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Australian National Maritime Museum

343 George Street

Maritime Mecca

The real sailboat-shaped cultural institution in Sydney is not the Opera House, but the Australian National Maritime Museum, a soaring canvas-covered structure built high enough to house tall masts. The museum, located on Darling Harbour, the city's busiest industrial area for much of the 19th and 20th centuries, was founded to share Australia’s maritime history with the world. Permanent and special exhibits focus on the deep connection of indigenous Australians with the ocean, early exploration, immigration, commerce, defense, adventure, sports, and identity. The museum also boasts one of the largest collections of floating historical vessels, including a replica of Captain Cook’s HMB Endeavour, the former Navy destroyer HMAS Vampire, and the former Navy submarine HMAS Onslow. Visitors are invited to climb aboard and even do occasional coastal trips on the Endeavour, which completed a 13-month circumnavigation of the country in 2012.