Sydney is full of sights to see and deeds to do, and not just the ones you see in tourist brochures! The next time you find yourself in Sydney with an afternoon free be sure to swing by some of these hidden gems:
Paddington Reservoir Gardens
In the heart of Paddington you can find these beautiful hanging gardens, water features, and grand echoing chambers. Once upon a time, the Paddington Reservoir Gardens served as a fully functional reservoir (also a parking garage and a patrol station) and the original architecture remains, carrying all the personality of its past.
Elizabeth Bay House
Graceful and Grand, the historic Elizabeth Bay house is as beautiful to look at as the views it affords of the harbour. The house’s rooms and cellars are open to the public and can be visited during daylight hours, where special art galleries and local productions are often showcased. After dark, the house offers candlelit tours, and Sydney Living Museums have even been known to occasionally host masked balls at the house.
If you’re in the market for something a little more thrilling or even a little spooky, the Mortuary Station is a must. Located by Sydney’s Central Station, the Gothic style building was erected during the mid eighteen hundreds to ship the dead to Rookwood Necropolis. The station itself is no longer functional (despite having housed a pancake diner at one point!) but is open to visitors. You may feel a shiver run down your spine as you marvel at what could have been an ancestor’s final train ride.
St James Tunnels
Deep in the ground below Hyde Park there are a series of abandoned tunnels connected to St James’ Station. Originally built during the nineteen thirties and then used as Air Defence Headquarters throughout World War II, the tunnel systems stood empty and abandoned for decades. Sydney Living Museums opened the tunnels in 2015 with guided tours. Take a look and see the old tunnels, abandoned air raid shelters, and the underground lake which stretches out over a kilometre wide, all hiding silently beneath the city for anyone who wants to go and discover them.