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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 09 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Mark Chipperfield

Open up your creative mind and contemplate the rich collections here of Australian, Aboriginal, Asian and European art.

This venerable cultural institution has just emerged from a major refurbishment, including the addition of a new wing called Sydney Modern – due to open at the end of 2022. The gallery’s existing works, numbering around 30,000, are being divided between the two adjacent buildings, with Sydney Modern focussing on the work of contemporary artists from Australia and around the world.

The Archibald Prize

This highlight of the Sydney and Australian art calendar is awarded here in March for the best portrait of a person distinguished in Art, Letters, Science or Politics, by an Australian resident artist. All finalists are exhibited.

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 13+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

The Art Gallery of NSW (AGNSW) is a 10-minute walk from the city centre (follow the signs from the Sydney Opera House); it’s a superb harbourside walk skirting the Royal Botanical Garden. Otherwise, there is a modestly priced carpark next to St Mary’s Cathedral; street parking is very limited in this part of Sydney, and expensive.

The website has a number of themed video guides, including one on the museum’s secrets, worth a listen before you go.

The gallery offers free monthly tours on the last Sunday of the month, plus regular events, such as After Dark exhibitions and talks; see the website for details. There are special children’s trails and activity boxes, making the art more accessible to kids.

The new and expanded café is an excellent place for lunch or a mid-afternoon tea break.

When to do it

Open all year round, seven days a week. On Wednesdays the Gallery stays open until 9pm to host ‘Art After Hours’ a weekly-changing programme of tours, talks, performances and films.

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Spicers of Potts Point

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A character-filled boutique hotel set in three grand Victorian terrace houses. A convenient location for sightseeing, in one of Sydney’s nicest residential suburbs.

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Larmont Sydney

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia[0.9 miles]

A contemporary hotel with affordable rooms in the heart of trendy Kings Cross, close to the city centre and good transport links. An ideal base for sightseeing away from the crowds.

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QT Sydney

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia[0.9 miles]

Located in Sydney’s retail and entertainment hub, this stylish and beautifully-run hotel makes a cosy home from home for anyone visiting the harbour city.

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Destination guides including or relevant to this experience


New South Wales, Australia

One of the world’s most dynamic and glamorous cities, with golden beaches, world-class eating and dining and effervescent, friendly people.

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