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History and Architecture Tour

A walk through Sydney's streets and parks
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 3.5 miles
Duration: Half day
Family Friendly

Overview :  Looking out over the city from the Sydney Tower, it's hard to believe that this sprawling metropolis was once a small, squalid, penal ... more »

Tips:  Bring water, especially on a hot day. A tote bag or backpack for picnic supplies is also a good idea. Make sure to apply sunscreen... more »

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Points of Interest

Start at the Sydney Tower right in the center of the city. The tallest building in the city, tourists (and locals) often use it as an orientation landmark. You can go up to the observation deck (at 250 meters it's the highest in the Southern Hemisphere) for a bird's-eye view of the city. And if you're feeling really adventurous, you can gear up... More

Walk two blocks east on Market Street to Hyde Park, once a popular venue for prize fights, horse races and even a public hanging or two.

Hyde Park is much is much tamer these days and the only gaming you'll see is at the large public chess set. To find the chess set, enter Hyde Park at the St. James Station entrance and walk toward the Art Deco ... More

Turn north at Archibald Fountain and exit Hyde Park at Queens Square, a junction where King, Phillips and Macquarie Streets meet. To the right of the square is the Hyde Park Barracks, one of Sydney's most important historic buildings. A stellar example of early Australian architecture, it is on the UNESCO World Heritage List as a building of... More

Leaving Hyde Barrack, head east to the Domain, walking along the Art Gallery Road until you reach the Art Gallery of New South Wales, more commonly known by locals as "the art gallery." With its classic Greek frontage and modern rear end, it's hard to miss.

The gallery houses three permanent collections-- Australian, post-16th century European... More

From here, continue north through the Domain to Mrs. MacQuarie's Point at the tip of the peninsula for spectacular views of the harbor. Check out Mrs. MacQuarie's Chair, a natural seat that was carved out of the rock so Mrs. MacQuarie, wife of Gov. MacQuarie (1810-21) could rest and enjoy the view on her daily walk.

This would be the perfect... More

6. Farm Cove

Leaving Mrs. MacQuarie's Chair, take the Waterfront loop path to the left along Farm Cove. With the Royal Botanic Gardens on your left and the harbor on your right, it's easy to forget you are in the middle of a sprawling city.

Keep your camera handy to capture the numerous different views of the Sydney Opera House.

Continuing on the Waterfront loop path will take you to the Queen Elizabeth II Gate, one of the many exits/entrances to the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Detour from the path and wander through the gardens on your way to the Opera House, keeping an eye out for the many sculptures, fountains and memorials scattered around the grounds.

Cover more ground... More

In front of you is the Sydney Opera House in all its glory. You can walk all the way around it, taking in its many features and design quirks. Just watch out for the steps while you are taking photos.

Most visitors only check out the outside of the Opera House. But it's definitely worth the time to take a look on the inside, especially if you... More

It's time to head back toward the city center via Mrs. MacQuarie Street. But first take time to stroll along the Circular Key promenade: It's a great place for people watching.

If you need to revitalize after the walk through the gardens, stop for coffee and cake at the Guylian Belgian Chocolate Café.
Guylian Belgian Chocolate Café
Shop 10, ... More

Heading south down MacQuarie Street, with the Royal Botanic Gardens on your left, you will pass the Government House. Constructed between 1837 and 1845, it's one of the best examples of Gothic Revival architecture in New South Wales.

Designed by English architect Edward Blore (best known for Buckingham Place), this mock castle has an extensive... More

The State Library of New South Wales is one of Australia's oldest and largest public libraries. Composed of two libraries joined together, it houses more than 5 million items, including many historical documents, maps, journals, paintings and sketches from early Australian explorers and pioneers.

Head for the older Neo-Classical designed... More

The politicians of New South Wales have been meeting here since 1816, making this puce-colored building the world's oldest continually operating parliament building. It's open to the public, but you'll need to go through a metal detector to get in. The inner sanctum features art exhibitions in the lobby and a historical display in the wood-paneled... More

Housing Australia's oldest hospital, the three Victorian sandstone buildings that comprise the original Sydney Hospital have had a long and checkered history. Built in 1816 by a consortium of businessman who struck a deal with Gov. MacQuarie to erect a hospital in exchange for a monopoly over rum imports, the hospital ended up nicknamed "the Rum... More

14. The Mint

In 1854 this stately building, the original southern wing of the Rum Hospital, became the first branch of the Royal Mint outside of England and had a coining factory at the rear of the building

Closed in 1926 when a new Commonwealth Mint was established in Canberra, the Mint building is now the head office for the Historic Houses Trust; it... More

A short walk back through Hyde Park and along Market Street will return you to where the walk started.