The Best Activities and Tours in Sydney
Sydney, capital of New South Wales and one of Australia's largest cities, is best known for its harbor front Sydney Opera House, with a distinctive sail-like design. Massive Darling Harbor and the smaller Circular Quay port are hubs of waterside life, with the arched Harbor Bridge and esteemed Royal Botanic Garden nearby. Sydney Tower's outdoor platform, the Skywalk, offers 360-degree views of the city and suburbs. National parks ring the city and penetrate right into its heart. Large chunks of the harbor are still edged with bush, while parks cut their way through the skyscrapers and suburbs. On the coast, Sydney ends abruptly in sheer walls of sandstone punctuated by arcs of golden sand. In summer they're covered with bronzed bodies making the most of a climate that encourages outdoor socializing, exercising, flirting and fun. After a lazy Saturday at the beach, if you want to dress up and show off, there's plenty of opportunity for that among the sparkling lights of the harbor. Compared to its Australian sister cities, Sydney is loud, uncompromising and boisterous. Australia's best musos, foodies, actors, stockbrokers, models, writers and architects flock to the city to make their mark, and the effect is dazzling: a hyper energetic, ambitious marketplace of the soul, where anything goes and everything usually does. With all of these fabulous attributes, Sydney is a great place to experience, and there are several options for budget friendly activities and tours in or near the city.
Spend a day exploring Sydney with an expert guide to take in iconic highlights around the harbor side city. Your air-conditioned coach meets you at select hotels to begin the morning portion of your Sydney day tour. Motor from Sydney CBD to the suburb of Manly, listening as your driver shares informative commentary about the city's history and landmarks. Pass Darling Harbor and disembark at Milson's Point and the Arabanoo Lookout for a new perspective on the engineering of Sydney Harbor Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. Disembark in Manly to meander on a pedestrian walkway known as The Corso, ending up at Manly Beach. After marveling at the majestic Pacific Ocean, hop back in your coach to drive back to central Sydney. For lunch, you have two options. You can upgrade to include a luncheon cruise on Sydney Harbor or take two hours on your own before rejoining the coach for the afternoon portion of your Sydney tour. See where the city of Sydney began when you discover The Rocks district in the afternoon. Your guide then points out highlights downtown such as Hyde Park, St Mary's Cathedral and Parliament House. You'll stop at the Royal Botanic Gardens and take in panoramic vistas of Sydney Harbor from a landmark known as Mrs. Macquarie's Chair. Convict laborers carved sandstone to make this bench in 1810. Keep your camera handy as your coach travels out of town to the dramatic seaside cliffs called The Gap. Get great photo ops of Watson's Bay, then continue to Bondi Beach where you can catch up with local surf culture before your return journey to Sydney.
Learn the art of surfing with a lesson from a qualified instructor at world famous Bondi Beach, just a short hop from central Sydney. After making your own way to Bondi Beach, which is located just six miles from Sydney, meet your surfing instructor and get fitted with a surfboard, wetsuit and other gear for your surfing lesson. Your instructor starts the lesson on the sand, introducing the gear and basic techniques for paddling out and popping up on your board. Practice your technique on the beach, and hear some entertaining stories about the history of Australian surfing. Once you are comfortable with your dry run, pick up your board and step into the warm ocean waters to try catching some waves. Your instructor accompanies you into the water and helps you to improve your paddling and time your pop up. Have plenty of customized attention and time to practice in the water as you learn. Whether you are a first-timer or you want to refresh your skills and test the big surf, the waves and weather at Bondi Beach are perfect for year-round surfing. Have the choice of a private 1- or 1.5-hour lesson, or learn in a small group with a maximum of six people.
Get an exclusive experience of the World Heritage-listed Sydney Opera House on a backstage tour of this world-famous center for the performing arts. Meet your small-group tour guide in the morning to hear the history of the Sydney Opera House, as well as the insider stories and industry secrets that play out behind the curtain. Performing arts fans of all stripes will relish the chance to experience the inner workings of this famous venue. Get started early in order to ensure that you can access rehearsal areas, dressing rooms and concert stages; access is restricted later in the day. You might catch a glimpse of actors, dancers or musicians as they warm up backstage. You might step onto the conductor's podium and view the orchestra section, then walk onstage where countless artists have performed, seeing the majesty of the opera house from their perspective. After your guide takes you through some of the centers five performance halls and backstage areas, sit down for a full continental breakfast served in the Green Room - which is usually only accessible to performers and staff. As you enjoy a hearty meal, you can ask further questions and hear more stories. Choose from several hot and cold dishes with options for different dietary needs. It's the perfect ending to a memorable tour of this iconic performing arts center.
Enjoy an exhilarating 5-hour sailing cruise on Sydney Harbor aboard a luxury yacht with an experienced captain. In the morning, make your own way to Darling Harbor to meet your 40-foot luxury cruising yacht. Your captain welcomes you aboard and you set off under the Sydney Harbor Bridge, passing the iconic Sydney Opera House and the Rocks, where the British colonists first established the colony. Then sail past Farm Cove, Mrs. Macquaries Chair and Fort Denison, where convict prisoners were kept in rough conditions during colonial times. Glide through Rushcutters Bay and turn towards Sydney's exclusive eastern suburbs and view sprawling waterside mansions, then sail into Watsons Bay where your captain points out legendary restaurant Doyle's on the Beach, and the harbor's official clothing-optional beach at Lady Bay. Drop anchor at gorgeous Store Beach and enjoy more than an hour there to relax and have lunch. You might take a swim, go snorkeling, try fishing, or stroll along the beach before lunch is served on board the boat. Lunch includes dishes with seafood, chicken, salads, fruit and dessert, accompanied by Australian beer or wine and soft drinks. Throughout the cruise, your captain provides informative commentary on Sydney's history and sights. Your boat comes fully equipped with a spacious dining and lounge area, comfortable interior cabin and exterior decks, shower and toilet facilities, and safety equipment. In the early afternoon head back to Darling Harbor to your starting point to end your sailing cruise.
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