With its breathtaking Opera House, iconic Harbour Bridge, picturesque harbor, beaches, lighthouses, parks, and stunning skyline, Sydney is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. One of the best things to do in Sydney is photograph these iconic landmarks. From panoramic views from the highest locations to scenic ferry rides and strolls along the coastline, we list 20 of the best views of Sydney.
In this guide, we cover where to get the best views of Sydney with practical information on how you can get the same photos.
Best Views of Sydney
In no particular order, here is our list of the best views of Sydney. At the end of this guide, you can see all of them on a map.
1. Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair
Let’s start with my personal favorite viewpoint of Sydney. From this point, you can see both the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.
Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair is a viewpoint that is located in the Royal Botanic Garden, on a peninsula that juts out into the harbor. The views from this spot are spectacular all day but it is particularly nice at sunset.
Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair | Best Views of Sydney
How to Visit Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair
Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair is located in the Royal Botanic Garden at the end of the peninsula. It is free to visit and open all day, making this one of the best free views of Sydney.
PRO TRAVEL TIP: The best time to visit Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair is at sunset. Plan on arriving one to two hours before sunset to get a prime tripod spot.
2. The Opera Bar
The Opera Bar has a prime location in Circular Quay, right next to the Sydney Opera House. This is a great spot to get a table, a glass of wine or a cocktail, and enjoy sunset views of Sydney. From here, you get up close views of the Opera House and a stunning view of Harbour Bridge.
The Opera Bar | Best Views of Sydney
How to Visit the Opera Bar
The Opera Bar is busy all afternoon and evening, particularly on the weekends. Our favorite time to be here is late afternoon, just as the sun begins its descent. For the best experience, book a table in advance. You can do this on the official website.
3. The Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb
For one of the most unique views of Sydney, do the Sydney Bridge Climb. Scaling this bridge and enjoying the views of Sydney Harbour and the Opera House makes for an unforgettable experience.
The highlight of the climb is the view from the summit of the bridge, where you get 360° views of Sydney.
The view from the summit of Sydney Harbour Bridge | photo courtesy of BridgeClimb Sydney
How to Do the Sydney Bridge Climb
This can only be done on a tour with BridgeClimb Sydney. Tours range from 2.5 to 3.5 hours and the starting price is $344 AUD, making this one of the most expensive views of Sydney. Learn more in our guide to the Sydney Bridge Climb.
4. South Pylon Lookout
For a similar view as the Bridge Climb but with a much smaller price tag, put the South Pylon Lookout on your list.
From the South Pylon Lookout, you get a spectacular view of the Opera House, Sydney Harbour, and Sydney Harbour Bridge. There’s a good chance you will also see climbers on the bridge.
The view from South Pylon Lookout | Best Views of Sydney
Another view from South Pylon Lookout
How to Visit the South Pylon Lookout
The South Pylon is located in The Rocks. To get here, take the steps or elevator onto Harbour Bridge and it is a 5-minute walk on the bridge to get to the entrance into the South Pylon Lookout.
Hours: Daily from 10 am to 4 pm, last entry at 3:45 pm
Cost: Starting at $24.95
Website: Get updated hours and pricing on the official website.
5. The Harbour Bridge Pedestrian Walkway
For free, you can walk across the Harbour Bridge on the pedestrian walkway, enjoying views of the harbor, the Opera House, and Circular Quay.
This has advantages over the South Pylon Lookout, since the bridge is open 24 hours a day (so you can get sunrise or sunset views from this spot) and don’t have to spend a dime.
The view from Sydney Harbour Bridge | Best Views of Sydney
The view of the Opera House from Harbour Bridge
Sydney Harbour Bridge Pedestrian Walkway
The pedestrian walkway runs along the east side of the bridge. There is a safety fence in place, but the openings are wide enough for the lens of a DSLR camera, so nothing will obstruct your view. We think the views from the midpoint of the bridge are best.
How to Visit the Harbour Bridge Walkway
To get onto the walkway in The Rocks, you can take the steps or the elevator. The elevator is located across the street from The Glenmore Hotel. The steps are called the Bridge Stairs on Google Maps and Harbour Bridge Stairs on signs in The Rocks and these are just a short walk from the elevator.
As you walk on the bridge, it takes about 10 minutes to get out over the water. You’ll pass the South Pylon Lookout (mentioned earlier) and then have awesome views of the harbor.
If you go all of the way to Luna Park, you can either return by walking across the bridge again or riding the ferry to Circular Quay.
From one end of the bridge to the other, it is a 1.6 km walk that takes about 30 minutes.
6. Observatory Hill Lookout
Observatory Hill is located in The Rocks and offers a great view of Harbour Bridge. This elevated hill is free to visit and open all day.
Observatory Hill Lookout | mroz/shutterstock.com
7. Dawes Point Reserve
Dawes Point Reserve is a parklike area that sits under the south side of Harbour Bridge and the South Pylon. From this area, there are several viewpoints worth mentioning.
On the east side of this small peninsula, next to the Park Hyatt Sydney, you can look across the harbor to the Opera House.
Dawes Point Reserve | Best Views of Sydney
On the opposite side of the reserve, at Ives Steps Wharf, you can look up at the Harbour Bridge and across the harbor to Luna Park.
Sydney Harbour Bridge and Luna Park
How to Visit Dawes Point Reserve
This reserve is open 24 hours a day and free to visit. You will be on ground level, walking around the South Pylon to get to the viewpoints we mention above. Just be aware that you cannot get on the South Pylon from this point. You will have to walk back through The Rocks to the pedestrian steps or elevator to get onto the bridge.
8. Luna Park
Luna Park is a colorful amusement park located on Sydney Harbour, next to the Harbour Bridge.
From the ferry dock right outside of the park, you get one of the best iconic views of Sydney. At this spot, you can see both Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, making this another must-visit spot for photographers who want to capture the best sunset views of Sydney.
The view from Luna Park | Best Views of Sydney
The entrance into Luna Park is also a popular photography location in Sydney. This giant, smiling face has changed multiple times over the years. In the evening it is illuminated, giving it a somewhat creepy but mesmerizing appearance.
How to Visit Luna Park
To get here, walk across the Harbour Bridge or take the ferry. The ferry dock and area around it is free to visit. If you plan to go inside of Luna Park, get hours and pricing on the official website.
9. Jeffrey Street Wharf
The Jeffrey Street Wharf is just a short walk from Luna Park and offers a slightly different vantage point of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. To get here from Luna Park, take a stroll along the harbor, under the bridge and past Milsons Point, to the Jeffrey Street Wharf. It’s just a 6-minute walk and filled with awesome views of the harbor.
Jeffrey Street Wharf | Dominic Meinardi/shutterstock.com
10. Cremorne Point
Cremorne Point is another viewpoint on the north side of Sydney Harbour where you can get a view of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. It’s farther away than Luna Park and Jeffrey Street Wharf, so it’s only worth it if you are determined to photograph Sydney from all angles.
Cremorne Point | Nur Ismail Photography/shutterstock.com
How to Visit Cremorne Point
To get here, take the ferry to Cremorne Point Wharf and it is a very short walk to the viewpoint of the harbor.
11. Blues Point Reserve
Blue Point Reserve is another peninsula that juts out into the harbor. This viewpoint is located west of Harbour Bridge and Luna Park and it gives you a wonderful view of Harbour Bridge.
Blues Point Reserve | Taras Vyshnya/shutterstock.com
How to Visit Blues Point Reserve
Take the ferry from Luna Park to McMahon’s Point. You can snap a photo right from this ferry dock or walk out to the tip of the peninsula.
12. From the Ferry
For one of the best views of Sydney, ride the ferry. On this ride, you’ll cruise right past the Opera House and the views are unforgettable. Depending on your destination, you’ll cruise under the Harbour Bridge or get to see the homes that sit along the edge of the harbor.
One of the shortest ferry rides is from Circular Quay to Luna Park. The ferry ride to the Taronga Zoo is particularly scenic, especially as you sail past the Opera House. Tyler raves about the Manly Ferry, which includes views of the Opera House and much of Sydney Harbour.
View from the ferry
View of the Opera House from the ferry
On the ferry to Manly | Best Views of Sydney
13. The Taronga Zoo
On a visit to the Taronga Zoo, not only do you get the scenic ferry ride to get here, and the chance to see and learn about native Australian wildlife, but the zoo also has great views of the Sydney skyline.
The Taronga Zoo | Best Views of Sydney
The view from Taronga Zoo | Best Views of Sydney
How to Visit the Taronga Zoo
Hours: Open every day from 9:30am-4:30pm
Cost (gate price): AUD $51 (adult) | $30 (4-15 years) | free for children under 4. When booking online, you can save AUD $5.
Website: Get updated hours and pricing on the official website.
14. Watson’s Bay
Located on the South Head peninsula in East Sydney is a seaside enclave that offers more stunning views of the Sydney skyline.
Walk the South Head Heritage Trail, a short walk along the end of the peninsula that takes you past Lady Bay Beach to the Hornby Lighthouse. Along this walk, you can see the Sydney skyline in the distance. It’s flat, about 1 km long and takes 30 minutes. During the winter into early spring, it’s possible to see humpback whales from Hornby Lighthouse.
Also in Watson’s Bay you can visit the viewpoint of The Gap, a rugged, rocky coastline that is another popular photography spot.
View along the South Head Heritage Trail | Best Views of Sydney
Lady Bay Beach
How to Visit Watson’s Bay
The easiest and most scenic way to get here is on the ferry from Circular Quay. Once at Watsons Bay, walk to Camp Cove and continue to the Hornby Lighthouse for the best views.
15. Sydney Tower Eye
The Sydney Tower is the tallest structure in Sydney and the second tallest observation tower in the Southern Hemisphere. At a staggering 309m (1,014ft) tall, the Sydney Tower’s observation deck offers the ultimate 360° view of the city.
For a more thrilling view of Sydney, don a harness and walk on the outdoor skywalk. This Skywalk adventure is filled with amazing views, great photo opportunities, and a couple glass floors to remind you just how high up you truly are.
The view from Sydney Tower Eye
How to Visit Sydney Tower Eye
Hours: Open every day from 10am-8pm (Oct-March), with reduced hours in winter months. Learn more here
Cost: General Admission: AUD $33 adult, $25 child, $26 senior. Book online for reduced rates.
SKYWALK + Observation Deck: AUD $89 adult, $64 child (this includes the general admission ticket)
Website: Get updated hours, pricing, and purchase your tickets in advance on the official website
16. Drinks or Dinner with a View
There is a long list of bars and restaurants with a view of the Sydney Harbor. This city sparkles at night and enjoying the view over dinner is one of the best experiences to have on a trip to Sydney.
Here are a few recommended restaurants and bars.
Café Sydney is located in Circular Quay. With floor to ceiling windows, almost every table has a view of Harbour Bridge.
A view of Sydney Harbour Bridge at night from Cafe Sydney | Best Views of Sydney
Opera Bar. Mentioned earlier, this outdoor bar sits next to the Opera House and you get an unbeatable view of Harbour Bridge.
Bennelong. This fine dining restaurant is located inside of the Opera House, so it’s not so much about getting a skyline view of Sydney as simply being inside of the Opera House.
MCA Café. The MCA Café is the café at the Museum of Contemporary Art. This café has outdoor seating on a terrace with a view of the Opera House and Circular Quay. The museum is located next to The Rocks. It is free to visit the museum.
Oncore by Clare Smyth. Located on the 26th floor of the Crown Sydney, this luxurious bar and restaurant boasts stunning views of the harbor, Opera House, and Harbour Bridge. We only had cocktails here, which were amazing. The restaurant is one of the top luxury dining experiences in Sydney.
The view from Oncore by Clare Smyth
Glenmore Arms. Glenmore Arms is located in The Rocks. The rooftop bar and terrace have views across The Rocks to the Opera House. This is a very popular bar to visit in The Rocks.
The view from the rooftop at Glenmore Arms
Quay Restaurant. This restaurant is located on Circular Quay and has a great view of the Opera House. Just be aware that it is located next to the cruise ship dock, so if a cruise ship is in town, all you’ll get a view of is the side of the ship.
17. From a Helicopter
For arguably the best views of Sydney, there’s no better way to see it than from the sky. Both Blue Sky Helicopters and Sydney HeliTours offer flightseeing flights of Sydney ranging from 20 to 60 minutes. You also have the option to take a scenic flight of the Blue Mountains or a doors-off tour.
The view from a helicopter | pisaphotography/shutterstock.com
18. Icebergs Pool
Icebergs pool is a world-famous swimming pool built on the southern edge of Bondi Beach. It is one of the most photographed pools in the world.
Not only is Icebergs an iconic swimming pool, but it’s also a high-end restaurant and bar that overlooks Bondi Beach. Come here for a delicious meal, enjoy a cocktail in the sun, and watch the surfers.
Bondi Beach and Icebergs Pool
Drinks at Icebergs Restaurant
19. On a Coastal Walk
There are several coastal walks in Sydney that take you to long, sandy beaches, past rugged coastlines, and to notable places such as the Icebergs pool.
The Coogee to Bondi Coastal Walk is the most well-known. This is a 6.4 km (4 mile) walk along Sydney’s eastern shores that takes about 2 to 3 hours. On this walk, you will see Coogee Beach, Bronte Beach, and Bondi Beach, plus the Icebergs pool.
The view along the Coogee to Bondi Coastal Walk | Best Views of Sydney
Another awesome walk is Spit to Manly. This experience combines one of the most scenic ferry rides in Sydney with a walk past more gorgeous beaches and the suburbs of Sydney. The walk is 10 km (6.2 miles) point-to-point.
Spit to Manly Walk
20. From Your Hotel Room
Imagine starting and ending each day with views of the Opera House and Sydney Harbor. Here are a few hotels with the best views of Sydney.
Four Seasons Hotel Sydney. This hotel offers panoramic views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. It also has an unbeatable location next to Circular Quay and The Rocks. If you want to splurge on a room with a view, this is our top pick.
The view from the Four Seasons
Park Hyatt Sydney. This hotel is located on Sydney Harbor and has a spectacular view of the Opera House. On top of the hotel sits a pool with panoramic views of the harbor, The Rocks, and Harbour Bridge.
The Park Hyatt. The rooftop terrace has an excellent view of the Opera House and Harbour. This photo was taken from Harbour Bridge.
Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour. This hotel is not as pricey as the Four Seasons and Park Hyatt, but it also boasts a great location and wonderful views. It is located in Circular Quay just steps from the Opera House.
Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel at Circular Quay. From the upper rooms of this hotel, you will overlook Circular Quay and the Opera House.
Sydney Harbour YHA. If you are traveling on a budget, it is possible to stay at a property with a great view of the harbor. This hostel is located in The Rocks. From the rooftop terrace, enjoy the panoramic view of the Harbour Bridge, Opera House, and Circular Quay.
Best Views of Sydney on a Map
How to Use This Map: Click the icons on the map to get more information about each viewpoint. Click the star next to the title of the map to add this map to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.
Our Favorite Views of Sydney
If you have limited time in Sydney and can only visit a few spots, we narrowed down the list to our favorite views of Sydney:
- Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair
- Luna Park
- Sydney Harbour Bridge
- From a ferry
- The Opera Bar
- From a restaurant with a view of the harbor
- On a coastal walk
- The Taronga Zoo
The view from Luna Park | Best Views of Sydney
If you have any questions about the best views of Sydney, or if you would like to share your favorites, let us know in the comment section below.
More Information for Your Trip to Australia
TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY: For more information about the camera gear we carry, check out our Travel Photography Gear Guide. And tips and tricks for taking great photos in our article How to Take Better Photos while Traveling.
SYDNEY: Get started with our Sydney Bucket List, which contains 40 of the best things to do in Sydney. We also have a guide to 20 great restaurants and bars in Sydney, and the best beaches in Sydney. Sydney is one of the most scenic places in the world to go skydiving and you can learn more in our Guide to Skydiving in Sydney.
BLUE MOUNTAINS: Get started with our article Best Things to Do in the Blue Mountains. We also have a guide on how to visit Scenic World, how to hike the Wentworth Falls Track Loop, and a detailed trail guide for the Grand Canyon Track.
SOUTH AUSTRALIA: One of the best things to do in South Australia is to visit the wine regions near Adelaide. Plan your visit with our Guide to McLaren Vale, our Guide to Barossa Valley, and our Guide to Clare Valley.
GREAT OCEAN ROAD: Driving the Great Ocean Road is one of the most scenic drives in the world.
Read all of our articles about Australia in our Australia Travel Guide.
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