Things to do in Sydney – Yes, Nemo was here

Things to do in Sydney – Yes, Nemo was here

Things to do in Sydney


Situated on the east coast of Australia, Sydney is the biggest and most populous city on the continent and also the state capital. This is where they had held Nemo captive at one stage, but he managed to escape and returned home. Not sure why, because Sydney is great; it ranks among the top 10 liveable cities in the entire world and also one of the top 15 most visited. It also has one of the oldest functioning airports in the world; established back in 1906, the first aircraft that landed there was a kite. But we’re not here for a history lesson, we’re here to play, so let’s talk about all the best things to do in Sydney.

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

If you talk about Sydney, the first thing that comes to mind is the Opera House. This is probably the city and even the country’s most iconic building and one of the most distinctive in the world. It first opened in 1973, took around 14 years to build and cost close to A$1 billion in today’s money. For Jeff Bezos that’s a slow day’s work, but for us regular folk, it will take 15 lifetimes to make that kind of dough. Around 350,000 people take a guided tour each year and 1.2 million people visit the Opera house for some form of entertainment, which hosts over 1500 performances annually and then well over eight million people visit the site in that time. This magnificent building is really something to behold, just losing out in making the final seven in the New7Wonders of the World campaign.

Best Places to visit in Sydney

There are a couple of ways to visit this venue and the first wold be to do a guided tour. Costing around £35 or $42 per person for the one-hour tour, these tours run daily between 09:00 – 17:00 and you would need to know a few things before you go there:

  • You need to wear comfortable shoes. There are over 200 steps and high heels won’t cut it.
  • They always have loads of performances, so these tours are subject to availability.
  • They can’t store any big luggages, which means that you cannot move in and stay the night.
  • You are not allowed to video record, but you can take as many photos as you like. Just no selfies with duck lips.

What to expect

Visit Sydney Opera House

You will be able to sit in the white birch timber chairs, while admiring the vaulted ceilings, touch the world-famous shell tiles (in a decent manner) and even visit areas normally off-limits to the average Joe. Finally, you’ll get the chance to take some photos from rare vantage points, explore all the theatres and foyers and get the inside scoop from an experienced tour guide.

Watch a show at Sydney Opera House

The second way to visit the Opera House is to catch a show, like circus and magic, dance, film, cabaret, opera, musicals and more, in one of the venues and there are a few:

  • Concert Hall – Home of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, this hall contains the Grand Organ (and no, I’m not talking about myself) and with over 10,000 pipes, it’s the largest mechanical organ on earth. If someone slams their hands down on the keys, it will blow you right out the back door.
  • Drama Theatre – Used by The Sydney Theatre Company and it has 544 seats to snooze on.
  • Joan Sutherland Theatre – Home of Opera Australia and the Australian Ballet.
  • Playhouse – A small theatre with 398 seats.
  • Studio – An even smaller theatre with just 280 seats, many of them that can fold up.
  • Utzon Room and Recording Studio.
  • Outdoor Forecourt – Used for major outdoor performances and community events that can be configured anyway that is needed.

Plenty to eat and drink

Eat at Sydney Opera House

Once you have woken up, refreshed from your nap, you can get something to eat and drink anywhere around the Opera House. Their chefs are world-class and they have a big selection of nibbles and snacks to full course meals and any drink that you can think of. Even if you don’t want to see a show or do a tour, you can still drop in for a bite to eat.

For guided tours, shows and whatever you want to do at the Opera House, please check here for full details.

Sydney Darling Harbour

Darling Harbour

Situated adjacent to the city centre and just over a mile from the Opera House, Darling Harbour is a Sydney icon and will keep you entertained for at least a couple of days. There are just so much to see and do, but unfortunately I can’t cover them all and will have to pick a couple of activities out of a hat, because they are all great. Google will help you with a bigger list if you want to stay a week.

To get around the harbour is easy. There are a couple of train lines and ferries that can scoot you over from one side of the harbour to the other, but if you are not pressed for time, you can easily walk around it and make sure that you don’t miss a single thing. Bars and restaurants are spread out all over, ready for you to pick and choose for whatever you are in the mood for.

Madame Tussauds Sydney

Madame Tussauds

Our first stop would be to dry-hump some celebrity legs, while taking the most embarrassing selfies. And no, I’m not talking about sneaking on to the set of ‘I’m a celebrity… get me out of here!’. I’m talking about wax sculptures of celebrities, created by the very talented people working for Madam Tussauds and coincidentally, these wax figures have less wax in them than many of the celebrities. You can stick a wick to Mickey Rourke’s head, light it on fire and he will burn till after Christmas.

This museum have celebrities in all genres; from sport and history to film and tv. Walk on your own time and take as many photos as you like. Some of these figures are so life-like, that they can even pass for the real thing.

How much?

Sydney Madame Tussauds

For a day full of awe and wonder and getting as close as you like to your heroes, will cost and adult from £20 or $26, children between the ages of 3-16 can enter from £15 or $18 and the littlest ones can enter for free. You will then get a free digital photo pass, for you to print as many photos as you like. You can also buy a combo; Madame Tussauds and either the zoo, the aquarium or the Sydney Tower eye for £79 or $94. If you book this special online, you’ll only have to pay £50 or $57 per person, which is a real bargain. Prices might vary as time goes by.

You can find all details and prices here. If you book online before you go instead of just turning up and knocking on the door, you get to save quite considerably, which is around 20%.

The aquarium and zoo are both right next door to the museum, so you won’t have to walk too far. You can find all zoo details here and all aquarium details here.

Chinese Garden of Friendship

Chinese Garden of Friendship

Situated on one hectare of land in 1 Harbour Street, they modelled this beautiful garden after the gardens of the Ming Dynasty. Designed in 1988, this oasis offers insight into Chinese culture and heritage and follows the Taoist principles of Yin-Yang, the balance of opposites and also Wu-Xing, the five elements of the world.

A wall surrounds the entire garden and is composed of three main elements:

  1. Landscaping, cover 61,000 sq ft of area. Be sure to bring a pillow and blanket if you want to take an afternoon nap in the shade under a tree, while your better half wanders around aimlessly.
  2. Lakes and streams, which cover 36,000 sq ft. Plenty of water to get rid of your mother-in-law. Find a secluded spot, lure her to an early bird dinner and hold her head under the water until the bubbles stop.
  3. Various structures that cover 14,000 sq ft. If the children get bored, send them to go and do some climbing.
Darling Harbour Chinese Garden

Leisurely stroll the serene garden at your convenience and marvel at the many exotic plants, colourful flowers and koi fish in the ponds. Just remember, this is a heritage site and you are not allowed to bring your fishing rod with. I think that they might have a problem if you roast a couple of koi over an open fire. Or at the very least, just don’t get caught.

Sydney Chinese Garden

Opening hours are from 10:00 – 16:00 daily with last entries just 15min before the end of close. That means that you’ll get to enter, but would have to do a Usain Bolt through the garden. Costing just £6 or $8 per adult and £3 or $4 per child under the age of 8 years, it’s really not much at all to be able to spend your day in this paradise.

Book your tickets here.

Ghost Tour Sydney

Go on a ghost tour

Focusing mainly on The Rocks, a historic neighbourhood around the Sydney bridge, this 90-min tour will take you to all the spooky and haunted areas. You will visit well-known historic landmarks and even places that are normally inaccessible to the average Joe. The Rocks are also known for being one of the most haunted places in the entire country and their tour guides and researchers are real historians, which means that they know about all the best places to scare the hell out of you.

Sydney Ghost Tours

The tour starts at 19:45 sharp and the meeting point is at the lower corner of George street where Cadman’s Cottage is located. This is Sydney’s oldest home with a rich history of death and despair. You will also go to Sydney’s second oldest home with more murdering spirits waiting for you around every corner. It is at this stage where you let your better half walk in front, you know, because you are a gentleman after all. And don’t forget to take extra underwear; you can never be too careful.

Costing £38 or $45 per person, these guys don’t care how old you are; they’ll scare the hell out of everyone for the same price. You can view full details here.

Bondi Beach

Bondi Beach

Located just four miles from Sydney’s central business district, Bondi Beach is arguably the most famous beach and also one of the most visited tourist attractions in the country. If you are lucky, you can even spot a celebrity as many of them go there. The beach is around 0.6 mi long and is protected by an underwater shark net; although not one long net, but rather shorter nets that overlap each other. You would still need to keep your eyes open in case one of them nibbled through a section and tries to bite you in the kaboose. A bite like that can sting and normally ruins your swimming trunks. It’s also been noted that wales and dolphins sometimes appear in the bay during the migration months. If you had enough and want to get away from it all, wait for a passing wale, hook onto it and wave goodbye to everyone you know roasting on the beach.

Keep your swimwear on!

Bondi Beach Sydney

It is no surprise that this beach hosted the 2000 Summer Olympic Games’ volleyball competition. With its white, sandy surface, inviting turquoise water and a sun that won’t quit, it’s almost as if this beach was purposely built for it. In 2007 a Guinness World Record was set for the largest bikini shoot of all time. 1,010 women took part in this event and have forever cemented their names into history. And I missed it. Aaaargh!

I can’t really think for a more perfect beach to spend your day, unless it’s a beach where you can hang loose. Children go to this beach, so keep your swimwear on at all time, unless you want to see what the inside of a jail cell looks like. Once you are more tender than Sunday’s roast dinner, you can make your way to anyone of the many restaurants and cafes surrounding the beach and enjoy a huge selection of food and drink and especially some ice cream.

And this is it for Sydney. We haven’t even covered a quarter of what there is to see and do in the city, so please consult our old friend, Google, for a more comprehensive list and don’t forget to share this page with everyone that you know or even people that you don’t know.

Safe travels and stay away from the sharks.

Back to places