Sydney is one of the most picturesque cities in Australia due to its incredible natural harbor and unique architecture. Because of this, I get often asked what the best lookout points in Sydney are. And since I have spent many hours photographing the harbor and its incredible views from many lookouts, I have uncovered a few hidden gems. And now, I’m sharing my best lookouts in Sydney with you!
From spots near the CBD to spots on the Northern side of the bridge, I will take you along and show you where to go. From sunsets to incredible night views, you will not miss out with this guide.
Though if you are a tourist, you can probably choose a couple of these viewing points, as if you want to see them all, you will have to take an extended leave. But here are 16 of the best lookouts in Sydney.
Since I have been living in North Sydney for a couple of years now, I am most known with the Northern side of the bridge. So, a lot of the best lookouts will be located on this side of the bridge. But because that brings you to the other side, it offers some incredible views of the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Let’s start on neutral ground…
BEST LOOKOUTS IN SYDNEY | ON THE BRIDGE
Walking over the Sydney harbour bridge is actually free and an absolute must! During the day, during sunset as well as at night, the bridge is open to the public and offers some of the best city views there is. The walk across the bridge should take from 15 to 30 minutes, depending on how many times you stop to admire the harbour and take photos.
To get onto the actual Harbour Bridge you need to take the pedestrian walkway on the eastern side of the Sydney Harbour Bridge roadway from The Rocks at the southern end of the bridge to Milsons Point at the northern end. Alternatively, you can start at Milsons Point and cross over the bridge to The Rocks.
Make sure to also stop at the Pylon Lookout for even a higher vantage point. This point is not free, but is only $15,- for a some 360-degree city views, it took me 7 years to visit it, and I regret not doing it sooner.
The Pylon Lookout is an 87m-tall bridge bearing with a 200-stair climb through historical exhibits to 360-degree city views. The museum shows you lots of cool pictures of the construction of the bridge as well as quite a few interesting facts on how and what it took to build this very impressive bridge.
You enter the Pylon on top of the bridge and walk up a couple of flights of stairs before you come to their ticket office. There were quite a few people confused about where to enter, but luckily I had Kim with me, who went before, so she knew where to go. You go up a couple of more flights and you reach a small souvenir shop and toilet area. This was perfect cause you can pretend to be interested in some souvenirs, whilst you catch your breath. It is then only a couple of more flights to the museum and the 360-degree views. All in all, I didn’t find the stairs to straining, and there where lots of benches, so just take your time if you have too.
The pylon lookout is in my opinion one the best lookouts in Sydney!
Milsons point is an affluent suburb located on the Northern side of the bridge. Home to Luna Park and some of the best city views in town this suburb is an easy stop to make. You can either check it out when you have walked over the bridge or just take the train from to Milsons Point station and wander down towards the harbour.
Milsons point offers incredible Opera House views, Bridge views and of course city views. Do make sure to wander around Luna Park as well, as it is free to entre. It is fun just to amuse yourself in the childhood spirit.
Lavender Bay Jetty
Keep walking past Luna Park in Milsons point and you will end up at Lavender Bay. It is less than a 5 minutes walk, so don’t worry, it is not far at all. At Lavender Bay, you can enjoy the city views in peace and quiet. It does not offer Opera House views, but it does offer beautiful and serene harbour views.
The little wharf at Lavender Bay is perfect if you want to snap some pictures of the harbour and its bubbing boats. On a hot summer eve, this is one of my favorite spots to hang out and enjoy the quietness of Lavender Bay.
Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden
In Lavender Bay, you can also find Wendy’s Secret Garden. The garden is no longer a secret, but it is still a quiet and tranquil spot to enjoy some cool views. When walking all the way to the top of the garden you can see Luna Park as well as the Harbour Bridge. The garden is free to enter, so feel free to explore it whilst you are there. It is a lovely little place in the busy hustle and bustle. It also has a couple of picnic tables, so it would be a nice little spot to chill and have bite to eat.
Swarmed by 4 buses filled with international tourists, this spot is… beautiful but very busy. Located on the Eastern side of the Harbour Bridge in Milsons point, the views from Bradfield park are pretty spectacular. This park gives you a bit of a higher vantage point of the harbour, offering cool views of the Opera House, bridge and a higher point to spots the boats speed by.
Like I said it is a very popular stop with tour busses, so it gives you an indication of how pretty the views are, but also how busy it can get if you get there at the wrong time. In my opinion, yes it is a pretty viewing point, but there are prettier ones and definitely less crowded ones.
Jeffrey St Warf
If you look down from Bradfield Park you will see a small Ferry Wharf. This ferry wharf is no longer in use by Sydney Ferries, but boat taxis can drop off people here. Because you can still use it (popular with fishermen and photographers) this old ferry wharf is a viewing point. I personally had some experiences with some rude Fishermen who think it is ok to throw a line right in front of your face. So if you are in the area and the wharfs is empty, check it out. I’d say if it is in use by a group of fishermen, skip it. It’s quite uncomfortable.
Mary Booth Lookout Reserve
Just meter from the Jeffrey Street Wharf, the Mary Booth lookout reserve. This reserve is an amazing and quiet spot to enjoy some of the best views in town. Located pretty much across from Circular Quay and the Opera House, it truly has some magnificent harbour scenery.
There is not a lot of lighting in the park at night. So if you are a female travelling solo it can be a bit eerie. During sunset, you will most like to see many other tourists, but when it is dark, most people leave. Leaving you along in a park without a friendly face can be a bit daunting. It is a safe neighbourhood, but this is just something to be aware of.
Beulah St Wharf | Kirribilli wharf
About a 10-minute walk from the park is Kirribilli Wharf. I think this wharf is also out of service, but I am not 100% certain (I have never seen a ferry there) Because this wharf is located a bit further down is offers a bit of a different angle to the other viewing points.
I did have the same issue here as I had at the other wharf, where it is used as a fishermen’s spot by groups. But the views here are incredible, especially at night. If you are a female alone, I personally wouldn’t go here at night by myself. Again, the area is fancy, but it’s just a bit too remote to feel comfortable.
CORNER OF KIRRIBILLI AVE AND BEULAH STREET
I found this cool spot because of a photo places on Sydney.com‘s Instagram page. They had the same photo, and I really wanted to recreate it. So I was able to find this spot and this is a great Opera house viewing point if you like to be a bit different with your photos. This spot can be found on the corner of Kirribilli Ave and Beulah Street. It is a super cool place to take some more artistic and non-standard pictures.
Robertsons Point Lighthouse
Robertson point lighthouse can’t be missed as it sits literally in the middle of Sydney harbour, you also pass it on most ferries that head north. This is also surprisingly known as a secret lighthouse as not a lot of people know how to get here, but secret no more because I am your magic person connecting you!! This lighthouse is situated at the tip of Cremorne point which is a short walk through Cremorne reserve which is situated at the tail end of Cremorne rd, someone obviously loved that name lol! Some incredible pictures can be taken of Sydney Harbor from this amazing location and with the lighthouse too! you’ll have everyone asking where this is.
Bradleys Head Amphitheatre
This place is ICONIC! no doubt you would have seen pictures but probably don’t know where it is. The terraced amphitheatre offers views across Sydney bay and is situated on the outskirts of the national park, making for very picturesque scenes. This is also a popular location for weddings because the views and images are just to for from this location. Situated in Sydney’s north shore in Mosman, take Bradleys head rd and this will bring you to where you need to be.
Taronga Zoo Wharf/ Taronga Zoo
If you are heading to Taronga zoo (hint: you should) then grab a ferry from the circular quay and enjoy a nice trip to the zoo over water. After you have spent the day at the zoo and you still have some energy left, enjoy the sunset from the ferry wharf. You can see a bit of the opera house, part of the bridge and a bit chunk of the CBD. As you can see in the picture above, not bad sunset views.
Royal botanic gardens
A bit of an obvious viewing point, but sometimes obvious spots work. The Royal Botanic gardens are located on the harbour and are right next to the Opera House, so obviously they offer some pretty kick-ass views. The park has free entry and is open till sunset. If you want to check out the views during sunset, then head to the tip of the garden, called Mr.s Macquaries chair.
Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair
Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair is located in the Royal Botanic Gardens and is one of my favourite spots for sunset photography. If offers amazing harbour views as well as Sydney Opera Hosue and bridge views. Additionally, the sun sets perfectly in the background, making it such a loved photographers spot.
Located in the Rocks, Sydney Observatory is a popular spot with photographers. because it is located on to of a hill, the observatory offers views of Sydney’s oldest suburbs, the rocks as well as some pretty cool (and different angle) of the harbour bridge.
Cahill Walk Lookout
A spot that is very much underused by tourists (but much loved by photographers) Located in Circular Quay, the Cahill Walk Lookout offers Picture postcard views of Circular Quay.
The lookout is accessible from the eastern end of Circular Quay by taking the lift above the railway line or by foot from the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the path located near the ‘Northern Gate’ of the Royal Botanic Gardens. There’s also a staircase that can be accessed from the eastern side of the Quay. Great views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Thank you for reading my guide on the best lookouts in Sydney. What do you think is the best lookout point? Let me know in the comments below.
Additional Sydney Resources
- The ultimate Sydney bucket list
- Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk
- Spit Bridge to Manly Coastal Walk
- Whale watching in Sydney’s harbour
- mini-guide to Bondi Beach
- Sydney by night | all Must do’s and see’s
PLANNING TO GO TO AUSTRALIA? THEN CHECK OUT SOME MORE TRAVEL TIPS HERE:
- Western Australia
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