You’d be forgiven for thinking that Sydney’s best sights are lining the beaches or harbor, but in the case of popular Observatory Hill, this elevated perch in the heart of downtown is one of the city’s best spots. For one, visiting the park is totally free—as are the sweeping views of the harbor and Sydney’s Harbor Bridge. Make the 20-minute trek from The Rocks and pack along a picnic, relaxing and sprawling out on the grass with a panoramic view of the harbor. The uphill climb to reach the park tends to thin out the visitor crowds, and thereby makes it a local favorite for watching the sun go down. On New Year's Eve, Observatory Hill is one of the best places in Sydney for watching fireworks, and the nearby Sydney Observatory is popular during all times of year. Here at Australia’s first observatory, you can peer through the telescope when visiting at night and enjoy Planetarium sessions inside, and the building now houses an informative center on the history of astronomy in Sydney.
Observatory Hill is approximately 20 minutes by foot from The Rocks and Circular Quay. The park area has a tennis court, exercise stations, as well as public art. While there are no public restrooms, there are some nearby on Watson Road. The most popular way to reach the park is via Kent Street, which then lead up the 108 “Agar Steps.” Or, from downtown, walk through the underpass beneath the Harbor Bridge that leads up from bustling Cumberland Street.