Circular Quay is Sydney’s main ferry terminus. Ferries departing from Circular Quay provide transport from the CBD to various locations across Sydney Harbour, including attractions such as Manly Beach (see article Sydney Beaches) and Taronga Zoo.
There are also a number of attractions in close proximity to Circular Quay. Much like Town Hall (see article Sydney by Foot), Circular Quay is easy to access via the railway system and is a great point of reference from which to explore famous sites such as:
- The Rocks
- Sydney Harbour Bridge
- Sydney Opera House
- Royal Botanic Gardens
All of the above-mentioned sites are simply walking distance from the terminals, and along the way you are likely to find a variety of restaurants and upmarket bars. How better to spend the day than hiking up Harbour Bridge, roaming around the gardens or sipping on a sundowner as you overlook the Opera House.
We had booked a two-day excursion of Sydney and part of the itinerary included a walking tour of The Rocks. Truth be told, I probably would not have been aware of The Rocks or its importance in Australia’s heritage if it was not part of the tour.
The Rocks was one of the early settlements in Sydney and derives its name from the nearby sandstone which was used as building materials. Historically, The Rocks was home to exiled convicts but has now flourished into a favourite location for both tourists and locals. While the area still maintains its historical nature, there are many pubs, craft shops and curio stalls hidden among the original sandstone buildings to explore.
Sydney Harbour Bridge
Sydney Harbour Bridge connects Sydney CBD to the northern parts of Sydney. It forms an important link for residents working and living on opposite shores, but also promotes tourism as adventure-seekers can endeavour the bridge climb (approximately a 3 to 4 hour hike) for epic views of the city. Time was not on our side to do the bridge climb and so we will have to wait patiently (and exercise diligently) till our next trip.
Sydney Opera House
Possibly Sydney’s most iconic landmark, the Sydney Opera House is an internationally well-known performing arts centre. The Opera House comprises many theatres and is home to a number of Australian performing arts companies. There is also the option to book a tour of the Opera House if you are interested in the building’s design, architecture and history. Sadly, we did not have the privilege of attending any of the productions held, but I feel it would definitely have been a memorable experience.
Royal Botanic Gardens
Adjacent to the Sydney Opera House is a pathway leading into the Royal Botanic Gardens. On the left, we were struck by stunning views of Sydney Harbour and on the right, a vast and diverse landscape of flora and foliage. Walking deeper into the gardens, we were greeted by family picnics, joggers, and groundskeepers carefully tending the park. If you are looking for a peaceful cup of coffee or a space for the kids to expend their energy, then the Botanic Gardens is the ideal spot.