Australia’s largest and oldest city, Sydney is best-known for its harbor, the opera house, and the Harbour Bridge. But whether your tastes run to history or dinosaurs, waxworks or magic, its museums deliver the goods. Here are our top picks.
Australian National Maritime Museum
A must for kids and history buffs alike, the Australian National Maritime Museum showcases the nation’s tens of thousands of years of maritime history. Exhibits run from Aboriginal canoes to a submarine, from a replica of Captain Cook’s HMS Endeavour to a history of migration, as well as short films and special exhibitions.
Set to relocate in January 2020, this vast museum occupies a converted power station not far from Darling Harbour. A great choice with kids, thanks to its focus on science and design, the interactive exhibits will please adults too. Discover everything from up-to-the-minute robots to the art of lace.
With a history dating back to not long after the first settlers landed in Botany Bay, the Australian Museum spans the gamut from dinosaurs to extinct giant animals, from geology to Aboriginal spiritual beliefs. School holidays see a wealth of kids’ activities.
Sydney Jewish Museum
After World War II, around 27,000 Holocaust survivors made their way to Australia. The Sydney Jewish Museum tells their stories, alongside those of other Jewish people who settled here: 16 arrived on 1788’s First Fleet.
Australian Museum of Magical Arts
Set inside the Magician’s Cabaret Theatre, which hosts regular magic shows, the Australian Museum of Magical Arts provides a fascinating glimpse into the art, craft, and mind of the conjuror.
The Sydney branch of the global waxwork brand continues to perform in the selfie era. Eerily realistic wax models include Australian celebrities from Kylie to Chris Hemsworth, while Marvel characters and interactive fashion shows update Tussauds for the 21st century.