Sydney, Australia is one of the most epic cities in the world, located right on a large and picturesque harbor with a stunning skyline. Sydney serves as the capital of Australia’s New South Wales state and offers a combination of cosmopolitan experiences, thrilling architecture, scenic parks and ports, and a close proximity to some of Australia’s best beaches. Cruises from Sydney give travelers a great opportunity to explore this gorgeous area of the world before embarking on a cruise to Australia and New Zealand, or to other areas of the South Pacific.
The Sydney Opera House is the city’s defining landmark. It is a fabulous display of modern architecture that houses a thriving art center and theater. The Sydney Opera House was designed to reflect the sails of a sailboat, and its unique structure gleams in the sunlight. The sail shape also provides excellent acoustics for the many performances that occur in the opera house each year, which extend beyond opera to ballet, music, comedy, kid shows, speakers, and more.
Sydney’s Taronga Zoo is a popular attraction for animal lovers embarking on one of our cruises from Sydney. This award-winning zoo features over 4,000 animals, including species that are native to Australia as well as endangered animals that are rare to see. Taronga Zoo overlooks Sydney Harbour, and you’ll find yourself taking out your camera to snap some lovely panoramic shots of the water in addition to taking pictures of animal antics. While at Taronga Zoo, you’ll also want to take some time to head up on the Sky Safari, the only cable car in Sydney, for even more spectacular views.
Australia’s most famous beach is also one of its most beautiful. Bondi Beach is only about 15 minutes southeast of Sydney’s city center and provides a quintessential Australian beach-going experience. You’ll find soft golden sand, beachfront restaurants and bars, and lots of surfing and other water sports here.
Another popular beach to visit in Australia is Manly Beach, especially if you love surfing. In fact, it’s where the first world surfing contest was held back in 1964. While its epic waves along the northern end of the beach at Queenscliff Bommie are only recommended for advanced surfers, the area to the southern end of Manly Beach has great waves for beginner surfers.
The name of this building sounds like it should be some royal residence, but it’s actually a place that will make your feel like a princess as you do some retail therapy. The Queen Victoria Building is located on George Street in downtown Sydney and houses fashion boutiques, jewelry shops, home furnishing stores, cafes, and restaurants. The beautiful building, which dates back to the 1890s, features stained glass windows, a domed central corridor, and ornate design accents.
Learn more about Australia’s vast array of native wildlife before Sydney cruises at Featherdale Wildlife Park. You’ll have the chance to interact with koalas, kangaroos, emus, wallabies and 280 other species while walking around the park. One of the main features that sets this wildlife park apart from others is the focus on hands-on experiences, such as the opportunity to hand feed kangaroos.
One of the top things to do in Sydney also takes you to an iconic landmark: climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge. You’ll suit up in specially designed outdoor gear and climb 134 meters above Sydney Harbour. The Sydney Harbour Bridge is a heritage-listed bridge that is made of steel and features a defining arch. It is open to vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians to cross – or climb!
Another way to get high above the city before one of our Sydney cruises is with a visit to the Sydney Tower Eye, which takes you to the highest point in Sydney. You’ll have a bird’s-eye view of the harbor, city skyline, and beyond to the distant Blue Mountains and far off the coastline. After you take a visit to the Sydney Tower Eye, you can also visit the observation deck, 4-D cinema, and other exhibits that are included with your admission to the Sydney Tower Eye.
Great for families or anyone looking for some fun before embarking on cruises from Sydney, Luna Park Sydney is a restored amusement park that dates back to the 1930s. You can go on exhilarating rides, take a leisurely spin on the Ferris wheel, and glide down the giant slides. You’ll also find carnival-style foods and games.
The Sydney Observatory is an important part of Sydney’s scientific history. It is a heritage-listed building due to its historic role in timekeeping, meteorology, and astronomy. You can visit the observatory for panoramic views of Sydney Harbour and the 1880s-inspired garden surrounding it.
Foodies will love Sydney’s international food scene that offers restaurants featuring popular dishes from all around the world. You can find different ambiances as well, depending on what you’re in the mood for. Enjoy a ritzy waterfront restaurant, a quaint eatery in the Angel Place neighborhood, or a laidback bite to eat on one of Sydney’s “eat streets”. For an after-dinner drink, it’s hard to beat a cocktail in one of the sky bars located atop skyscrapers. For gourmet dining in a setting like nowhere else, head to Sixpenny and Bennelong, located inside the Sydney Opera House.
Sydney got its name from British home secretary Lord Sydney, who was in the position when British’s First Fleet came sailing into Sydney’s harbor in 1788. The harbor of Sydney has played a prominent role in protecting the people who have called Sydney home over millenniums, dating back to the aboriginal people of Australia who lived there long before the British claimed it as a penal colony.
Today, the wild and harsh start of colonial Sydney is long gone, except for tours of historic sites. Instead, you’ll find a vibrant and cosmopolitan setting within a thriving city that mixes beach life with business and a diverse local population that has made it one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world.
Ships typically dock at the Overseas Passenger Terminal, which is a five-minute walk from the city center. You’ll find ATMs, currency exchange offices, cafes, and restaurants right by the terminal.
As you might expect from a large city, Sydney has a variety of public transportation options that are both convenient and affordable. It has an extensive bus route system that goes to many of the most popular tourist sites, plus a light rail and ferry service. In addition, a new Sydney Metro just opened that will provide faster and more frequent service around the city. As for taxis, you’ll find some waiting right outside the Sydney cruise terminal as well as at taxi ranks all around the city. Taxis will be quite a bit more than taking a bus or metro around.
Passengers getting ready for one of our Sydney cruises will find an assortment of shopping malls here. Some of the largest are Westfield Sydney, The Galeries, and World Square. You’ll find well-recognized brand names at these malls. By Westfield Sydney, you’ll also find the Australian department stores of Myer and David Jones. For local boutiques, head to the intersection of Oxford Street and Glenmore Road. In the neighborhood of Paddington, you’ll find shops with more cutting-edge fashion from new designers. For souvenirs and art, head to The Rocks near the Sydney Opera House, or the Strand for Australian hats and boots.
Australia’s official currency is the Australian dollar. The paper bills come in increments of $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100. Anything under $5 is handed out in change, including coins for $1 and $2 amounts – so don’t misplace that change as it can quickly add up! Credit cards are widely accepted, but traveler’s checks are not. Tipping also isn’t expected in Australia, but it is appreciated. If you do tip, a smaller amount is usually acceptable; think more along the lines of 10% rather than the U.S. standard of 15% to 20%.