City Foreshore WalkStart: Circular Quay Ferry Wharves
Finish: St James Station, Elizabeth Street, City.
Duration: 2 hours
Points of Interest: Sydney Opera House; Farm Cove; Royal Botanical Gardens; Mrs Macquarie's Chair; Woolloomooloo Bay; The Domain; Hyde Park
If you want to view some of the key harbourside locations but only have a limited amount of time, this walk is perfect. Starting from either the ferry terminals or the railway station at Circular Quay, you simply head east (towards the Opera House) and follow the shoreline.
As you leave the head of circular quay you will pass a numerous restuarants and cafes under and beside the collonades of the east Circular Quay quay buildings. Beyond these building is Bennelong Point and the Sydney Opera House. Behind the Opera House forecourt are steps which lead into the Government Gardens towards Government House.
Continuing around the point you pass Man O'War Steps, an historic landing that is still used as a reception point for visiting digitories, including Royalty who generally arrive by launch from Admiralty House on the opposite shore. Follow the seawall of Farm Cove along the northern perimeter of the Sydney Royal Botanical Gardens.
On the eastern shore, you will pass the First Fleet Steps. It is the point where Queen Elizabeth II first set foot on Australian soil in 1954, and a commemorative wall plaque marks the event. The site is often used for large marquee functions with stunning views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. The Open Air Cinema operates in the summer months near the Fleet Steps. The movie screen sits in the water at Farm Cove, with the audience seated along the foreshore.
Mrs Macquarie's Chair
Beyond the cliffs at the end of the point is Mrs Macquaries Chair, which was carved out of the rock for Governor Lachlan Macquarie's wife, so she could sit and observe the passing ships. Above the chair is an inscription recording the completion of Mrs Macquaries Road on 13 June 1816. This is the vantage point from which to take the classic Sydney photograph of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House together.
Continuing around the point, the pathway meanders through a strip of virgin bushland. The water view here is across Woolloomoloo Bay towards the Garden Island Naval Base and the Woolloomoloo Finger Wharf. The Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool is an outdoor swimming facility beside Wolloomooloo Bay. It is named after one of Australia's first Olympic Games gold medalists.
Cross the bridge over the Cahill Expressway and you reach The Art Gallery of New South Wales. The Art Gallery is situated in The Domain, 34 hectares of open space that was set aside as a reserve by Sydney's first Governor, Arthur Phillip, in 1788. The Domain was originally used to graze the governor's cattle, and in the 1850s as the venue for games of cricket. It was subsequently used for military and ceremonial events and evolved as a venue for soap box oratory and political meetings. In its present configuration it covers the 34 hectares and is still a sporting venue. In any weekday lunchtime its roads are filled with joggers and its grass used for corporate soccer and touch football competitions.
Return to the city centre by following Art Gallery Road to College Street alongside St Mary's Cathedral, then through Hyde Park to St James Station. There is also a fantastic view of the Sydney Tower from the centre of the Domain. This view is in a very open part of the Domain and so is popular with tourists and Sydneysiders, many having picnics there each day.
As previously stated, this walk is perfect if you want to see the harbour sights and only have a short amount of time, however the walk can be extended anywhere up to a full day if you have the time to take in all the sights and places of interest along the way.