Circular Quay is the hub of Sydney Harbour, situated in a small inlet called Sydney Cove, the founding site for Sydney and Australia. It is a stepping-off point for most attractions based around the harbour and an exciting place to be on a warm summer's day. Luna Park is just a short ferry ride across the Harbour from Circular Quay and is a fun place with a dark history.
Circular Quay is at the foot of the central business district and the older, historic end of the city. It is a vibrant, bustling place with ferries leaving every few minutes to different parts of the harbour. There is also a train station and buses go from here to popular locations like Bondi Beach. There are great views of the Harbour Bridge, which is just a short distance away. You can find many buskers playing guitar or didgeridoo and there are some great, but pricy restaurants and ice cream shops.
On the northern side of Circular Quay, you can find the Museum of Contemporary Art (which, last time I was there, sold Lomography cameras) and from there you are just a short walk from the Harbour Bridge and The Rocks, one of the oldest and most interesting historical parts of Sydney. On the southern side of Circular Quay is a walkway that leads to the Sydney Opera House and Royal Botanical Gardens.
While standing at Circular Quay or near the Opera House, you may look across the Harbour and see a clown-type face looking back at you. This is Luna Park, which was built in 1935 and today the face is an item of national heritage. The park was a family favourite up until a ghost train caught fire in 1979 and killed six children and one adult. Following that most of the park was demolished and rebuilt, and has had a turbulent history of opening and closing up until 2004, but seems to be going strong now. Every New Year’s Eve they hold a very popular party and the views are unbelievable.