In 2013, Sydney welcomed over 2.8 million foreign tourists, accounting for roughly half of all international visitors to Australia. These tourists stayed in the city for 59 million nights and spent a total of $5.9 billion. China, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Germany, Hong Kong, and India were the nations of origin, in decreasing order. In 2013, the city had 8.3 million domestic overnight visitors who spent a total of $6 billion.
Since 2000, Sydney has been classified among the top fifteen cities in the world for tourism. On a daily basis, the tourist sector provides $36 million to the city’s economy.
The Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Watsons Bay, The Rocks, Sydney Tower, Darling Harbour, the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Royal National Park, the Australian Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Queen Victoria Building, Taronga Zoo, Bondi Beach, the Blue Mountains, and Sydney Olympic Park are all popular tourist attractions.
The Sydney Harbour
Port Jackson is Sydney’s natural harbor. It is well-known for its breathtaking natural beauty, as well as the site of the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The region along the harbour front has pockets of bushland that were previously prevalent across Sydney, and it is home to a remarkable variety of natural creatures.
The Sydney Opera House
The Sydney Opera House is one of the most unique and well-known twentieth-century structures, as well as one of the world’s most prominent performing arts venues. The structure and its environs constitute an iconic Australian picture, located on Bennelong Point in Sydney Harbour, with parks to the south and adjacent to the similarly renowned Sydney Harbour Bridge.
In 2000, the skyscraper was featured in the Olympic Torch path to the Olympic Stadium. It served as the setting for many events at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, including the triathlon, which started near the Opera House, and the sailing competitions on Sydney Harbour. The striking exteriors were not matched by technically better interiors, and as a consequence, the Opera House’s reputation as a concert venue plummeted.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is the principal crossing of Sydney Harbour, bringing rail, vehicle, and pedestrian traffic between the CBD and the North Shore of Sydney. The bridge’s stunning sea panorama, together with the neighboring Sydney Opera House, is an iconic picture of both Sydney and Australia. For many years, the South-east pylon served as a lookout and tourist attraction, housing a number of telescopes and antique arcade games that ran on pennies long after that money had gone out of use. The pylon was recently refurbished and reopened to the public as a tourist attraction.
Watsons Harbor is located at the tip of the South Head peninsula and is named for the protected bay and anchorage on its western side, near Port Jackson. It offers some of the greatest views of Sydney and the Bay Bridge across the harbour. On the eastern side, The Gap is an ocean cliff with views of Manly, North Head, and the Pacific Ocean.
Watsons Bay is mostly a residential neighborhood with a few recreational facilities and beaches, including one permitted nudist beach. Some restaurants, cafés, and the Watsons Bay Hotel are situated here, as is Doyles on the Beach, one of Sydney’s most renowned seafood restaurants, which is located on Watsons Bay’s waterfront. South Head is home to the naval facility HMAS Watson.
Forts from the past
Many old batteries, bunkers, and forts may be found on Sydney Harbour’s shoreline, many of which are now heritage listed. Some of these forts date back to 1871 and were built as part of Sydney Harbour’s defense system to resist a seaborne invasion. On the north side of the harbour, between Bradleys Head and Middle Head, there are four ancient fortifications: the Middle Head Fortifications, the Georges Head Battery, the Lower Georges Heights Commanding Position, and a minor fort on Bradleys Head. The forts are made largely of massive sandstone slabs and include many tunnels, dungeons, and subterranean chambers.
THE CITY OF SYDNEY
The Rocks is a Sydney inner-city neighbourhood, tourism attraction, and historic district. It is situated on the southern coast of Sydney Harbour, near to the city center, and is close to where Sydney was initially founded in 1788. The Rocks is a popular tourist destination due to its closeness to Circular Quay and views of the famed Harbour Bridge, as well as the historic heritage of many of the structures. It has various themed and historic taverns, as well as a variety of souvenir and artisan stores. The Rocks Market is open every Saturday and has around 100 vendors. There are various historic treks in the region that visit historical structures such as Cadman’s Cottage, Sydney Observatory, and the Dawes Point Battery, which was New South Wales’ first defended position.
The Sydney Tower
The Sydney Tower is the highest free-standing structure in Sydney and the second tallest in Australia, behind the Q1 skyscraper on the Gold Coast.
The Sydney Tower Skywalk, or simply Skywalk, is an open-air, glass-floored platform that circles Sydney Tower at 260m above ground level. The movable observation platform juts out over the edge of Sydney Tower’s main construction. This attraction towers above the famed BridgeClimb trek to the top of Sydney Harbour Bridge. The seaward horizon is 58 kilometers distant from the platform, while interior landmarks such as the Blue Mountains may be viewed at greater distances. Check out the Sydney Attractions Group.
The Kings Cross area is well-known in Australia as a red light district, similar to Kings Cross in London, with numerous strip clubs and “girlie” bars along Darlinghurst Road, though demographics have shifted in recent years and gentrification has resulted in clashes between new and established elements. Kings Cross is also notable for its neon signs and advertising posters, the most well-known of which is the iconic Coca-Cola sign. The colloquialism “the Cross” is commonly used by Sydneysiders to refer to it fondly.
From the early decades of the twentieth century, the Kings Cross district was the City of Sydney’s bohemian heartland, but due to its proximity to the naval docking area at Garden Island, it also came to serve as the city’s main tourist accommodation and entertainment center, as well as its red-light district. Because of the narcotics and criminality involved with this activity, Kings Cross became well-known.