Adventure | Beach | City | Family | Food and Wine 25 September 2023

Exploring the Iconic Landmarks of Sydney: A Must-Visit Guide

Nestled along the southeastern coast of Australia, Sydney is a city that seamlessly blends natural beauty with urban sophistication. Its skyline, punctuated by iconic structures and surrounded by azure waters, beckons visitors from around the globe. But beyond its visual allure, Sydney's true charm lies in its landmarks - each a chapter in the city's grand narrative.

From historical sites that transport you to the past, to modern marvels that showcase innovation, the comprehensive list of attractions in Sydney displays the city’s dynamic persona. As you embark on a journey to explore these tourist places in Sydney, let Oaks Hotels, Resorts and Suites be your top accommodation pick, perfectly positioning you amidst the city's wonders and elevating your Sydney experience.

Let’s delve into Sydney’s famous places, understand what sets them apart, and immerse in the luxurious embrace of Oaks Hotels.

What Makes Sydney's Landmarks So Iconic?

A landmark, by definition, is a recognisable natural or artificial feature that typically stands out from its environment and has become a point of reference for navigation, history, or cultural identity. Sydney's landmarks are more than just points on a map; they represent the city's rich heritage, achievements, and aspirations. From architectural marvels like the Sydney Opera House to natural wonders like Bondi Beach, these landmarks embody the spirit of Sydney. As we delve deeper into each one, you'll uncover the stories, mysteries, and unique attributes that make them truly iconic.

Where to Stay in Sydney: Oaks Hotels, Resorts and Suites

With its lively culture and renowned Sydney landmarks, the city presents a myriad of experiences for every kind of traveller. To genuinely soak in Sydney's charm, you’ll need suitable accommodation. Oaks Hotels, Resorts and Suites offer diverse accommodation options in Sydney, promising a comfortable and unforgettable stay. Ready to book your room?

Oaks Sydney Goldsbrough Suites

Nestled adjacent to Darling Harbour and the Fish Market, the Oaks Sydney Goldsbrough Suites breathes historic charm within a heritage-listed building. The unique architecture of the suites offers a blend of old-world charm combined with modern amenities, ensuring a luxurious stay. Whether you're visiting the city for business or leisure, the central location and the stunning views from the Goldsbrough Suites make it an unparalleled choice.

Oaks Sydney Castlereagh Suites

Centrally situated in the Sydney CBD, the Oaks Sydney Castlereagh Suites are a stone's throw away from Chinatown and Pitt St. Mall, placing guests near some of the must-see tourist places in Sydney. These modern suites are designed to provide all the essentials, ensuring guests feel right at home. With onsite leisure facilities and undercover parking, the Castlereagh Suites add a layer of convenience to your stay.

Oaks Sydney Hyde Park Suites

The Oaks Sydney Hyde Park Suites offer a serene escape right in the heart of the city. Overlooking the lush expanse of Hyde Park, guests can bask in tranquillity while remaining close to major attractions in Sydney. After a day of exploring Sydney’s famous places, the rooftop heated swimming pool and spa at the Hyde Park Suites are perfect for relaxation.

Oaks Sydney North Ryde Suites

The Oaks Sydney North Ryde Suites are conveniently located a short distance from Macquarie University. Catering to business travellers and family holidays, these suites have modern amenities to ensure a comfortable stay. The added benefits of onsite leisure facilities and undercover parking at the North Ryde Suites make it an ideal choice for all visitors.

Each of these accommodations offers unique experiences, catering to different needs. Whether looking for proximity to business hubs, serene views, or historical architecture, Oaks Hotels in Sydney have got you covered.

11 Must-Visit Attractions and Landmarks in Sydney

Sydney, a city renowned for its stunning harbour, vibrant culture, rich history and plenty of famous places, is home to numerous must-see attractions. Each Sydney landmark tells a story, offering a glimpse into the city's past, present, and future. As you embark on this journey through Sydney's iconic spots, you'll discover the heart and soul of this Australian metropolis.

1. The Harbour Bridge & Opera House

Closest Hotel: Oaks Sydney Goldsbrough Suites
Distance: Approximately 2.5 km
Transport Options: 15-minute drive or 30-minute walk

Among the most famous places in Sydney, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, often referred to by locals as the "Coathanger", stands as an emblem of the city's rich history and engineering marvel. Since its completion in 1932, it has provided an essential link between Sydney's north and south, offering unparalleled views of the harbour and city skyline. For the adventurous, the Harbour Bridge Climb is a must, allowing visitors to ascend to the summit and witness Sydney from a unique vantage point.

Adjacent to the bridge, the Sydney Opera House is an architectural masterpiece and a beacon of cultural significance. Its sail-like design is recognised worldwide and is a hub for world-class performances, from opera to contemporary music. Beyond its iconic exterior, the Opera House is surrounded by a variety of dining options, where visitors can enjoy exquisite cuisine while taking in the stunning views of the harbor.

For art aficionados, the nearby Museum of Contemporary Art showcases a diverse collection of modern artworks, making it one of Sydney’s cultural hotspots.

2. Bondi Beach

Closest Hotel: Oaks Sydney Hyde Park Suites
Distance: Approximately 10 km
Transport Options: 30-minute drive or 45-minute bus ride

Bondi Beach is more than just a stretch of golden sand; it's a lifestyle deeply ingrained in Sydney's culture. Known worldwide for its surfing heritage, Bondi is a haven for novice and seasoned surfers. Local surf schools like Let’s Go Surfing offer lessons for those eager to ride the waves.

Beyond the surf, the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk is a scenic trail that captures the essence of Australia's eastern coastline, with cliff-top views, secluded beaches, and vibrant rock pools. This walk is especially popular during the Sculpture by the Sea event, an annual outdoor exhibition that transforms the coastline into an art gallery.

Close to Bondi Beach is the Bondi Icebergs Club, famous for its ocean pool. It's a unique swimming experience, with the pool's waters refreshed by the ocean's waves. For art enthusiasts, the Bondi Graffiti Wall showcases vibrant murals and artworks by local artists, changing regularly and reflecting the suburb's dynamic arts scene.

For those looking to relax, the beachside cafes and restaurants offer a mix of local and international cuisines, with many establishments boasting views of the iconic beach. As the sun sets, Bondi's vibrant nightlife comes alive, with bars and clubs offering a mix of music, dance, and entertainment.

3. Taronga Zoo

Closest Hotel: Oaks Sydney Goldsbrough Suites
Distance: Approximately 8 km
Transport Options: 20-minute drive or 30-minute ferry ride

Another top attraction in Sydney, located on the shores of the harbour in Mosman, is Taronga Zoo Sydney. Cherished since its opening in 1916. Home to over 4,500 animals representing 350 species, the zoo offers a diverse and immersive experience for visitors of all ages.

One of the recent additions to the zoo is the immersive Australian Habitat, Nura Diya. Here, visitors can stroll amongst kangaroos, come paw-to-paw with dingo pups, and walk within the tree canopy to observe koalas like never before. This habitat offers a unique and close-up experience with some of Australia's most iconic wildlife.

For those looking to delve deeper into the world of animals, Taronga Zoo offers a range of memorable experiences. From fun animal encounters to the unforgettable "Keeper for a Day" programs, visitors can get up close and personal with their favourite animals. Additionally, the "Wild Ropes Treetops Adventure" provides an adrenaline-pumping experience, allowing visitors to navigate through treetop obstacle courses while enjoying views of the zoo and harbour.

Beyond its vast collection of animals, Taronga Zoo is also a hub for conservation efforts. The Taronga Conservation Society Australia, the not-for-profit organisation behind the zoo, is dedicated to wildlife conservation, scientific research, and community education. Every visit to the zoo contributes to these efforts, ensuring a brighter future for wildlife in Australia and around the world.

4. The Queen Victoria Building

Closest Hotel: Oaks Sydney Castlereagh Suites
Distance: Approximately 1 km
Transport Options: 10-minute walk or 5-minute drive

Located in the middle of the CBD, the Queen Victoria Building, one of Sydney's famous places and affectionately known as the QVB, stands as an epitome of timeless architecture and grandeur. This five-level shopping centre, which occupies an entire block on George Street, seamlessly marries history with a contemporary retail experience.

Walking through the QVB feels like stepping back in time. Visitors are met with intricate stained glass windows, regal domes, and a historic clock that offers a unique mechanical display on the hour. The very essence of the building pays homage to Queen Victoria's reign, evident in the various statues and artworks dedicated to her legacy.

The QVB's rich history is palpable in its design and architecture. Originally conceptualised as a marketplace, it was completed in 1898. Over the subsequent years, the building underwent several restorations, ensuring the preservation of its historic charm while evolving to meet modern retail demands. Today, it's a bustling hub, home to an eclectic mix of boutiques, cafes, and restaurants, making it an essential stop for history buffs and avid shoppers alike.

Its prime location in the city also means that the QVB is conveniently close to other notable Sydney landmarks. After immersing oneself in the QVB's splendour, a short stroll can lead visitors to the historic Sydney Town Hall, the serene St. Andrew's Cathedral, or the bustling precinct of Darling Harbour.

5. The Royal Botanical Gardens

Closest Hotel: Oaks Sydney Hyde Park Suites
Distance: Approximately 2 km
Transport Options: 10-minute drive or 20-minute walk

A premier tourist place in Sydney, the Royal Botanical Gardens showcases nature's splendour. Overlooking the iconic Sydney Harbour, these gardens, established in 1816, span over 30 hectares and offer a sanctuary for a diverse range of flora from Australia and around the globe.

More than just a visual treat, the gardens are a hub for scientific research, education, and conservation. The Australian Institute of Botanical Science, integral to the gardens, spearheads initiatives to conserve plant species, ensuring a greener future for generations to come.

Visitors can meander through themed sections, each narrating its own unique story of nature's diversity. The Rose Garden paints a picture of romance with its myriad hues, while the Rainforest Walk offers a glimpse into the lush, dense greenery typical of tropical forests. For those seeking tranquility, the Oriental Garden provides a serene experience with its meticulously designed landscapes and calming water features.

6. The Rocks

Closest Hotel: Oaks Sydney Goldsbrough Suites

Distance: Approximately 2 km

Transport Options: 10-minute drive or 20-minute walk


Steeped in history and character, The Rocks is one of Sydney's most iconic precincts. Located on the edge of Sydney Harbour, this area blends cobbled pathways, historic buildings, and vibrant modern-day culture. It's a place where the past meets the present, offering visitors a unique glimpse into Sydney's colonial history.


The Rocks is renowned for its sandstone architecture, with buildings that tell tales of the early settlers and convicts who once called this place home. Among these historic structures is Cadman’s Cottage, one of the oldest surviving residential buildings in Sydney, offering a window into the lives of its early inhabitants.


But The Rocks isn't just about history. Today, it's a bustling activity hub with many pubs, eateries, boutique shops, and street markets. Every corner of this precinct resonates with stories, from tales of sailors and rogues to modern-day artists and entrepreneurs.


For those keen to delve deeper into the history of The Rocks, guided tours like The Rocks Walking Tours and I’m Free Tours offer insightful journeys through its winding lanes, sharing anecdotes and lesser-known facts that bring the area's rich history to life.


Beyond its historic charm, The Rocks frequently host events, festivals, and exhibitions, making it a dynamic space that celebrates its heritage and contemporary culture. Whether you're a history buff, a foodie, or simply looking to soak in the ambience of old-world charm juxtaposed with modern vibrancy, The Rocks promises an enriching and unforgettable experience.

7. The Sydney Tower Eye

Closest Hotel: Oaks Sydney Castlereagh Suites
Distance: Approximately 1.5 km
Transport Options: 10-minute walk or 5-minute drive

Dominating the city skyline, The Sydney Tower Eye, formerly Centre Point Tower, stands as the tallest structure in Sydney. Renamed in 2011, this iconic landmark has been integral to Sydney's silhouette for decades and remains one of the must-visit tourist places in Sydney.

At 268m - the highest outdoor viewpoint in Sydney - visitors are treated to a 360-degree panoramic view of the city from the tower's observation deck. This vantage point offers unparalleled sights, from the bustling city streets to the serene waters of the harbour, and on clear days, the distant Blue Mountains come into view.

Beyond the mesmerising vistas, the tower offers the SKYWALK experience - an exhilarating outdoor adventure that allows brave souls to step out into the open air atop Sydney's tallest building. This 60-minute tour promises an adrenaline rush and a unique city perspective.

The ULTIMATE SYDNEY PASS is an excellent choice for those keen to explore more of the many attractions in Sydney. This pass provides access to the Sydney Tower Eye Observation Deck and other top spots like SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo, and Madame Tussauds Sydney.

Additionally, the tower frequently hosts special events and packages, such as the SYDNEY TOWER VIP ADVENTURES, offering visitors an extraordinary afternoon experience with unparalleled city views.

Whether seeking the thrill of the SKYWALK or simply wanting to admire the breathtaking panoramas of Sydney, The Sydney Tower Eye ensures an experience that lingers in memory.

8. Manly Beach

Closest Hotel: Oaks Sydney Hyde Park Suites
Distance: Approximately 17 km
Transport Options: Bus ride or ferry from Circular Quay

Manly Beach, located in the vibrant suburb of Manly, is one of Australia's most iconic beaches. It's not just its golden sands and surf-friendly waves that make it special, but also its rich history. Notably, Manly Beach was the venue for the world's first surfing contest in 1964.

The beach is a favourite among locals and tourists, offering a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure. Surfers, from beginners to professionals, flock to its shores to catch the perfect wave, while families and sunbathers enjoy the serene ambience.

Beyond the beach, Manly boasts a lively atmosphere. The Corso, a pedestrian-friendly street, has shops, cafes, and entertainment options. It is a bustling hub where visitors can shop, dine, and immerse themselves in the local culture.

The Manly to Spit Bridge Walk is a must for those keen on exploring the area's natural beauty. This scenic coastal trail offers breathtaking ocean views, indigenous flora, and hidden beaches, making it a favourite among trekkers and nature enthusiasts.

Dining in Manly is an experience in itself. Queen Chow offers a modern take on Cantonese cuisine, ranging from dim sum to Peking duck. For a more laid-back setting, the Hotel Steyne provides beach views, live music, and a rooftop bar, encapsulating the vibrant spirit of Manly.

9. The Art Gallery of NSW

Closest Hotel: Oaks Sydney Hyde Park Suites
Distance: Approximately 2 km
Transport Options: 10-minute drive or 20-minute walk

The Art Gallery of New South Wales boasts a diverse collection of artworks, ranging from contemporary pieces to historical treasures. It hosts several exhibitions, some of the most notable being the Archibald, Wynne, and Sulman Prizes - prestigious awards celebrating the best in Australian art.

For those keen on a more immersive experience, the gallery offers various tours and experiences, allowing visitors to explore the art world in depth. There's also a focus on digital experiences, with free video, audio, and articles available, providing insights into art commentary, artist interviews, and behind-the-scenes explorations.

The Art Gallery of NSW is more than just a space for art; it's a hub of culture, learning, and exploration, promising an enriching experience for art enthusiasts and casual visitors alike.

10. Darling Harbour

Closest Hotel: Oaks Sydney Goldsbrough Suites
Distance: Approximately 1 km
Transport Options: 5-minute walk or 2-minute drive

Darling Harbour is a vibrant waterfront destination offering a delightful mix of entertainment, dining, and iconic attractions. This bustling precinct encapsulates the essence of Sydney, presenting a myriad of experiences for every kind of visitor.

One of the standout attractions here is the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium. Dive deep into the marine world and marvel at diverse aquatic life, from the awe-inspiring sharks to the vibrant coral reefs. Right next door, the WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo provides an immersive urban wildlife experience, allowing visitors to meet and learn about Australia's iconic animals, such as the endearing koalas and energetic kangaroos.

The Darling Quarter Kids Playground is a haven of fun and excitement for families. This state-of-the-art playground boasts a range of features, including water play zones, climbing ropes, and slides, ensuring endless entertainment for children.

Of course, no visit to Darling Harbour is complete without indulging in its culinary offerings. The area is dotted with various eateries, from casual cafes with harbour views to upscale restaurants serving international cuisines.

Darling Harbour transforms into a lively nightlife spot as the evening sets in. Its array of bars, clubs, and entertainment venues make it a favourite among both locals and tourists looking to unwind and enjoy the city's vibrant atmosphere.

For those who've opted for the ULTIMATE SYDNEY PASS, Darling Harbour's attractions, including the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium and WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo, are conveniently accessible. This pass ensures that visitors can make the most of their Sydney adventure, combining the best of the city's attractions in one comprehensive package.

With its dynamic blend of attractions, dining options, and entertainment venues, Darling Harbour promises a memorable experience.

11. Sydney Fish Market

Closest Hotel: Oaks Sydney Goldsbrough Suites
Distance: Approximately 1.5 km
Transport Options: 5-minute drive or 15-minute walk

The Sydney Fish Market is a cornerstone of Sydney's culinary and cultural landscape. As one of the largest fish markets in the Southern Hemisphere, it offers a vast array of fresh seafood, from the shimmering scales of the day's catch to exotic crustaceans and molluscs. Visitors are treated to a marketplace of fresh produce and can indulge in a smorgasbord of prepared dishes at the on-site eateries. The vibrant atmosphere, punctuated by the tantalising aromas of cooked seafood, provides a sensory experience that resonates with locals and tourists.

Beyond its seafood stalls, the market is a hub of experiences. The Sydney Seafood School, housed within the market, is a culinary institution where participants can immerse themselves in seafood cooking classes guided by expert chefs.

The Sydney Fish Market has always been a symbol of evolution and growth. With plans and visions for redevelopment and expansion, it continues solidifying its status as a world-class seafood destination. Future designs and plans aim to blend modern aesthetics with functionality, ensuring the market continues celebrating its rich seafood heritage.

Whether you're a seafood aficionado, a curious tourist, or someone looking to immerse in Sydney's culinary scene, the Sydney Fish Market promises an experience that lingers in memory and tantalises the taste buds.

Celebrating Sydney's Famous Places

As our journey through Sydney's landmarks comes to a close, it's evident that this city is more than just a sum of its parts. With its distinct story and significance, each landmark weaves together to form Sydney's vibrant tapestry. And as you explore these wonders, the comfort and luxury of Oaks Hotels, Resorts and Suites await to enhance your Sydney experience. Whether you're a first-time visitor or a lifelong resident, these landmarks offer fresh perspectives and rediscoveries, ensuring that Sydney's allure never fades.

So, the next time you find yourself in this magnificent city, take a moment to explore, reflect, and celebrate the iconic Sydney landmarks that make this an extraordinary city, all while enjoying the unparalleled hospitality of Oaks Hotels.