Sydney is one of the most well known tourist destinations in Australia, known for beautiful beaches, stunning coast lines, and a harbor dotted with landmarks. It is also the capital city of New South Wales and the most populous city in all of Australia and Oceania.
Sydney is home to an estimated 5,131,326 “Sydneysiders” (as residents are called) as of June 2017. It is located along the eastern coast of Australia, about one third of the way up the country from the southern coast.
Sydney is known for being one of the most expensive cities in the world, but that cost is well earned as it is also rated as one of the best cities in the world for qualities of living. It is consistently rated as one of the top cities in the world for economic opportunity and tourism. Much of its fame was put on the world stage in 2000 when Sydney hosted the Summer Olympics.
If you are headed to Sydney and want to come home with the best pictures in the best locations, these are the best photo locations Sydney has to offer. Let us know of any of your favorite spots in our Facebook Group!
Green Square LIbrary
The Green Square Library is a fairly new location in Sydney that is quite innovative. It is located in the plaza in the heart of the Green Square, next to the train station.
The library is packed with interesting features and designs including a subterranean garden, an open air amphitheatre and a 6-storey glass tower. But, the most famous composition in the library is its rainbow wall of colored books.
While it is not too exciting, and definitely not a usual tourist spot, these colored books make an awesome backdrop for a unique and interesting photograph. Our first example below comes from Luana Pereira.
Another great shot of the colorful books comes from Ariana Ananda.
The library isn’t a one-trick pony either. There are plenty of other great compositions to be had. Just check out this cool chair thingy in which Fransisca Laurencia is posing.
Bondi Beach is one of the most famous beaches in Sydney. Beach is located just 7 km or 4 miles east of the Sydney central business district. “Bondi” or “Boondi” is an Aboriginal word meaning water breaking over rocks or noise of water breaking over rocks. The beach now offers free wi-fi for its visitors.
Bondi Beach is about 1 kilometre (0.6 mi) long with a gentle northern end and a southern side that boasts a dangerous rip current known as the “Backpackers’ Rip” because of its proximity to the bus stop. The south end of the beach is generally reserved for surfing while the swimming is on the north end.
There is an underwater shark net and whales and dolphins can be sighted at Bondi Beach. On a rare occasion, you may even spot a fairy penguin.
One of the most popular tourist spots boasts a great beach, but it is also a short walk to some great coastline as well, which is often more interesting than just sand beach. Jacqui Leus shows of the great views on the walk from Bondi to Coogee.
In addition to the fantastic beach scenes, Bondi Beach has one of the better name murals you will find from a tourist location. As Ynah Vitasa shows below, it is custom made for a great instagram share.
Sydney Opera House
The Sydney Opera House is one of the most iconic images in all of Sydney. It would be a shame to go to Sydney and not get an image standing in front of it. In fact, it is such a prominent building, you could get a bunch of different views from around the harbor of the opera house in the background. On June 28, 2007, the Sydney Opera House became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Though its name, the Sydney Opera House, suggests a single venue, the building comprises multiple performance venues which together host over 1,500 performances annually, which are attended by more than 1.2 million people. In addition, approximately 350,000 visitors take a guided tour of the Opera House each year, which all is just a fraction of the more than eight million people that visit the site annually.
Construction of the Opera House began in March 1959. It was built in three stages: stage I (1959–1963) consisted of building the upper podium; stage II (1963–1967) consisted of the construction of the outer shells; and stage III (1967–1973) consisted of the interior design and construction. The Sydney Opera House was formally opened by Queen Elizabeth II on October 20, 1973.
One of the best shots you will see from across the harbor, highlighting the iconic shells of the Opera House, is the one below captured by Two Blondes Abroad.
Sydney Harbour Bridge
One of the most iconic images to be seen from Sydney is the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge. The iconic bridge towers over the harbor next to the equally iconic sails of the opera house.
The bridge carries rail, vehicular, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic between the Sydney central business district (CBD) and the North Shore. The bridge is nicknamed “The Coathanger” because of its arch-based design.
The bridge was constructed and opened in 1932 by a British company inspired by the Hell Gate Bridge in New York City. It is the sixth longest spanning-arch bridge in the world and the tallest steel arch bridge, measuring 134 m (440 ft) from top to water level. It was also the world’s widest long-span bridge, at 48.8 m (160 ft) wide, until the new Port Mann Bridge in Vancouver was completed in 2012.
You can’t capture the scene much better than the beautiful image below from Anna Huzar.
Another great image, with a more touristic view of the water taxis and cruise ship, comes from the great site, Life of Rai.
In yet another great view from one of the many great photo spots showing both the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, Jacqui Leus shares the below image.
Observatory Hill Park
Observatory Hill Park is located in the heart of the Sydney central business district. It is near the Harbour Bridge between Kent Street, Watson Road, Upper Fort Street and Bradfield Highway.
While it used to be the site of a windmill, the park currently is home to a number of historical buildings including Sydney Observatory, the Signal Station, the remains of Fort Philip, the National Trust Centre (formerly Fort Street High School) and a beautiful rotunda which is often used for weddings.
Observatory Hill Park is one of the best places to capture a timeless image on a big grassy hill with the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background. Just check out the scene presented by Sarah Seoyeon in the image below.
Angel Place is definitely one of the most unique scenes you will ever capture. I doubt there is anywhere else you will find hundreds of bird cages suspended in the air above a random alley way.
Angel Place is actually an art exhibit in the middle of the central business district. The empty bird cages are a statement against urbanization, as the cages symbolize how the birds that once used to be present in Sydney have been pushed out.
In the image below, Tara Donston captured the scene with a beautiful muted palette that makes the whole scene blend nicely.
For a different take on the same scene, with bolder colors and an interesting pose, Monica La shares the great image below with us.
Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
The Museum of Contemporary Art or MCA is a place full of color and great backdrops for unique Instagram photos that are sure to draw some attention.
The MCA is an Australian museum interpreting and collecting contemporary art, both from across Australia and other locations around the world. The MCA is housed in the art deco-style of the former Maritime Services Board Building on the western edge of Circular Quay.
The museum was opened in 1991 as the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, and underwent an expansion before reopening in 2012 under its current name as the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. The collection in the MCA contains over 4,000 works by Australian artists that have been acquired since 1989.
For a prime example of the great shots you can capture at the MCA, look at the image below of Ynah Vitasa shot by Erving Chua.
Carriageworks is a contemporary multi-arts center in Sydney that is artist led, but receives government support. It is known for presenting large-scale immersive exhibits.
Carriageworks was brought to my attention by Ynah Vitasa. In her image below, you can see it is another great art location to capture some unique images.
The Strand Arcade
The Strand Arcade is a famous shopping center in Sydney. The Victorian arcade was built from 1890-1892 and renovated in 1976. It is located at 195-197 Pitt Street in the heart of the Sydney central business district, between Pitt Street Mall and George Street.
The Arcade is three stories high with traditional-styled protruding galleries, cedar staircases, tiled floors, cast iron balusters and timber framed shop fronts, all under a prominent, tinted glass roof.
There are a few iconic shots you can get at Strand Arcade. The multi-level interior is great, as is the entrance, as shown below by wandering_unicorns.
Hornby Lighthouse is a pretty great scene showing a classically painted lighthouse that is sure to create a bold background for any Instagram image.
Hornby Lighthouse, also known as South Head Lower Light or South Head Signal Station, is an active lighthouse located on the tip of South Head, to the north of the suburb Watsons Bay. It marks the southern entrance to Port Jackson and Sydney Harbour. It is the third oldest lighthouse in New South Wales and boast an old-fashioned red and white striped design.
If you want to make a really memorable image of the lighthouse, capture it in great light, like Talyssa from The Hidden Thimble did below.
In the great image below, Sonia shares with us the pathway leading up to the old lighthouse.
Wendy’s Secret Garden
Wendy’s Secret Garden is a not-so-secret gem that began when Wendy Whiteley lost her husband, Australian artist Brett Whiteley in 1992. She funneled her love and grief into transforming an old train yard space at the foothill of her private home in Lavender Bay into a beautiful garden.
Wendy’s Secret Garden is a little gem full of interesting plants and trees full of bold greens to liven up your Instagram feed. It is also a great place to capture a different view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, as shown in the image below from Sebe Lee.
Wedding Cake Rock
Wedding Cake Rock is a fascinating piece of shoreline north of Marley Beach accessible via the Royal National Park Coast Track. Although the most famous view of the rock is fenced off (this doesn’t stop many people on Instagram), there are still many other great shots to capture. The image below from Merri is proof enough of this.
Luna Park is an amusement park north of the harbor. It has loads of photo opportunities to be captured in between the fun. Aileen Grace captured the beautiful image below showing off the Ferris wheel lights at night.
There can be plenty of photo opportunities during the day as well! All the bright colors and fun fair food are on display in Jacqui Leus‘ image below.
Milk Beach is on the Harbor south of Nielsen Park. It is home to some unique rock formations and awesome views, as shown by Aneena below.
University of Sydney
University of Sydney is an amazing piece of architecture that is like stepping back into time. The University was founded in 1850 and is ranked as one of the world’s ten most beautiful universities in the world.
There are a ton of great photo spots exploring the campus and its arches and towers, but the classic main building is shown below by Vikkiqin.
Apart from the grand entrance, the courtyard is also very impressive with the stark green lawns enclosed by the ancient castle-like building. You can see the courtyard in the image below from Crystal.
In another image from Crystal, you can see the fantastic arches that line the courtyard and make for great images framing the university buildings.
Burwood Chinatown is in Sydney’s inner west. It is a street dedicated to fun dining experiences and offers a bunch of fun little photo opportunities. Chenny Chen shares one such image below.
The Grounds of Alexandria
The Grounds of Alexandria is a popular place to get coffee or pastries and stroll through the garden and grounds. It was opened in 2012 on the former grounds of an industrial precinct from the 19202. The site as boasts a café, restaurant and bar, garden, bakery, coffee roastery, animal farm, florist and markets.
One of the most popular places on the Grounds is the very pink Mary Poppins section, captured below by Jacqui Leus.
Domenique Spadavecchia shares another great image of the Mary Poppins attraction.
Another popular photo spot on the Grounds of Alexandria is the fountain. The great capture there below was shared by @_maddiecath.
Manly Beach is one of the many beautiful beaches in Sydney. Ale Ruiz shows off the beautiful sand beach and crashing waves in the image below.
Tamarama Beach is another scenic spot just south of Bondi Beach. The beach not only has great sand, it has some great rock formations to break up the monotonous sand beach, which I really enjoy for creating a more interesting photograph. Just look at the great shot below from Ewelina Plis to see how the rocks can add more interest to the scene.
The rocks also make a great place to pose for a shot where you can still catch the waves, but have some more texture and shapes than just a sand beach. The image below from Taylor Marin is a great example.
Tamarama Beach is also a great place to catch the sunset, as you can see in the image below from Amy Green.
From the Harbour
If you want to add a unique spin to the many images of the bridge and opera house from the harbour, get a shot from a boat, like Natalie did below. You can book a cruise of the harbor if you want a shot like this.
Another great shot from the harbor is the one below from Kelsey Fank, who made an awesome composition with the cityscape behind her.
Shelly Beach is on the north side of the harbor, just south of Manly Beach. It is a small, but scenic beach with beautiful water, sandy beach and some marine life. There is also a little walkway so you can get a great picture looking back at the beach, like the one below shared by Jennifer Fitzpatrick.
Archibald Fountain is an iconic fountain in Sydney’s Hyde Park. In the image below from Raksha Prasad you can see what a great fountain it is with all the different water sources and statues.
In another image from Raksha, you can see the other fantastic backdrop behind the fountain of the St. James Church and its historic architecture. You can find more of Raksha’s work and lots of Sydney information at SoloPassport!
More detail of the fountain can be seen in the creative image below from Stephen Twitchell.
An Ocean Pool
Sydney is famous for big, fancy pools that abut the ocean. They are very scenic and make a great Instagram photo. The ocean pool at Icebergs Restaurant and Bar at Bondi Beach seems to be the most popular ocean pool on Instagram, but unless you want to pay a bunch or know a member, check out some of the free ones around town. The image below, for example, comes from Zac Battersby.
One of the other great ocean pools in Sydney can be found at Coogee. This is another image from Zac Battersby.
A couple more images from Coogee are below from Andrew Fang. Andrew caught the sunrise from the pool.
I think it was a great idea to catch a sunset from such a cool location, and then capture some swimmers in the soft morning light.
There is a reason the Icebergs at Bondi Beach are so popular though, just look at how beautiful they are in the image below from Antonio de Perio.