Sydney, Australia is the perfect travel destination that as a modern metropolis offers a huge amount of activities to do. The city has many world-famous sights and the centre is small enough to walk between the sights. I made a Sydney walking itinerary to help you explore the top sights of the Australian metropolis.
This post will show you the main sights of Sydney and an easy walking itinerary between them. Just follow my self-guided Sydney sightseeing tour, and enjoy Australia’s largest city!
Sydney Opera House seen from Kurraba Point
Sydney Walking Itinerary on the Map
Map of Sydney walking itinerary
The walk starts from one of the top sights, Harbour Bridge, then goes through the Rocks and Circular Quay to Opera House and the green oasis of Royal Botanic Gardens behind it.
From there we will walk to the Central Business District and Chinatown and on to Darling Harbour.
These are the main sights of Central Sydney. Outside the centre you will find more sights like Bondi Beach and Watsons Bay in the east which you can read about in my posts Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk and Sydney Day Trip to Watsons Bay.
So we will start with Harbour Bridge:
One of the top sights of Sydney: Harbour Bridge
Sydney is a harbour city, and in the middle of it is the Harbour Bridge connecting the Northern suburbs to the city. The bridge is 2 km long and has six or eight lanes for cars, and it’s a rail and pedestrian bridge as well.
Our apartment is close to the northern end of the Harbour bridge so we can walk to the city along the bridge. On Harbour Bridge you get one of the best views of Sydney, mornings, daytime and at night!
You can climb to the highest top of the bridge, like 3 Million people who already took the climbing adventure that is arranged on the bridge. But for me, to see the famous Sydney New Year’s Eve fireworks from right below the bridge has been the absolute Sydney highlight.
Sydney walking itinerary: walking south from Harbour Bridge
Sydney walking itinerary: the Rocks, the oldest part of Sydney
Take the steps down from Harbour Bridge and you are in the Rocks historic area. The Rocks is the place where the first European settlers came in the year 1788, and there are still many old houses left from that time.
The Rocks, Sydney
Sydney walking itinerary: Circular Quay
Our sightseeing in Sydney continues to the busy public transport hub Circular Quay. Sydney has a very well planned public transport system and Circular Quay is its core.
From here you can take regular ferries to suburbs north of Sydney Harbour. Or you can take a train or bus and get almost anywhere south of Sydney Harbour.
Sydney Harbour contains a hugely popular walking-area with cafes and restaurants lining both sides of the bay. So you can watch the busy Sydney ferries when walking towards the Opera House.
Sydney Opera House
Walking through Sydney: Opera House
Sydney Opera House was designed by the Danish architect Jorn Utzon. The house looks modern but was built more than 50 years ago. Today the opera is the symbol of Sydney and Australia.
Sydney Opera House
The Opera House is amazing. To see it from the inside you can try to get tickets to one of the performances and there are also guided tours arranged.
In fact the opera house has doors open most time of the day so you can just walk in and visit some parts of the building. As all Sydney visitors want to see the Opera House and also locals like the place there are always hundreds of people outside the building.
Royal Botanic Gardens
Top sights of Sydney: Royal Botanic Gardens
Right behind the Opera House, through the Queen Elizabeth II gate you can enter the huge grounds of the Royal Botanic Gardens, right in the middle of the city!
There are separate areas for different kinds of plants, but one of the most interesting (and frightening) things are the enormous Australian bats hanging upside down all over the park’s trees.
Birds are nicer to look at than bats, and I’ve also seen many giant spiders in the park.
The Sydney Royal Botanic Garden mainly contains native Australian plants but there are other plants as well. To learn more about the Royal Botanic Gardens, check out my post Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens Autumn Colours.
Royal Botanic Gardens autumn, Sydney
Sydney Central Business District
Sydney walking itinerary:CBD
From the Botanic Gardens our Sydney walking itinerary goes to a lot smaller park, Hyde Park, and on to the Central Business District of Sydney.
In Sydney you will find many familiar street names provided you have been in London. Sydney has Oxford Street, Liverpool Street, Kings Cross, Paddington and many more London place names that made the town more familiar for the immigrants arriving from Britain.
The Sydney CBD is a mixture of old buildings and modern skyscrapers. It’s a business area, a shopping area, a cafe and pub area, and very busy during working hours.
Sydney Walking Itinerary: Chinatown
Chinatown, the home of Sydney’s Chinese population
Sydney has a big Chinese population and the Chinese district is very central right on the corner of the CBD. Here you can enjoy Chinese food in small restaurants or in big food courts. The Chinese style shopping mall Paddy’s Market is also worth a visit.
Between Chinatown and Darling Harbour there is a nice quiet garden, The Chinese Garden of Friendship. Here you really get a feeling like being in China!
Sydney walking itinerary: Chinese garden
Top sights of Sydney: Australian National Maritime Museum
Darling Harbour is an amusement, culture and restaurant centre for both locals and tourists.
There are rows of restaurants, cafés and pubs, and many popular sights like Sydney Aquarium, The IMAX Theatre, Wild Life Sydney Zoo and the Australian National Maritime Museum at the end of the pier.
Sydney walking itinerary: Darling Harbour
Darling Harbour also has an amazing playground for children, with lots of families spending time on during hot summer afternoons. Why didn’t I take a child with me on this trip? That would have helped me spend more time in this fantastic place.
When you’ve seen enough of Darling Harbour take a Sydney Ferry back to Circular Quay from one of the ferry wharfs around the harbour, for example Pyrmont Bay Wharf right behind Maritime Museum.
Or, if your legs are not tired after all walking, just cross the walking-bridge back to the CBD and Chinatown, to end your self-guided Sydney walking tour.
So that was it, the top sights of Central Sydney.
More about Sydney:
Sydney offers a lot more to see if you go to the suburbs or walk along the Pacific coastline. The easiest way to get to Sydney beaches is to take a regular ferry from Circular Quay to Watsons Bay across the bay. This article will show you Watsons Bay and its beaches:
Central Sydney seen from Watsons Bay
Once in Sydney, Bondi Beach is a must see. Take a bus to Bondi Beach and spend a day on the white sands, or walk south from Bondi along the ocean shore. You can walk all the way to Coogee Beach, or even further if you like.
Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia
I have one more post on Sydney, about its beautiful Royal Botanic Gardens. You can find my post here: Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens Autumn Colours