Sydney see and do guide

An independent selection of the best things to see and do in Sydney. No paid placements, no advertorial.

Sydney see and do guide

Introduction

| 12 Jan 2021
Last updated 12 Jan 2021

Welcome to our independent guide to the best things to see and do in Sydney. This guide is the product of my COVID year getting to know Sydney all over again after being away for most of the last three decades. Getting to know your hometown as a tourist is an eye-opening experience. This guide is in development so come back for more soon.

 

The Powerhouse Museum

The Powerhouse Museum - or Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences - is all about technology, science and design in an old industrial setting. The old tram powerhouse, is spectacular (hence the name). It's enough reason for a visit. There are classic bits of Australian industrial history on display, as well as temporary exhibitions on design and technology. Admission Free.

For more on the Powerhouse Museum, click here.

Powerhouse Museum, Sydney
Photo: Mark Bowyer Powerhouse Museum, Sydney

 

Sydney's best swimming spots


From lesser known beaches and ocean pools, to harbour gems and suburban swimming centres - this is our list of Sydney's best places for a casual dip. They've been selected not just because they're amazing places to swim, but because they're in interesting, often beautiful settings. The settings will be at least as rewarding as the swims.

For our guide to Sydney's best swimming spots, click here.

Camp Cove, Watson's Bay
Photo: Mark Bowyer Camp Cove, Watson's Bay

 

The Museums of Sydney

When travellers think Sydney, they're more likely to think beaches, the Harbour Bridge, the Opera House and outdoor life, than museums and galleries. And you get the sense that Sydney has dropped the ball a little on the museum game.  Sydney has nothing to match the great museums of Europe or North America. It's a patchy affair really. Some of the smaller museums and historic houses will be a a highlight.

 

Check out our guide to the best of Sydney's museums.

 

Chau Chak Wing Museum, Sydney
Photo: Mark Bowyer Tasmanian Tiger - Chau Chak Wing Museum, Sydney

 

Hyde Park Barracks

The 1819 Hyde Park Barracks is one of the oldest convict sites in Australia. It's a serious piece of history designed by convict architect Francis Greenway under Governor Lachlan Macquarie. Inside is a museum remembering convict life, the building's time as a women's immigration depot, and Indigenous dispossession. Adults $24.

For more on Hyde Park Barracks click here.

Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney
Photo: Mark Bowyer Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney

 

Chau Chak Wing Museum

The Chau Chak Wing Museum opened in late 2020. It's Sydney's newest museum and one of its best. Located on the campus of Sydney University, it brings together the university's three old museums in a single gleaming new complex. Admission is free.


For more on the Chau Chak Wing Museum click here.

Chau Chak Wing Museum, Sydney
Photo: Mark Bowyer Chau Chak Wing Museum, Sydney

 

Watson's Bay - Camp Cove, The Gap, South Head Heritage Trail

You'll easily fill a leisurely afternoon or longer at Watson's Bay. The gateway to Sydney's South Head has a mellow village feel, dramatic coastal views, great walks, sweet harbour beaches and a fascinating history. Its location at the end of the peninsula feels pleasantly removed from the city and the neighbouring suburbs. It's where you'll find the site of Australia's oldest lighthouse, The Gap, historic Camp Cove and views across the harbour from South Head. A good supply of eateries will keep you covered through your visit too.

For more on Watson's Bay and what's there, click here.

Camp Cove
Photo: Mark Bowyer Camp Cove

 

University of Sydney

The Chau Chak Wing Museum (above) is the main attraction of a visit to the historic campus of Sydney University. Australia's oldest museum is also interesting for a walk and a look - especially the original 1850s gothic sandstone buildings of the Main Quad.

For more on visiting Sydney University, click here.

The historic Main Quad at the University of Sydney
Photo: Mark Bowyer The historic Main Quad at the University of Sydney

 

Our independent selection of the best things to see and do in Sydney, kicked off in January 2021. Let us know if you have any suggestions.

Museums of Sydney

When travellers think Sydney, they're more likely to think beaches, the Harbour Bridge, the Opera House and outdoor life, than... Read more

University of Sydney

Sydney University is Australia's oldest university. Founded in 1850, it is one of a handful of Australian universities that... Read more
University of Sydney
Sydney University, Parramatta Rd, Camperdown
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