State Library of NSW

Library in City Centre & Haymarket

Among the State Library's over five million tomes are James Cook’s and Joseph Banks’ journals and William Bligh’s log from the mutinous Bounty. It's worth dropping in to peruse the temporary exhibitions (new galleries opening in 2018), and the elaborately sculpted bronze doors and grand atrium of the neoclassical Mitchell Wing (1910); note the beautiful map of Tasman’s journeys in the mosaic floor. The main reading room is an elegant temple of knowledge clad in milky marble.

Outside, on the Macquarie St side of the building, is a sculpture of explorer Matthew Flinders; look for his intrepid cat Trim on the windowsill behind. There's a decent cafe in the modern extension, named after the feline.