Walking tour of Sydney

This article is an itinerary.

This Walking tour of Sydney is in Sydney, Australia. It takes in many of the major sights in and around Central Sydney.

Panorama of Harbour Bridge and Opera House from Circular Quay


Central Sydney map

Sydney is the largest city in Australia, and capital of New South Wales. Fortunately for visitors, it has a compact centre that is pedestrian friendly and brimming with star attractions.

The main sights in central Sydney can be covered on foot in a day's walking tour. It takes about 35-45 minutes to walk straight from Central Station to Circular Quay. Most attractions can be seen for free, but some of the locations require admission fees if you want to go in and have a detailed look around.

The complete tour is a large loop that covers sights in City Centre, The Rocks, Darling Harbour, and City South. It can take at least several hours and up to a full day, depending on speed, fitness level, and time spent at each location. It can easily be extended over several days with longer visits to some of the museums, galleries and shopping districts.

There are several optional loops listed on this tour, which will extend it further. You will need to be very fit and walk fast to complete all the options in a single day.

If you are short in time and wish to do only part of the walking tour, consider taking the Harbour side walk from Mrs Macquarie's Chair, with the waters to your right, down to the gated Royal Botanic Gardens, up to the iconic Opera House, down to Circular Quay, and up through The Rocks to the Harbour Bridge. This segment of the walking tour is for many the epitome of the Sydney experience.


The climate in Sydney ranges from cool winters to hot summers. In the warmer months, it is imperative to protect yourself from the harsh Australian sun. Use a maximum protection sunblock (SPF 30+) on all exposed skin, and re-apply during the day. Wear a hat with a wide brim. Do not worry about making a fashion statement - Sydneysiders are very sun-aware and won't look twice at anyone in a sunhat. Sunglasses are also highly recommended.

In winter (remember that Australian winter is from April to September), central Sydney can get quite chilly, especially on a windy day, as the wind is funneled between the tall buildings. Wear a wind-resistant jacket.

This tour requires a good deal of walking, with some gentle slopes and a few stairs. Wear comfortable shoes.

There are plenty of places to buy food and drink along the way, but city prices can be expensive. Carrying your own bottle of water is a good idea if you don't like paying a lot for it. Filtered water fountains for top ups are available for free in many parks and tourist areas.

Get in

If staying near City Centre, you can simply pick up this walk at the nearest point to your accommodation.

If staying outside City Centre, catch a train to Town Hall Station or a bus to Town Hall on George Street for the starting point. If you are staying near a ferry wharf, you could catch a ferry to Circular Quay and begin the loop there.

By taxi, request a drop-off at Town Hall if coming from south of the harbor. If coming from north of the harbor, request Wynyard as your destination and join the walk there, to save the extra taxi fare down to Town Hall.


Town Hall to Hyde Park

Sydney Town Hall
Australian museum

St Mary's Cathedral to the State Library

St.Mary's Cathedral
Martin place

The Domain to Mrs Macquarie's Chair to Royal Botanic Gardens

Art Gallery of New South Wales
Mrs Macquarie's Chair
View from Mrs Macquarie's Chair
View of Sydney skyline from across Farm Cove
NOTE: The Garden Gates close near sunset. The Gardens are completely fenced in, so note the closing time and take care near sunset not to be locked in.

Sydney Opera House to Circular Quay to The Rocks

Royal Botanic Gardens approach to QE II Gate and the Opera House
Opera House pink granite front steps
Circular Quay and CBD Skyline
Opera House from The Rocks

Sydney Harbour Bridge to Australia Square

Circular Quay with the Queen Mary 2 docked, from the Harbour Bridge
A street in the Rocks - and in the background the Harbour Bridge is visible
Australia Square

Martin Place to Queen Victoria Building

Sydney Tower as seen from the street
Queen Victoria Building

Sydney Aquarium to Darling Harbour

Darling Harbour's major indoor attractions
Chinese Garden of Friendship

Chinatown to Town Hall

Sydney Chinatown
Central station sydney

Stay safe

During daylight, the most dangerous thing you will encounter on this walk is traffic. Be careful crossing streets, remembering to look right for oncoming traffic if you are from a country where cars drive on the right side of the road. Many locals will dash across streets whenever there is a gap in the traffic, but it's better to obey the crossing signals for maximum safety.

You may be approached by a more or less scruffy looking beggar at some point, often requesting money for "a bus ticket home." Politely refuse and walk away and they will generally leave you alone.

If you remain on the streets after dark, stick to well-lit main thoroughfares. The area along George Street south of Town Hall can harbor boisterous youths who may have had too much to drink, although police presence means incidents are rare.

Along the water, especially at Circular Quay, anyone with food will be pestered by seagulls. They are harmless, but can be annoying and disconcerting. Avoid feeding them.

Go next

There are several other scenic walks within Sydney, taking in parts of the suburbs around the CBD area.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, August 31, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.