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Things you should do in Sydney at least once

When was the last time you really explored your own city? Play tourist at these attractions and see Sydney from a different perspective.

Pic: @kathryndenny via Instagram

Ride the ferris wheel at Luna Park

The city skyline may have changed since the first ferris wheel ride at Luna Park Sydney in 1935, but it's still such a spectacular sight. Luna Park is bursting with old-world carnival charm, from fairy floss as big as your head (or bigger!) to the beautifully restored rides. You owe it to yourself to grab a bunch of friends or that special someone and make a day of it.

Pic: Sydney Tower Eye

Dine in Sydney’s tallest building

Revolving restaurant. Need we say more? Sydney Tower Eye is the city’s tallest building and offers a 360 degree view of Sydney. You can head up to the observation deck and look around, or try Sydney’s highest outdoor adventure on a guided Skywalk around the outside of the building. If you need a drink to recover, 360 Bar and Dining offers a fine dining menu and award-winning wines, served with an unforgettable view (on rotation).

Pack a picnic and head to Royal Botanic Gardens. Pic: @tessa_fontaine via Instagram

Enjoy a picnic in the Royal Botanic Garden

Your challenge, should you choose to accept it: stop taking our green spaces for granted. Think about it - the Royal Botanic Garden boasts arguably the best views of Sydney Harbour as well as 30 hectares of diverse plants and birdlife. And it's close enough to the city that you can visit on your lunch break. Enjoy a picnic, join a free guided walk or book an Aboriginal heritage tour led by an experienced guide.

The AWO in the Concert Hall in the Sydney Opera House. Pic: Prudence Upton

See a show at the Sydney Opera House

You can’t live in Sydney and not take a peek beneath the sails of the Sydney Opera House at least once. There are a huge range of performances each year, from opera and dance to theatre and concerts. See a show, take a backstage tour of the rehearsal spaces or wine and dine your way around the many restaurants and bars.

The Manly Ferry. Pic: iStock

Catch a ferry to Manly

The 30-minute ferry trip to Manly has been a must-do since 1855 and it’s still the best way to get to Sydney’s beautiful Northern Beaches. Hop on the historic ferry at Circular Quay and travel across the sparkling waters of Sydney Harbour, past historic landmarks like Government House at Kirribilli, Mrs Macquarie’s Chair and Fort Denison. Bonus points if you run into that famous big swell.

Ride a horse in Centennial Park

Choose a sunny day and head to Centennial Park for a horseriding lesson. Back it up with a picnic near one of the park’s many ponds, take a walk in the meditative labyrinth or take a self-guided walk around the park.

Australian National Maritime Museum at Sydney, Darling Harbour

Board a submarine at the Maritime Museum

Go under the sea… without the hassle of getting wet. At The Australian National Maritime Museum you can climb on board a former Navy submarine, or wander through a fully restored 19th century ship in Sydney Harbour, all a stone’s throw from the city centre.

The view from Sydney Harbour Bridge. Pic: BridgeClimb Sydney

Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge

At 134 metres, the Sydney Harbour Bridge is the world’s tallest steel arch bridge and one of Australia’s most treasured landmarks. There are a number of ways to enjoy this engineering marvel: join a paid BridgeClimb and scale your way to its dazzling heights, or walk to Pylon Lookout for a panoramic view of the city. Walking across the bridge at street level is one of the best free things to do in Sydney and will only take you about 15 minutes.