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Sydney sights off the tourist track

Off the Beaten Track

Sydney has some justly famous sights to see, but the trouble with being popular can be the dense throng of people.  Discover a “different” Sydney and delve into the delights of getting off the tourist track. There are heritage listed historical sites, award winning gardens, convict islands and even paranormal places, all ready to be explored and experienced. Many of these are free and all are within 30 minutes of the CBD. So what are you waiting for? 

1. Paddington Reservoir Gardens

Address: 251-255 Oxford Street, Paddington NSW 2021
Opening Hours: open 24 hours

Not listed in your standard travellers guide, this award winning public place is reminiscent of ancient hanging gardens. Built in the 1800’s, the Reservoir was once a vital source of water for the burgeoning city of Sydney and has now been reincarnated using a beautiful blend of original brick structures, salvaged materials, new features and sustainable elements. There is a splendid sunken garden and lively graffiti art has been kept in the eastern chamber adding to the unique urban feel. This heritage listed “find” is a 15 minute drive from PARKROYAL Darling Harbour.

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2. Centennial Park

Address: Grand Dr, Centennial Park NSW 2021
Phone number: + 61 2 9339 6699
Opening Hours: 6am - 6pm daily

Commonly called the “peoples park”, Centennial park is a 189 hectare expanse of sweeping parklands situated in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, approximately 15 minutes drive from PARKROYAL Darling Harbour. With peaceful ponds, grand avenues of trees, formal flower beds and statues it is a majestic garden in the Victorian tradition. Of historical significance, this park was the site of the inauguration of Australian Federation. Take a free discovery walk to leam more about this magnificent park and its flora and fauna.

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3. Cockatoo Island

Address: Sydney Harbour
Phone number: +61 2 8969 2100

At the junction of the Parramatta and Lane Cove Rivers lies an historic monument to human endeavour, Cockatoo island. Once a convict goal for repeat offenders and later the site of one of Australia’s largest shipyards, the island is brimming with history and interest for those with a mania for all things maritime. If you love learning about the past, take a self-guided tour; the audio guides are well worth the cost. Pack a picnic or grab a light meal from one of the cafes on the island. The 30 minute ferry ride from Circular Quay only adds to the maritime mood. All aboard!

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4. Quarantine Station

Address: 1 North Head Scenic Drive, Manly NSW 2095
Phone number:  +61 2 9466 1551 

For a bit of history, spiced with a touch of the paranormal, “Q” Station, could be just the ticket. Located on the north side of Sydney Harbour, the station is a series of heritage-listed buildings once used to quarantine people arriving by ship with contagious diseases and now boasting a reputation as one of Australia’s most haunted sites.  Enjoy stunning views of the harbour, be spooked on the ghost tour, stroll on the sand of a beautiful public beach, dine in the beachfront restaurant or cafe or learn a little history at the Visitors Centre. Q station is 30 minutes from PARKROYAL Darling Harbour by car or you can enjoy a delightful 20 minute ferry ride across the harbour to Manly Ferry terminal and then a short ride in the courtesy bus. So quarantine yourself from the busy bustle of the city and take the trip.

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5. White Rabbit Art Gallery

Address: 30 Balfour Street, Chippendale NSW 2008
Phone number:  +61 2 8399 2867 
Opening hours: Wednesday to Sunday 10am - 5pm

Tucked away in a side street in Chippendale, The White Rabbit Art Gallery houses a remarkable collection of contemporary Asian art. The gallery may be petite, but the scale and theme of the art is big and bold, much of it being of a political and philosophical nature.  Focusing on works produced after 2000, this beautifully curated collection “wows” and provokes. Entry and tours are free and the guides are knowledgeable and enthusiastic. Finish with a visit to the in-house tea and dumpling bar. Less than a 10 minute drive or stretch your legs and take the 20 minute walk from PARKROYAL Darling Harbour.

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Other Guides You May Like

Mrs Macquaries Chair
Milk Beach
The Baxter Inn
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