With summer slowly drawing to a close, there’s every reason to get outside and soak up every last bit of Sydney’s blistering heat. We still have a few weeks left to enjoy the glorious warm weather, so make the most of it with our edit of essential summer picks. From picnic lounging to romantic boat trips, here’s how to wave off the sunny season in style.
1. See a movie at an outdoor cinema
Whether you’re a movie buff or fair-weather film goer, Sydney has the perfect backdrop – and weather – for an alfresco film sesh. And there are plenty to choose from too. Some of our favourites? St George Open Air Cinema located at Lady Macquarie’s Chair is an absolute must. Taking place at Mrs Macquaries Point until mid-February, this harbourside venue features stadium-like seating where you can sit back and watch the screen rise up over the water whilst soaking up stunning views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. There’s also a pop-up restaurant courtesy of the Chiswick – because what kind of a film isn’t served with a delicious paddock-to-plate spread?
Or, for a more casual affair, the Moonlight Cinema
https://www.moonlight.com.au/in Centennial Park shows movies under the stars up until mid-March. Food trucks and bars are on standby if you’re feeling peckish, although it’s BYO, so you can pack your own picnic and bring a bottle (or two) along with you. Winning.
2. Pack a picnic somewhere pretty
Nothing screams summer like a picnic hamper in the sun. You can book an allocated area in advance at Centennial Park – so no need to make a mad scramble to find that perfect outdoor spot. Dogs are welcome too, which means even your fluffy family members can join in the alfresco fun.
Fancy going further afield? Pack a picnic and hop on a ferry ride to Cockatoo Island. There are endless picnic spots to choose from. Get ready to sit back, enjoy your BYO lunch, and take in the million-dollar views of Sydney’s glitzy harbour.
3. Take a dip in an ocean pool
From rock pools to crashing ocean swells, Sydney has no shortage of waterside spots to cool down and take a dip. We’re spoilt for choice with beautiful beaches and iconic public pools (we’re looking at you, North Sydney Olympic Pool), but the natural rock pools are really where it’s at. The first, and most obvious option, is undoubtedly the most photographed ocean pool in all of Australia – Bondi Icebergs. If you’ve never been here, you should go. Immediately. And if you’ve been here plenty — go again. And then of course there’s Bronte Baths. Although smaller and lesser known than its Insta-famous neighbour, these beautiful ocean baths are very much deserving of a summer dip too.
4. Trek to a secluded beach
If you prefer to take a dip somewhere more private, a place quiet enough that you can easily go for a swim, float on your back, and spread out like a starfish without having to worry about knocking a stranger on the head with your foot — then trek to one of Sydney’s nearby secluded beaches. If we had to pick a favourite, we’d say Resolute Beach. Though reaching this particular beach requires a little advance planning; it’s an hour-long drive from Sydney’s CBD to Ku-ring-gai-Chase National Park, and you’ll be required to pay a $11 vehicle entry fee, followed by an eight-kilometre hike to the beach itself — rest assured, the journey here is well worth it.
5. Learn how to paddle board
Always wanted to try your hand at stand-up paddle boarding? Take to the waters at one of Sydney’s spectacular beaches. Book in for a few lessons at Balmoral Paddlesurf, where you’ll learn the basic techniques and manoeuvre your way through calm, clear waters. Then there’s Malabar Beach – a local hotspot where you can also get SUP lessons from Let’s Go Surfing. You’ll be a pro in no time.
6. Hire a romantic rowboat
For a rather romantic addition, a rowboat date scores high on our summer wish list. With plenty of boatsheds near Sydney, you can set off with your loved one – or your best gal pal – and enjoy a little Notebook movie moment. Should this idea float your boat (get it?), head to the Royal National Park, located only 30 kilometres south of the city, where you’ll find Audley Boatshed. Here you can hire rowing boats to paddle along the river, stopping off for a picnic lunch along the way. The boatshed is open seven days a week from 9am to 5pm, and you can rent the boats either on a full day, half day, or per hour basis.
7. Drink at a rooftop bar
It would be a summer sin not to enjoy at least one balmy evening sipping cocktails, rooftop-style. Luckily, Sydney has plenty of sleek and funky spots to choose from. For stunning views of the Sydney Opera House, try The Glenmore, one of the oldest rooftop establishments in the city, located in the heart of The Rocks. Or for beachside views, try the rooftop at Coogee Pavilion, featuring a lush green patio with a breathtaking 270-degree view over the famous Coogee Beach.
8. Cool off with a cocktail
Cocktails aren’t just limited to rooftops – in fact, we recommend cooling off with a summery tipple wherever your heart pleases. Hole up at Smoke’s beautiful cocktail lounge deck, where you can sip on the likes of ‘Ruby Sunset’ and ‘Strawberry Remedy’, or for a more informal, relaxed affair, try Poor Tom’s Gin Hall — a boutique gin bar located in Marrickville, where even your pet dogs are welcome. The drinks menu here centres around Poor Toms’ delicious locally made gins, rotating weekly and keeping a level of surprise with each visit.
9. Enjoy a Sunday session
Last but certainly not least, while summer is still here, keep the weekend vibes rolling with a Sunday session (or three). Fittingly, there are plenty of venues around Sydney that allow you to enjoy every dwindling moment of a sunny Sunday afternoon. Watson's Bay Hotel, with its blue and white umbrellas and beachfront setting, is a particular favourite – this venue has ‘endless summer’ written all over it. And then of course there’s the iconic Opera Bar, which is a given. Because let’s face it — there’s nothing like a close view of the Opera House with an Aperol Spritz in hand, to help best delay those Monday blues.