SYDNEY’S SHINING LIGHTS
Recreation in Australia’s largest city is usually an outdoor exercise
Top things to do next time you’re in the buzzing city Down Under
SYDNEY HARBOUR BRIDGE CLIMB Since 1998 it’s been possible to climb this iconic bridge, and it’s become one of Sydney’s signature must-do activities, with more than three million people enjoying the experience. Suited up in overalls and clipped into safety harnesses, the round trip takes around three hours, and can be undertaken during daytime, at night, or for sunrise or sunset. Access via Bridge Climb Sydney at 3 Cumberland St in The Rocks.
AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM
The ANMM is not only a national repository of sea-related collections and exhibits, but also a major research facility in its own right. Located in the popular Darling Harbour district, it currently features exhibitions on pearling in Australia, artefacts from Pompei and the Wildlife Photographer of the Year, as well as vessels such as a replica of James Cook’s Endeavour, the HMAS Vampire (Australia’s last big gun ship) and the submarine HMAS Onslow – all of which can be boarded and explored. Access via Sydney Monorail’s Harbourside station.
THE ROYAL BOTANIC GARDEN Australia’s oldest botanic garden, established in 1816, this is a superlative example of the British colonial penchant for floral wonderlands filled with plant life from around the world. Spread over 30 hectares of sweeping lawns, colourful flowerbeds and majestic stands of trees, a staggering 8,900 plant species are represented here. A muchloved lunchtime spot for city workers, it opened a new attraction last year: an integrated blend of indoor and outdoor areas called The Calyx that hosts a fusion of theatre, art and flora. Access via the Sydney Opera House Gate or from the top of Bridge Street.
SYDNEY FISH MARKET Just to the west of Darling Harbour on Blackwattle Bay in the Pyrmont district, this is the city’s premier destination for both raw and cooked seafood. It’s all about freshness and diversity of produce: order lobster, prawns, fish such as seabass, and in particular freshly shucked oysters, then sit down at a table on the waterfront and enjoy… but watch out for the many opportunistic gulls who will steal your food if you turn away for an instant. Access via Sydney Light Rail to Fish Market station.
FROM OLD TO NEW: THE ROCKS AND BARANGAROO The promontory directly under the Harbour Bridge is one of the last places to see buildings dating back to the 18th and 19th century – though the convicts’ and wharf labourers’ houses have been spruced up and are now home to trendy shops, restaurants, markets and boutique hotels. Walk in a broad semicircle under the bridge and round Dawes Point to Barangaroo Reserve, the start of Sydney’s new waterfront renewal project, which features a headland park, promenades, cultural spaces and great restaurants. Access on foot starting at Circular Quay.
BONDI BEACH TO BRONTE BAY COASTAL WALK Sydney’s most famous beach is a beautiful a couple of kilometres to Bronte Bay. First you pass the Beach is backed by a green park and plenty of cafés (A$30/US$22).
TARONGA ZOO This has to be one of the best and most scenic zoos in the world, with stunning vistas across Sydney Harbour to the city, over 4,000 animals to observe in enclosures carefully constructed to keep them as content as possible, and more than 20 keeper talks and shows every day, from a Freeflight Bird Show to a Savannah Safari. Opportunities to feed animals such as giraffes and penguins add to the immersive experience. Access via ferry from Circular Quay (a 12-minute ride).
THE BLUE MOUNTAINS If you have a day free then don’t miss the opportunity to visit this amazing mountain landscape inland of the city, which was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2000. Highlights in the eucalyptusoil infused Blue Mountains include the quaint town of Katoomba with its superb Echo Point viewing platform showing the Three Sisters rock formation; the Nature Track to Wentworth Falls; Blackheath’s spectacular Govetts Leap; and the Katoomba Scenic Railway – the world’s steepest funicular railway connecting the top of the escarpment with the thickly forested valley floor. Access via car or on the Train Link service – both take around two hours.