The largest city in Australia, Sydney is often considered one of the best cruise ports in the world, making it a must-see for anyone heading Down Under. Founded in the late 18th century as a British penal colony, it is also one of the oldest European settlements in Australia. Modern and cosmopolitan, Sydney is also laid-back and welcoming, with a variety of culture, history, art and nature to enjoy.
How to Get to Sydney
Depending on the size of your cruise ship, you will either dock at Barangaroo Wharf at Darling Harbour or at Circular Quay. If you disembark at Circular Quay, you are already in the heart of Sydney, just steps from the Rocks, its old city. On the other hand, those arriving at Barangaroo will need to take a shuttle bus (if provided by your ship), a taxi or make the twenty-minute walk to the center.
One Day in Sydney
Regardless of where you dock, you won't need to go far to start your day — the areas around both Darling Harbour and Circular Quay offer plenty to keep travelers busy. Start from the famous Sydney Opera House, where you can take a guided tour and then enjoy a nice view of the harbor and its famous bridge. From there, walk along the promenade of Circular Quay, possibly stopping at the Museum of Contemporary Art before continuing inland to the historic district known as The Rocks. If you visit on a weekend, allow some time to explore the lively Rocks Market.
From the Rocks, head south toward central Sydney for great shopping, restaurants and people-watching in and around the General Post Office, Pitt Street Mall and the Strand Arcade. Stop for lunch and then make your way to the Queen Victoria Building before crossing the pedestrian bridge over Cockle Bay to Darling Harbour, where you'll find the Sydney Aquarium, Sydney Wildlife World, the Australian National Maritime Museum and the Chinese Garden of Friendship. Spend a few hours visiting the attractions that appeal most, then take a break to grab a bite to eat at the Harbourside shopping and dining complex before returning to your ship.
If you're feeling adventurous and can spare the time, you may want to brave the Sydney Harbour BridgeClimb, a three-and-a-half-hour trek up and down one of Sydney's most iconic sites.
The local currency is the Australian dollar and the official language is English. ATMs are widely available and you can find a currency exchange booth at Circular Quay. Money can also be changed at banks or currency exchange offices throughout the city.