Are you looking for the best Sydney museums? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Sydney is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Plus, it’s a city full of museums and art galleries. From the world-renowned Australian Museum to the lesser-known Elizabeth Farm, this beautiful city has no shortage of places to learn about science and history.
With so many options, it can be difficult to choose which ones are worth visiting. So we’ve done the work for you! Here are the top museums in Sydney, Australia, that every tourist should see.
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Best Museums in Sydney, Australia
1. Australian Museum
Address: 1 William St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
If you’re looking for a museum that’ll knock your socks off, look no further than the Australian Museum. It’s one of the oldest and best museums in Sydney, having been inaugurated in 1827.
The museum underwent a stunning refurbishment and reopened in November 2022, adding more than 3000 square meters to its total area. The Australian museum boasts over 21 million cultural and historical collections on display for visitors to explore.
You’ll find everything from stuffed Australian mammal animals to stones dating back to ancient times. You can also learn about some important Aboriginal cultural events. And the best part about the Australian museum is that the entry fee is free for tourists!
So whether you’re looking to take in some culture or just want to learn more about Australia’s history, make sure you include the Australian museum in your “Museums Sydney Itinerary”—you’ll be glad you did!
See Related: Famous Historical Landmarks in Sydney, Australia
2. Powerhouse Museum
Address: 500 Harris St, Ultimo NSW 2007
It features a huge collection of art, fashion events, and science innovations. Not only that, but it also features an old restored cinema that shows famous recorded reels and movies from the 1930s.
The visitors can’t help themselves from admiring and clicking photos of an ancient steam-powered locomotive train placed in the museum’s big hall. A 230+years old Boulton and Watt steam engine is another drawcard in the museum that attracts more visitors. The museum is present near Darling harbor and Central station Sydney terminal.
The museum is open from 10 am until 5 pm every day. So go visit them today! There are no entry fees or booking requirements. Just bring your camera and enjoy yourself!
3. Hyde Park Barracks Museum
Address: Queens Square, Macquarie St, Sydney NSW 2000
Did you know that Hyde Park Barracks Museum was once a prison? Well, now you do. And that’s pretty cool, right?
Hyde Park Barracks Museum is an ancient museum in Sydney, New South Wales. It was designed and constructed by Australia’s first government architect, Francis Howard Greenway. Before it was given the museum title, it used to be the prisoner barrack where culprits and criminals were imprisoned.
The museum has a 200-year-old history of housing almost one hundred thousand convicted prisoners and immigrant women.
But now it’s home to some fantastic stories from the Aboriginal communities—and those are what you’ll hear when you go on their one-and-a-half-hour long audio-led tour through location-activated headphones! You’ll hear soundscapes and first-person narrations as you walk through the building and explore its treasures.
There are also over 4000 precious collections gathered by Archaeologists. This Sydney museum has an amazing history, and it’s worth learning about. So, don’t forget to include this historical museum in your Sydney itinerary.
4. Chau Chak Wing Museum
Address: University Pl, Camperdown NSW 2006
Have you ever wanted to see a Lego model of Pompeii? Now’s your chance!
The Chau Chak Wing Museum is an incredible place, featuring contemporary art and artifacts from one and half centuries ago. The museum also has the largest ancient Lego model in the world: a Lego model of Pompeii!
The Lego model of Pompeii is one of the most engaging collections of the museum. It fascinates visitors with its enormous size and antique appearance.
The museum also includes three Egyptian mummies that date back to the middle ages. The museum connects with the grounds of the famous University of Sydney, providing a gateway for visitors to explore the academic significance of Sydney.
Chau Chak Wing museum also boasts its contemporary architecture, sophisticated interior designs, antique artifacts, and prominent cultural displays. Plus, it’s open seven days a week and doesn’t charge any entry fee. What else do we need now?
5. Sydney Jewish Museum
Address: 148 Darlinghurst Rd, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
The museum is located in the heart of Sydney, and its design is spectacular! The stained glass windows at the welcoming gate provide a quick reminder of World War II, which is an important part of Jewish history.
It’s also home to some of the most incredible exhibits on display. The most popular exhibit is a huge Star of David made from Jerusalem stone. The star has been carved into intricate patterns and placed at the entrance of the museum. This beautiful star serves as a reminder for visitors about what it means to be Jewish.
The top floor of this museum offers a unique experience for all visitors. Here, visitors can hear about the extraordinary experiences that 45 holocaust survivors have had during their time working at this museum daily.
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6. Australian National Maritime Museum
Address: 2 Murray St, Sydney NSW 2000
The Australian National Maritime Museum is one of the most popular museums in Sydney. This maritime museum offers unique collections from defense, trade, exploration, and sports themes. The Australian National Maritime Museum also features Oberon-class submarines, big gun destroyers, and tremendous ships.
Its maritime collections include the HMAS Onslow submarine, the third Australian-built HMAS Vampire daring class destroyer, and a replica of Captain James Cook’s HMS Endeavour. If you’re interested in Sydney’s connection with the sea, be sure to visit the Australian National Maritime Museum store.
So what are you waiting for? Book your tickets now!
7. The Rocks Discovery Museum
Address: Kendall Ln, The Rocks NSW 2000
The Rocks Discovery Museum is a local cultural treasure that should not be missed. This museum is unlike any other! It’s one of the oldest in Sydney and is located in an ancient refurbished warehouse.
The Rocks Discovery Museum displays the antique story of the Rocks, drawing a comparison between the pre-European period and the continuous period. Its collections hold various unique archaeological art pieces, artifacts, and images. Archaeologists found all these precious historical paintings and artifacts in the Rocks.
The museum’s highly interactive and futuristic exhibits offer clear audio and visual displays. You can also use the touchscreen LEDs to learn about the land’s history, its traditional landowners, and the establishment of the English colony. So go visit the Rocks Discovery Museum today!
8. Justice and Police Museum
Address: Cnr Phillip St &, Albert St, Sydney NSW 2000
If you’ve got a thing for crime fiction, you’ve got to check out the Justice and Police Museum. There’s nothing like seeing the real stuff—the weapons, the mugshots, the death masks. And there’s no better place to see it than at this museum.
The Justice and Police Museum is a place where some of the most notorious criminals in Australian history were imprisoned and punished for their wrongdoings. Take a walk through the corridor cells to explore the death masks and mugshots of some infamous and villainous Australian criminals—Captain Moonlight, Kate Leigh, and more!
You’ll also get an inside look at an old police charge room, a remand cell, and a restored Court of Petty Sessions. The Justice and Police Museum has been around since 1858, when it was first used as a Water Police Station!
If you crave criminal stories or if you just want to read about them in your favorite Nordic noir novels, then make sure the Justice and Police Museum is on your bucket list when visiting Sydney.
9. Reserve Bank of Australia Museum
Address: 65 Martin Pl, Sydney NSW 2000
The Reserve Bank of Australia Museum is one of the best Sydney museums, especially for currency lovers. It’s a must-see place for exploring Australian banknotes and their history.
The museum has a vast collection of Australia’s banknote currency, from rare to common currency coins and banknotes. Visitors also have access to Pocket Guides that explain Australian banknotes’ social and economic context. The eminent artists have tributed some renowned and prominent Australian personalities by drawing their portraits on banknotes.
The museum also features the evolution of currency in Australia by explaining the depictions of First Nations People and culture on their banknotes. Besides educating the tourists about Australia’s banknotes, the museum also elaborates on the role of the Reserve Bank over time.
10. Art Gallery of New South Wales
Address: Art Gallery Rd, Sydney NSW 2000
If you’re looking for an opportunity to indulge your love of contemporary art and culture, the Art Gallery of New South Wales is the place to go.
The Art Gallery of New South Wales is one of the best museums in Sydney, New South Wales. The building itself is a sight to behold and a must-see when visiting Australia.
It’s a popular art destination that exhibits a vast collection of fine art, from classic Asian, European, and Australian art to modern creations. The Art Gallery of New South Wales also features contemporary art, ancient colonial creations, and unique Australian models.
The building is monumental and long-established, attracting a significant crowd of visitors who are fascinated by its vast Australian and foreign art collections. Visitors can enjoy seeing classic movies and live music performances, as well as informative lectures.
Although entry to the Art Gallery of New South Wales is free, you may have to pay for some specific shows and events in the museum. The unique classical and contemporary art pieces engage millions of tourists annually from all across the globe.
11. White Rabbit Gallery
Address: 30 Balfour St, Chippendale NSW 2008
White Rabbit Gallery is a must-visit for any fan of modern art. It’s one of the most famous art museums in Sydney, New South Wales.
The art gallery was founded by Judith Neilson in 2009 who before had no experience in the field of art. She became interested in art after marrying Chinese artist Wang Zhiyuan.
The White Rabbit Gallery building used to be a warehouse and Rolls-Royce service depot. It was converted into a museum due to Judith’s love for contemporary art. The art gallery focuses on complementing contemporary artists by showcasing their artworks to the public.
White Rabbit Gallery holds two exhibitions each year to praise and feature the artworks of Chinese contemporary artists. The art gallery also provides charity services solely funded by its founder.
See Related: Best Sydney Hotels Near The Opera House
12. Sydney Tramway Museum
Address: Display Hall – Running Shed, Cnr of Rawson Avenue and, Pitt St, Loftus NSW 2232
Looking for a fun and interesting museum to spend your day with your friends, family or partner? Then Sydney Tramway Museum is the right choice for you. It’s one of the oldest tramway museums in Sydney, New South Wales.
The museum is located in Sutherland Shire, which is a charming attraction in the southern suburbs of Sydney, New South Wales. The museum offers a heritage tram travel experience to tourists worldwide.
Your museum visit begins with a train ride enjoying the unparalleled scenery of suburbs to the South of Sydney on the T4 line. On top of that, you can learn about Australian inventions and transportation history. The museum also features stunning global art and history exhibitions.
So what are you waiting for? Book your tickets now! For an unbeatable price, you can experience all this amazing museum has to offer!
13. Susannah Place Museum
Address: 58/64 Gloucester St, The Rocks NSW 2000
Sydney is a great city, and you can discover its history and culture at the Susannah Place Museum. This museum is a heritage-listed tourist attraction spot and museum built on the rocks. It exhibits the working-class heritage and ancient cultures of the city. Irish immigrants built this building at a worth-seeing location in Sydney in 1844.
More than a hundred families used to live in this 170+ years old place occupying four house terraces with small backyards, kitchens, and washhouses. Now, it’s recognized as a reputed historic house museum that welcomes millions of visitors annually. Sydney Living Museums team and volunteers administrate this tourist spot.
14. Sydney Observatory
Address: 1003 Upper Fort St, Millers Point NSW 2000
If you’re looking for a truly unique experience in Sydney, look no further than Sydney Observatory.
Located on Observatory Hill at Upper Fort Street in Sydney, it’s a sandstone museum built at a star-gazing site that offers fascinating views of Sydney. The museum gained global recognition under the supervision of astronomer Henry Chamberlain Russell.
Sydney Observatory has three domes that multiply the charm and appearance of the building. Its recently built east dome has exceptional fame for attracting a huge crowd of visitors. The East Dome has particular importance as it has an astrographic telescope that provides distant and clear star views even for people in wheelchairs.
You can also enjoy 3D Space Theater Sessions under the guidance of excellent staff. Entry to the museum is free of cost as well!
15. Elizabeth Farm
Address: 70 Alice St, Rosehill NSW 2142
If you’re looking for a museum that’s out of the ordinary, Elizabeth Farm is the place to go. It’s the oldest surviving museum in Rosehill, a suburb of Sydney in New South Wales. It was the family home for a young military couple – John Macarthur and Elizabeth Macarthur.
This museum was built by John Macarthur, who was also a famous architect and wool pioneer. He started constructing the building in 1793 with one of his business partners and architect, John Verge.
The Elizabeth Farm contains the ancient fence-free building, which has no doors and extra furniture in it. You can openly explore the museum and feel the texture of a significantly old building dating back to ancient times.
Moreover, the Elizabeth Museum is one of the most accessible museums in Sydney because you can easily reach there via bus or train. It’s present at a 25 minutes walking distance from Parramatta station. Even the Veolia bus 909 passes through Elizabeth Farm when routing from Parramatta train station to Bankstown.
16. Museum of Sydney
Address: Cnr Bridge St &, Phillip St, Sydney NSW 2000
The Museum of Sydney is one of the most historical spots in Australia. Here, you can learn about ancient colonization and modern Australian history. The museum is located in the building that once served as first government house to nine governors of New South Wales. Governor Arthur Phillip built it in 1788.
The building was demolished in 1846. But Sydney Living Museums took charge of it in 1995 and turned it into a museum. It offers futuristic installations and nostalgic events for those who want to learn more about how things were before they were lost forever! The museum also features some remains from its destruction in 1846.
The famous painting “Possession Island” by the native artist Gordon Bennette is one of the unique collections in the museum’s foyer. The tourists find it highly appealing and worth remembering.
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17. Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
Address: 140 George St, The Rocks NSW 2000
If you’re looking for a museum dedicated to contemporary art, there’s only one place to go, the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA). It’s an awesome, modern place with lots of art you can actually interact with, rather than just look at.
MCA is Australia’s only contemporary art museum with a permanent collection. It’s located on the corner of George Street on the western side of Circular Quay.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia was founded in 1991, but its roots go back a half-century earlier. The building is very modern and sleek, not like your typical boring museum.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia houses both Australian and international artists’ work from across the globe. The museum has a diverse collection, including paintings, sculptures, and photography. So no matter what kind of artwork you’re into, you’ll find something here.
With over 4000 works by Australian and international artists, this is one of the best museums in Sydney to see some of the most cutting-edge contemporary art around.
Where To Stay in Sydney, Australia?
If you’re a museum enthusiast, you’ll need to plan at least three days in Sydney just to take it all in. So, here are our favorite hotels for different budgets:
Located in the heart of the Sydney Central Business District (CBD), this unique accommodation features capsule bedding with personal lockers and free WiFi. The Pod Sydney offers front or side entry rooms with single king beds and reading lights with power outlets.
It’s also only 10 minute’s walk from Central Train Station, so it’s easy for you to get around town.
The Pod Sydney is just 200 m from Capitol Theatre, 900 m from Darling Harbour, and 2 km from Circular Quay. So, everything is within easy reach if you’re looking for an exciting night out or an afternoon at the beach.
See Related: Best Pet-Friendly Hotels in Sydney, Australia
If you’re looking for an affordable beachfront getaway in Sydney, look no further than Coogee Bay Hotel. Located just 100 meters from Coogee Beach, this hotel offers a restaurant, bar, and casino. You’ll also be less than 1 kilometer away from Gordons Bay Beach, and only a 19-minute walk away from Clovelly Beach!
On top of these, they offer free WiFi throughout the property. The guest rooms are equipped with a kettle to make your stay even more comfortable. Each room has a private bathroom fitted with a shower and hairdryer, as well as air conditioning and TV.
You deserve a home that makes you feel like you’re living in the lap of luxury. And that’s just what you’ll get with these apartments in Barangaroo Park!
The apartment building is heritage listed and has beautiful old features combined with modern luxury. You’ll love the full kitchen, dining area, lounge room, and balcony. It also features a study desk, laundry facilities, toiletries, and cleaning products.