Top Attractions Not to Be Missed While Visiting Sydney and Melbourne

Last updated July 11, 2024 | By Mundiel Editors

Sydney Harbour from the air

Australia’s two largest cities, Melbourne and Sydney, offer a treasure trove of attractions that captivate visitors from around the world. From iconic landmarks to hidden gems, these cities are brimming with experiences that cater to all kinds of travelers. Here’s a rundown of the top attractions you shouldn’t miss when visiting Sydney and Melbourne.

Sydney: The Harbour City

1. Sydney Opera House A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Sydney Opera House is an architectural masterpiece and a symbol of Australia. Take a guided tour to learn about its fascinating history or catch a world-class performance in one of its many venues.

Sydney's Opera House and Harbour Bridge

2. Sydney Harbour Bridge Another iconic landmark, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, offers an adventurous BridgeClimb experience that rewards you with stunning panoramic views of the city and harbour. For a less daring option, walk across the bridge for equally impressive vistas.

3. Art Gallery of New South Wales, situated in the picturesque Domain parklands is one of Australia’s leading art museums. It houses an extensive collection of Australian, European, and Asian art, along with contemporary works. The gallery also offers rotating exhibitions, guided tours, and engaging public programs.

Art Gallery of New South Wales

4. The Royal Botanic Garden Located near the Sydney Opera House, these lush gardens provide a peaceful retreat with scenic harbour views. Explore the diverse plant collections, enjoy a picnic, or take a guided tour to learn about the flora.

5. Taronga Zoo Set on the shores of Sydney Harbour, Taronga Zoo offers a chance to see Australia’s unique wildlife up close. The zoo’s location also provides spectacular views of the city skyline.

6. Darling Harbour This lively precinct is home to a variety of attractions, including SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo, and the Australian National Maritime Museum. Enjoy dining, shopping, and entertainment options, all with a picturesque waterfront backdrop.

Sydney Harbour Ferry

7. The Rocks. Step back in time in Sydney’s historic district, The Rocks. Wander through cobblestone streets, visit museums, and browse the weekend markets. The area also offers numerous pubs and restaurants for a taste of local cuisine.

Melbourne: The Cultural Capital

1. Federation Square, a hub of culture and activity is home to the Ian Potter Centre: National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) Australia and ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image). It’s a great starting point for exploring the city’s vibrant arts scene.

Flinders Street Station

2. Queen Victoria Market. This historic market is a food lover’s paradise. Explore the bustling stalls offering fresh produce,

gourmet foods, and unique souvenirs. Don’t miss the night markets for a festive atmosphere and live entertainment.

Great Ocean Road

3. Block Arcade​, located in Melbourne’s central business district is a historic shopping destination renowned for its exquisite Victorian architecture, including mosaic-tile flooring and glass canopies. Visitors can explore an array of boutique shops and enjoy treats from the famous Hopetoun Tea Rooms.

4. Royal Botanic Gardens. Escape the hustle and bustle of the city in Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens. Spanning 94 acres, these gardens feature beautiful landscapes, diverse plant collections, and serene walking paths.

Block Arcade

5. St. Kilda, a vibrant seaside suburb offers a variety of attractions, including Luna Park, St. Kilda Beach, and the Esplanade Market. Enjoy the lively café scene and take a stroll along the pier for stunning sunset views.

6. Great Ocean Road, while technically outside Melbourne, is a must-visit for anyone in the area. This scenic drive offers breathtaking coastal views, charming towns, and natural wonders like the Twelve Apostles.

Tram 35 is free to take around the city center

7. Phillip Island​, a nature lover’s paradise is famous for its nightly Penguin Parade, where you can watch the smallest penguins return to shore. The island also offers stunning coastal views, the largest fur seal colony at Seal Rocks, and the thrilling Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.

8. Flinders Street Station​, an iconic symbol of Melbourne is known for its striking yellow facade and grand dome. As the city’s main transport hub, it provides easy access to other attractions and is a popular meeting point, famous for its row of clocks displaying train departure times.

Penguins return to shore on Phillips Island

Sydney and Melbourne each offer a unique blend of attractions that cater to a variety of interests. From Sydney’s iconic harbour and beaches to Melbourne’s cultural and culinary delights, these cities promise unforgettable experiences for every traveler. Whether you’re exploring historic sites, indulging in local cuisine, or soaking up natural beauty, Sydney and Melbourne are sure to leave you with lasting memories.