Arriving in Sydney at Central Station, I had 3 hours to kill and none of Sydney’s sights to my name except Bondi Beach. With 40 dollars in my pocket and an uncomfortably large ‘LONDON’ tourist bag packed with my possessions, I decided walking was the way to go… Heading north of the station and cutting through Hyde Park led me past the Library of NSW and to the gates of the Royal Botanic Gardens in less than half an hour. Even in the depths of winter, I was blessed with a gorgeous Australian day and the walk through the gardens was beautiful. There is plenty of flora to take in – with some native plants and flowers even labelled. Following the signposts, I headed in the direction of Macquarie’s Chair in a chase for that spectacular view of Sydney Opera House. The walk took around 20 minutes (ft a quick toilet stop) and once you reached the walled waters edge you were met with fantastic views back on to the city. The views did not disappoint upon reaching my destination, despite being busy with tourists and locals alike.
From here, the only logical move forward seemed to get closer to the Opera House! Although I’d recommend getting sidetracked and grabbing a beer and some food from Busby’s Bar, where you can relax looking over the views of Sydney on rustic outdoor seating. The walk from the Busby’s Bar to the Opera House takes less than 20 minutes and is a popular running route amongst locals. In addition to this there is a miniature train which takes tourists around the gardens which can be purchased at the gates nearest the Opera House, (this seemed popular with adults and kids) which may also be a good way to save little legs from doing so much walking. Up close the building is breath-taking and would be an ideal stop for some photos and to catch your breath. If you have longer or a larger budget, tours of the Opera House can be purchased online which may be a good addition to the itinerary I used.
A cheaper alternative to a highly expensive Harbour Bridge Climb is to climb the Harbour Pylon – which gives brilliant views over the city and the bridge itself and costs a mere $25 for adults and even less for concession and children. Even just walking along the Harbour Bridge is an experience I would recommend – especially as you can easily walk there via The Rocks from the Opera House. There is definitely a way to see the Harbour Bridge which suits every budget and it is something that should be ticked off every Sydney to see list. I opted for the Harbour Pylon, proving a great way to end my crash-tour walk of central Sydney.
Whilst there are millions of things to do in Sydney, this route offers a quick snapshot of the city’s famous landmarks and multiple photo opportunities. It can also suit a more modest budget and can be adapted to suit all levels of fitness and ages. Overall, I found that the Botanic Gardens, Opera House and Harbour Bridge fit in well as a half-day activity and would recommend a visit to all three.