You know about Sydney walks on the harbour, bridge and coast. But have you considered Sydney’s culture walks? And yes, there’s an app for these.
If you’re like me you’ll think that one of the best ways to discover any city is on foot. But there’s the problem that you often don’t know which way to go for the best experience. We’ve all been stuck in dreary areas with boring buildings and nothing much else to see. That you don’t want. But nor do you necessarily want to be part of a crowd keeping up with a guide who’s going through the patter for the hundredth time.
Sydney Culture Walks
Well, there’s an excellent app that will solve both these problems for you. It will guide you on interesting and often little-known Sydney walks and it will tell you about the things you see along the way.
Because the app covers a wide range of Sydney walks you’re almost guaranteed to find an angle that you’d like to learn more about.
It may be public art; it may be the history of the first nation – in Sydney the Gadigal people of the Eora nation; it may be Sydney’s underbelly of corruption with its murky relationships among politicians, police and the underworld. Or maybe it’s architecture that interests you, or Sydney’s colonial history, its fledgling development. They’re all covered by the app.
A few weeks ago I took a bunch of people on a fairly short walk following the app’s suggested route. Our group included both locals and some fairly regular visitors so I wanted to avoid the standard tourist sites that we’d all seen numerous times.
We wanted an interesting walk, not too long, where we could catch up with each other as well as visit parts of Sydney most of us wouldn’t have seen, or at least not recently. So we did the Port walk around Pyrmont. A distance of 3.7 km which the app indicated would take 1-2 hours.
The Port Walk, Pyrmont
It was fantastic. Everyone found something they had not seen or known about before. We all saw a side of Sydney not often on display and, icing on the cake, there were stunning views along the way, perfect photo opportunities.
The Pyrmont peninsula, today the home of lots of new high rise, high density apartments, used to be Sydney’s industrial heartland. It was built around the port of Sydney, that part of the harbour after you go under the harbour bridge.
From my city office window in the 1980s I used to watch them load and unload cargo ships – boatloads of cars from Japan, pallets of machinery, containers of who knows what. All of that is now long gone and the harbour has largely become a recreational area.
The old buildings have been demolished or are being re-purposed, but enough remains to tell the story. So the walk is interesting for the history and also for the new development, seeing how it’s being done.
Some of the new apartments are ugly, some buildings show the power of developers’ money to buy their way out of planning restrictions and some, thank heavens, is totally on point. All of it is interesting and gives lots of food for thought.
On the Port walk you also get to see the efforts that Sydney City Council is putting into re-thinking Sydney’s clean water and renewable energy needs. Many new processes are being trialled to lessen our impact on the environment and make Sydney more robust in the face of climate change. There are also – important for a group such as ours was – plenty of places to stop along the way for a coffee, a light meal or a drink. And the walk did indeed take 1-2 hours, including our stops.
More Sydney Walks
That’s just one of the Sydney walks covered by the app. Here are some of the others:
- Gritty (Newtown)
- Hidden (Laneways)
- Barani (Redfern, heart of Sydney’s Aboriginal culture)
- Centre (Chinatown to Circular Quay)
- Modern (Architecture)
- Walk on Water
So a high recommendation from me for the Sydney Culture Walks App. Download it onto your phone and fit a couple of these Sydney walks into your stay. You’ll be pleased you did.
For an eastern suburbs coastal walk around part of Sydney harbour go to the Hermitage Foreshore walk
And if you’d like to get inside some of those great buildings you see around the city, well Sydney is Open on the first weekend of November each year. You can get inside and explore over 60 buildings on that weekend (best of luck in fitting them all in!).