Sydney’s main attractions – on foot and Opal – without using the expensive Explorer Bus…

Big things to do in Sydney

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Can’t leave these off the list. Sydney’s main attractions why tourists flock to the city. My personal best and some “mini walks” around the city.

Mini Walk: Darling Harbour/Chinatown

Start at Darling Harbour. You can get there by (long) walk through the Devonshire Tunnel from Central Station – walk along the Goods Line (and admire the old tracks and this building on the way), then right at the end and along the Light Rail tracks to Paddy’s Markets, left to the Convention Centre and Chinese Garden. Or you can catch the Light Rail from Central Station to Paddy’s Markets or Exhibition (go direction platforms 1-15, upstairs, Main Hall, the tram stop is opposite the train platforms). Tap on BEFORE you board (the Opal taps are left and right of the doors when you come out of the station onto the light rail platform. The Light Rail will stop on the right to disembark, and stop on the left to board passengers. So go to the left after tapping on. The Light Rail is very popular, especially on weekends. Don’t forget to tap OFF after you leave the light rail, also at each stop. If there’s nothing on at Darling Harbour, at least have a wander around. There are lots of more or less average restaurants around Darling Harbour. You can walk to Harbourside Shopping Centre, or around to the Aquarium or Wild Life, stop for a craft beer at the Pumphouse, or, during daytime hours, and for a fee, visit the (beautiful) Chinese Garden. You can walk through Chinatown, and have a bite to eat. If you want good and cheap Asian food, I suggest the food court at Sussex Centre, and don’t get ripped off at Chinatown where they “invite the tourists to eat”. See, I just saved you $20 a head, and a stomach bug! If you walk towards the Aquarium, continue to King Street Wharf and catch a ferry from wharf 3 to Circular Quay.

Mini Walk: Opera House and Harbour Bridge

That’s of course where you’ll see the Opera House and, underneath, the Opera Bar: catch a performance or a drink, and enjoy the vista: catch any city bus that reads “Circular Quay”, or train that goes through the City Circle, and get off at Circular Quay. Tip: for a great view go up in the glass lifts on the right of the station towards Opera House, and walk right out of the lifts. From there, especially if you walk up the stairs, you can also see the Harbour Bridge.

If you caught the lift up and walk out of the lift and left, you end up in the Botanical Garden and Domain: grab a coffee at the Gardens Cafe, shop at the Gardens shop or sit down and relax with some music or a good read. If you’re tackling the Botanical Garden from the other end, get a train to St James Station and use exit Macquarie St – keep walking past the Hyde Park Barracks Cafe and the Irish Famine statue (funnily next to a really good coffee shop) towards the Art Gallery of NSW and the Domain.

Mini Walk: Glebe and Jubilee Park and Newtown with lots of cheap fuel stops everywhere

Glebe Point Road is full of cafes, including some very cool spots and bookshops cum cafe (eg Sapphobooks being one of my favourites – especially the cool courtyard). You can best get there by 431 bus from Martin Place Station, Castlereagh St, Stand G, and when the bus turns right after Broadway, get off at the second stop. In Glebe, you can walk all the way up Glebe Point Road (or get the 431 to the end), and you’ll end up in gorgeous Jubilee Park with beautiful views across to Anzac Bridge and Pyrmont. You can go to the Sze Yup Temple for some Chinese culture, and catch the Light Rail from Jubilee Park back to Central Station. Badde Manors cafe is another favourite of mine, but all along Glebe Point Road are cute little shops, cafes and tapas bars. It’s a fairly relaxed student vibe, and a bit alternative too. And the bottom bit is connected to Broadway Shopping Centre for your shopping needs (Kmart, Rebel Sport, Aldi, Coles and the like), it also has an excellent food court and free WiFi.

If you’re at the lower end of Glebe Point Road, you can catch the 370 bus Leichhardt Marketplace to Coogee (not as frequent as the 431, and rumoured to be Sydney’s least punctual bus route, so use your real time app as described on the Sydney page) direct to Newtown. The 370 bus continues past Green Square Station all the way to Coogee Beach as well, so if you’re after some beach after so much urban craziness, go right ahead (in Coogee you can always get the 373/374 or M50 bus back to the city if there is no 370 for a while. The 370 only runs during day hours, not at night – so if you’re out late (and Newtown and Glebe are just the places to be for this), consider catching a bus to the city and change there.

Other attractions and walks

You can go back to Circular Quay and catch a ferry to Manly: read the Manly trip

Another option is the Beach walk from Bondi Beach to Bronte, and you’ll pass the famous Icebergs where you can swim in the oceanside pool and have a sauna for as little as $6.50, or, if you want to walk further than Bronte Beach, for the very ambitious, on to Coogee along the beach with swim breaks. This is an even more sensational (but crowded) walk when the Sculptures by the Sea festival is on each year, usually end of October/beginning of November. Mind you: there are LOTS of stairs, and they are natural ones. Take your time with this walk, it is beautiful. If you get tired half way, you can access via buses to Bondi beach (333 from Museum Station Liverpool St Stand A or 380 from Museum Station Elizabeth St Stand C, for instance), Bronte (440 to/from Bondi Junction Station, Grafton St, Stand R, continues to Museum Station and Central and on to Rozelle) Tamarama Beach (381 to/from Bondi Junction Stand A), Coogee (373/374 from Museum Station Stand C, for instance).

Paddington Markets (Sat 10am-4pm only) best catch buses 440/380 from Museum Station Liverpool St Stand A to Oxford St after William St (7 stops). The 333 also gets you close, so do a few other buses.

 

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