I have lived about one and a half hours north of Sydney my whole life before moving overseas. We went to the big smoke for school trips, special events, and shopping. Upon returning home and showing my Canadian boyfriend around the city, these were the places I had to show him and would recommend to anyone visiting!
Starting at the airport, as many tourists visiting Australia and Sydney for the first time would, you can make your way by train into the city, but it is also quite a short drive if you have a car. From Central Station, you can hop on the City Circle Line and that will take you pretty much to any of the places that I’ll be talking about in this article.
Our first stop was George Street, a great place to shop, get a meal or see a movie in Gold Class, the tickets are more expensive, but it is a must do if you’ve never experienced it before. Along George Street you will find the gorgeous architecture of the Queen Victoria Building or QVB which houses some of Sydney’s most prestigious shops and if you are lucky enough to be there at Christmastime like we were, then you will get to see the unbelievable tree displays they put on. Last year it was completely covered in Swarovski crystals.
Next it was to one of my favourite places in the city, visited many times on school trips, the Art Gallery of New South Wales. It houses some of the most famous artworks that Australia owns by both local and international artists. It also shows the Archibald prize, Australia’s most prestigious painting prize. My personal favourite are the photography rooms.
Heading further downtown towards the Harbour we went to the huge Apple store and ‘Sydney Tower’ (I still call it by it’s former name, “Centerpoint”), which is Sydney’s tallest building. On the ground level are a bunch of interesting stores but if you are keen to go to the top, there is a revolving restaurant which gives a 360 degree view of the city. Near there, we jumped on the Monorail and did the full loop around, being able to see parts of the city like Chinatown and getting off in the popular tourist stop, Darling Harbour, which has attractions like the Aquarium, Hard Rock Cafe, and IMAX theatre.
Eventually completing the loop on the Monorail, we then headed right down to the Harbour and took in the sights of Circular Quay with the Harbour Bridge, Opera House, Museum of Contemporary Art, and Botanical Gardens all close by.
Other places of interest are Kings Cross, a popular place for drinks at night but cleans up unbelievably well in the daylight. There you can see the famous Coca-Cola sign and there is also a great view looking back down on the city. The Sydney Cricket Ground is another place many people flock to for either concerts or in summer for cricket!