Sydney, Australia is one of the most iconic Cities in the world. When I started photography I couldn’t help it, but take photos of everything around my home and explore the beauty of this City through my lenses. But what are the best photography locations in Sydney?
The Opera House and the Harbour Bridge are some of the most largely recognised buildings in the world and probably two of the most attractive destinations for photographers visiting Australia. But there are many other locations that are worth being mentioned, from beaches to amazing spots that photographers from all around the world “exploit” to capture unforgettable photos of Sydney. Let’s see what some of these locations are and how to reach the best vantage points.
- Sydney Opera House
- Harbour Bridge
- Bondi Beach
- Bronte Beach
- Maroubra Beach
- Narrabeen Ocean Pool
- Diamond Bay
Sydney Opera House
I did a quick research and most sources position the Sydney Opera House at the top ten of the most iconic buildings in the world. Designed by the Architect Jørn Utzon, it represents not only a symbol for the City of Sydney, but for the entire Australia.
Reaching the Opera House is easy, it’s located in the Sydney Harbour, near the Circular Quay train station. There are several vantage points from where it’s possible to capture beautiful photographs of this landmark.
Mrs Macquarie’s Point
This vantage point is the probably the most popular spot to photograph the Opera House at sunset. Located East of the Opera House on the edge of the Royal Botanic gardens. The sun will set behind the iconic building and with the water of the Sydney Harbour as a foreground and a prestigious background represented by the Harbour Bridge this spot is always full of photographers. Make sure you plan your shoot and arrive early!
The Rocks – Park Hyatt Sydney
On the West side of the Opera House, The Rocks, a tourist precinct and historical area of Sydney hosts the Park Hyatt Hotel. Directly underneath it, along the walk on the dock that connect to the Circular Quay wharf there’s one of the most amazing vantage points. From here you can capture some insane photos at sunrise of the Opera House.
Another amazing angle can be found from Cremorne Point. This location is on the other side of the Sydney Harbour. Getting there from Circular Quay is easy by Ferry. I usually go there for a nice sunset or blue hour with the City CBD as a background. Pretty beautiful as well.
The iconic Bridge of Sydney, the Harbour Bridge is the other symbol of this City. Opened in 1932 the monumental steel bridge connect the Sydney CBD with the North Shore. The gigantic pylons and arch bridge located in the Sydney Harbour are a very interesting subject for a dramatic view of the immensely beautiful harbour. Vantage points are:
Not the easiest to reach but probably my favorite. The Observatory Hill Park offers a breathtaking view of the bridge that literally blow my mind away every time I go there. Beautiful at every hour of the day I usually shoot sunset from this location and I like to play with car light trails as you can see from the image above.
Mrs Macquarie’s Point
See Opera House above
This is probably the favorite spot of many photographers during the Vivid Festival of Lights in Sydney. From here it’s possible to have an open view of the entire Harbour with the Bridge and the Opera House. Awesome also for car light trails at sunset and have the Bridge at the center of the composition as background.
On the North side of the Harbour, near Jeffery Street Wharf there’s Copes Lookout. The view from here is so beautiful that it’s also a location for wedding ceremonies.
One of the most popular beaches in the world. Bondi Beach, located in the Eastern suburbs of Sydney easily reachable by bus from the CBD, is destination to millions of tourists every year. Best time of the day to take photos and avoid the crowds is definitely early morning, but this beach has a lot to offer at sunset too when from the Northern end of the beach is possible to see the sun setting behind the beach with an open view to the 1 kilometre long seashore.
At the southern edge of the beach is the Bondi Icebergs, one most popular swimming clubs in Australia. From here it’s possible to shoot the always elegant and iconic Iceberg ocean pool.
Just over a kilometre south of Bondi is the small but very popular Bronte Beach. I’ve been to this short seaside pretty often to take sunrise photos of the 30 meters ocean pool at the southern end of the beach. I usually like to stand on top of a rocky mass not far from the southern seashore. From this angle I took several photos of the pool and it‘s a really nice vantage point especially when there’s a decent swell enriching the scene.
From here it’s also likely to see surfers challenge themselves and a composition with the rocky cliffs as a background is quite a delight.
Maroubra is one of my favourites. One of the Australia’s most popular surfing beaches. A lot of buses connect the city centre to this 1 kilometre strip of white sand. Maroubra features Mahon Pool, a beautiful ocean pool with mesmerising view at the north end and on the southern edge offers access to Malabar Headland National Park with its dramatic coastal views.
Mahon pool is really beautiful at sunrise and there’s really a great number of angles from which you can compose your shoot.
Maroubra beach hosts Carve Pro, a stop of the Vissla NSW Pro Surf Series. Action and surf photographers will be offered this epic performance of some of the best surfers in the world. Challenging to gain points in the World League Series. Here’s some of my takes from the 2018 event.
From May to November it’s also possible to see Humpback Whales jumping out of the water.
Narrabeen Beach Ocean Pool
North Narrabeen rock pool is my one of my favourite photo destinations around Sydney. Part of the Northern Beaches Council, this popular surfing and swimming location offers a view which I fell in love with and always return to shoot the intriguing pathway along the pool at sunrise.
During good swell you can also capture the skilled moves of the brave surfers challenging themselves in the early morning.
Diamond Bay Reserve
Another stunning vantage point for amazing photos in Sydney is Diamond Bay Reserve. Located in the Eastern suburb of Vaucluse, this is quite a fascinating place that offers compelling open views and dramatic cliffs. Awesome spot to see Humpback whales migrating. The view is breathtaking and I highly recommend to go to this location for sunrise. Despite being located in proximity of an urban area it’s truly otherworldly.
Getting to Diamond Bay from the CBD is possible in about 45 minutes, by getting a train from Central Station to Bondi Junction and from there a bus service connect to Vaucluse.
From the bus stop taking Diamond Bay Rd is a 5 mins walk.
Sydney with its CBD and beaches from North to South offers amazing opportunities for photographers to capture the beauty of this place. I think that I am really lucky to leave in such a beautiful City. This is obviously not a complete list of locations to visit and photograph around Sydney. There are so many beautiful areas that it would probably take a book to list them all.
If you liked this blog post, consider sharing on social media and if you would like to know more details and info on the locations I listed above, feel free to ask me in the comment below.
Stefano Caioni is a photographer from Sydney, Australia. Founder and editor of Pixinfocus, his passion for photography helps him explore new places and live new adventures. Thanks to photography he reconnected with the outdoors and was able to travel the world and take photos of some of the most beautiful places on Earth.