Sydney's Five Best Landscape Locations

Sydney's Five Best Landscape Locations

This article is for first time visitors to Sydney, Australia. The city and its beaches are riddled with picturesque spots so it will be difficult not to find a unique location. I will include the general areas around the beautiful harbor.

Being located on the east coast of Australia most of the beaches are idyllic for a sunrise followed by the obligatory breakfast at a cafe. The ambiance at dawn to sunrise along the beaches gives you an insight into how locals enjoy their lifestyle. On land, you will be dodging joggers, dog walkers, yoga classes, and photographers. In the ocean, surfers, swimmers, and kayakers are a common daily ritual for most locals who live close to the coast. 

bridge, architecture, cityscapes, night photography

Views of the Opera House from under the Harbour Bridge at Dawes Point.

1. The Rocks, Dawes Point

The Rocks, Dawes Point is located directly under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. With a length of 504 meters its guaranteed to be a majestic view. Shooting ultra wide will help to get a sense of the scale. Looking north you can catch glimpses of North Sydney City and Luna Amusement Park. Ideally, a night shot just after sunset would be perfect. 

2. The Rocks, Campbells Cove

The Rocks, Campbells Cove is another top spot when using different elements in the foreground to lead the eye to the famous Opera House. Facing east a sunrise shot from this spot would also be perfect.  

nightscapes, harbour, long exposure, cityscapes

Campbells Cove, The Rocks

The International Boat Terminal viewing deck where this black and white of the bridge and Luna Park was taken can also be a fabulous vantage point. Close up with a 24-70mm lens you can look straight down on the Opera House as well.

cityscape, night, black and white, architecture, bridge

Luna Park and Bridge Views

3. Milsons Point

Milsons Point is on the north side of the bridge looking back at the city, Dawes Point, and the Opera House. With the sun behind you at sunset, you will be facing south for this shot. I am standing next to Luna Entertainment Park. Walking along the shoreline you can also find some other great vantage points towards Jeffrey Street and Beulah Street Wharf (next Prime Minister's house). This spot is good for sunrise or sunset. A 16-35mm lens would be ideal if you wish to include the Opera House, Bridge, and City in a very wide sweeping view. At dusk on a weekday, it's peak hour for the ferries.

cityscapes, bridges, landscapes, sunset.

Milsons Point next to Luna Park

4. Barangaroo 

On the western side of Millers Point past the historic Rocks, you will find the sandstones along the banks. Barangaroo area used to be part of the territory of the Gadigal people, the original inhabitants of Sydney. The area was a very important hunting and fishing region for the local Aboriginal people. Beware of the slippery rocks and the occasional splash that comes from a passing ferry or boat. Looking west you can also capture a sunset with Anzac Bridge in the distance. This image is facing northeast so a sunrise from here may light up the sky depending on the time of the year.

cityscapes, bridges, lansdcapes, seascapes

Barangaroo Park, near Millers Point.

5. Macquaries Point 

Mrs. Macquarie's chair carved out of the sandstone rock on the point was a perfect spot for the fourth Governor General's wife to cure her homesickness. All the large ships that come into the harbor pass this point. This image is facing west at sunset. Sydney is picturesque from any angle along the foreshore. I would also highly recommend riding a public ferry to Watson's Bay to catch a similar view from a much farther distance. 

cityscapes, sunsets, landscapes

Macquarie Point

Along the eastern coastline are numerous beaches worth shooting for a dawn/sunrise. Here are few samples depending on how rough or smooth you want to take the shot. Never turn your back on the ocean. Always check for tides and swells and bring a towel to keep dry. After your sunrise shoot, you can also jump in for a swim in the ocean or a rock pool as seen in some of the photos below. 

Turimetta Beach (Northern Beaches)

Turimetta Beach

Turimetta Beach

Narrabeen Pool (Northern Beaches)

Narrabeen Pool

Narrabeen Pool

Bronte Pool (Eastern Suburbs)

There are more than 100 rock pools in the state. They all have their own character. Bronte Pool is small but faces directly into a sunrise at certain times of the year. You are certain to run into a Seascape Photographer especially on a weekend. They have become as common as a surfer and swimmer. 

Bronte Pool

Bronte Pool

Coogee Pool (Eastern Suburbs)

Located on the southern end of Coogee Beach is the small ocean pool. It's an ideal spot at high tide at Dawn. You can still set up far enough to avoid getting soaked. It's free for anyone to go for a swim. I usually use an 18mm or 50mm lens from this spot. The pools are a safe way to avoid the dangerous rip tides. 

Coogee Pool

Coogee Pool

Please comment on other areas in Sydney and share your local knowledge with us about your best spots. Sydney is filled with many hidden and picturesque spots still to be mentioned.

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9 Comments

Carl Murray's picture

Fully clicked on this expecting it to be a one word article: "Sydney's Best 5 Landscape Locations: Melbourne." or something like that. ;)

Alfonso Calero's picture

Should I write Melbourne 5 best landscape Locations?

Carl Murray's picture

Haha you could, but then you'll get some dickhead like me being like "oh that's easy, it's Sydney" as the war between Melbournites and Sydney-...ites? continues. I don't know what people from Sydney call themselves! :P
Good article though, and I would actually love to see a Melbourne one too!

Chris Parks's picture

Hi Carl

It's a shame you do not also point out the ridiculously restrictive policies around Sydney and in fact many parts of the country that put server restrictions on professional photography being undertaken without massive amounts of Public Iability, Council fees, Sydney Harbour Authority fees, hire of traffic control and safety staff and a long and involved application procedures. If you don't know about them, best you look them up. As they are very happy to jump on you or chase you up after the event if they think you're gaining any commercial advantage without them getting a hefty finacial advantage as well.

It is a short sighted money grab so typical in this country. But they make and enforce the rules and you do not have a leg to stand on if they decide to target you.

Chris Parks

Alfonso Calero's picture

Hi Chris Parks, I agree with you its annoying that some places have these rules. I have permission in most places but it took me a while to get it in writing for my photo walks.

Chris Parks's picture

Well done Alfonso ( Sorry about getting the name wrong last time ). Bit by bit hopefully we can break down these crazy barriers and the powers at be can hopefully realise the publicity people like yourself encouraging others to visit and enjoy is so much more valuable to our tourism industry than any scrimp on Bar B Que ad they will ever put out there.

Daniel Shortt's picture

Actually I think you missed a spot. Fort Denison. Not easy to get to, but if you can... Yeah it's good!

Alfonso Calero's picture

Great shot! Water taxi at night or a ferry?

Daniel Shortt's picture

I shot out there 3 years running on New years eve. So I got access that would have been hard to come by normally, but you can get out there as a member of the general public.