Australian Sustainable Food, Environment, & Social Systems 2015

Blog site for the 2015 MSU study abroad program.

5/28 – Jackie

G’day mates!! May 28th was our last day in Sydney before we set off to beautiful Cairns! We had a free day to explore the city and see some of the exceptional sites Sydney has to offer. There are many tourist attractions from outdoor activities and sites to restaurants you have to try! As much as we wanted to see it all, there just isn’t enough time in the day to explore everything. Here are some of the top ten things to do while you are in Sydney and some of the things the group did as well!! One of the great things about Sydney is that most of the beautiful sites are near each other. If not walking distance, we could take public transportation and see The Rocks, Opera House, the bridge, and Manly beach all in one day!

Top 10 things to do in Sydney:

1. Taronga Zoo: The Taronga Zoo is located on Sydney’s waterfront and is a short ferry ride away from Circular Quay. The zoo houses over 2,900 exotic and native species for tourists to view and enjoy.

Some of us went and visited the animals at the Taronga Zoo on our free day. The ferry ride to the zoo is beautiful since you have a great view of The Sydney Opera House and the Harbor Bridge. Tickets to the zoo cost $46.00. Since the zoo is so big, they have a Sky Safari that will take you from one end of the park to another! While at the zoo you can take many different tours to learn about the animals. They offer animal encounters, shows and talks, wildlife park, and a tree top ropes course!

2. Sydney Opera House: The Sydney Opera House is located in Circular Quay and is one if the city’s busiest music, arts and performance venues. The building is just as iconic on the outside as it is the in! If you’re interested in learning about the inner workings of the venue, highly informative and fun tours (The Backstage Tour) are available for tourists to take part in.

The Sydney Opera House is a 42 year old building built by the architect Jorn Utzon. It is a world class performing arts center that is treasured by the people of Australia. It is also a part of the World Heritage List! We were able to take great pictures of the Opera House out front and from the ferry. You can even climb the steps to the front door like we did in our picture with the flag! At anytime of the day, the outskirts of the Opera House is filled with tourists and locals taking pictures, grabbing a bite to eat, and even running! You are not allowed to go inside of the building but you can take a tour and gain access. This is a place that everyone in the entire group visted more than once!

3. Sydney Harbour Bridge: The Sydney Harbour Bridge originally opened in 1932 and is nicknamed “The Coathanger”. Tourists and visitors are free to walk or bicycle the bridge that spans the Sydney Harbour. Or even better, you can book an BridgeClimb expedition which takes you high into the superstructure! No climbing experience is necessary- dawn and twilight climbs are available.

The Harbour Bridge is located right across the harbour from the Sydney Opera House.  This bridge is the worlds tallest steel arch bridge! It is the vital connection between the suburbs of Sydney to the city center, resulting in over 200,000 cars traveling across it in a single day! A great way to see the bridge is to take a ferry- like we did! A lot of people also like to do the bridge climb! If you’re not afraid of heights this could be for you! At different times of the day, there are guided climbs to the very top of the bridge giving you a spectacular view of the city!

4. Sydney’s Bondi to Coogee Trail- The Bondi to Coogee Walk links all the beaches near Bondi to Coogee and showcases Sydney’s finest ocean views. If you’re looking for something fun to do and see, and is free- this is your spot! There are plenty of cafes to stop by while in route, interesting landmarks and also great swimming spots!

5. Dine at Sydney’s Finest Restaurants- Dine at one of the best restaurants in the world- Quay. Enjoy beautiful views of Sydney Harbour while you dine at an amazing restaurant. Or you could try Sepia-Australian Restaurant of the Year! It is located in the heart of the city and features Japanese-inspired contemporary food and wine. Lastly there is an Asian flavor restaurant named Rockpool.

6. The Rocks in Sydney- The Rocks is an historic reminder of the colonial era in Sydney. Although you can walk through the cobbled laneways, The Rocks Walking Tour gives a interesting portrait of Australia’s first European settlement. You can also visit Fort Denison- an island with its own mini fort and canons.

The Rocks are known as Sydney’s history area. It is the land of the Gadigal people and the first place of European settlement in Australia. While we were there we had dinner at The Australian and walked around to do some souvenir shopping.

7. Sail on Sydneys Beautiful Harbour- One of Sydney’s signature travel experience is taking a ferry ride. Or even better- you can sail on your own! Sydney By Sail is a company that offers yacht charters and sailing lessons.

8. Explore Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens- The beautiful Royal Botanic Gardens are extensive and a place of scientific research and education. There are scenic walking paths to enjoy and learn about the gardens through free guides. You can also take a special Aboriginal Heritage Tour and sample bush foods.

9. Camp on Sydney Harbour’s Cockatoo Island- Cockatoo is located in the Middle Harbour, behind the Sydney Harbour Bridge. You wake up in one of the worlds greatest views and you learn about the islands history as a convict prison and later a shipyard. You can bring your own tent or hire a pre-erected one on the island.

10. Blue Mountains- Blue Mountains National Park is just a few hours from Sydney, but it is beautiful. The mountains have been a popular spot for walkers, climbers and outdoor types for hundreds of years.

-A few of us headed to Manly Beach for the day. We started the day by taking the train down to Circular Qauy then getting on a Ferry to Manly beach. We had really nice weather so we went down to the water! Although we did not get to swim, we did put our feet in and enjoy the view. We took a trail down to Shelly beach and found a nice spot to have lunch. After lunch we did a little bit of shopping and headed back to Sydney central. At night we went down to the Harbor and watched the Vivid lights show. This festival ends on June 8th and brings many people to the city. It was so beautiful! The Opera House and other buildings were colored with lights and animations. They also had different attractions to look at throuhgout the city that were light up with many colors. Below are some pictures from Manly beach and the Vivid light show.


Above are two photos from Manly Beach and a picture of the Sydney Opera House at night during the Vivid Lights show.

Here are some websites to check out if you would like more information about Sydney and some of its beautiful sites!

Sydney Harbor Bridge info:

Sydney Opera House:

Taronga Zoo:

The Rocks:


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