Essential Sydney

Tour Creator

James is a Canberra-based travel writer who has explored extensively up and down the east coast of Australia. He honed his writing in Europe working for various magazines, websites, and…Read More Bio »



Remote Tour Included



On our Essential Sydney tour, we’ll delve into the city’s colonial past, visit its most iconic sights, and investigate the characters who made the city what is it today. From the famous Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge to the colonial architecture of The Rocks district, this tour will give you a great overview of the city’s unique character.

Avoid the Crowds

Allows you to explore without having to be shoulder-to-shoulder in a large tour group

Created by an exceptional travel writer

Written by a Canberra-based travel writer, who has worked for magazines and tourism bodies

GPS Directions

Easy-to-follow GPS directions to get you from one point to the next on your tour

Highlights include:

Sydney Opera House, Hyde Park Barracks and St. Mary's Cathedral

Remote Tour Included

As with all our tours, a remote tour is included that can be enjoyed from home


Essential Sydney

  1. Sydney Opera House - We’ll talk about Sydney as a city today, and the history of its famed Opera House, one of the most iconic landmarks in the world.
  2. Circular Quay/Sydney Harbour Bridge - Central Sydney’s busiest transport hub, with ferries, trains, and buses all coming and going from here. At this stop we’ll talk about the early explorations of Sydney by the water and who the key players were. We’ll also dive into the history of the magnificent Sydney Harbour Bridge, another of the city’s iconic sights.
  3. Cadmans Cottage - As the oldest house in the inner city, the history of Cadmans Cottage is intrinsically linked with Sydney’s convict past. At this stop we’ll talk about the arrival of the first fleet, and the early days of Sydney as a penal colony of the British Empire.
  4. Fortune of War - The oldest pub in Sydney, the Fortune of War is another piece of colonial history. Here we’ll talk about the history of The Rocks district, and the convicts who made it their home.
  5. First Fleet Park - A small green space between Circular Quay and The Rocks often used for public events. Dedicated to the arrival of the first fleet, we’ll use this stop to talk about Sydney’s aboriginal history – which predates European settlement by about 30,000 years.
  6. Macquarie Place - This quaint little square was the first-ever public square in Sydney. Dedicated to Governor Macquarie, it’s a great place to talk about his impact on the city in the early 1800s.
  7. Museum of Sydney - This museum explores the history of the city, while highlighting the area’s Indigenous past and early meetings between Aboriginals and the colonists. At this stop, we’ll investigate the impact that the colonists had on Sydney’s indigenous population.
  8. State Library of NSW - The city’s world-class library started out as nothing more than a small subscription library for the early colonists who were desperate to read books. At this stop we’ll look at how Sydney developed from the 1820s onwards.
  9. Hyde Park Barracks - Another fantastic link to early colonial Australia, and a classic example of early colonial architecture. Built to house convicts, at this stop we’ll talk about the convicts who arrived in Australia, the crimes they committed, and what life was like for them in Sydney.
  10. St. Mary’s Cathedral - Sydney has long been a Catholic town, and this is the heart of the religion in the city. At the final stop in the tour, we’ll investigate the cathedral’s construction and architecture before talking about some of Sydney’s other defining moments throughout its history.

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