Sydney by Foot

Sydney by Foot

How can you possibly see all the sights of Sydney in one day?  Get out your walking shoes.  The capital of Australia is an example of urban planning gone right and one of the most walkable cities we have visited.  The stunning Circular Quay area, pristine beaches and vibrant markets made this our favorite city Down Under.

When exploring a new city it’s hard to know where to start, but in the case of Sydney a friend tipped us off to this amazing walking tour on wikitravel which served us well.  Our feet were tired at the end of the day, but we had seen all the best Sydney had to offer and now so can you with this virtual tour.  I feature just the highlights, but if you are looking for the full tour click here.

Town Hall to Hyde Park

  • Start your tour where Sydneysiders meet; on the steps of the Sydney Town Hall . It is easily accessible by train (Town Hall station on the City Circle line) and bus.
  • Nearby you can pop into Hyde Park and see the ANZAC Memorial, also nearby is the huge Australian Museum. The museum  is worth a visit for stuffed Australian animals and informative exhibits, its also a great place to stop if you need a bathroom break.
  • Next enjoy the tree-lined walk  towards the Archibald Fountain . This is a great place for a picnic and is busy  on nice days, you might even catch a street performer in the middle of a show.

St Mary’s Cathedral to the State Library

St. Mary's Cathedral

  • Enjoy St. Mary’s Cathedral with its unusual north south layout, just remember to purchase a photo permit if you wish to take pictures of the interior.
  • Heading north you’ll pass the Hyde Park Barracks, St. James Church and The Royal Mint, which is free to look around.
  • Along Macquerie Street you’ll stroll past the Sydney Hospital and Martin Place where part of The Matrix was filmed.  Continue on past the Reserve Bank of Australia and New South Wales Parliament House.

The Domain to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair

  • Next, head to The Domain, where main city workers hang out during their lunch breaks.
  • Continuing east towards the Art Gallery of New South Wales you get into the best part of the walk. Exit the gallery and turn right, north up Art Gallery Rd.
  • At the end of the headland is Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair, a large rock bench, rumor has it this is where colonial governor Lachlan Macquarie’s wife sat watching for ships from England.This is quite possibly the best photo opportunity in Sydney offering you a perfect view of both the Opera House and the Harbor Bridge.  This is another great place for a picnic to really soak in the views.

The beautiful Royal Botanic Gardens

  • After you have admired the view continue south along the path towards the Royal Botanic Gardens. The Gardens are well maintained and perfect for relaxing with a book if you have time to slow down.  Just keep in mind that the garden gates close at sunset.

Sydney Opera House to The Rocks

  • Exit the gardens via the Queen Elizabeth II gate (north-west, follow the path with the harbor on your right), which leads directly to the Sydney Opera House. Take some time to walk around the Opera House and to climb the pink granite steps, which will give you an up close look at the unusual construction. Unfortunately, there is no access inside the Opera House unless you fork over the $35 AUD for the tour or buy a ticket to a performance.
  • Leave the opera house by walking south along the pedestrian promenade of East Circular Quay.  If you didn’t pack a picnic lunch this is a great place to grab a bite to eat with a view.

View of Circular Quay from above.

  • Circular Quay is the place to catch most of Sydney’s ferry services, you can grab a boat to Manly Beach or Bondi Beach to soak up some of Australia’s beach culture or spend the afternoon doing the coastal walk.

The Rocks

  • Next head past the street performers and enjoy The Rocks area. This historic district was the site of the first English settlement in Australia, and contains many original buildings. Walk north up George St.; this section of the street is closed to traffic on weekends and hosts The Rocks Market.

Sydney Harbor Bridge

The iconic Harbor Bridge as viewed from water level before heading across to Luna Park.

  • From Cumberland St., climb the stone staircase up to the road deck of the Bradfield Highway and walk north on to the Sydney Harbor Bridge . The views from the pedestrian path are excellent even if it is through a chain linked fence. For unobstructed views, pay to climb the South Pylon Lookout its a lot cheaper than the Bridge Experience that takes you to the top of the Harbor Bridge.

  • Go west under the bridge at water level and you will see the giant face of Luna Park. You are free to walk around the park, you only need to pay if you want to go on the rides. Walk back up the hill and through the tunnel under the roadway to the stairs leading back up to the bridge deck to return south across the harbor

Queen Victoria Building

The upscale shopping experience that awaits you at the Victoria Building.

  • Make your way back to George St., where the majestic Queen Victoria Building offers an upscale shopping experience or a place to take a rest and grab a drink at one of the cafes.

The tour will take you an entire day and if you are planning on stopping for a picnic, lunch at a cafe, some shopping or want to be able to take in the talents of the local street performers you might even want to break up the tour into two days.  Regardless of how you decide to see Sydney, whether it be on foot or using their extensive public transit system make sure you budget plenty of time, and money, to enjoy this incredible city!

If you plan to explore more than just Sydney while you are in Australia check out our Australia Guide by clicking here.

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» Bka :
Jul 2, 2012

Thanks to you and Scott, we did the whole walking deal as well and it does make for a full day… failed to mention Harry’s de Wheels cafe, where one stops for mushed peas and potatoe pie or as toppings on your hot dog!…..Sydney was our favorite ” big” city, “we’ll be back”…..why do your photos look so good and ours are snapshots?!?!……fun to re-live that glorious day… dad

LOCAVORista Reply:

Dad, thanks for the reminder on Harry’s de Wheels Cafe- a classic Sydney experience.

» Augustine :
Jul 17, 2012

I would love to visit these places. I hope to get a good experience. It looks beautiful. Its an amazing. This post has brought back good memories of the day I visited Paris.
Thanks for the post
Read Augustine’s awesome post VIP for Four

LOCAVORista Reply:

Augustine, glad to hear that this post brings back good memories of another city walk you did. Sydney is a wonderful urban spot, definitely worth adding to your travel wish list if you haven’t been!

» Luxury :
Oct 16, 2012

Great Posts, nice picture and a good place to be.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.

About the Author

LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.

About the Author
LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.


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