With summer fast approaching, there’s every reason to get outside and soak up the Sydney sunshine. We have months of gloriously warm weather ahead, and we intend on making the most of it! From luxe picnics and harbour boat charters to day trips and Sunday sessions, here’s our list of fun things to do in Sydney all summer long.
Fun Things to do in Sydney: Iconic Experiences
Photo credit: Ahoy Club
When it comes to iconic summer experiences, seeing Sydney Harbour by water definitely tops the list. If you’ve always wanted to sail the harbour, sipping champagne without a care in the world, then you need to jump aboard Ahoy Club. Offering luxe boat charters on over 60 beautiful yachts, you're guaranteed to have the most amazing day out on the water.
Birthday celebration, holiday party, or just an excuse to get the gang together for the day, Ahoy Club's day charters start at $300 per person and can host up to 90 people (socially distanced of course). All you need to do is book your charter, gather your friends, BYO food and drink and enjoy a sublime day cruising Sydney Harbour. Absolute bliss!
To get a sneak peek of their fleet of luxury yachts, head straight to their Instagram page for serious #summergoals inspo.
The Sydney Harbour BridgeClimb is something that every Sydneysider ought to do if they wish to call themselves a true local. Taking in the views of Sydney’s most iconic attractions and vistas, the views from the top are unparalleled and they will undoubtedly deliver you triple-figure likes with your selfie upload on Insta. Climbs start at $288, but the twilight climbs are without question the most sought after and cost a little more than daytime options, #sunsettax.
Fun Things to do in Sydney: Day Trips
From wild national parks and sun-kissed beaches to bustling bars, boutiques and trendy food haunts, the Central Coast is one of the best – and closest places to escape for a weekend sojourn. Wander through the hinterland wilderness, browse the local markets or treat yourself to a shopping spree. Sydneysiders can be on the coast within 90 minutes, our pick of the best things to do on the Central Coast will have you booking a quick getaway with friends pronto.
Pack the car and hit the open road with our guide to the best things to do on the Central Coast.
For a cityside coastal escape, the Northern Beaches is the perfect destination. Known for its breathtaking surfing beaches, burgeoning foodie scene, cool shopping hubs and sun-kissed locals, this beachside oasis is well worth travelling for. From Palm Beach to Manly, we’ve scoured the streets to bring you the best restaurants, bars and things to do, so you too can live just like a Northern Beaches local.
For the ultimate coastal staycation, check out our list of the best things to do on the Northern Beaches.
Stretching from Sydney’s southern edge to the Victorian border, Australia’s stunning South Coast is the definition of ready-made romance. Boasting everything from white sandy beaches and old-school fishing villages to national parks and rugged rainforests, this picturesque region promises endless adventure.
Go glamping in Jervis Bay, kayak on Kangaroo River or sip sundowners on the Yarrawa Estate, we’ve handpicked the best places to eat, drink sleep and explore along the South Coast, for a weekend of unadulterated romance…
Want to get some road trip inspo? Click here to find out the best things to do on the South Coast.
Fun Things to do in Sydney: Nature
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). Still, the natural rock pools are reallywhere 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, 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.
Want to discover more beautiful ocean pools? Here is a list of our favourite beachside rockpools to swim in.
Stroll through the Royal Botanic Gardens
Beautiful and serene, the Royal Botanic Gardens is the perfect place to familiarise yourself with Australian wildlife. As you meander through, you’ll spot cockatoos, lizards, possums and butterflies, and colourful flowers in bloom. For a panoramic view of the harbour, the best vantage point (and photo op) is Mrs Macquarie’s Chair.
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 beach requires a little advance planning. It’s an hour-long drive from Sydney’s CBD to Ku-ring-gai-Chase National Park ($11 vehicle entry fee), followed by an eight-kilometre hike to the beach itself. The journey is well worth it.
Want to discover more secluded beach spots? Check out our round-up of our favourite hidden beaches around Sydney.
Fun Things to do in Sydney: Arts & Culture
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. Our newest favourite is the Sunset Drive-in Cinema at St Ives. Playing classic flicks and brand new blockbusters, to sing-a-long movies and family faves, book in your car spot, grab a bite at the food trucks and sit back, and enjoy the movie from the comfort of your car.
Keen for an art fix? Stroll down George Street to Circular Quay and pay the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA Australia) a visit. Entry is free, though some special exhibitions are ticketed. Inside the Art Deco-inspired building with a custom modern five-storey wing, you’ll find a range of cutting-edge art in paint, photography and film form. For a quick bite or afternoon pick-me-up, head to the MCA Café on the rooftop and enjoy the uninterrupted harbour views.
Fun Things to do in Sydney: Shop
More than just a place to peruse from time to time, Sydney’s markets are weekend destinations in their own right. From foodies and interior stylists to eco-warriors and second-hand fashionistas, Sydney has its pick of markets to suit all shopping tastes. Lucky for you, we’ve done the legwork so you can spend less time researching and more time shopping.
Keen to discover the best of the best? These are the Sydney markets to explore and shop at.
A stay in the city would not be complete without shopping at the Queen Victoria Building. The QVB is a heritage landmark and has had many lives before becoming the shopping mecca it is today. High-street flagships share real estate with exclusive designer labels, and the vintage shopfronts are juxtaposed with the contemporary interiors. For one-of-a-kind accessories, Pushmataaha is the Sydneysider’s go-to and Camilla cannot be beaten when it comes to luxe-boho threads.
Fun Things to do in Sydney: Action & Adventure
Nothing gets the adrenalin pumping quite like skydiving does. Leap out of a plane that is cruising at up to 15,000 feet, then freefall at over 200km/hr for up to 60 seconds before floating under a canopy for 5-7 minutes, until you land on North Wollongong Beach. It’s intense and completely serene all at the same time. For something a little different, try a night jump when it’s the full moon.
Always wanted to try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding? 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.
Need to find the perfect beach to learn? Click here to discover our top spots to paddleboard in Sydney.
Fun Things to do in Sydney: Eat & Drink
Sydney’s vibrant dining scene boasts an unassailable advantage in the form of our harbour, and thankfully for us, the city’s savvy restaurateurs know exactly how to capitalise on it. We’ve found the establishments that have made the most of their waterfront location and we recommend you pay each one of them a visit.
To see our favourite waterside fine diners, read our full article here.
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 member 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.
For more awesome picnic spots, check out our favourite places to feast alfresco here.
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, perfectly positioned 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.
There is more where that came from! Click here to read our list of all the best rooftop bars in Sydney.
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’. 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.
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 delay those Monday blues.
Looking for more fun Sunday sessions? Check out our extensive round-up here.