One of the best ways to explore Sydney is on a bike. On two wheels, you can peek into the hidden nooks and crannies of the city and find some of its best treasures. This cycling Sydney city tour took me bridge-hopping past playthings of the rich and famous, transported me to quirky one-of-a-kind stores, and landed me in front of record-breaking world artwork that’s bursting with life. Read on to follow my footsteps and make the best out of your time in Sydney.
What to bring:
Pack your camera to take some snaps of the natural surroundings, wildlife, and artistic showpieces you’ll see on this tour. You’ll also want to bring your ATM card, because you’re stopping at a couple of eclectic emporiums, not to mention an eatery serving up mouth-wateringly moreish tacos.
Best time to go:
You can cycle this Sydney city tour in an afternoon or a morning, but for best results time it so that lunch or dinner time coincides with visiting Baja Cantina (it’s near the end of our route). Anzac Bridge can get quite busy with traffic during the morning and evening rush hours, so avoid those times if you can.
Sydney Opera House
Like the Eiffel Tower in Paris or Big Ben in London, the Sydney Opera House is one of the most prominent symbols of the city and is probably the best place to start your Sydney city tour. You can access the building by walking along the pedestrian promenade of the bay. Remember that photos are more beautiful the further you get away from the building.
Over 100 years old and mostly made of Australian ironbark timber, Pyrmont Bridge is part of Sydney’s engineering heritage. It’s one of the oldest bridges of its type in the world. Pyrmont Bridge’s wingspan, that rises for tall boats to pass underneath, still works. You’re now one of around 14,000 people who cross each day!
You’re staying firmly above water as you cross over Johnstons Bay, on the Anzac Bridge this time. Its name pays homage to the brave men of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, who fought in World War I. While cruising through, keep an eye out for the statues of soldiers at either end and try to guess which one is Aussie and which is Kiwi?)
As you pass Rozelle Bay on your adventurous Sydney city tour, the dockyard is on your left, where boats of all shapes and sizes are moored up. You’ll see everything from enormous luxury super-yachts to the historic vessels of the Sydney Heritage Fleet. This is one of the few places in Sydney where the water isn’t so clean, so I don’t recommend a swim.
Cycle along the urban waterway of Johnstons Creek which snakes through Federal Park, Smith Park, and Hogan Park. It’s named after Scotsman George Johnston, an officer who stormed Government House in the Rum Rebellion of 1808. Keep an eye on the water; I spotted a bull shark once, which was almost 6 ft long, cruising along the creek.
Take a break from your Sydney city tour at the Deus Cafe, where you can enjoy anything from a simple espresso to a cooling iced chai. For the more adventurous among you, why not try a Black Radish Kombucha, an oak barrel fermented organic tea. Afterward, feast your eyes on the Deus boutique of custom motorcycles and classic fixed gear bicycles.
It’s time to take a breather and enjoy a quiet stroll around Victoria Park. Head over to Lake Northam, otherwise known as the Duck Pond, and take a perch overlooking the water. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot a pelican trying to scoop up fish with its enormous beak, if you’re not at least you’ll see some ducks!
Let’s eat! Take a break from your Sydney city tour by cruising up to Baja Cantina, a restaurant that brings the tastes of Mexico to Sydney, where you can chow down on anything from a few tostadas to a ginormous chimichanga. Once you’ve had your fill, kick back in the garden and rehydrate, a jug of sangria should do the trick. Can’t decide what to order? Try the Chicken Mole; it’s a food critic’s favorite!
Da Capo Music
Musicians and music lovers rejoice, behold the only dedicated second-hand and antiquarian music bookstore in the whole of Australia! Browse thousands of sheet music and musically inspired books, plus there’s also a vast collection of vinyl records to flick through. They just don’t make shops like this anymore.
Central Park Mall
To celebrate finishing your very first Sydney city tour by bike, feast your eyes on the Vertical Gardens at Central Park. Stretching 150 meters high with 250 species of Australian plants and flowers wrapping themselves seamlessly around the glass and steel architecture, these are the tallest vertical gardens in the world.
Next up: Cycle your way through Ubud, Bali.