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1) Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, Darling Harbour

If you haven’t already explored this underwater wonderland....then frankly you’re a fool. But it’s never too late to repair a damaged reputation! Sea Life Sydney aquarium is one of the largest aquariums in the world, boasting over 700 different marine species, including a fearful number of sharks and sting rays; in fact, Sea Life is on track to become home to the world’s largest variety of these mysteriously beautiful creatures. There are also a number of themed areas including Discovery Rockpool, Mangrove Swamp, Tropical Bay of Rays, and Shark walk, which promise to keep you entertained for at least 8 hours, if not more. Do be aware that doors do close at 8pm (last entry 7pm), which seems rather premature if you ask me but there you go. Located in Darling Harbour, just a short ferry ride from Circular Quay, Sea Life is a fantastic place to spend a rainy day in the City.

2) Wildlife Sydney Zoo, Darling Harbour

Perhaps not quite as impressive as Taronga Zoo, but still well worth an explore, is Wildlife Sydney Zoo. Home to all the weird and wonderful creatures that grace (and terrorise) this beautiful country, Wildlife Sydney Zoo is such a treat. Enjoy a some fantastic daily shows featuring such personalities as the elusive Tasmanian Devil, the creepy crocodile, the cuddly koala, and of course the kick-boxing kangaroo. Have a look on the website for the Daily Talks and Feed schedule. Opening hours are every day from 9am to 8pm (last entry at 7pm) .Situated conveniently right next to Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, Wildlife Sydney Zoo is guaranteed to be a day well spent.

3) Madame Tussauds, Darling Harbour

Another hit of the Darling Harbour entertainment quarter, Madame Tussauds, is guaranteed to satisfy the appetite of that creepy number 1 fan in all of us (go on, just admit it). Throw on your best frock and sidle down the red carpet, pausing now and then to trade pleasantries with Nicole Kidman or Brad Pitt. Madame Tussauds is not only good for photo ops, though – there is a surprising amount of interactive information covering the history of film, sport, culture and music. Let’s face it, you’re never going to join the ranks of these superstars, so settle for an afternoon of glitz and glamour at this entertainment hot-spot.

4) Powerhouse Museum, Ultimo

The Powerhouse Museum is really a gem in Sydney’s repertoire of indoor attractions. Fun and engaging, the content covers a diversity of fields, including science, design, technology, and the arts. The interior is a dizzying fantasy-world of mysterious gadgets and science experiments which are bound to make you feel oddly powerful and also slightly mad. An ongoing program of temporary exhibitions and some excellent permanent displays makes the Powerhouse a highlight of Sydney’s museum scene and a great idea for a rainy day. The museum is open 10am to 5pm daily.

5) Art Gallery of New South Wales, Domain

Sitting proudly at the base of the Domain, this beautiful sandstone building is an attraction in and of itself. Established in 1871, it is often considered one of the most beautiful Art Galleries in the world. The gallery is host to a huge collection of art including one of the largest collections of aboriginal art in Australia, works by European Greats, and an extensive contemporary collection. The temporary exhibits are always brilliant as is the permanent collection, which contains works from Colonial Australia and 19th century Australia (history buffs are sure to enjoy these!). The cool and calm interior is highly conducive to an afternoon spent strolling through the great halls and immense chambers of the Gallery. One hour will soon turn into five at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, but you can always grab a coffee at the gallery cafe, or have a browse in the gift shop if you’re in need of a break!

6) National Maritime Museum, Darling Harbour

The National Maritime Museum of Sydney may sound a tad dry but I assure you it has plenty to offer. Australia is a country strongly linked to the ocean and its waterways, and with a rich marine history full of exciting tales of adventure, tragedy, and discovery. Does boarding a full scale replica of James Cook's HMB Endeavour tickle your fancy at all?? (How could it not?!) If the answer was yes, then you’ve come to the right place. Adorned with all the essential props, you will truly feel as though you’re catching a glimpse of some long forgotten past. You can also explore brilliantly crafted replicas of other iconic ships; including the HMAS Onslow Submarine, the HMAS Vampire Destroyer, and the historic Tall Ship, the James Craig. Boasting an extensive permanent collection and ongoing special exhibits, this museum is a delight and a great way to spend a stormy day!

7) Sydney Opera House, Circular Quay

This stunning masterpiece, conceived by Architect Jorn Utzon, is much, much more than just a photo opportunity. The story of how this iconic piece of architecture came into being is truly an interesting one, and one that is well worth exploring through one of the many guided tours around the building. The popular one hour tour will take you through many of the historic rooms (of which there are more than 1000 in the whole buildings!) and corridors which contain all the valuable secrets of this incredible performing arts venue. There are also, of course, spectacular views from inside! Tours operate daily at 12pm. After exploring the Opera House, wander over to the Opera bar for their excellent cocktails!

8) Museum of Contemporary Art, The Rocks

You won’t find a place in all of Australia which houses a more extensive and diverse collection of local and International contemporary art as the MCA. Exhibitions cover a huge array of mediums, including sculpture, installation, performance, photography, and new media, and seem to favour interactive displays in which the viewer is invited to engage with and transform the work itself. There is also a steady program of workshops and seminars that promise to teach you something new about Art and the Artistic practice. Browse the website to get a detailed event calendar showing all exhibitions and events. The MCA store has a fantastic collection of prints, artist memorabilia, art house DVDs, art books, and other awesome stuff. With daily FREE guided tours and talks and a huge collection, the MCA is a fantastic place to spend a rainy day.

9) NSW State Library, CBD

Some people are constantly hating on rainy days, but not I. Call me old-fashioned, but for me there is nothing quite so heavenly as a cup of tea (enjoyed on a couch which threatens to absorb you almost entirely) a good book in hand, and a torrential rainstorm raging outside. Living in the city of sunshine and surf, then, does not furnish me with many opportunities to live out my humble dream. So when the weather is foul, I rejoice, and head to one of my favourite rainy day spots in Sydney, the State Library. Host to a wide array of free art exhibitions, literary events, book clubs, and conferences, there is always something new to see at the State Library. Something extremely exciting and guaranteed to get the blood flowing (really, hold on to your seats for this one) is that there exists, hidden deep in the bowels of the Library, what they call a ‘Shakespeare Room’, the planning of which commenced as early as 1912. Completed in 1942, this room is a veritable time capsule in architectural and literary terms. The collection of the Shakespeare room includes a series of books that once belonged to Charles Dickens, himself. If all that is not enough to get you excited about the State Library then frankly, I want nothing more to do with you.

10) Australian Museum, CBD

The Australian Museum, Australia’s oldest museum, has gained an international reputation in the fields of natural history and anthropology, and continues to draw a huge number of local and international visitors every day. The permanent displays and exhibitions are guaranteed to make you feel like a child again; with a feast of push-able, pull-able, transform-able devices, and one of the most gnarly bug collections you’ll ever see. The Australian museum make a huge impression with the, recently terminated, Jurassic Lounge, a weekly Tuesday evening event including a craft market, live bands, bar, great food, and themed games and contests. For those whose lives became a little darker the day Jurassic Lounge was put to bed, get excited, because the Museums latest project is bound to impress. Tyrannosaurs will be a cutting edge ongoing exhibitions featuring such stupendous events as museum sleepovers for kids and titillating evening talks for adults.

**Disclaimer: All information is correct at the time of printing. Jolly Swagman Backpackers is not responsible for any change in operation of these venues. Jolly Swagman Backpackers would advise guests to check for up to date information prior to visiting these venues.