Walk­ing on Sunshine

It doesn’t mat­ter if you have 30 min­utes or three hours, make like a lo­cal and ex­plore the city by foot. Words and images by Roshan Sukhla.

Where Sydney - - Contents -

WHETHER YOU ARE after some ex­er­cise, keen to see a few iconic sights, or both, here is a fab­u­lous city walk for you. But remember the sun can be harsh in our fair coun­try, so be­fore you start your ad­ven­ture cover up—slap on some sunscreen, put on a hat, wear com­fort­able shoes and bring a bot­tle of wa­ter, or two, with you. For an all-en­com­pass­ing grand walk of Syd­ney’s must-see high­lights, take the Tourist Trek. En­ter or exit this walk as you like, be­cause there will be many stun­ning stops along the way. Our start­ing point is Syd­ney Town Hall, the city’s meet­ing place. If you are tak­ing the train here, use ‘Exit 5’ from Town Hall Sta­tion, and take the stairs on the left to get above ground.

Syd­ney Town Hall looks im­mac­u­late in its neo-clas­si­cal form fresh from re­cent ren­o­va­tions. On one side of Town Hall is St An­drew’s Cathe­dral, built in the 1860s, while across the road is the Queen Victoria Build­ing, the grand dame of Syd­ney shop­ping, home to de­signer in­ter­na­tional la­bels and con­tem­po­rary fash­ion bou­tiques.

Walk down Park Street to the city’s cen­tral green space, Hyde Park. The park is di­vided into two sec­tions. Head to the south side of the park to visit the AN­ZAC Me­mo­rial, while on the north side of the park you’ll find the Archibald Foun­tain which was erected in 1932. Be sure to look up and marvel at the view of Syd­ney Tower from the park.

From the foun­tain, walk di­ag­o­nally across the park, cross the road, and you will be in Cathe­dral Square.

From here you can see the beauty of St Mary’s Cathe­dral with its tow­er­ing spires, and visit Aus­tralia’s first pub­lic museum, the Aus­tralian Museum. If you fancy some ex­er­cise or a swim, head be­neath Cathe­dral Square to Cook+phillip Park Aquatic and Fit­ness Cen­tre.

From the Cathe­dral turn down Art Gallery Road, and The Do­main,

Syd­ney’s stage for out­door con­certs and events, will be on your left. Keep walk­ing till you get to the Art Gallery of NSW, home to both mod­ern works of art and old mas­ters. It was es­tab­lished in 1871, and fea­tures a pro­gram of ever-chang­ing ex­hi­bi­tions from Aus­tralian and in­ter­na­tional artists. If you have an hour or two, wan­der around and make sure you don’t miss the col­lec­tion of Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der art.

Con­tinue along the path on the Art Gallery side of Mrs Mac­quar­ies Road, and keep walk­ing by the wa­ter. To your right is Wool­loomooloo, and the Royal Aus­tralian Navy Her­itage Cen­tre on Gar­den Is­land.

Keep walk­ing and you’ll pass by An­drew (Boy) Charl­ton pool, a har­bour­side hotspot over­look­ing the wa­ter. Duck in for a re­fresh­ing dip, or head fur­ther up the path right along­side the wa­ter where sooth­ing waves crash against the rocks.

Look out towards the mid­dle of the har­bour and you’ll see Fort Deni­son, a for­mer de­fence site, that is now home to a restau­rant and event space.

As the sea breeze blows by con­tinue along the path next to the wa­ter and fol­low it right around to Mrs Mac­quarie’s Chair. This is the sand­stone seat that was carved out of the rock ledge in 1810 for Gover­nor Mac­quarie’s wife El­iz­a­beth.

She would sit in this spot and watch ships sail into the har­bour. The area pro­vides pic­ture per­fect panoramic views of the har­bour, Syd­ney Opera House and Har­bour Bridge. Get your phone out, be­cause this is the spot for your epic Syd­ney selfie!

Keep fol­low­ing the path and you en­ter the gates of the Royal Botanic Gar­den Syd­ney, which cel­e­brated its 200th birth­day in 2016. Take in the fan­tas­tic city sky­line views, re­lax in the shade of the gar­dens, see some of our won­drous na­tive flora and lis­ten out for the myr­iad of birds fly­ing by. Through­out the year, there are nu­mer­ous spe­cial events held here like the St. Ge­orge Ope­nair Cin­ema, HANDA Opera on Syd­ney Har­bour, the Tomato Fes­ti­val, plus tours, talks, ex­hi­bi­tions and more.

Wind your way around the gar­dens un­til you come to the Syd­ney Opera House. Gaze in awe at the iconic ar­chi­tec­ture of Aus­tralia’s most fa­mous build­ing. Take a tour in­side or see a per­for­mance.

Con­tinue around to Cir­cu­lar Quay, and pass by the bustling trans­port hub, where you can hop on a ferry or a train. To your left is the Museum of Con­tem­po­rary Art Aus­tralia and its al­ways im­pres­sive col­lec­tion of mod­ern art. Walk be­side the Over­seas Pas­sen­ger Ter­mi­nal—gi­ant cruise ships of­ten dock here—and around to the his­toric store­fronts of Camp­bell’s Cove, which are now home to wa­ter­side restau­rants. Keep walk­ing around to Hick­son Road Re­serve, and see views of the Opera House across the wa­ter to one side and over to the smil­ing face of Luna Park on the other. Walk un­der the steel struc­ture that is the mag­nif­i­cent Syd­ney Har­bour Bridge. Con­struc­tion started on the bridge in 1923, but it wasn’t of­fi­cially opened un­til 1932. It’s nick­named the Coathanger, but to lo­cals we mostly just call it ‘the Bridge’.

As you walk fur­ther along Hick­son Road, you are now in the Walsh Bay precinct. The old wharves house cul­tural pow­er­houses like the Syd­ney Dance Com­pany, and the Syd­ney The­atre Com­pany.

At the end of the wharves you’ll hap­pen upon Baranga­roo Re­serve. Wan­der around the wa­ter’s edge on the Wu­lugul Walk, fol­low­ing the 1836 fore­shore line. Head up the stairs to the Stargazer Lawn, or walk around to Nawi Cove. Take a look at the mag­nif­i­cent Cut­away, an im­mense space used for art in­stal­la­tions and events. Then head to Wara­nara Ter­race, and exit the park via Ar­gyle Place onto Ar­gyle Street. Con­tinue along and you are now back in the his­toric Rocks precinct. From here you can ex­plore the area and myr­iad of shops and restau­rants, or on the week­end check out the mar­kets. Or bet­ter yet slip into one of the many his­toric pubs, and treat your­self to a nice cold Aussie beer!

Royal Botanic Gar­den views to the city. The Rocks precinct and Cir­cu­lar Quay. Baranga­roo Re­serve.

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