Many Sydneysiders live their lives close to water. Whether it’s the river, the ocean or the harbour, the coastal city lives and breathes sand, surf and sea.
Is there a more iconic Sydney beach than Bondi? The beach experiences the most breathtaking sunrise in the morning, and in the quieter hours, the surfers come out in force. There are also people streaming along the promenade, swimmers jumping into the Iceberg’s pool or straight into the cool waves, and sunbakers enjoying the sandy shores. What’s fascinating is that even in winter, Bondi Beach is a vibrant hub of activity. You can wine and dine in the many restaurants or cafes on the surrounding streets, enjoy Sculptures by the Sea in Spring or the Winter Festival in the colder months and shop up a storm. Be sure to visit Bondi Icebergs for a drink, a meal or a swim; it’s one of Australia’s oldest swimming clubs and the pools are open to the public.
The jewel in the northern beaches crown, Manly has it all. The Manly Ferry is a must-do for visitors, providing iconic harbour and ocean views on the traditional Sydney yellow and green ferry.
The wonderful thing about Manly is that it has the ocean beach on one side, and a sandy harbour cove on the other. Manly Beach is lovely to sit on, and the long stretch of road that borders the beach is home to dozens of delicious restaurants, cafes and bars. The Manly Corso, linking the harbour to the beach, is a part-pedestrian mall lined with shops, cafes, restaurants and bars. The surrounds of Manly are just as picturesque, with Shelly Beach just a short walk away and Manly Lagoon Reserve in the northern direction.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House, The Rocks, Barangaroo and everything else in between make up the iconic Sydney Harbour. The area also includes Darling Harbour and Circular Quay. The Harbour is one of the most beautiful natural harbours in the world, especially considering the iconic surrounds, delightful hidden beaches, charming islands and fascinating heritage.
There are walking tours, water tours and even Segway tours you can do, but depending on what attraction you’re visiting, sometimes, exploring the area on foot, meandering around aimlessly is the best way to see it all. There are numerous walks you can do around the harbour to enjoy the beautiful scenery, and it’s most definitely recommended to take a stroll around the historic Rocks.
Take a ferry to Cockatoo Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Australia’s convict sites, or take a ferry over to Taronga Zoo to visit the animals. For a bird’s eye view of the harbour, head on up; the Sydney BridgeClimb is a spectacular way to see the city. During winter, the city lights up, literally, with the Vivid Festival illuminating harbour and city icons. The Harbour area also includes museums such as the Museum of Contemporary Art, Customs House, the Sydney Museum, the Art Gallery of NSW and the Australian Museum; all have fantastic exhibitions for the whole family.
Tours and Packages
Whether you’re touring Sydney city or heading to the surrounds, there are ways to see the city like no other.
Individual areas, of course, have specific tours. For example, there are several walking tours in The Rocks, and even some nightly ghost tours of the area. You can also do bus or coach tours around Sydney that take in everything from national parks and beaches in the south to the Northern Beaches.
One of the best ways to see Sydney, especially the harbour, is by boat. There are numerous cruises you can do, whether it’s tall-ship cruising, small-ship cruising or even thrill-rides around the area. Some of them even include lunch or dinner on board.
If you’re keen to see a bit more of the surrounds, there are some tour packages that will take you to the Blue Mountains for the day so you can experience everything the NSW bushland has to offer, or the Hunter Valley to wine and dine among the vines.