic Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge and other coastal landmarks. Jump on board for one of the most exhilarating attractions in Sydney.


22. The Rocks Walking Tour

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Discover the oldest part of Sydney on the Rocks Walking Tour. When the first fleet arrived at Sydney Harbour, The Rocks and Australia’s first ever official street, George Street is some of the oldest parts of Australia. It is the best places to visit to explore some of the oldest pubs, learn the history and marvel at historic archways and convict stories.


23. Big top Hop-on-hop-off bus

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No city trip is complete without a hop-on-hop-off bus tour, right?

With two routes of places to visit around Sydney, a commentary sound system and a Sydney Harbour cruise included in the deluxe ticket, you can’t go wrong with a hop-on-hop-off bus. See the Opera House of Sydney, and Sydney Aquarium on the red route or join to blue route past Hyde Park to Bondi Beach.


24. Watch the New Years Eve Fireworks

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Sydney New Year’s Eve Fireworks is a tourist attraction you really don’t want to miss. It is known as the world’s best fireworks, I have to say that statement is true. It’s a sight like no other.

The best way to see the fireworks is on a boat in the Harbour, so make sure you check out our Best Places To Watch The Sydney New Years Eve Fireworks.

Otherwise Mrs Macquarie’s Chair is very popular spot which is also free to view the fireworks. Bare in mind this spot gets very crowded – I experienced it during my first New Years in Sydney.

I also recommend going to the other side of the bridge and viewing the fireworks from Kirribilli. It’s not as busy and you’ll be able to get super close to the Bridge, even under it!


25. Visit Vivid Festival

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While many people visit Sydney in the Summer months, visiting in Winter has its highlights too. For a couple of weeks between May and June each year sees one of Sydney’s biggest calendar events – Vivid Festival. Circular Quay and loads of other areas around Sydney join together and are lit up in one of the biggest light festivals in the world. It’s amazing and a must visit. If you’re visiting in Winter, check out our Best Things To Do In Sydney In Winter guide!


26. Check out Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney

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The Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney is definitely worth a visit if you have time in Sydney. Located at Circular Quay, it’s one of the awesome free things to do in Sydney.

Make sure you check out the cafe on the rooftop of the art gallery, it’s got a fantastic view of the Opera House as well. Check out our full guide for the Best Art Galleries In Sydney which includes hidden gems.


27. Go on a ghost tour around The Rocks

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Looking for fun things to do in Sydney that also involve learning a bit about the city? Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night you can take a 90 minute Ghost Tour around The Rocks. Discover the creepy Sydney of a Sydney attraction and Sydney’s CBD.

After the tour has finished, check out some of our favourite Rooftop BarsIn Sydney.


28. Do the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk

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The Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk is one of the most popular Sydney activities because it’s so beautiful! If you walk the whole way, it will take around 2 hours. Highlights include the cemetery, Bronte, Gordon’s Bay and of course Coogee Beach!

If you’d prefer to do a shorter walk, you can do the Bondi to Bronte walk in about 1 hour. Stop at Bronte for lunch at the Bronte Cafe and go for a swim in the famous Bronte Rock Pool!


29. Swim at Bondi Icebergs

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Bondi Icebergs is one of THE most famous Australia tourist attractions. The iconic ocean pool brings in many photographers and it’s easy to see why! Make sure you get there for sunrise, it’s incredible! It’s also not expensive to swim here at the pool, with a cafe downstairs and fine dining restaurant upstairs.


30. Learn to surf at Bondi Beach

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A hugely iconic thing to do in Sydney is to learn to surf at Bondi Beach. There are plenty of companies to choose from but we recommend doing this two hour fun lesson where you’ll learn the basics and have a hand at catching your first wave!


31. Manly to Spit walk

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Fancy doing a coastal walk in Manly? Why not tackle the Manly to Spit walk which is a 10km walk. It takes you right around the coast and through Ku-ring-gai National Park so you’ll get to see what it’s like walking through the bush in the middle of Sydney.

There’s some lovely beaches to visit along the way like Clontarf Beach but this walk takes a good two hours and you need to be at a reasonable level of fitness. When you get to The Spit, you can either get a bus back into Sydney CBD or back to Manly.

Check out our guide for the Best Walks in Manly to help you prepare for your visit to this iconic part of Sydney.


32. Go on the rides at Luna Park

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Luna Park in Sydney is a great family day out and it’s in an awesome location, right on Sydney Harbour! Definitely make sure you go on ferris wheel and if you can stomach any other ride too. Then take a walk around the Harbour path and up to Wendy’s Secret Garden (one of our favourite spots in Sydney!).


34. Go to an outdoor cinema

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There are so many outdoor cinemas in Sydney during Summertime, make sure you book in advance for a screening. Most of the outdoor cinemas in Sydney start at the end of November and finish around March time.

Our favourite is the West Pac Open Air Cinema at Mrs Macquarie’s Point known as the most beautiful cinema in the world! To get the full lowdown of the best outdoor cinemas, check out our guide for the Best Cinemas in Sydney.


35. Darling Harbour

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Darling Harbour is a really beautiful and touristy part of Sydney, all tourists should visit. With plenty of restuarants to choose from (eat on the Barangaroo side), an amazing kids playground and lots of Sydney Harbour cruises departing from here, spend the day walking around here and enjoy the views.


36. Whale Watching tour

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If you’re visiting Sydney between June to November, you’ll more than likely come across the whale migration which is a massive Sydney activity you need to see in person for yourself

Every year, 30,000 humpback whales migrate along the East Coast and will pass by Sydney. Make sure you book a whale watching tour to get close to them, you can read our Whale Watching In Sydney review before you book. It’s an amazing sight to be seen.


37. Visit Sea life Sydney Aquarium

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A visit to Sydney wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium. Here you’ll find more than 700 species with more than 13,000 fish from Australia’s water habitats!You can also go swimming with sharks in the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium if you’re brave enough!


38. The Rocks Market

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The Rocks Market is a brilliant visitor attraction in the middle of Sydney where you can buy some beautiful gifts like Australian hand made pieces as well as photography prints for your home. The Rocks Market takes place on Saturdays between Friday – Sunday.


39. Buy Tacky Tourist Gifts From Paddy’s Market

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Paddy’s Market is a huge market in China Town which is home to plenty of touristy stalls. This is a good market if you want to buy some cheap gifts, but bear in mind, the gifts are proper cheap – like they’ve fallen off a back of a lorry!


39. Visit the set locations of Home & Away at Palm Beach

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If you’re like me and you’ve grown up watching Home & Away, then you have to go and visit Palm Beach, aka Summer Bay. If you’re lucky, you might even catch them filming in the area.

Make sure you go to The Boat House for lunch and walk up to the top of the famous Lighthouse. Oh and of course, go and see the Home & Away Kiosk where you can actually buy Alf Stewart memorabilia. I know. You can book this Home & Away tour to Palm Beach which makes a fun day trip.

If you’re not bothered about Home & Away, read our Best Things To Do In Palm Beach guide before you go up there. I recommend hiring a car, but you can get the bus as well.


39. Check out the best pubs in Sydney

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East Village Sydney

Looking for the best pubs in Sydney? Finding decent pubs in Sydney really needs a local to show you the way. There’s no better way to have a drink than at a rooftop bar so check out our Best Rooftop Bars in Sydney guide to help you choose where to go. If you fancy a slice of England, check out our Best English Pubs in Sydney or our Best Irish Pubs in Sydney guides as well.


40. Check out the trendy suburb of Newtown in Sydney

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Want to see more of Sydney? Check out the local suburb of Newtown in Sydney which is the trendy area of the city. Expect really cool small bars, breweries, pubs, vintage shops and some of the best restaurants in Sydney to explore. To find out more, check out our Best Things To Do In Newtown guide.


41. Walk around Hyde Park

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Get the train to Town Hall Station and wonder around Queen Victoria Building before making your way over to Hyde Park. You’ll pass by Art Gallery of New South Wales which is definitely worth stopping by and checking it out. As you continue walking through Hyde Park, you can either walk through the Royal Botanic Garden of Sydney or continue along to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair. Bring your swimmers and go for a swim at Andrew Boy Charlton Swimming Pool.


42. Spend the day at the oldest national park in the world

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Enjoy a day trip from Sydney at the oldest national park in the world called The Royal National Park. You can book this day trip where a local will take you to some of the best sights you need to see in person. Expect to see the insta famous Wedding Cake Rock and one of my favourite beaches in Sydney which is called Marley Beach.

If you’ve not heard much about this place before, check out our Best Walks In Royal National Park guide to help you plan your trip.


43. Go kayaking in Sydney

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I highly recommend getting on the water on Sydney Harbour by jumping on a Sydney kayaking tour. As one of the best Sydney attractions, enjoy spending sunrise or the morning kayaking around the best sights in Sydney. You Can read more about it in our Best Places To Go Kayaking In Sydney guide.


44. Watch an iconic Sydney sunrise

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You absolutely must get up and see a Sydney sunrise for yourself when you’re visiting Australia. See Bondi Beach packed full of locals working out, see Sydney Harbour come alive and enjoy a very special moment in this beautiful city. Check out our Best Places To Watch A Sydney Sunset guide to decide which places you want to see it from.


45. Check out the Hollywood movies filmed in Sydney

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Did you know Sydney is home to the set location for many famous Hollywood movies? Check out our Hollywood Movies Filmed In Sydney guide and go and see the iconic locations where the Matrix and Superman were filmed. You’ll be walking around the city seeing so many places to visit that remind you of familiar places including the locations for The Great Gatsby with Leonardo Di Caprio, Mission Impossible 2 and so many more!


Where to stay in Sydney

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Park Hyatt Sydney

Need some help you figure out where to stay in Sydney? You can read our guides for the Best Sydney Hotels and Best Hostels In Sydney.

But, to make it easier, here’s our top recommendations.

1. Best Luxurious hotel in Sydney – Park Hyatt Hotel

2. Best mid range hotel in Sydney – Old Clare Hotel

3. Best cheap hotel in Sydney – Rydges Sydney Central

4. Best budget friendly family hostel – Sydney Harbour YHA

5. Best party hostel in Sydney – Wake Up! Sydney Central


More Sydney inspiration to read

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Looking for more Sydney content to help you plan your trip? Check out some of our guides below.

How To Spend 3 Days In Sydney

Best Hotels in Sydney

Best Hostels in Sydney

Tips for Hiring A Campervan In Australia

30 Best Day Trips From Sydney

10 Best Secluded Beaches In Sydney

18 Hollywood Movies Filmed In Sydney

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