Sydney Activities

Establishment neighborhood
The Royal Botanic Garden
Mrs Macquaries Rd., CBD
Anyone traveling with children wants—nay, needs—wide-open green spaces. Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden is just that, with a whopping seventy acres of it, and admission is free. Top gardens include the Australian Rainforest Garden, brimming with the most unusual plants native to the country; the Fernery; and the fragrant Palace Rose Garden, which is just impossibly beautiful. There’s a central pavilion with restaurants and great coffee, plus a section devoted to succulents and other prickly things. The whole complex pulses with animals, birds, and Australia’s rare botanicals. The garden is the perfect destination for an afternoon’s idyll—spend a lazy few hours wandering around, sipping a coffee, and inhaling the scent of a gazillion flowers.
Sydney Opera House
Bennelong Pt., Port Jackson
You can’t think of Sydney without thinking of the opera house. The Jørn Utzon–designed building is iconic. It was designed to look like a series of shells, and the final result also calls to mind a series of sails rising over the harbor. The house’s distinctive shape was an entirely new one when it was opened in 1973—even the tiles covering the shells were somewhat unorthodox, inspired by reflective Japanese ceramic bowls (on a sunny day, those shells mirror the sky and gleam across the bay). You would be remiss not to catch a show while you’re in town (failing that, take a tour) and, of course, dinner at Bennelong, the bastion of fine dining that's right inside the peak of one of the shells—you'll feel like you’re eating inside a sculpture. If you don’t have enough time for either, grab a drink at the ridiculously elegant Opera Bar to at least see the rightly famous view.