While it's a must do to see the harbour from around The Rocks and Darling Harbour, to get an idea of what the original enchantment was all about you need to get about as far away from those two sites as possible.
An activity I would recommend is to head for the north shore where the nooks and crannies of the little bays lend a serene enchantment unavailable in the hustle and bustle of the CBD. Out on the harbour or walking the north side gives you at times spectacular views and you'll also see some of the natural animals (pic 2) that you won't get walking down George Street.
Hopefully these pictures give you some idea of what's in store.
I think one of the first things you should do when you go to Sydney is take a trip to the top... the Sydney tower. Sarah and I had done quite a bit of walking throughout the city before we ventured up to the top, and I personally would have gained alot of assistance by seeing how the city was laid out had we gone here first. As a person who likes to get the most out of his time, the Skytower was really fun, because you could see where the Opera House and Harbour Bridge were in relation to the Rocks, Circular Quay, Darling Harbour and even where the Olympic Park was. There was also a wonderful view of Hyde Park, the Royal Botanical Garden, Mrs. Macquarie's Chair and the rest of downtown Sydney! If you are in downtown, make sure you go! Also, one thing we missed out on because of timing was the Oztrek motion adventure. Check your times and make sure you go before you go to the top, or plan to come back down in time. We missed it because we did not plan for it properly!
One of the most spectacular things about Syndey is its Skyline. While on a ferry to any of the outer islands, you'll be graced with spectacular views.
I snapped this pic on our way to Manly one bright beautiful day. That is what makes Sydney so special, the weather is almost always fantastic and the sky is so blue and the clouds so white.
When we returned to Taronga Park the sun had set and the lights stretched like elastic across the water.
There's a certain magic about reflected light on the water and I stayed for around 20 minutes just taking a couple of photos and enjoying the atmosphere.
This shows the eastern CBD of Sydney.
Like any modern metropolis, Sydney's Central Business District is an extremely VERTICAL adventure. If you like the pulse of a city, the sounds, the excitement, the knowledge that "things are really happening" all around you, then I'd recommend a walk in and around Sydney's Central Business District.
As with other skyscraper-dominated landscapes, you might need to get some muscle balm for your neck, as you'll spend a great deal of time looking up.
A lot of large cities are dirty, cloudy messes. Not so with Sydney, The Sydneysiders seem to have found the secret to being a world-class city in a first class way.
Personally, I've never really wanted to LIVE in a large city. But as many of your know, I do enjoy spending some real time "downtown". A few years ago, I became a huge NYC fan. I have added Sydney to my very short list of "favorite big cities". I hope I can get back someday soon.
In my previous tip, I addressed my fascination and interest in big cities' business districts. I marvel at the architecture and design involved as these cities reach for the sky. (.....those Jimi Hendrix words creep into mind, "excuse me while I kiss the sky".....)
Anyway, taking another look at downtown Sydney's CBD after dark adds another helping of magic to the view. When the lights of the city twinkle against a fading sky and the lovely harbour areas, the whole thing seems so very surreal.
So, when nighttime comes, take a glance back at and into the CBD of Sydney. Get yourself a tripod, some high speed film and practice taking photos with your steadiest hand. You'll be rewarded for your effort.
The Sydney Tower experience takes you 250 metres above Sydney, giving a breathtaking view of one of the most beautiful cities in the world, including the Harbour Bridge and Opera House.
You’ll be amazed at what you can see from the highest point in town!
Ranked as one of the safest buildings in the world the design has made the tower capable of withstanding earthquakes and extreme wind conditions. 56 cables stabilise the tower.
The turret has a capacity of 960 persons, and contains two levels of restaurants, a coffee lounge, and an Observation Deck.
Three high speed lifts take approximately 40 seconds to travel from top to bottom. I found it wobbly and scary!
There is a 'skytour', an interactive virtual ride\tour that you can do before going up the tower. It gives a really good tour of Australia in general. We were very imressed with it. Excellent!
Sydney's skyline is best viewed from a high spot somewhere -- this from the verandah of a unit where I visited some years ago. Other opportunities can be from the Harbour Bridge Walk or indeed from the plane window as you arrive. Just beautiful.
To get a fantastic 360 deg view of Sydney's heart; the harbour, pay Centre Point Tower a visit. You could only get better if you went in a plane. The cost is $17 AUD per adult. There is interesting commentary provided on the observation deck. Also included in the ticket price is a virtual tour of Australia,with simulated flights over the continent including the great outback, called the Skytour. It is not provided in the tower itself but rather on the level where the tickets are purchased.
Warning though - if you are going to eat here, eat in the Turret Level 1, DO NOT eat Turret Level 2. Turret Level 2 is where the $60 buffet is on a Fri and Sat night. And I would be embarrassed to bring international or any other friends here af ter I went there just a week ago. The restaurant is old and shabby, the food is cafeteria-grade [luke warm and congealed] eg raspberry cheesecake is made with the same supermarket quality sponge cake as the tiramasu [ only the mock cream is flavoured differently on top] and the service is appalling. One girl could hardly speak english and told us to sit and barked buffett instructions at us. Then disappeared, pretty much for good. You are paying for an awesome view, but the shoddy restaurant is a disgrace! its still stuck in the 70s, the floor is bare chipboard in some areas and there was a gash in the old worn vinyl booth I sat in. There are garbage bins overflowing at the service desks in the restaurant itself. From your booth as it rotates you can see in open doors to kithcen areas with milk crates and rubbish strewn across the floor. WHAT THE??? I thought I was in a garbage dump. Terrible. As a major tourist icon the people operating on this floor really need to get their act together.
Spend the extra money and go to the a-la-carte restaurant on TL 1. At least it has a floor.
Centrepoint Tower is a telecommunications mast with an observation deck at the 305 metre point. It is one of Sydney's most visited attractions and you can see it from miles away. The Observation Deck and restaurant is the highest observation deck in the Southern Hemisphere. From there you can see right across the city area and, on a clear day, all the way to the Blue Mountains in the West.
You can take a guided tour which gives an insight into the function of the tower, and high powered telescopes which allow you to peak into the nearby office buildings. Down on the ground level there is a shopping complex with plenty of shops.
Tower is open Sun-Fri 9am-10.30pm, Sat 9am-11.30pm.
If you’re a photographer (hobbyists/amateurs/pros whatever) or a romantic-kinda person. Despite the famous spot like the Bondi Beach, another best place to watch the sunset is around the Darling Harbor esp. on the Aquarium’s side. Nothing much to say about this, just check out my photo and you’ll know what I’m trying to tell you.
Mrs Macquaries Chair is in the CBD - its a large park where concerts and other events are held in the DOMAIN. From the furthest point you will see some amazing views of both the sydney skyline/opera house, the harbour bridge AND the skyline in North Sydney.
Alot of weddings and wedding photos take place here. Its a must for every tourist to get there and have some photos taken before they leave.
Sydney at night is just as beautiful as it is in the day. We enjoyed walking around the city and seeing the Opera House and Bridge illuminated. Sydney definitely has a good nightlife and we loved watching all the activity.
Sydney skyline is very impressive.
There is a lovely blend of old and new buildings, that works well..
If you are an admirer of architecture, as I am, you will be pleased with what Sydney has to offer.
As I mentioned on the intro page, the absolute best view of Sydney is from this point. Great view of the skyline, Opera House, and Harbor Bridge. Some of my best photos were taken here. If you visit Sydney, you do not want to miss this view.