We found that the most effective ways to get around Sydney’s city centre, were by railway or by foot. Most mornings we would walk to the nearest station from our hotel, hop on a train and hop off at Town Hall station. Town Hall is central to most of Sydney’s attractions and acted as a base for our impromptu walking trips.
Now my husband and I are hardly fit travellers; however, walking is a great way to get in touch with a city, find your bearings and perhaps even discover enjoyable places which were not on the to-do list. Having said that, my personal favourite reason to explore by foot is to justify my holiday eating pleasures – I could have those sugar-coated deep-fried churros and a hot chocolate topped with whipped cream for breakfast because I walked 3 kilometres that morning.
Some of the places we “walked into” included:
- Queen Victoria Building
- Hyde Park and Archibald Fountain
- ANZAC Memorial
- Australian Museum
- Sydney Tower Eye
Queen Victoria Building
Town Hall links to Queen Victoria Building via a network of underground shops and arcades. Aesthetically pleasing, Queen Victoria Building was built in the late nineteenth century and was originally designed as a marketplace. The building now operates as an upmarket shopping centre, and hosts a variety of international stores, designer boutiques, cafés and eating houses.
Hyde Park and Archibald Fountain
Hyde Park is centrally located and a prime location to observe Sydney’s diverse inhabitants. As we walked along its pathways, we witnessed fitness groups, runners and cyclists, families, businessmen adorning the benches with newspaper in hand and, of course, tourists angling for their best photographs of Archibald fountain. Hyde Park is a popular venue for events, a place to gather and meet with friends and family, or simply a haven to steal a little “me-time”.
Located in Hyde Park South, the ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Memorial was built in honour of the Great War (1914 – 1918). The memorial was designed by architect Charles Bruce Dellit and was to serve as a monument as well as offices for veteran organisations. Today, the memorial is also home to a number of war artefacts and memorabilia which are on display and can be viewed by the public.
I would not consider the Australian Museum as an essential stop for tourists, however, anthropology enthusiasts may enjoy a walk through Australia’s timeline. Within the museum you can learn about various indigenous species, ranging from birdlife and insects to Australia’s more dangerous creatures. One can even step back in time to the prehistoric era or gaze at the precious gems displayed at the mineral exhibition. Other exhibits showcase the rich culture of Australia and the Pacific, with detailed displays of traditional tools and totems.
I could spend hours at the museum, however, unless you have enough time to wander through the exhibits, perhaps leave this till your next visit.
Sydney Tower Eye
Our 5 Sydney attractions pass (see article Sydney Darling Harbour by Day) covered the Sydney Tower Eye. The Sydney Tower Eye is situated in the Westfield Shopping Centre and is the tallest observation tower in Sydney. Having explored the city by foot during the day, we decided that a nocturnal aerial perspective would be best. We aimed to catch the sunset from the top of the tower, but had not anticipated the tour group that had piled out in front us. Nevertheless, the city lights were breath-taking enough to excuse the long queue.
The tour started with a pleasantly unexpected 4D movie, which undoubtedly enhanced the experience. Complete with water splashes and vibrating floors, the 4D movie took us on a journey around Sydney and laid out the iconic landmarks to look out for from the observation deck.
We were then herded into an elevator which felt like forever to get to the top. Now, when I say that it took forever was not to say that I became impatient but rather to give you an idea of high we had to travel to reach the observation deck. From that height, the city of Sydney looked like a toy kingdom. The tower measures a whopping 309m from the ground, and the observation deck provided a 360 degree view of the illuminated city. Thanks to our personal walking tour and the 4D movie, we could easily pick out Sydney’s famous sites as well as fuel our enthusiasm regarding where we would visit next.