As you make your way into Sydney’s CBD, its famed landmarks stretch across the city-scape.
As varied as they are, must-sees like the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Tower, The Royal Botanic Garden, and Powerhouse Museum all have one thing in common. They’re all visited by Big Bus Tours on their Sydney Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour. Passengers sit high above the crowds and cars, snapping perfect photos as their bus weaves its way through the city streets. What a way to travel!
Watch our video of ten top things to do in Sydney:
Are you planning a visit to the amazing New South Wales capital? In this episode of our online travel series, we bring you ten top things to do in Sydney.
With our tickets booked, we start planning. There are two tour routes to choose from — the city circuit and a loop out to Bondi Beach. While we can hop on for the first time at any of the 33 stops across the two routes, the interchange at historic Central railway station seems a handy spot.
We settle in for the ride. At each stop the freedom to hop off is tempting, but it’s well worth doing the two 90-minute circuits in full to build a short-list of must-visits. The on-board commentary (provided in eight languages) gives us plenty of information on everything we see along the way, while the free WiFi makes additional fact-finding a breeze.
Once we’ve done both loops, we hop onto the Bondi tour for a better look at the fashions of Paddington and the flash mansions of Double Bay, and to wiggle our toes in the warm sand on Bondi Beach.
Back on the city loop and Kings Cross turns up the volume with colourful neon signs and even more colourful characters lighting up its flamboyant streets.
It’s nearing lunch time, so we join the queue of people hopping off at Harry’s Cafe de Wheels for a classic pie with mash, gravy and peas. These tasty pastries are a hit with celebs too. Autographed photographs cover the walls of the famous Woolloomooloo pie stand.
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Circling back towards the city, we pass the prestigious Art Gallery of New South Wales — where the winning portraits in the annual Archibald prize are on show, along with Brett Whiteley’s giant match sticks: one pristine with a red tip; the other a burnt ember.
Choice is something you have plenty of on this Sydney hop on hop off bus tour. From here we could hop off at The Star for a flutter or head next door to Darling Harbour to sip tea in the serene surroundings of the Chinese Garden of Friendship. An underwater journey of discovery beckons at Sea Life Sydney Aquarium.
We complete the loop around Pyrmont and Darling Harbour, and take a tip from the commentary to hop off at Barangaroo Reserve and walk around the harbour’s edge (and under the Harbour Bridge!) to Circular Quay. I can’t resist snapping a selfie with the majestic Sydney Opera House as a backdrop — its giant sails sparkling in the sunshine.
Hopping on the bus one last time, we travel back to Central — marvelling at how much ground we’ve covered in such a short space of time. This Sydney Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour will fast-track you to everything the city has to offer.
Barry Johnson is a freelance travel writer living in Sydney, but with previous homes in Europe, North America, Asia, and the Middle East. His love of adventure led to getting lost in a Californian forest a week after The Blair Witch Project went viral, building a giant Buddha on a Cambodian mountain, camel racing in an Egyptian desert, and teaching English to Peruvian children as they taught him Quechuan — the language of the Incas.