Sydney is a beautiful city and is absolutely full of Instagrammable places. With miles of stunning beaches and coastal walks right on it’s doorstep, an iconic harbour and a bustling city full of fabulous restaurants and unique architecture, you certainly won’t struggle to find photo-worthy spots here! There is an incredible amount of variety in Sydney and so many things to do here – I just love how you can go from lying on the beach to shopping, sightseeing and visiting an Instagrammable cafe all in one day!
I have been living in Sydney for a few months now and during this time I have explored this city from top to bottom, from the well-known Instagram spots to secret hidden photo locations that only the locals know. So without further ado, here I present to you the most Instagrammable places in Sydney including some lesser well-known spots!
As Sydney is a big city I have split up the Instagrammable locations into:
- Sydney CBD
- North Shore
- Eastern Suburbs
- Instagrammable swimming pools
- Instagrammable cafes/ bars/ restaurants
- Instagrammable hotels
- Instagrammable flower locations
- Instagrammable walks in Sydney
- Day trips from Sydney
MOST INSTAGRAMMABLE PLACES IN SYDNEY – CBD
THE OPERA HOUSE
Of course the Sydney Opera House is Sydney’s most iconic and Instagrammable building. Infact it is one of the world’s most distinctive and photographed buildings due to it’s unique shape!
There are so many places around the harbour that offer different angles and viewpoints of The Opera House. Of course a very popular shot is on the stairs leading up to The Opera House. You will need to get here early to make sure nobody else is in your shot though as during the day the stairs get very busy!
Also pictures taken from a bit further away are beautiful as they capture the unique shape of the building, for example from Hickson Road Reserve. This is a great place to take photos at any time of the day as the water is behind you so you won’t get anyone else in your photograph.
Best places to get pictures of The Opera House:
- on the stairs of The Opera House
- The Opera Bar (see below right)
- Hickson Road Reserve (see below left)
- under The Harbour Bridge on Hickson Road
- The Royal Botanic Gardens
- Mrs Macquarie’s chair
- on The Harbour Bridge
- at Luna Park
And these last two locations are great spots north of the river where you can view The Opera House front on:
- Milson’s Point
- Beulah Street Wharf – Kirribilli
The Opera House looks especially impressive from these last two locations when it is lit up at night.
There are many places around the harbour where you can take great photos of the bridge, but in particular close up locations make for really dramatic photos. For example:
- Ives Steps Wharf
- Hickson Road Reserve (see below left)
- Copes Lookout (located on the other side of the river).
The Harbour Bridge also looks beautiful lit up at night. In addition, you can get great views of The Harbour Bridge from a boat or even walking across it provides you with some fantastic views!
Walking across The Harbour Bridge
To walk across The Harbour Bridge is free and is an incredible experience! You’ll see an aerial view of The Opera House and harbour which makes for some great Instagram worthy photos that look like they were taken with a drone! The walk across the bridge takes about 20 minutes and you will find the steps and elevator opposite The Glenmore Hotel on Cumberland Street (click here to see the location on Google maps).
The views of the bridge are particularly stunning when you are on a boat in the harbour, whether you are just getting the public ferry across to the north shore or whether you hire your own boat. Get your Guide has a very reasonably priced boat tour around the harbour – click here to experience riding on a 1850’s style wooden tall ship! Alternatively a group of you can hire your own private charter from companies such as Sydney Harbour Boat Tours – click here for details!
MRS MACQUARIE’S POINT
Mrs Macquarie’s Point offers one of the best views of The Harbour Bridge and The Opera House together in one shot. It makes a very popular place to watch the sunset (and New Years Eve fireworks!) and you can get some incredible Instagrammable shots from here. In fact I would say this is one of the very best places in Sydney to take photos and you should definitely not miss it. You can also get great views across to the CBD from here.
Here you will find Mrs Macquarie’s Chair – a sandstone bench carved in 1811 by convicts for Mrs Macquarie, who was the wife of the Governor at the time. Sit on Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, which has become somewhat of a local landmark now and admire the stunning view.
ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS
The Botanic Gardens are located inbetween the Sydney Opera House and Mrs Macquarie’s Point. They are free to enter and with over 30 hectares there are plenty places to explore and get some beautiful pictures – The Calyx in particular being a popular Instagram spot!
ART GALLERY OF NEW SOUTH WALES
The Art Gallery of NSW is another Instagrammable place in Sydney, located right behind the Botanic Gardens. It is free to visit and always has some really interesting and unique exhibitions!
The large Hyde Park is located right in the heart of the CBD just a short walk from the Art Gallery of NSW. You can get some lovely views of the city’s skyscrapers from here, and also you can visit the ANZAC War Memorial and Reflection Pool. Right next to the park is St Mary’s Cathedral where you can get some really nice pictures with the flower in front.
QUEEN VICTORIA BUILDING
The stunning Queen Victoria Building is a bit of a secret Instagram spot in Sydney. The building is home to an upmarket shopping arcade and is the perfect place to stop for a coffee and cake break! The Queen Victoria Building is located in the CBD and has very grand architecture, intricate interiors and impressive stained glass windows.
I love the shots that are taken over the balcony, although you will need to come here early or at the end of the day if you want pictures without people in.
THE EMPTY BIRDCAGES – ANGEL PLACE
Just off a quiet side street in the CBD lies an alleyway called Angel Place where you will find 50 empty birdcage installations hanging. You’ll also hear a recording of the sounds of birds singing and see a plaque on the floor. The plaque tells the important message of how the birds you can hear in the recording (called ‘Forgotten Songs’) were once the birds that populated inner-Sydney but due to urbanisation they got forced out of the area.
Arrive first thing in the morning or on a Sunday as during the day there is a cafe with outdoor seating in the alleyway, so you’ll want to arrive when the cafe is closed so you can get perfect shots of the birdcages.
Angel Place is located between Pitt Street and George Street. Keep an eye out for the Angel Place turning as it is very inconspicuous and you could easily miss it. The closest station is Wynyard.
GREEN SQUARE LIBRARY
Whilst not located in the immediate CBD, Green Square Library definitely needs to be included in the most Instagrammable places in Sydney! Inside the reading room you will find a really big rainbow wall of books of all different colours which makes for some great pictures!
It is very easy to get to Green Square Library from the centre of Sydney – it is located next to the Green Square train station in Zetland (5km from the CBD). Entrance to the library is free and you don’t need to become a member to enter.
Opening hours for the library are from 10am-7pm Monday to Wednesday, 10am-6pm Thursday to Friday, and 10am to 4pm on Saturdays. Click here to see the location on Google maps.
MOST INSTAGRAMMABLE PLACES IN SYDNEY – NORTH SHORE
NORTH SYDNEY OLYMPIC POOL
Possibly one of the best photography spots in Sydney and my absolute favourite Instagram spot here is The North Sydney Olympic Pool! It is in such a prime position with stunning views – right underneath The Harbour Bridge, yet it seems most tourists don’t even know it exists!
The North Sydney Olympic Pool makes a great place to spend a few hours if you like swimming – the views are incredibly photogenic and there is plenty of space on the benches for sunbathing and relaxing afterwards! Entrance is $8.50 for adults and it is best to come mid-week when it is much quieter.
It is very easy to reach the North Sydney Olympic Pool – it is located right next to the iconic Luna Park and Milson’s Point wharf.
Luna Park is probably the best located theme park I have ever seen in my whole life! It is located on the north shore of the harbour right next to The Harbour Bridge! There is a really nice vintage vibe at Luna Park with the old fairground rides. And the best part? Entrance is free! You just pay for each ride, so even if you don’t want to go on any rides you can still stroll round for free and absorb the atmosphere!
There is also a really nice bar here where you can get some incredible views of The Harbour Bridge and The Opera House.
Just past Luna Park is Lavender Bay – one of the most beautiful hidden places right in the centre of Sydney! From here you can get incredible views over Sydney Harbour and the CBD and all the boats moored in the harbour.
The jetty makes for some really nice pictures, especially as it has ‘Lavender Bay’ written above it!
If you walk underneath The Harbour Bridge and through Bradfield Park towards Kirribilli, you’ll be rewarded with more stunning views of The Harbour Bridge and The Opera House at Copes Lookout. You can get some really unique views from here and it is never as crowded as on the south side of the harbour.
This waterfront walkway is also a great place for picnics and relaxing and is a popular place for people to come and enjoy the view during the evenings too.
Cremorne Point offers one of the best views of the harbour from the north shore. Not only this but there is also an outdoor harbourside pool here – Maccallum Pool where you can have a dip for free whilst having the perfect backdrop behind you! This is one of those secret spots in Sydney only known by the locals so it is never too busy here, making it a lot easier for you to get the perfect Instagram shot!
The easiest way to get to Cremorne Point is to get the ferry to Cremorne wharf.
Click here to read more about the Cremorne Point walk – one of my favourite walks in Sydney.
Balmoral Beach is not only my local beach in Sydney, but it is my absolute favourite beach in the city! Balmoral Beach is one of Sydney’s most iconic beaches, yet it also remains a secret from many tourists. The vibe here is very Mediterranean and there is even a little island you can visit that looks back on to the beach!
Click here to read about the Taronga Zoo to Balmoral Beach walk – a stunning walk that passes many secluded and hidden beaches whilst offering fantastic views out to the harbour!
And now for one of the best secret Instagrammable spots in Sydney: The Manly Wormhole! You will find the Manly Wormhole on the far left side of Queenscliff Beach (which is located next to Manly Beach). Look for the big pink heart that has been sprayed onto the cliffs at Queenscliff Beach (see picture below).
Follow the direction of the pink heart, going past the Queenscliff Rock Pool and climbing over the rocks. You’ll then come to a tunnel known as the Manly Wormhole, which provides a secret connection between Queenscliff Beach and Freshwater Beach that only the locals know about. The tunnel was carved out over 100 years ago by local fishermen as a way to create a shortcut between Freshwater and Manly.
FAIRY BOWER SEA POOL
On the other side of Manly Beach from the Manly Wormhole is the Fairy Bower Sea Pool. The ocean rock pool is triangular in shape and is set along the beautiful walk from Manly Beach along to North Head. Whilst this is the smallest of Sydney’s rock pools at only 20 metres long it is actually one of it’s most beautiful, especially if you are here to watch the sunrise.
MOST INSTAGRAMMABLE PLACES IN SYDNEY – EASTERN SUBURBS
Bondi Icebergs is a very well-known swimming pool located on the ocean right by the iconic Bondi Beach in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. The Icebergs is an incredibly popular Instagrammable spot in Sydney. Sydney is known for it’s outdoor sea pools (often called ‘baths’ or ‘rock pools’) and most of them are free to swim in, however it costs $8 to swim in Bondi Icebergs. Nevertheless, this is an iconic pool and is definitely something you should add onto your Sydney bucket list!
If you don’t want to swim in the pool and you only want to get a picture, you can get the aerial picture below from street level when you are standing on Notts Avenue overlooking the pool.
The adjacent Bondi Beach is a very popular beach for surfers as the waves are great here. The beach is always extremely busy and is one of Australia’s most popular and well-known beaches. You’ll most likely recognise it from the TV show Bondi Rescue – which shows the Bondi lifeguards regularly doing rescues.
If you want to get pictures of Bondi beach with less people in, you’ll absolutely need to get here at sunrise. Sunrises and sunsets here are particularly stunning.
From Bondi you can do the Bondi to Bronte beach coastal walk (or even go down as far as Coogee if you wish). Bronte Beach is another beautiful yet crowded beach and you’ll see some fantastic houses along here! Just at the end of Bronte Beach you will see the Bronte Baths – another well-known beautiful outdoor sea pool (and this one is free!).
There are three main Instagrammable spots at Bronte Baths – on the stairs, by the rock wall and on the rocks above the pool. The stairs leading down to Bronte Baths are a popular Instagrammable spot but you’ll need to get here early (or in the winter!) as the baths can get very busy! People will constantly be coming up and down the stairs – especially if you visit during the weekends in the summer!
Walk to the far end of the pool and you will see some big rocks that you can easily climb up and from here you will have a lovely viewpoint of Bronte Baths and the beautiful Bronte Beach in the background.
DUDLEY PAGE RESERVE
Located in Dover Heights, which lies between Rose Bay and Bondi is the Dudley Page Reserve park.
This large elevated park provides stunning panoramic views out across to the city and the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. It is the perfect place to have an afternoon picnic and is also a really popular spot to watch the Sydney New Years Eve and Australia Day fireworks!
You can reach Dudley Page Reserve in 20 minutes if driving from the CBD, or you can take the 380 bus here from Bondi (going in the direction of Watson’s Bay).
A few hundred metres north of Dudley Page Reserve is the incredibly picturesque Diamond Bay, surrounded by dramatic cliffs. At Diamond Bay you’ll find a beautiful archway and staircase clusters carved out of the rugged cliffs that go down towards the ocean. Diamond Bay is one of the best secret Instagram spots in Sydney with epic views out to the ocean. However it is also the place several people have fallen to their death trying to get the perfect ‘Instagram shot’. For this reason safety measures have been imposed and the staircases are blocked off and can no longer be accessed. You can however still take photos of them from the path.
An elevated boardwalk was created to prevent people going onto the cliffs, and in recent months a fence and barriers have also been added around the wall to prevent people jumping over the boardwalk. These days it looks pretty hard to be able to access the stairs any more, but you may still see the odd person scaling the fence and barrier.
My advice is to please not risk it. Do not try to jump the fence. You can still take a picture of the staircase from the lookout on the elevated walkway or the path (see the one I took below). If it really matters to you, just photoshop yourself in the picture, but always write a disclaimer stating you photoshopped yourself in, so as not to influence anyone else to try and get a photo with themselves in. Seriously. Fatal accidents happen a lot on the cliffs around Sydney so please don’t risk it.
A couple of kilometres north of Diamond Bay is Watson’s Bay where you will find Hornby Lighthouse. Hornsby Lighthouse is such a cute lighthouse and is incredibly iconic with it’s red and white stripes. The views out across the harbour to the north shore from here are stunning. From Hornby lighthouse you can also walk to nearby Camp Cove Beach that offers stunning views out to the harbour and The Harbour Bridge.
The perfectly Instagrammable Shark Beach is the start of the Hermitage Foreshore Walk – an absolutely beautiful walk that goes from Vaucluse to Rose Bay. This walk offers some incredible views out across the harbour and you will come across many stunning beaches such as Milk Beach and Queen Beach.
Instagrammable Swimming Pools in Sydney:
Sydney has so many salt-water ocean rock pools and swimming pools. Here are the best ones! Unless a price is stated, entrance is free.
South of the harbour:
- Bondi Icebergs ($8)
- Bronte Baths
- Clovelly Ocean Pool (The Geoff James Pool)
- Giles Bath (by Coogee Beach)
On the north shore:
- Maccallum Pool
- North Sydney Olympic Pool ($8.50)
- Fairy Bower Sea Pool (by Manly Beach)
- South Curl Curl Rock Pool
- Dee Why Rock Pool
- North Narrabeen Rock Pool
- Mona Vale Rock Pool
- Newport Rock Pool
Most Instagrammable Cafes/Bars/Restaurants in Sydney:
The Opera Bar
The Opera Bar is in the perfect location and is not only the most Instagrammable of all of Sydney’s bars and restaurants, but it is the most iconic bar in Australia! It is an open air bar right next to The Opera House and has stunning views of The Harbour Bridge. There is an incredible lively atmosphere here, and this makes the perfect place for evening drinks as you get to watch the sun go down behind The Harbour Bridge. Drinks are reasonably priced here and they also do food too.
You can also access the outdoor area of the bar during the day to get some great shots of The Opera House.
Hyde Hacienda Sydney
Hacienda is one of Sydney’s most Instagrammable bar/lounges and is just a few steps from The Opera Bar! Located in Circular Quay, the views across to The Harbour Bridge from here are stunning and the floral interiors here are very cute!
The Grounds of Alexandria
The Grounds of Alexandria is a must-visit in Sydney – located in an old 1920’s industrial precinct! Now it houses a restaurant, cafe, bar, florist and always has cute Instagrammable pop-up themes and vintage decorations that change almost every month! The food is also amazing and very healthy here.
Cuppa Flower Sydney
Cuppa Flower in Waterloo is a cafe and a flower shop all in one! It is full of flowers and their flower wall makes for the most incredible backdrop on your pictures! Also the food here is incredible and presented extremely well – it’s like this place was made for Instagram!
If Instagrammable walls is what you’re after, then Social Hideout is the place for you! Located in Waterloo right next to Cuppa Flower – here you’ll find the flower wall with ‘Hello Gorgeous’, and also the ‘Guess where I am?’ flower wall with a cute bike included for your Instagram pictures!
Camp Cove Kiosk
Camp Cove Kiosk is a cute little no-frills cafe located at Camp Cove Beach in Watson’s Bay. With the pastel coloured towels hanging outside, tropical vibes and fresh fruit on display, it makes for one of the lesser well-known Instagram spots in Sydney. Enjoy stunning Harbourside views from the kiosk on the beach.
Most Instagrammable hotels in Sydney:
- Pier One Sydney Harbour
- Park Hyatt Sydney
- Four Seasons Sydney Harbour
- Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour
- Watson’s Bay Boutique Hotel
Best place to see the cherry blossoms in Sydney in spring:
Auburn Botanic Gardens:
The cherry blossoms in Sydney bloom from mid-August to September.
The main arbour tunnel at Auburn Botanic Gardens makes for a stunning Instagrammable shot when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom.
Make sure to arrive first thing (9am) as the Auburn Botanic Gardens get very busy during this time of year.
The Auburn Botanic Gardens are located in west Sydney, not far from Parramatta. It will take you around 40 minutes to drive here from the centre.
Best place to see jacarandas in Sydney in spring:
The jacaranda season is one of the most beautiful blooming seasons in Sydney but it only lasts for a couple of weeks: during the last few days of October to the first two weeks in November. During this time many streets become completely awash with purple, in particular in the upmarket neighbourhood of Kirribilli.
Kirribilli is located just north of the Harbour Bridge and is the best place to see jacaranda flowers in full bloom in Sydney. MacDougall Street next to Milson Park being the best place to photograph the flowers as the blooms are heaviest here. Please bear in mind these are residential streets so please be respectful of the people living here. You will also want to get here early (around 7am!) if you want to get pictures without other people in! Do watch out for the cars when you are here.
To get to Kirribilli you can take the ferry to North Sydney wharf or take the train to Milson’s Point.
Best place to see street art in Sydney:
The alternative neighbourhood of Newtown, located in Sydney’s inner-west, is covered with colourful street art and wall murals. King Street is the main street, in which you’ll find lots of art walls, but if you head onto the alleyways and parking lots you’ll find many impressive pieces of art too!
Most Instagrammable walks in Sydney:
- Cremorne Point walk
- Taronga Zoo to Balmoral Beach walk
- Spit Bridge to Manly walk
- North Head walk
- Bondi to Coogee walk (or Bondi to Bronte is the shorter version)
Day trips from Sydney:
Palm Beach, Sydney’s most northern beach, is a beautiful place and makes a change from the crowded beaches in Sydney. Luckily Palm Beach remains one of those secret Instagrammable places in Sydney for locals to enjoy as many tourists don’t even know about it!
Palm Beach is located about 50km north of Sydney CBD (so it will take you at least an hour to get here due to traffic), and for this reason many tourists don’t venture up this far. It is however, incredibly stunning and there are some really Instagrammable places at Palm Beach. Plus it is the location for where Home and Away is filmed!
You can really make a day of it, hiking up to the Barrenjoey Lighthouse (see below pictures), swimming in the sea, taking the ferry to the nearby Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park or even walking down the peninsula to the other nearby beaches. Click here to discover how to spend the perfect day at Palm Beach!
Head to The Blue Mountains for the day to escape from the city and experience some hiking and incredible mountain views. The Blue Mountains are located 1.5 hours west of Sydney and can easily be reached by car or train. Popular hikes in The Blue Mountains are to Wentworth Falls, The Three Sisters, Zig-Zag railway and to my favourite – Hanging Rock. Hanging Rock is very Instagrammable but it can be a little tricky to find – click here to discover exactly how to reach it!
Royal National Park
South of Sydney is Royal National Park. This is Australia’s oldest National Park and the second oldest National Park in the world!
Here inside The Royal National Park you can find the Instagrammable Figure 8 Pools and the Wedding Cake Rock.
Wedding Cake Rock however is no longer open to the public due to the fragility of the land here. It has been closed off to protect the land.
Almost a 3 hour trip south of Sydney is the stunning Jervis Bay and Hyams Beach. This makes a perfect place to go for a day trip or a weekend away!
Getting around Sydney
It is fairly easy to get around Sydney as many of the main tourist spots are within easy reach of each other. You can use the ferries, trains and buses (use the Transport NSW app to plan your trip on public transport) or to make things quicker and more convenient you can download Uber, Ola or Didi taxi apps for cheap rides.
I recommend to get an Opal card (you can get them for free, you just have to top up $20 on them the first time you use them). This will make your public transport costs cheaper. Also remember on Sundays public transport in Sydney is capped at $2.70 for all day travel across ferries, buses and trains when using an Oyster card!
If you are looking for other Instagrammable guides to cities in Australia, check out the articles below!
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