Australia Travel Guide Australia, New Zealand and Pacific

What to see in Sydney (After you’ve seen the Big Attractions)

November 28, 2016
What to See in Sydney, Sydney Opera House

Been there, seen it, done that? There’s another side to Sydney for everyone to uncover, whether it’s your first, second, or tenth trip. If you’re unsure of what to see in Sydney after the heavy-hitters, we’ve got a few suggestions.

You know you’ve been to Sydney too many times when you barely give the Sydney Opera House a glance as you walk past.  You tramp along Bondi beach without stopping to watch the surfers perform their tricks on the waves. Harbour bridge? Old news – nothing to be seen there so move along. It’s easy to take the city’s beautiful natural setting for granted –  take another look and there’s a whole world outside of the tourist beat.


Paddington Market


Few places could be more different from large-scale air-conditioned malls than the quaint neighbourhood of Paddington. This up and coming area is home to many of the city’s coolest boutiques and is the perfect place to pick up a piece or two for yourself and gifts for people at home.

The best time to visit is on a Saturday when Paddington Market sets up shop and provides plenty of further buying opportunities. Browse through over 250 stalls filled with all kinds of items, from handmade leather wallets to antique lampshades and embroidered kaftans. I was a particular fan of the jewellery stands, which sold all kinds of weird and wacky trinkets guaranteed to help you stand out from the crowds.

Aside from shopping, the market is a great experience, if only because of the people. Old and young, city slickers and hippies, it’s a friendly crowd to immerse yourself in. When you’ve worn yourself out, and the wafts of freshly baked bread from the organic bakery prove too much to bear, grab a seat in the sunshine (be warned, they can be hard to find) and buy a dish from one of the food stalls, which sell all manner of tasty treats from Pad Thai to hot dogs.

Want to know more? Her {curio}Majesty’s Guide to Paddington Market tells you more.

Manly (and a SECRET BEACH) 

Manly Beach Although it is less than an hour on the ferry, Manly is worlds away from the bright lights and city centre. It’s the place where all the cool kids decide to hang up their skates and embrace the quieter life. The beaches provide the perfect setting for catching the sunset or, if you’re feeling a little more energetic, for taking a walk and soaking up the scenery.

Those of you who are really willing to put your muscles to work will be well rewarded with one of Sydney’s hidden beaches – Store Beach. Only accessible by kayak, Store Beach is the perfect haven from the sweat and slick of the city’s more popular beach haunts. The beach forms part of an aquatic reserve that is a breeding ground for the endangered species of fairy penguins, so nature spotting potential is a high. Or just flop and drop, savour the scene. Just don’t forget to bring a packed lunch.

Royal Botanic Garden

The Royal Botanic Garden is a tropical oasis in the city. It was established in 1816 and has been attracting visitors to see its horticultural displays ever since.  The garden houses a vast array of plants, both native and international, set over a number of beautiful gardens.

Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney

The Botanic Gardens are the perfect location for you to take a casual stroll. Set aside a few hours to explore the different areas. Make sure that you don’t miss the Palace Rose Garden (in the Upper Garden) – it features over 1,800 roses. Cadi Jam Ora: First Encounters tells the story of Sydney’s original inhabitants, the Cadigal people and includes many of the native plants that would have originally grown on the sites of the gardens.

If you want to learn more about the gardens on your visit, give the Botanic Garden’s guided walks a try. They’re free and set off from the information booth at 10.30am daily.

The Royal Botanic Garden is celebrating its 200th birthday this year with a range of events – check out what’s on here.

Gazebo Wine Bar

Lets face it, when it comes to bars and restaurants with stunning panoramas paired with slick service, Sydney’s got itself sorted. But there’s also something to be said for somewhere a little quirkier to while away your evening, which is when Gazebo Wine Bar is the perfect option.

Tucked away in King’s Cross, the unusual setting is laid-back and welcoming, with fairy lights adorning the ceiling and off-the-wall decor in which diners can comfortably spend an evening in the company of locally-sourced seasonal foods and a vast range of international wines to accompany.

Where to Stay: The Langham, The Rocks 

We’ve done the big-name internationally branded hotels, but it’s always the jewel in the crown to find a hotel that’s a little off the beaten track.  The Langham in The Rocks area of the city is the perfect base for those wanting something a little different without sacrificing in the luxury stakes. Built to resemble a period mansion, this boutique hotel is one of Sydney’s best and is only a few minutes’ walk into the city centre.

Have you got further suggestions for what to see in Sydney? We’d love to hear them – leave a comment below.

Sydney Travel Guide. You've seen the Opera House, what next? The alternative guide to things to see, do and eat in Sydney

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  • Reply Elena December 2, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    I love the fact that this list has such variety: a market, a beach, a garden, a bar and a hotel. I must say that The Store Beach would be my favorite for a number of reasons. First, for the way in which I would have to reach it, then for it’s quietness and last but not least, for it’s cute penguins! Thanks for sharing this, I’ll keep it in mind!

    Elena |

    • Reply Julianna Barnaby December 2, 2016 at 9:31 pm

      I’m really glad that you like it Elena – Store Beach is fabulous and a real show stopper in a city that’s not short on beaches!

  • Reply rakshanagaraj December 2, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    I am absolutely in love with Sydney and I love your article.

  • Reply Eric || The Bucket List Project December 2, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    Great post, I love the info on Manly beach. My friend Vince moved to Sidney 6 months ago for work and I am sure he would love to hear about that secret beach!

    • Reply Julianna Barnaby December 2, 2016 at 10:08 pm

      Thanks Eric, so glad to hear – it was a definite favourite and nothing beats a great beach 👌

  • Reply ckaway December 3, 2016 at 12:49 am

    Sydney is one of my favorite cities and I usually stay at the Rocks as I love the location. This is a great list and worthy of bookmarking for anyone visiting, even the first time. Nice post.

  • Reply Sanne - Spend Life Traveling December 3, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    I spent a month in Sydney and absolutely loved it. It’s such a great city with so many things to do! That wine bar sounds great, a shame I missed that 😉

    • Reply Julianna Barnaby December 4, 2016 at 7:23 am

      It’s such a great city! The wine bar is a favourite but hey – if you tried to do everything there you’d never leave the city 😊

  • Reply Gareth December 3, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    I have some friends currently living in Sydney and I am always told of how much there is to do there and I’ve heard nothing but good things about Manly. And, as one of the previous comments have stated before, it’s great to see a lot of variety on this list although as something of a cricket fanatic, no trip would be complete without a visit to the cricket ground. Nevertheless, great post and will be passing it on to my buddies

    • Reply Julianna Barnaby December 4, 2016 at 7:25 am

      You know what Gareth – you’re right! I’ve not made it to a match in Sydney but it’s high on the list! Glad you like the post. It’s such a brilliant city.

  • Reply Philip Mathew December 4, 2016 at 6:00 pm

    Thanks for sharing this! Have not been there yet! But definitely a things for me to consider!

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