If you are flying to Australia, you need to know what are the best things to do in Sydney. Let our list of best outdoor activities in Sydney be the guide!
Sydney, home to 4.3 million people, is the largest city in Australia. Tucked away in New South Wales between the Blue Mountains to the west, the Hawkesbury River to the north, the Woronora Plateau to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the east, Sydney is a diverse and vibrant city that provides enticing activities for every traveler. Offering open-air markets and restaurants chic enough for any foodie, scuba diving with sea turtles and sharks, and multi day treks along the coastline – your unique experience is waiting to happen!
This Sydney travel guide is determined to get you outdoors and soaking up the sun. From rappelling down waterfalls for the adventurous-spirited to kid friendly Sydney destinations we have you covered. With a mix of both the traditional and offbeat landmarks around the city, along with multiple day trips all within an hour driving radius of Sydney, everyone in your party is certain to find something that catches their attention. After all, who doesn’t want to see an indigenous koala?
The Rocks Market for outdoors shopping
Playfair Street, George Street, Jack Mundey Place: Saturday and Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm
Friday Foodie Market 9 am to 3 pm
This open air market holds the motto “made by many hands” and offers exactly the charm and local appeal you expect in a city affair. From local artists and jewelers, to award winning corn and the Friday food festival, wandering through the stalls in certain to provide you a unique travel keepsake and memories.
The Grounds of Alexandria for outdoor eating and socializing
Alexandria suburb of Sydney
Building 7A 2 Huntley Street, Alexandria
The Grounds is a farm-to-table complex tucked into the suburb of Alexandria that provides city dwellers with a touch of the farm life. Stop by for animal feeding at 11:30 am and 1:30 pm, or skip right on over to The Potting Shed for a rustic sit-down meal. If the wait is long, head over to the Café for take away drinks and food. All outdoor seating is interspersed within the farm, which doubles as the farm’s fields.
Bondi to Coogee Walk for a morning stroll and public art
Extending 6 km along the cliff side beaches of Sydney’s eastern suburbs, this trail offers stunning views of the beach and rock pools bellow. Head to Mackenzie’s Point to watch the local surf talent, or to Bronte Beach with the kids, and to see-and-be-seen recline at Tamarama Beach. In spring and fall the annual Sculpture by the Sea festival is a must!
Palm Beach or Camp Cove for scuba diving
With two wrecks, the Valiant and the Birchgrove, off the coast of Palm Beach and another 85 wrecks throughout Sydney’s harbor – it is wreck diving paradise. If conditions are still harsh, Camp Cove offers easy walk-in, beach access and usually calmer waters – all the better to take in the seahorses, sea lions, cuttlefish, and other underwater animals. For more information, rentals, and guides contact Abyss Scuba Diving (http://www.abyss.com.au).
Harbor Bridge Climb for a Sydney adventure
Because when else are you going to be able to scale scaffolding of a bridge and live out your Spiderman dream? In all reality though, this climb offers majestic, uninterrupted views of Sydney’s skyline from 134 meters above sea level. It is the perfect mixture of city life and a good afternoon thrill! For more information head over to Bridge Climb (http://www.bridgeclimb.com).
The City Hike and Ride for a well-rounded city day
Circular Quay, a harbor tucked in between Bennelong Point and The Rocks, offers the perfect boardwalk to enjoy central Sydney. From there, catch the ferry to Manly, a suburb of central Sydney, and enjoy the sandy beaches and waves. Then, take the ferry back to CQ and stroll along the boardwalk. You will pass the Opera house, Mrs. Macquaries’s Chair, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), and can stroll right into the Royal Botanic Gardens.
Royal Botanic Garden for the gardener
The park is a perfect mixture of urban city with a dose of nature’s finest greenery. Originally, in 1788, Governor Phillip established the land as a farm, but the infertile soil quickly proved to make this task infeasible. By 1816 the land was switched over to a park and the Botanical Gardens were established – creating the oldest scientific institution in Australia. The Royal Botanical Garden still stands as an urban constant, inviting city dwellers to stay safely in the city, while taking in the wildness of nature. Additionally, the park houses the Lower and Middle Gardens, Palm Grove Centre, Palace Gardens, and Bennelong Precinct, which includes the Government House.
Sydney Taronga Zoo for family fun
When it comes down to it, didn’t you come to Australia to see kolas and kangaroos? The zoo will offer you exactly that, along with the opportunity to get up close to these amazing creatures. Make sure to have your camera ready! A wild ropes challenge high up in the sky is available for adventurous kids, daily lectures for the astute, and accommodations are available if a day trip is just not enough. This is a perfect kid-friendly Sydney activity!
Bondi and Maoubra Beach for surf lessons
Always wanted to shred the waves like a true Aussie native? Head over to Let’s Go Surfing for lessons offered at three different iconic Sydney beaches. Additionally, they offer a weekend drop-in surf camp for kids 7 years of age and older. Private and group lessons are also available to fit your needs and get you surfin’ in no time.
Barrenjoey Lighthouse Walk for a short hike
40 minutes outside Sydney
Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
Protecting ships from the Palm Beach Peninsula since 1881, this sandstone lighthouse stands 113 meters above the sea. Within the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park offers multitudes of hikes, but the two short trails leading to the lighthouse start at north parking lot, past Boat House Palm Beach. Smugglers Track and the Access Trail both lead from the parking lot to the lighthouse and can be traversed as a loop, or there-and-back trails. The Access Trail is longer, but easier. While the Smugglers Trail is shorter, be prepared for some bush wacking.
Bobbin Head, Historic Cowan Creek for kayaking
45 minutes outside of Sydney
Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
Give your legs a rest and head out in a kayak along Cowan Creek for an eventful afternoon. The local picnic spot, Bobbin Head, offers the perfect place to being your journey. If you are feeling adventurous continue downstream for a more private picnic spot. Cowan Creek is one of the many water supplies that feeds into the Hawkesbury River.
Blue Mountains National Park for hiking
1 hour outside Sydney
Only 1 hour from Sydney, the Blue Mountains National Park is a world away. From camping and hiking trails, lookout points, biking, and horseback riding, there are limitless options for what to do. Be sure to stop by the Three Sisters rock structure and listen to the aboriginal legend of how it came to be. Then stop by Govetts Leap lookout, where the continuous waterfall plummets over the cliff edge and down 180 meters into a pool, tucked away into the forest. And if you hiking boots are craving some more dirt, head out for the 3 to 4 hours, 6.3 km, trek along the mostly shaded Grand Canyon loop for sandstone walls, waterfalls, and lush forest views. If you want to take your day trip to the next level, check out Eagle Rock Adventures for the change to canoe the rivers and rappel down waterfalls. (http://www.eaglerockadventures.com.au)
The Coast Trail for overnight trekking
1 hour outside Sydney
Offering 26 km of uninterrupted trekking along Australia’s NSW coastline, the Coast Trail goes from Bundeena to Orford, along the edge of the Royal National Park. Spend the day hiking through sun kissed beaches and coastlines. And rest for the evening at North Era Campgrounds, while taking in the sound of crashing waves. This multiday hike is a quiet oasis that pays tribute to the natural beauty of Australia.