Walking Tour of Sydney, Australia
Sydney, Australia, the “Emerald City,” is certainly one of the most photographed cities in the world. Its harbor area, with the famous Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, is breathtaking, especially at sunset. Probably the best way to get the perfect picture is to take a harbor cruise or any of the ferries that ply the harbor. Another great photo opportunity is available to the brave, hardy souls who scale the Harbour Bridge. The Sydney Harbour Bridgeclimb takes groups of people to the top of the 440 foot (110 meter) span for a glorious view of the harbor below. It is a strenuous but safe (participants are tethered) experience.
My walk begins on the Circular Quay, where the convicts, who were resettled here from England, disembarked. It is now a transportation hub. Walk west along the harbor and follow Writer’s Walk to the Sydney Opera House, which opened in 1973, and is certainly the most recognized symbol of the city. This working concert hall and entertainment venue has an unusual and distinctive design, with its shell-like appearance, that has captured the fancy and imagination of millions of visitors. The roofs of the “shells” are covered with over a million tiles. Be sure to spend some time inside, as well as wandering around the structure on the numerous public walkways. It is the home of the Sydney Opera, the Sydney Theater Company, and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Try to take in a performance while in the city.
From the opera house, walk south on Mrs. Macquaries Street, past the State Library of New South Wales, Parliament House, and the Mint, then bear left and then turn left on Art Gallery Road, which becomes Mrs. Macquaries Road and leads to the Visitor Centre for the Royal Botanic Gardens, a wonderful place to relax and “get into nature.” The gardens contain fountains, ponds, and a number of unusual bird species besides the typical flowers and trees. From the gardens, a visitor can wander around Farm Cove to Mrs. Macquaries Point. Here, the famous Mrs. Macquaries Chair offers spectacular views of the Sydney Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and the harbor.
When you have finished taking pictures and admiring the vistas, walk south on Mrs. Macquaries Road, past the art gallery, and then cross St Mary’s Road to visit St Mary’s Cathedral, a Gothic-style structure, erected in the early 19th century. From here, walk across College Street and then west to enter Hyde Park. Stroll along the paths of the park, heading westward, and past the exuberant Archibald Fountain, to emerge from the park on Elizabeth Street.
Cross the street and walk west on Market Street, to access the Sydney Tower, the tallest building in the city, with an 820 foot (270 meter) high observation deck. It provides wonderful views of the city and its environs. Admission includes an audiovisual presentation about Australia.
Continue west on Market Street to find the Queen Victoria Building, a former produce market, restored and converted into a shopping mall. Browse the many shops as you work your way from the north end of the complex, to emerge at the southern end, where you will find the Queen Victoria Statue.
From the statue, walk south on George Street to see the Sydney Town Hall, a beautiful Victorian edifice. Check out the Grand Organ in Centennial Hall. Nearby is St Andrews Cathedral, Australia’s oldest church.
Now, walk west on Bathhurst Street into the Darling Harbour area. Here, you will find the world-renowned Sydney Aquarium, with its incredible underwater walkways. Next, exit Darling Harbour by walking north on Wheat Road to Erskine Street. When you reach York Street, turn left, and then right on Margaret Street, and left onto George Street, which leads to the section of Sydney known as The Rocks. Here, the fearless can access the Harbour Bridge, for the Bridgeclimb (see above), or to walk across the bridge. After either of these activities (or neither), retrace your steps on George Street, and then turn left on Argyle Street, to access Circular Quay West. Follow this walkway to Circular Quay, where the walking tour began.