Written by Cassidy Murray.
Australia always sounded like a mystical and faraway country to me. It wasn’t until I explored it that I realized it is also a fascinating and historic country which I now consider one of my favorite destinations. This April my family and I planned a trip to Australia while we were traveling through Asia and since Oceania always intrigued me, I was so excited when I found out I was finally going to make it to one of my bucket list countries. We planned for 2 weeks in Sydney and left the rest of our trip open knowing we had time to travel the country freely. Here is a list of my top 5 things to see and do during your stay in the wonderful city of Sydney!
Darling Harbour is one of the most central and beautiful spots of the city. The harbour has many restaurants, shops and a great view overlooking the charming quay. Darling Harbour is also home to the National Maritime Museum which I certainly recommend to anyone looking for a fun evening activity and a brief showcase of Australia’s history on the sea. At the center of the wharf you’ll spot Pyrmont Bridge which connects the east and wests sides of the harbour and is also a great spot for some cool pictures of the scenic view.
For those with young kids, there is an awesome playground with cool climbing frames. a water play area, sand boxes, a zipline, and more. Best of all, there are cafes right in front of the playground for the parents and teen siblings – like me! My sister and I were able to relax with a cappuccino and a book while our brother played for hours at the playground.
Hyde Park is at the center of the business area of the city and resembles New York City’s Central Park in many ways. The park is a central part of the city and links many different neighborhoods together. Near the park you’ll find cafes, restaurants, clothing stores and a few of the city’s famous monuments to check off your sight seeing checklist. On the east side of the park you’ll spot St. Mary’s Cathedral, a beautiful gothic style church built in the 19th century.
Royal Botanic Gardens
The charming gardens leading to the Sydney Opera House are one of the most relaxing and beautiful spots in the city. The gardens are filled with colorful flowers and fairy-tale looking trees that make you feel as if you’re in a quaint countryside and not in the center of a busy city. There are many trails leading through the peaceful park and if you’re lucky you’ll find cute corners to sit, rest and enjoy the tranquil surroundings.
Sydney Opera House
The Sydney Opera House is the city’s most famous and well known of it’s many sights. Although many think the interesting architecture of the building was made to resemble a ships’ sails, it was actually designed as a way to get rid of unwanted sounds by changing the shape of the building rather than changing the frequencies of the actual music played in the theater inside. From the Opera House point, you can clearly see Sydney Harbour Bridge which looms at the center of the whole city. Also, from the Harbour Bridge, you can get great photos of the Opera House and the city skyline.
Hyde Park Barracks
The Hyde Park Barracks were one of my favorite parts about Sydney. I learned all about the English prisoners sent to Australia as a part of their criminal sentence back in the 19th Century. There was a full interactive museum that led us through the site and showed us where the convicts slept, what they did during the day and why they were sentenced. The stories of these convicts were very shocking and the interactive displays brought their stories to life. Many prisoners were sent to Australia, away from their families for life, for a crime as little as stealing a loaf of bread to feed their children.
The Barracks offer a unique insight into Australia’s fascinating history and is a great way to see the lifestyle of the English colonies that spread so vastly across the globe. Australia’s English colonization in Sydney is unlike many others in the world because of its complicated history of sending unwanted convicts to the “bottom of the world”. The Barracks also gave me insight into what the colonial English wore, ate and how they expanded a small encampment into a metropolitan city.
Sydney is an amazing city that offers so many fascinating sights, restaurants, shops, museums and amazing architecture. I only listed my favorite spots I visited, but there are many other hidden treasures in the city waiting to be explored. I hope you enjoy your visit to Sydney, Australia! Have a G’day mate!
Hi, I’m Cassidy. I am 16 years old and have been traveling and volunteering with my family for the past 4 years. I grew up in Italy where I found my love for singing, dancing, and pretty much all things Italian. My favorite place in the world is Venice, Italy – where I spent my childhood and consider my true home. I love to write about the fun and interesting side of my unique life of travel and my passion for helping others through volunteering around the world. You can follow my travel adventures at Ciao Cassidy and my volunteer journey at Kids Unite 4 Hope – a nonprofit I co-founded with my sister.