there’s more to sydney than the opera house

Of course, that has to be on your to-do list, and you’ll want to check out the best views, but you still want to check out what the rest of the city has to offer, right?

Sydney Observatory – is a museum where you can learn about astronomy. By night, you can go stargazing and moon-gazing using Australia’s oldest working telescope . It’s free to walk around on your own but if you want a guided tour, or you want to observe the stars at nighttime, you have to buy a ticket. Even if you’re not interested in celestial objects, the hike up to Observatory Hill, where Sydney Observatory is located, is worth it just to see the view.

Sydney Observatory (10)

Sydney Observatory (3)
View from Observatory Hill

World Square Mall – lots of shopping and dining. It also has a supermarket that’s open late. Located right in the city centre.

World Square Mall decked out for Chinese New Year
World Square Mall decked out for Chinese New Year

Darling Harbour – home to lots of shopping, dining, and entertainment. You can get a great view of it all if you just walk across the Pyrmont Bridge, which happens to be one of the world’s oldest surviving electrically-operated swing bridges. For a complete list of attractions, check this site out:

Pyrmont Bridge
Pyrmont Bridge
Cockle Bay Wharf
Cockle Bay Wharf
Darling Harbour (7)
Darling Harbour

Darling Harbour (11)

Darling Quarter Playground – okay so technically, this is for kids (or for your inner child!) My friends and I stumbled upon this place at night, so it was already past most kids’ bedtimes, which means it was the grown-ups’ turn to check out the playground. They have everything – swings, a giant slide, a jungle gym, a roundabout, and even a 21-meter (or 68 feet) flying fox! How many chances will you get as an adult to actually play at the playground? It’s right at Darling Harbour and the best part is that it’s free!

Darling Quarter Playground (19)

Sydney Tower Eye – is the tallest structure in Sydney. You get a 360 view of the city and if you look hard enough, you might even be able to see the Blue Mountains, somewhere in the background. Weather is EXTREMELY important when visiting the tower. You don’t want to go when it’s cloudy. Everything just looks like a gloomy bunch of lights. But if you know for sure it’ll be a sunny day, or you don’t mind the gloominess, you should definitely buy your tickets online ahead of time to save a bit of money. Doing so will cost you $18.55, as opposed to the regular price of $26.50. For the price I paid ($23.85 using a coupon from my hotel), I don’t think it was worth it. The view was alright, but it wasn’t breath-taking – like I had hoped it would be. If I come back, it would be to do the Skywalk, where you get to walk around the outside of the tower.

Check out their website for the latest information. If you’re planning to do the Sydney Tower Eye, Skywalk, Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, Wild Life Sydney Zoo, Madame Tussaud’s, or any combination of the five, you can buy a combo ticket that’ll get you admission for those attractions for just $99.

Tower in the background
Tower in the background
Sunset as seen from the Sydney Tower Eye observation deck
Sunset as seen from the Sydney Tower Eye observation deck
Sydney Tower Eye (25)
Hyde Park as seen from the Sydney Tower Eye observation deck
Darling Harbour as seen from the Sydney Tower Eye observation deck
Darling Harbour as seen from the Sydney Tower Eye observation deck

Paddy’s Markets – if you’ve ever been to the Queen Victoria Markets in Melbourne, Paddy’s Markets is not as great as that one. But for Sydney, it’s probably your best option for inexpensive souvenirs and unique gifts. They’re open daily from 9-5 but a lot of stalls start closing up at around 4:30.

Paddy's Markets
Paddy’s Markets
The coolest wine cooler you never knew you needed
The coolest wine holder you never knew you needed

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