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Sydney Introduction Walk II (Self Guided), Sydney

Sydney is the largest city in Australia, and is the state capital of New South Wales. It is one of the most cosmopolitan and multicultural cities in the world, and each of its localities possesses its own unique character. Sydney is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and it won't take long for you to discover this for yourself. Take the following tour to explore the most popular and prominent attractions in Sydney.
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Sydney Introduction Walk II Map

Guide Name: Sydney Introduction Walk II
Guide Location: Australia » Sydney (See other walking tours in Sydney)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 11
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.5 Km or 3.4 Miles
Author: australia
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • George Street
  • Parliament House
  • Sydney Conservatorium of Music
  • Royal Botanic Gardens
  • Old Government House
  • Sydney Opera House
  • Circular Quay
  • The Rocks
  • Sydney Observatory
  • Sydney Harbour Bridge
  • Luna Park
George Street

1) George Street (must see)

Editor's note: The major construction works here are still undergoing and it is not known when they will end.

George Street is a central business artery of Sydney and one of the busiest streets in the city centre. Stretching for about 3 km, it connects a number of Sydney's most important buildings and precincts, including Railway Square adjacent to the Sydney Central station and ringed by hotels and small shops; Sydney's Chinatown; Cinema District – home to three largest cinemas in Sydney, as well as numerous video arcades, Internet cafes, fast food restaurants and pubs; Town Hall – noted as the location of three important historic buildings: St Andrew's Cathedral, the Sydney Town Hall, and the Queen Victoria Building shopping centre; Wynyard – the area interspersed with retail, large hotels and large-scale bars and entertainment facilities; and The Rocks – location of the first British settlement in Australia begun in 1788, packed with souvenir shops, restaurants and traditional pubs, as well as art galleries and the Museum of Contemporary Art, dominated by the approaches to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and facing the Sydney Opera House across Circular Quay.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Parliament House

2) Parliament House (must see)

The Parliament House in Sydney is a complex of buildings housing the Parliament of New South Wales. It is located on the east side of Macquarie Street in Sydney, the state capital. The facade consists of a two-story Georgian building, the oldest public building in the City of Sydney, flanked by two Neo-gothic additions containing the parliamentary chambers. These buildings are linked to a 1970s 12-story block at the rear, facing onto the Domain.

Why You Should Visit:
To see old architecture from the earliest time of Australia contrasted by the modern Fountain Court in the heart of the building, which is an amazing sight.
Free guided tours are available every day; the guides are very knowledgeable, and you can learn lots about the history/architecture and Australia.
In the end, you can treat yourself dining in this beautiful environment and very historic atmosphere.

If you're most interested in how democracy works in the NSW Parliament, you should go on sitting days, when the visit is restricted to the Visitors' Galleries. You can listen but see less. On non-sitting days, both historic chambers can be visited.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 9am-5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Sydney Conservatorium of Music

3) Sydney Conservatorium of Music

The Sydney Conservatorium of Music is the finest music school in Australia and one of the best in the world. It is housed in a building that was once the stables of the government house and incorporates the faculty of music of the University of Sydney.

The building that houses the Sydney Conservatorium of Music was constructed in 1815 and designed as a Gothic palace with turrets. It is set in the botanical gardens of the city near the harbour and close to the opera house. In 1915, the building was redesigned to make it suitable for a music school. The aim of the institution was to provide music education of a standard equal to European music schools.

The Sydney Conservatorium of Music today has 750 students. It has state of art facilities for teaching and learning music placed within a well preserved heritage building. It has five concert halls and the largest seats an audience of 600. There are recording studios and rooms for practice and performance. The school is equipped with the latest acoustic equipment to facilitate high standards of music education. All facilities are in keeping with the goal of the institution which is to educate future generations of musicians, composers and music teachers.
Royal Botanic Gardens

4) Royal Botanic Gardens (must see)

The Royal Botanic Gardens is located to the East of the Sydney Opera House and overlooks Farm Cove. The land was once a farm established by Governor Philips, the founder of the city of Sydney.

The Royal Botanic Gardens are surrounded by the Domain, a green space in the centre of Sydney. It was founded by Governor Macquarie in 1916 adjacent to the Government House. The first Colonial Botanist, Charles Frazer began the collection and study of plants at the garden and it is the oldest scientific institution in Australia. The Royal Botanic Gardens welcomes over a million visitors every year who come to view its landscape, the many unique birds and fruit bats. It is family friendly and children and adults can walk and play on the grass and observe trees and plants at close quarters. Many rare trees and plants from across Australia are grown here.

The Royal Botanic Gardens are divided into several themed sections like the Palm Grove, the Oriental Garden and the Herb Garden. Other interesting parts are the rainforest walk, the succulent garden with desert plants and the native plant rockery. There is also a large pond with ducks, the white-faced heron and other aquatic birds. Free entry and visitors can enjoy picnics on the lawn in this beautifully landscaped park.

Why You Should Visit:
Super cool location on the side of the Bay and a place one can hardly get bored of; a visit here easily can be a whole day's entertainment.
You can use the train for an overview of the place; however, walking is just as entertaining a way to get around.
If you plan to have longer hours in the Gardens, there are also restaurants, as well as a cheaper and faster café.
Plus plenty of benches in the shade and on the sun, where a tired visitor can have a rest.

Don't forget to walk to Mrs. Macquaries Chair, from where the wife of Governor Macquarie was watching the ships sailing to the Harbour. This point provides you with beautiful views.
Also, try and book the Aboriginal Heritage tour, which is about an hour long and runs Wed, Fri, Sat mornings at 10am.

Opening Hours:
Daily – (Oct): 7am-7:30pm; (Nov-Feb): 7am-8pm; (Mar): 7am-6:30pm; (Apr, Sep): 7am-6pm; (May, Aug): 7am-5:30pm; (Jun, Jul): 7am-5pm
Old Government House

5) Old Government House

Located in 260 acres of park land, the Old Government House commands sweeping views of the Parramatta River. The building is surrounded by an undisturbed natural reserve in the midst of Australia’s biggest metropolitan area.

The Old Government House was built in 1799 and is Australia’s oldest public building. For seventy years, the house was the Governor’s rural residence. The first 10 Governors of the colony resided in the mansion. Extensions and renovations were made by Governor and Mrs. Macquarie who lived in the house from 1810 to 1821. The house became a Palladian style English mansion from a smaller and simpler structure during this time. Recently, the building has been restored and opened for visitors. The interiors have typical Anglo and Indian style furnishing, sandstone flags and a large hand cut glass chandelier that were common in fashionable houses during the 1820s.

It occupies Darug land that was home to the Burramatta Tribe. Some of the trees surrounding the house still show scars of bark stripped to make canoes by the Aborigines. It is managed by the Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales. The Trust operates tours including a haunted house tour around old Government House for tourists.
Sydney Opera House

6) Sydney Opera House (must see)

The Iconic Sydney Opera House is one of the largest and busiest performing arts venues in the world. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007 and nearly 7 million tourists visit the place every year either to attend a performance or to view its architectural splendour.

The Sydney Opera House was designed by Danish architect, Jorn Utzon, who won a design competition in 1957. He received the Pritzker Prize, the highest honour given to architects, in 2003. The design is modern expressionist with a series of concrete shells. It covers 4.4 acres of land and is supported by 588 sunken concrete piers. The material used was mainly from Australia except for the roof of the shells that are covered with white and cream coloured Swedish tiles. The building is surrounded on three sides by the Sydney Harbour.

The Sydney Opera House was opened in 1973 by Queen Elizabeth II. It has seven halls and hosts over 1500 performances each year. It is the home of four performing arts companies, The Sydney Theatre Company, The Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Opera Australia and the Australian Ballet. Two tours, one lasting one hour and the other two hours, take visitors around the opera house, the theatres and backstage.

Why You Should Visit:
Gets more and more impressive the closer you get to it. Well, if you really want to be impressed, then you absolutely have to see the inside, because the outside doesn't do it justice.
The fact that it's on a peninsula overlooking the bridge and the bay is an added bonus.

If you're unable to attend a show, do the tour – midweek & midday is best.
Outside, spend some time to sit on the outdoor stairs and enjoy the view!

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-5pm
Circular Quay

7) Circular Quay

Circular Quay is a harbour in Sydney. The Circular Quay area is a popular neighbourhood for tourism and consists of walkways, pedestrian malls, parks and restaurants. It hosts a number of ferry quays, bus stops, and a train station. Despite its name, the waterfront at the quay is roughly square in shape.
Sight description based on wikipedia
The Rocks

8) The Rocks (must see)

The Rocks is the oldest area of Sydney situated at the foot of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and on the western shores of Sydney Cove. It is also the foundation place of Sydney and Australia. Situated here are a great number of museums, galleries, as well as everything from markets to fine dining. It is often described as "Sydney's outdoor museum".

Why You Should Visit:
Although the original buildings have mostly been demolished already, a walk at the Rocks still gives you a unique feeling. Susannah place is still standing, and also the Cadman's house, and you can find the authentic worn stairs in some places. Every second step you stumble into an art gallery, like the Ken Done Gallery or the Billich, or the Gannon House, etc. From here starts the Bridge Climb (recommended to every capable person), here is on the weekends the famous Rocks Market, plenty of shops at Clock Tower Shopping Center, and restaurants, coffee shops at every corner.
Sydney Observatory

9) Sydney Observatory

This 140 year old observatory is the oldest in Australia. The Sydney Observatory was designed to preserve the history of the science of astronomy. It is surrounded by serene gardens where visitors can sit and enjoy the view.

The Sydney observatory was first the site of a windmill. Later a fort was built to defend the city from attacks by the French and rebellious convicts. In 1825, the eastern wall of the tower was used to send signals to passing ships. In 1856, government astronomer, William Scott was commissioned to design an observatory adjacent to the signal tower. The sandstone building has an Italianate style designed by architect, Alexander Dawson. At first the main task of the observatory was to tell the time through the Time Ball Tower. At 1.00 pm, the ball at the top of the tower would drop to signal the time to the harbour and the city.

The museum has many old telescopes, sextants and other astronomical objects on display. There is a 3-D space theatre and sky viewing sessions overseen by a professional astronomer. The sessions are held at night and visitors can observe the planets through a state of the art 40cm Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope or an ancient 29 cm refractor telescope built in 1874 which is the oldest functioning telescope in Australia.
Sydney Harbour Bridge

10) Sydney Harbour Bridge (must see)

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is the world’s 2nd widest long-span bridge. It connects the city’s Central Business District and the North Shore. It carries rail, vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian traffic. The arched shape of the bridge has earned it the popular name, Coat Hanger.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House are symbols of the city and of Australia. It was built under the supervision of Dr. J.J.C. Bradfield of the New South Wales Department of Public Works and constructed by British firm, Dorman Long and Co. It stands 440 feet high and 503 meters long. There is a pair of granite pylons at each end of the bridge designed by Scottish architect, Thomas S. Tait. The southeastern pylon has a museum and a lookout from which tourists can see beautiful views of the opera house and Sydney Harbour. Today, there are 6 lanes for traffic on the main roadway, two road traffic lanes and a pedestrian pathway on the eastern side and two railway tracks and a bicycle path on the western side.

Since 1998, tourists have been permitted to climb the southern half of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It is also the venue of spectacular New Years Day fireworks and many commemorative celebrations. It is a monument of national pride in Australia.

Why You Should Visit:
This bridge can provide you with so much entertainment from no to high prices, that it would be a sin to miss it if you're holidaying in Sydney.

Try to walk in the early morning, as well as in the afternoon. When the sun is down and all the lights are on, you'll see something different again.
To make your bridge walk even more attractive, go up to the Pylon Lookout – the 360 degrees view from the top will be breathtaking.
If you're fit and capable, go for the bridge climb as well. Not as scary as maybe you think, but a certain adrenalin level makes it even more fun.
Alternately, access the bridge from Cumberland and then run/walk all the way to the north end. The views from Kirribilli of the bridge and the Opera House are outstanding.
Luna Park

11) Luna Park

The premier amusement park of Sydney, Luna Park offers a range of enjoyable rides and activities for the entire family. It is located at Milson’s Point on the north side of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and offers spectacular views of the harbour.

Luna Park was first established at the foot of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1935. It was constructed by the same group of entrepreneurs and designers who built the Luna Park in Glenelg in South Australia. Initially, it was open for nine month seasons between and started functioning all year round from 1972. The park was renovated and rebuilt several times and the recent redevelopment and restoration took place in 2004.

Visitors are welcomed by a polyurethane smiling face of Old King Cole at the entrance of the park. The main thoroughfare called the Midway stretches from the face to Coney Island, the only 1930s type funhouse still running in the world. Other structures within Luna Park are the Big Top, a large auditorium where music concerts and other events take place, the Crystal Palace where weddings and social events are hosted and Maloney’s Corner where temporary rides are set up. Popular rides include a carousel, a flying saucer ride and the only HUSS ranger ride in Australia.

Walking Tours in Sydney, Australia

Create Your Own Walk in Sydney

Create Your Own Walk in Sydney

Creating your own self-guided walk in Sydney is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
East Shore Walking Tour

East Shore Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.6 Km or 3.5 Miles
Sydney's Historical Churches

Sydney's Historical Churches

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 Km or 2.2 Miles
Museums and Art Galleries

Museums and Art Galleries

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Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.1 Km or 4.4 Miles
Pyrmont Area Walking Tour

Pyrmont Area Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles
Sydney Introduction Walk I

Sydney Introduction Walk I

Australia's largest metropolis and capital of New South Wales, Sydney is deservedly reputed as one of the most cosmopolitan and multicultural destinations on Earth. The unique character of Sydney adds much to its appeal, as you will certainly discover yourself while taking this self-guided walk around the most popular and prominent attractions of Sydney.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.7 Km or 3.5 Miles
Souvenir Shopping

Souvenir Shopping

It would be a pity to leave Sydney without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Sydney, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 Km or 1.1 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

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"You haven't been anywhere if you haven't been to Australia," they say, and you'd definitely want something tangible in hand to remind you of the g'days spent Down Under. In Sydney, you will find tonnes of distinctly Oz products that would serve this purpose...