Australia's oldest and most cosmopolitan city is literally overflowing with thrilling views, fascinating history, and fun things to do. We'll cover the must-sees in five of the six major districts to familiarize you with all that's on offer. Then you'll know exactly how to spend the rest of your stay.
See the following itinerary for an overview of what's available and then get in touch to specify your preferences.
We'll pick you up from your hotel late morning at 10 or 11 am and head to the Sydney Opera House, designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon in 1957 and described by an expert evaluator for the UNESCO World Heritage Committee as an “indisputable masterpiece of human creativity.” You'll have excellent opportunities to photograph its beautiful ship sail-inspired form and the equally iconic Harbor Bridge.
From there, we'll travel up Macquarie St (named for the Governor of New South Wales from 1810-1821), passing the
Conservatorium of Music, the Royal Botanic Gardens, the New South Wales State Library, Parliament House, The Mount, and Hyde
Park Barracks as we make our way toward Hyde Park. Your guide will inform you on each along the way.
We’ll enter The Domain, a large area of open space that sits between Hyde Park and the Botanic Gardens that is used for large public events for all kinds. We’ll see the Art Gallery of New South Wales on our right and the other side of the Botanic Gardens on our left while heading to Mrs. Macquarie’s Point. Here you can see the historic “Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair,” a large sandstone rock carved by convicts in 1810 as a bench for Governor Macquarie’s wife and take in another exquisite view of the Harbor bridge, Opera House, and across the bay to Kirribilli.
Our next stop is the awe-inspiring St Marys Cathedral, a Roman Catholic church in the heart of Sydney that affords great views of Archibald Fountain and Sydney Tower. Begun in 1868 but not entirely finished until the year 2000 when the spires were finally added, the architecture of this dramatic landmark is 19th century Gothic Revival style. Pictures are allowed inside and we might just hear some incredible organ music while we’re there!
From the Cathedral we’ll take William Street, noting the famous Kings Cross Coca-Cola Sign (an eye-catching mark of the
area for more than 50 years), on the way to Rushcutters Bay, a harbor and suburb named for the tall rushes growing there that
the first settlers cut for thatching their houses. Surrounding this area are several neighbourhoods of interest, such as Elizabeth
Bay, Darlinghurst, Paddington, and Darling Point.
We’ll travel New Beach Road past the Cruising Yacht Club, home to the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, and an excellent option for taking lunch if you like. Otherwise we’ll head up and over to Darling Point Road and down into Double Bay, where there are also many cafes and restaurants to choose from.
Our destination for this longer leg of the tour is Vaucluse House, the fascinating French country estate of the Wentworth Family, which is also a good opportunity to dine and discuss the history of the area. Guided tours of the interiors and grounds are available on the hour daily, except Monday and Tuesday.
Along the way we’ll enjoy spectacular city views from various vantage points, including Point Piper and Rose Bay. Within the lovely Nielson Park are other restaurants, if an elegant and artful lunch by the harbor is more to your liking.
From Vaucluse we head to Watsons Bay, located at the tip of the South Head peninsula. We’ll walk the Gap Bluff, a
rocky cliff on the eastern side providing stunning views of the Pacific Ocean as well as the suburb of Manly at North Head.
Ahead of that we can also do a lovely walk past Parsley Bay Beach, from Fitzwilliam Road across a pedestrian bridge to Crescent Road.
If you prefer a later lunch time, there are several options of interest in Watson’s Bay, from the historic Doyles (a laid-back family operation providing fresh seafood since 1885!) to a simple picnic of fish and chips in Robertson Park, or the casual but chic Beach Club, a seaside bistro at the Watsons Bay Hotel.
Heading back down, there will be brief photo stops at the Macquarie Lighthouse and Dudley Page Reserve (a small grassy look-out that’s popular for viewing the fireworks on New Years Eve) and Ben Buckler Point, which forms the northern tip of Sydney’s most famous beach, the horseshoe-shaped Bondi Bay. Either Watsons Bay or Bondi Beach can work as a stopping point if you’d like to be there into the evening. It’s very easy to return to Sydney via ferry from Watsons Bay; from Bondi a taxi may be easiest for clients unaccustomed to public transport.
If you prefer to carry on, there is a walk from Bondi to Tamarama along Campbell Parade (about 1.5 km) if you’ve got the time and are up for the exercise. Or we can drive by Tamarama, Bronte, and Coogee beaches before making our way back towards city center. We’ll take a few moments at Centennial Park and then complete the
tour back near the Opera House at The Rocks, Sydney’s most historic precinct and among its most happening in terms of things to do. Established in 1788, the Rocks are where you’ll find Cadman’s Cottage, Sydney’s oldest surviving building, as well as Sydney Observatory (now a working museum), vibrant markets, fine dining, and
interesting pubs. The markets close at 5pm so if shopping is a priority, we can start your tour here instead and end in a logical place according to your needs.
Darling Harbour is another popular destination you may want to include and any other areas of particular interest can most likely be arranged.