Sydney is Australia’s oldest and biggest city. The vibrant New South Wales capital may be a sprawling metropolis, but it’s also the top choice for travellers searching for fun on the sand and sea. With its golden beaches, peaceful wildlife sanctuaries, and excellent heritage attractions, Sydney has plenty of stunning views you can immortalize with a camera.
The city definitely has no shortage of beautiful places to visit, but some of these may be harder to spot than others. Beyond its iconic landmarks, you’ll find plenty of little-known hideaways that are also worth discovering.
Whether you’re a tourist on your first backpacking adventure or a local exploring your own backyard, take the time to create epic memories and capture incredible photographs in these five under-the-radar destinations.
1. Wendy’s Secret Garden
Located a short walk over the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Wendy’s Secret Garden is a living work of art filled with majestic native and exotic plants. This natural oasis forms part of Lavender Bay Parklands, a collection of public parks and green spaces in the area.
The garden is always open to the public, but event bookings have to be made through the North Sydney Council. To make the most out of this picturesque venue, work with reliable professionals who can guarantee the success of your event. For instance, a Sydney photographer can help you showcase the event’s best moments and the venue’s highlights.
2. Mortuary Station
Regent Street Railway Station, formerly known as Mortuary Station, is an intricate Gothic Revival building. This imposing structure once housed the train service that transported Sydney’s dead and their mourners to Rookwood Necropolis. (1)
The site is open to the public during special occasions. If you’re planning to include this historical building in your travel itinerary, here are some tips to help you take incredible architectural photos:
Most people prefer taking photos during the golden hour (usually 30-45 minutes before sunset) to ensure brighter colours and greater contrast. However, these images only capture the building’s atmosphere at a specific point in time. Try shooting during different times of the day to get Mortuary Station’s full visual impact.
Concentrate on eye-catching details, such as the carvings of angels and acanthus leaves throughout the building.
Include people in some of your shots to illustrate the relationship between this heritage building and humans.
3. Shipwrecks at Homebush Bay
Homebush Bay used to be a shipwreck yard in the 1960s and 1970s. Old and decommissioned ships were sent to the location for disposal. The yard eventually went out of business, but the wrecks were left behind. Over time, the wrecks sunk. Nature took its course, and mangroves and other plant life started to grow out of the rusted hulks. (2)
If you’re planning to visit this small piece of history, check out the tips below to help you take evocative and creative photos:
Shipwrecks are undoubtedly very large subjects. For this type of superstructure, going wide is best. Avoid using a macro lens and opt for an ultra-wide fisheye lens.
Take advantage of the water’s reflective quality. Shoot in multiple directions and make sure to take note of the sun’s position. For example, if you’re shooting during the morning, the long shadows cast by the wrecks can add interest to your photos.
Zoom in on the details, such as the texture of the metal or wood.
4. Cockatoo Island
Cockatoo Island is a former convict penal settlement lying at the junction of the Lane Cove River and Parramatta. It’s easily accessible to travellers through a short ferry ride from the central business district (CBD). The island offers interesting heritage buildings, eerie tunnels, and a waterfront campground. The views from the island are awe-inspiring because of its central location and distinctive terrain. (3)
Take your best photos at this UNESCO heritage site with the following tips:
Try using a polarizing filter to reduce glare, manage reflections, and enhance contrast. This filter is especially useful if you’re planning to include the water or the sky in your shot.
Be patient. Give the clouds enough time to disperse so the sun can break through and provide optimal lighting.
Zoom in on the carvings on the buildings’ stonework. Use a longer lens to capture more detailed shots.
If you’re planning to explore Sydney, the destinations above should be at the top of your list. However, you should also remember that almost every stop in Sydney is an exceptional photo opportunity. With the irresistible intermingling of sea and land, the sceneries in the Big Smoke are undoubtedly as diverse as the city is large.
“After Dark: Mortuary Station”, Source: https://sydneylivingmuseums.com.au/sydneyopen/2019/after-dark-mortuary-station
“Shipwrecks of Homebush Bay”, Source: https://www.weekendnotes.com/shipwrecks-homebush-bay/
“Welcome to Cockatoo Island, Sydney Harbour”, Source: https://www.cockatooisland.gov.au/en/