Ahh, tourist traps.. They’ve got quite the negative connotation, more so in the recent years. The very definition of a tourist trap in the book Idiomatic American English is “an establishment created or re-purposed with the aim of attracting tourists” (Gaines 1986). Its very definition already gives you the impression that these “attractions” are probably incredibly expensive, and (chances are) are probably not worth the time or money.
Believe it or not, some of these attractions are worth your dollar. Some of them don’t even charge for entrance. Here are some “tourist traps” that I, and many others, believe are actually worth visiting.
The Harbour Bridge
Before the Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge was the city’s best-known landmark, and is still the world’s largest steel arch connecting bridge. Some people say “It’s a bridge, big deal.” Well, the sight of the actual architecture and the scenic view from it actually makes it nothing short of spectacular. There are a few popular ways to enjoy the sights of or the sights from this glorious structure:
Manly Ferry: Funnily enough, this is considered by some as a “tourist trap” in itself. As long as it’s not peak season, it’s a great way to see Sydney. It tours you through beautiful scenes of the Sydney Harbour, going under the Harbour Bridge, passing through the Opera House and more.
Pylon Lookout: This is one of those underrated attractions that you just have to try. Get a 360° picture-perfect view of the Sydney skyline. It’s incredibly cheap too. It takes a bit of an effort to climb up there, but the little museum of the bridge’s history and the breathtaking view up there more than makes up for the 200 steps.
Bridge Climb: This is probably the most controversial tourist trap in this list. It has mixed reviews from both locals and tourists, but I actually believe that it’s just a more exciting way to have that amazing skyline view of Sydney and also gives you a stamp for bragging rights but. It certainly isn’t cheap, though. It’s definitely an experience, especially if heights give you a certain thrill. You actually get to walk over the bridge. Don’t worry, safety gear and educational tour included.
Sydney Opera House
You’ve probably seen this so many times in movies, television, and even ads. But there’s nothing quite like seeing its incredible, sailboat-like architecture in person. You don’t have to take expensive tours to actually appreciate the inside. The best way, in my opinion, for you to enjoy the interior of the Opera House is by actually seeing a show. Don’t like opera or think that’s it’s too expensive? No worries. It’s not always opera in there, just make sure you check out their website for upcoming shows. Surely you’ll find something for you to absolutely adore. By the way, some of these shows are as cheap as $15.
Phone: +61 2 9250 7111
Royal Botanic Gardens
If you’re looking for a peaceful nature but need to be in the city, then you’re going to love the Royal Botanic Gardens. It’s a wonderful retreat from the bustling city, filled with a gorgeous variety of flowers, trees, shrubs, and other plants. They even have green houses for orchids, ferns,, and other plants that can’t survive the Sydney Climate. But other than that, you get to have amazing views of the Sydney Harbour and Sydney Opera surrounded in lush flora
If you’re around Sydney on a beautiful day without any particular plans, head out to the Royal Botanic Gardens for a picnic. Trust me, it’s a refreshing change from the busy city.
Address: Mrs Macquaries Rd, Sydney, New South Wales 2000, Australia
With so many crazy attractions going on, some people tend to skip this one, but it’s still one of those places that you should visit at least once. Socialise, relax, and experience the best of Sydney culture — no entrance fee required. It starts when you enter the Customs House, you get a bird’s eye view of Sydney with its 3D model beneath the see through floor. It’s really cool. If you have young kids with you, they’ll really love it. If you’re lucky, there might be an event or art exhibition going on. If there are no events that day, you could always lounge around or read in their stunning library and reading room that’s overlooking Circular Quay. Before you leave, make sure to try one of the restaurants or bars around. They’re definitely a treat.
Address: 31 Alfred Street | Circular Quay, Sydney, New South Wales 2000
So which one is your favourite from the list, and which one surprised you the most? If you’re planning to go around Sydney, in search of tourist traps actually worth visiting, book a car hire in Sydney. Make your drive around Sydney easy and comfortable with Alpha!