what to photograph in sydney

The Sydney Harbor Bridge is a photog’s delight. (Photo: Getty Images)

Tips + Trends

Live Your #BestLife at Sydney’s 10 Most Instagrammable Spots

There’s no doubt that Sydney is Australia’s most geographically blessed city. The city’s greatest asset, its harbor, acts like an aquatic lung breathing life throughout the city. Add to that pristine beaches, world-class architecture and to-die-for rock pools carved from cliffs beside the ocean, and you have a city that is made for Instagram.

Here are a few of our favorite Insta-worthy places:

Sydney Harbour Bridge

While the throngs of tourists gather at Circular Quay to see Sydney’s dual icons — the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House — the best vantage points are actually on the northern side of the harbor. Take the ferry to Jeffrey Street Wharf to enjoy point-blank views of the bridge.

Instagram tip: Walk a few minutes along the water’s edge from Jeffrey Street Wharf to get a shot with a perfect reflection of the Harbour Bridge.

Bondi Icebergs Ocean Pool

No trip to Sydney would be complete without a trip to the famed Bondi Beach. But more than its perfect curve of creamy sand, it’s the vivid green water of Icebergs ocean pool contrasted against the deep blue surf that captivates photographers.

Instagram tip: The pool is best shot from above from the street or the adjoining restaurant/bar. Using a filter like Clarendon can help accentuate contrasting blues.

Barrenjoey Lighthouse

what to photograph in sydney
Snap the lighthouse after dark. (Photo: Getty Images)

Walk up the short, sharp track to the 137-year-old lighthouse at Sydney’s most northerly point in the swank beach community of Palm Beach (“Palmie,” as it is affectionately known), and you’ll enjoy expansive views across an hourglass-shaped peninsula.

Instagram tip: A rock partway up the walk is a popular spot with Instagrammers since it can appear as if it is jutting out over the beach. In fact, there is a ledge below, making it safe with the usual precautions.

Sydney Opera House

Designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, the masterpiece that is the Sydney Opera House is an Instagrammer’s dream. With its vaulted arches and white, sail-like silhouette contrasted against the deep blue of the Sydney Harbour, it’s almost impossible to get a bad shot.

Instagram tip: For visual interest, shoot from the bottom of the front steps with the building’s peaks behind. Be brave and use a black-and-white filter.

Wedding Cake Rock

As the name suggests, this white rock formation that sits precariously on the coast of the Royal National Park looks like a cake you might enjoy at your nuptials. Be warned: The rock formation is unstable, and it is essential to stay behind the fenced-off areas.

Instagram tip: Don’t try to capture all of the rock in the shot; rather, use the “rule of thirds” approach to composition, and position the rock off-center to enhance the contrast with the sea and sky behind.

Bronte Baths

what to photograph in sydney
You never know what awaits your camera at the baths. (Photo: Getty Images)

Built into the rocky cliffside, these ocean baths on Sydney’s east coast are among the city’s most photogenic. Wooden stairs lead down to a shallow saltwater pool frequented by serious lap swimmers and happy toddlers.

Instagram tip: Sydney’s bright light can be punishing for even the most experienced photographer. Arrive at sunrise or sunset for the best light.

Taronga Zoo

Sydney’s zoo creatures might just have the best view in the world from their bushy hillside enclave a short ferry ride from Circular Quay. Try for the always-astonishing shot of giraffes extending their necks with the cityscape and harbor in the background.

Instagram tip: Use the warm and contrast functions on Instagram to bring out the colors of the giraffe’s coat, but beware of filters that oversaturate the shot, giving it an unnatural effect.

Luna Park

what to photograph in sydney
It’s like this spot was made for the ‘gram. (Photo: Getty Images)

Close to the north tower of Sydney Harbour Bridge on the edge of the harbor, Sydney’s oldest amusement park has a Coney Island–style funhouse and a pretty carousel, but it is most notable for the slightly sinister (and highly ‘grammable) clown face at its entrance.

Instagram tip: Head to the neighboring North Sydney Olympic Pool and snap the eyes and brows peaking over the top of the pool’s art deco plasterwork.

Lincoln’s Rock in the Blue Mountains

Sydney’s Blue Mountains get their name from a fine, blueish mist released by the eucalyptus trees that blanket the area’s deep valleys. Lincoln’s Rock is a huge, flat rock hanging over the Jamison Valley that is perfect for watching the shifting colors in the landscape at sunset.

Instagram tip: There’s a reason that the time surrounding sunrise and sunset is called the golden hour. Resist the temptation to overdo filters and let this wonderful natural light do its work.

Onboard the Manly Ferry

If you don’t know the hit ’80s song “Reckless” by Australian Crawl, then you must listen to it to understand why a trip on the Manly Ferry as it “cuts its way to Circular Quay” in its 45-minute trip across Sydney Harbour is a rite of passage.

Instagram tip: Position yourself at the back of the boat as it leaves Circular Quay and time your shot to capture the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge with the wake of the boat trailing behind.