That time of year has come once again. Where the days are shorter and cooler, but the fireplace is warm and your boyfriend doesn’t mind cuddling you.
Now, this might come as a shock to a lot of you, but it does get actually quite cold in Sydney. If you’d go to the Blue Mountains, you can actually get some snow, I kid you not. Now, please don’t cancel your ticket if you were planning to come during winter, because there is still so much to do.
The weather in winter is still pretty pleasant! The sun comes out to play pretty often and it rains less during winter than any other time of the year! Additionally, a major advantage is that all the summer crowds, tourists and international backpackers have moved up the coast to warmer destinations. so it’s a great time to explore some of the cool sights that Sydney has to offer!
So, in this blog post, I will show you just some of the top things to do in Sydney in winter.
Here are nine amazing things to do in Sydney in winter
1 | VIVID, The Festival of Lights
Probably my favourited festival in Sydney (I don’t do music festivals, so I am easily entertained) This festival of lights is held once a year at the end of May. It goes for 2 weeks and lights up some of the cities most iconic buildings. From the Opera House to the contemporary museum and much more.
Over 80 light installations and projections form part of Vivid and alight the city in a rainbow of colours and spectacular displays. The city truly transforms into something even more amazing then normally.
The event is free (yay) and the lights are on between 6 and 11 pm. The majority of the light is at Circular Quay, but they can also be found at Darling Harbour, Royal Botanic Garden, and Luna Park, just to name a few.
Before you start, last year I worked out an amazing walking tour that will take you along some of the most amazing spots. Make sure to check that one out if you would like to go for a walk.
2 | Head to the Beach
Even though it is winter, and it might be chilly, a couple of hours at the beach makes for a fun outing. Since the city is home to many beaches, finding one to go for a stroll, a quick dip or just to sit won’t be too hard.
Bondi Beach is probably the most famous one to hang out at. There are many nice restaurants you can chill in, pubs you can have a drink in and shops to max out your credit card. You can walk along the promenade and breath in the fresh air and see if you can spot one of the famous lifeguards.
Manly beach is also a great option for a lovely winter’s day. Manly also has plenty of amazing restaurants and shops to warm up on. If you are keen to do a quick walk, wander from the main beach to Shelly beach on the other end, taking you along the Cabbage Tree Bay Eco-Sculpture walk.
Another amazing beach to go to is Watsons Bay. With lovely beaches, marvellous views and delicious seafood, Watsons Bay on the South Head peninsula in Sydney’s east is a delightful day trip. Australia’s oldest fishing village is home to waterfront restaurants, great walking trails, and a harbourside park perfect for family picnics. Even in winter.
3 | Go for a hike
The city of a thousand walks… I did make that just up, but Sydney has many gorgeous walks that can be done during winter.
Underneath are just a couple of cool walks that are pretty all year round.
There is the famous Bondi to Coogee walk! Simply a must-do coastal walk that will take you from Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach. This 10 K walk takes you along stunning cliffs, million-dollar mansions and lots of pretty beaches. If you walk between the end of June and the beginning of July, you might be able to spot some migrating whales.
Spit Bridge to Manly is a walk not for the fainthearted, but it offers some might spectacular ocean views along the way. Make sure to strap you your hiking boats on though, because it is an intense walk.
You can find the Taronga Zoo to Balmoral in Sydney’s North Shore. A 6.5-kilometre medium difficulty trail that takes you along some stunning harbour views, nature at its best, while exploring quiet beaches and beautiful luscious bushland. If this walk is a tad too long, then take the shorter version called Bradley’s Head to Chowder Bay.
Cremorne Point is one of the loveliest of the harbour’s peninsulas, and the walk around its forested foreshore gives you some of the most amazing cities views there is. Million-dollar mansions, green parks, stunning yachts, the chirping of birds….and hundreds of spiders
Lastly, the Barrenjoey Lighthouse Walk is a short bush walk with big rewards, amazing views over Palm Beach and whale watching in Winter and early Spring.
3 | Walk around the Royal Botanic Gardens
It might be winter, but you shouldn’t avoid outdoor activities completely and these gardens are beautiful all year round. With amazing harbour views, it is worth a stroll all year round.
The garden is one of my favourite places in this city. Not only has it some of the most spectacular city views, but it is also a quiet spot in a busy city.
Just think about the wonderful lush colour of the sweeping lawns, dark green canopies and thousands of beautiful flowers. The Botanic Gardens are not just a place to sit back, relax and enjoy the stunning views, there is always plenty to do and new things to discover, doesn’t matter if it’s summer or winter.
At night, the gardens are also an amazing place to do some sunset photography.
4 | GO WHALE WATCHING
The whale migration in Sydney goes between May and November. But the absolute best time to see them is late June and early July – probably the last week of June and the first week of July, around about the winter solstice is when you will see the most activity.
Places like Watsons Bay or Barrenjoey Headland are great whale watching walks.
Alternatively, you can hop on one of many whale-watching cruises departing from either Circular Quay or Darling Harbour.
5 | Go for a swim at Bondi Icebergs Pool
Embrace the cool weather and go for a dip at the Instagram famous Bondi Icebergs Pool next to Bondi Beach. The winter swimming season kicks off with blocks of ice being thrown into the pool – hence the name Icebergs.
6 | Explore Cockatoo Island
Cockatoo Island is a UNESCO world-heritage-listed island in the middle of beautiful Sydney Harbour. Only a short but stunning ferry ride from the city CBD will drop you off at the Sydney Harbour’s largest island and one of Australia’s most fascinating historical sites.
Underneath are just some pictures of this amazing island. It shows you how great this place is and why you should hop on the ferry to take a visit when in Sydney. Wandering around the island I often felt as if I was in the tv show – The Walking Dead!
There are two parts to the island (Upper and Lower) and each taking about 45 minutes to explore. The lower island is where most of the industrial and shipbuilding activities took place.
7| Explore Sydney’s amazing zoo’s
Sydney is home to a couple of incredible zoo’s! From smaller indoor zoo’s too large zoo’s where you can get lost for hours in end!
If a trip to Sydney most know zoo, Taronga Zoo, is too long (it will take up most of your day) but you would still like to see (or even pat) some incredible animals, then I suggest you pop into Sydney Wildlife Zoo in Darling Harbour. It is home to different species of Kangaroos, Koala’s, a massive crocodile and several different types of reptiles.
A good in-between alternative if Featherdale Wildlife Park. The downside of this park is that it is located in Western Sydney, so you will have to travel to get to it. Pat a koala, hand feed a Kangaroo and meet all your favourite Australian animals in an outdoor bush setting, this park is amazing!
8| Wander the tranquil garden of Friendship
The Chinese Garden of Friendship is a heritage-listed 1.03-hectare Chinese garden located in Darling Harbour.
The most striking aspect of these gardens are the ponds and I’d estimate that at least 50% of the space is taken with water features including ponds, rivers, cascades, and pretty neat waterfalls.
The largest is the ‘Lake of Brightness’ and the lotus pond outside the tea pavilion. Both are filled with massive koi carpers. They are very impressive and stunning fish! Although the best time to go will be in summer, I still suggest checkout out the gardens in winter!
9 | Go on a winter road trip
Two of the best places in New South Wales go on a weekend getaway too are the Blue Mountains and Hunter Valley! Both destinations are within driving distance from Sydney and are an absolute cracker to explore.
The Hunter Valley is the home to over 150 wineries, amazing food and beautiful scenery. It is the perfect place to head to if you are a wine lover and looking to escape the cities hustle and bustle.
The second amazing destinations is the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains. Filled with refreshing eucalyptus trees, adorable little towns (Check out Leura and Wentworth Falls) many bushwalks and stunning lookouts. If you would like to see wild kangaroos, then have a look here on where to go.
ADDITIONAL SYDNEY RESOURCES
- The ultimate Sydney bucket list
- Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk
- Spit Bridge to Manly Coastal Walk
- Whale watching in Sydney’s harbour
- mini-guide to Bondi Beach
- Sydney by night | all Must do’s and see’s
- The best lookouts in Sydney
- Weekend getaways in Sydney
PLANNING TO GO TO AUSTRALIA? THEN CHECK OUT SOME MORE TRAVEL TIPS HERE:
- Western Australia
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