Sydney bird eye view

Self guided walk to explore Sydney Central Business District (CBD)

I am blessed to be living in this amazing city Sydney. The city has so much to offer to everyone including the tourists and travelers. There are plenty of things to do in the Central Business District (CBD) itself.

For a complete travel guide, refer my ultimate guide to Sydney.

Sydney CBD refers to the main commercial centre of Sydney. It is also known as Sydney City. The city has all the modes of transport including the light rails and the main train station is Central train station.

Did you know that CBD employs around 22% of Sydney’s population and has the largest working gatherings in the entire Sydney?

PIN for later reference

PIN for later reference - Explore Sydney Central Business District (CBD)
PIN for later reference – Explore Sydney Central Business District (CBD)

The walking track

The walking trail covering the listed landmarks in Sydney is a relaxed and easy walk in the city. The logistics of the walk are as below:

  • Total distance: 7.8 kilometres.
  • Time taken: Approx. 2 hours. However, one can take how much ever time as they wish depending on the interests at each of these places.
  • Grade: Easy (the route is flat).
  • Cost: FREE except transportation to the starting and finishing points.
  • Type of walk: Loop.
  • Starting & finishing point: Sydney Observatory.
  • Path: Sydney Observatory – The Rocks – Sydney Opera House – Royal Botanical Garden – Art gallery of New South Wales (NSW) – St Mary’s Cathedral – Town Hall – Darling Harbour – Sydney Observatory.

Sydney Observatory and Observatory Hill

Observatory park’s history dates back to 1796 and it was used as the site of the first windmill in the colony. It is also known as Windmill Hill and Fort Philip and Flagstaff Hill. The park hosts a number of historical buildings and the most prominent one is the Sydney Observatory, that was built in 1858.

Observatory Hill Park - Colony History Walk - The Australian Hotel to Dawes Point
Sydney Observatory

The Rocks & Circular Quay

Circular Quay is a harbour area located in Sydney. It is the hub to the ferry transport of the Sydney harbour. There are many things to do around Circular Quay and the Rocks but I have listed the top 5 things to do in Circular Quay.

You can also stop at Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) to see the art created by Australian artists.

The Rocks market
The Rocks Market

Sydney Opera House

Everyone in the World has definitely heard of Sydney Opera House. It is one of the most famous landmarks that did make it to the UNESCO World Heritage structures in the World. Sydney Opera House is opened officially in the year 1973. It is around 185 metres long and each roof weighs up to 15 tonnes.

Ensure to take an audio tour of the Sydney Opera House.

Sydney opera house
Sydney Opera House

Royal Botanical Gardens

Established in 1816, Royal Botanical Garden is a collection of many gardens and plants from all around the World. It is a huge garden in the middle of Sydney CBD. The garden houses a curving glasshouse space with different species of plants.

Royal Botanical Garden Sydney
Royal botanical garden

Art Gallery of New South Wales (NSW)

The Art gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW) was founded in the year 1872 and is located in The Domain. It is one of the most amazing and important buildings of Sydney. There is no entrance fee to visit AGNSW.

St Mary’s Catherdral

One of the prominent landmarks in the city is the St Mary’s Cathedral. It is one of the oldest and most prominent landmarks in the Central Business District (CBD) of Sydney. The cathedral is around 180 years old and is dedicated to the “Immaculate Mother of God, Help of Christmas“. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Sydney.

A panoramic view of St Mary's Cathedral | Sydney
Statue of Pope John Paul II outside the Cathedral

Town Hall

The Sydney Town Hall is a heritage listed building, housing the government offices and venues for meetings. It is also the chambers of the Lord Mayor of Sydney. The building is of Victorian architecture and was opened in the year 1886.

Do not forget to visit the Queen Victoria Building (QVB) to admire the architecture.

Town Hall
Sydney Town Hall

Darling Harbour

Darling Harbour is a harbour in Sydney CBD. It is a very lively place in Sydney where the locals party every weekend. Darling Harbour is famous for its restaurants and cafes along the harbour. For top things to do in Darling Harbour, refer my post 10 things to do in Darling Harbour.

One can also just do a walk from Darling Harbour to Barangaroo during the sunsets to unwind the day and see some spectacular views of the sunset.

Darling Harbour
Darling Harbour


Barangaroo Reserve is a waterfront park with walking and cycling trails. It is famous among the locals for pretty lookouts, picnic spots and exercise. I suggest also doing a Barangaroo aboriginal cultural tour.

Darling Harbour to Barangaroo Reserve

The closest train station to Barangaroo Reserve is Wynyard train station. There are frequent trains that go around the Sydney CBD and Wynyard is one of the main stations. For more information on public transport, refer the Transport for New South Wales (NSW) website.

Safety for solo female travelers

Sydney is very safe for solo female travelers. It is in fact one of the safest cities that I have traveled in so far. I have had no issues or concerns whatsoever. However, like any other city in the World, be cautious and know your surroundings especially while traveling at nights.

10 Instagram worthy pictures from Sydney

Closing Notes

I love this exploration walk that goes through different landmarks of Sydney CBD. If you are traveling to Sydney for the first time, then I definitely suggest that you do the walk and explore the city.

If you liked this walk, then I am sure you would love the below walks as well:

PIN for later reference

PIN for later reference - Explore Sydney Central Business District (CBD)
PIN for later reference – Explore Sydney Central Business District (CBD)