Travelers looking to explore the wonders of the Southern Hemisphere and Pacific Rim will be sure to have the time of their lives sailing on a Queensland cruise to Brisbane, Australia. This majestic voyage will take vacationers up the exotic coastline of Australia to Port Douglas and Willis Island for scenic Pacific cruising before returning home. You'll be sure to soak up plenty of sun and marvel at the Great Southern Land's magnificent destinations, but perhaps the most exciting destination on your Australian cruise will be your port of call - Sydney.
A city full of amazing things to see and do — you won't want to miss a moment. Explore these must-see Sydney shore excursions and attractions, and learn how to get there.
- The Rocks
With its old cobblestone roads and historic merchant homes made from the sandstone that gives the area its name, The Rocks is a city center peppered with art galleries, boutiques, and restaurants. Take a stroll around this famous district and connect with Sydney's rich history.
To get there: The Rocks is an easy walk from Circular Quay (the busiest part of the harbor, from where you can take buses, trains, and ferries). Walk along George Street toward the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and you'll be there in no time.
- The Sydney Opera House
When you think of Australia, the iconic Sydney Opera House immediately comes to mind. As one of the busiest performing arts centers in the world, this facility houses multiple performing arts venues that host more than 1,500 performances each year. The structure, designed by Danish architect Jorn Utzon, was completed in 1973, and quickly became one of the most recognizable buildings of the twentieth century.
To get there: The Sydney Opera House is a seven-minute walk from Circular Quay. A complimentary shuttle service also runs from Circular Quay to the opera house.
- The Harbour Bridge
As you move past the opera house, you'll be sure to spy the Sydney Harbour Bridge connecting the city's central business district and the North Shore. Don't be surprised if you hear the local Aussies referring to this bridge as the "coat hanger" because of it holding the record as the world's widest long-span bridge and tallest steel-arch bridge. If you’re feeling adventurous, sign up for a shore excursion to climb the upper span of the bridge’s arch.
To get there: The Sydney Harbour Bridge is a 10 minute walk from Circular Quay.
- Paddington and Glebe Markets
Every Saturday, the Paddington and Glebe Markets both open their stalls, delighting trendsetters, bargain hunters, and art lovers alike. Glebe is known for being the top vintage market in Sydney, while Paddington specializes in supporting local craftsmen and designers. A trip to these markets will spark your creativity for months to come.
To get there: Glebe Market is located at the corner of Derby Place and Glebe Pt. Road, on the grounds of Glebe Public School. Paddington Markets is located at 395 Oxford Street, Paddington, near Centennial Park.
- The Taronga Zoo
Beloved by locals and visitors alike, the Taronga Zoo offers a behind-the-scenes tour that allows guests to handle animals and take photos near sleeping koalas. Guests are also offered self-guided maps and access to the zoo's extensive educational information.
To get there: Taronga Zoo is a short 12 minutes by ferry from Circular Quay. While on the ferry, you'll enjoy beautiful city vistas, including a stellar view of the Sydney Opera House.
- Manly Beach
Renowned for its surfing, Manly Beach has drawn Sydney-siders for its swimming and surfing since the late 19th century. It was named by Captain Arthur Phillip, who wanted to capture the key characteristics he saw in the local indigenous populations: confidence and manliness. The beach has many public amenities, including a playground, showers, and public facilities.
To get there: Take a 30-minute ferry ride from Circular Quay to Manly.
- Bondi Beach
This local hotspot is perfect for kicking back with a book or learning to hang 10 with the best of them while enjoying some of the best surfing conditions in the world. And when you're feeling a little hungry later in the day, you can just pop over to the nearby Campbell Parade, where you'll find a vibrant district of cafes, bistros, tapas bars, burger shacks and more.
To get there: Take a scenic day drive from The Rocks to Bondi Beach on a narrated excursion through the city, or drive the m1 Pacific Motorway 45 minutes from Circular Quay.
- The Blue Mountains
Of course, there's no reason to limit your Sydney visit to the city itself. Just beyond the metropolis lies the stunning Blue Mountains, a natural formation of sandstone cliffs, thick forests and breathtaking waterfalls where you could lose yourself for days on end. You can even catch a bird's-eye view of the landscape from the inside of a cable car spanning the mountainous peaks.
To get there: About an hour drive from Circular Quay, take an air-conditioned motor coach from port on a stunning and scenic excursion.
On an Australia cruise, you can carve your own path through Sydney. Take in these and other uniquely Australian sites for an experience you'll remember for years to come.