Cahill WalkLocation: Circular Quay
There are plenty of walks in Australia that offer spectacular views of the countryside, but when it comes to the built landscape, none comes near the Cahill Walk at Sydney's Circular Quay. Perched above Circular Quay Railway Station, the view includes two of Australia's most well known built attractions - The Sydney Harbour Bridge and The Sydney Opera House. As a bonus, you get to look down on the Sydney Harbour ferries as they come and go, enjoy a bird's eye view of The Rocks, Sydney's original historic maritime village, or you can take the short walk to and cross the Harbour Bridge itself at roadway level.
The Walkway is effectively a pedestrian footpath next to the traffic lanes on the harbour side of the Cahill Expressway, an ugly steel structure that cuts a path across the front of Circular Quay. What it lacks in terms of unity with the surrounding landscape, it more than makes up for with its views of that landscape. It is easy and quick to access from the key tourist areas around Circular Quay - by stairs from the Tarpeian Precinct of The Domain (opposite the Botanical Gardens) and accessed from Macquarie Street, or by an elevator near Circular Quay railway station. The walkway connects with the Sydney Harbour Bridge walkway, which begins at the Bridge Stairs in Cumberland Street, The Rocks, crosses the Harbour Bridge on the east side, terminating at Kirribilli near Milsons Point Railway Station on the Harbour's Lower North Shore. The NSW Traffic Authority offers tickets to view the New Year's Eve fireworks from the Cahill Walkway through a competition.
The Cahill Expressway was the first freeway constructed in Australia, opening to traffic in 1958. It starts from the Eastern Distributor and Cross City Tunnel in Woolloomooloo, and runs through a series of sunken cuttings and tunnels between the Royal Botanical Gardens and The Domain. It then runs on an elevated section across the northern edge of the Sydney CBD at Circular Quay, and then across the Sydney Harbour Bridge to North Sydney. It connects there to the Warringah Freeway.
It is named after the then New South Wales Premier John Joseph Cahill, who also approved construction of the Sydney Opera House. While being a vital link in the Sydney road system, it is generally not well loved by Sydneysiders, who dislike its ugly appearance and its division of the city from its waterfront. The Cahill Walkway is one of its redeeming features.