Things to do
1. See a show at the Opera House
The Opera House may be the first thing to come to mind when you think about Sydney, or indeed Australia.The world-heritage listed building is stunning in person, and it is illuminated beautifully at night.There’s always plenty of events and shows going on in the Opera House and the surrounding area, and you can also tour the opera house or enjoy a tasty meal inside the premises.
2. Stroll Darling Harbour
The Darling Harbour is a popular recreational complex adjacent to Sydney’s city centre, with breathtaking river views and plenty to keep you well-fed and entertained.
There’s a massive variety of attractions in the Harbour, but some favorites include the serene Chinese Garden of Friendship and its lovely tea house, the Carousel, the National Maritime Museum, and the beautiful Dockside Pavilion.
There’s also a vibrant nightlife scene in the harbour, the excellent Harbour side Shopping Centre (including laser tag), an aquarium, a Madam Tussauds and much more.
3. Visit the iconic Paddy’s Markets
These markets have been a Sydney institution for over 150 years.Paddy’s is the biggest market in Sydney, with over 1,000 stalls between the Haymarket and Flemington locations.
You’ll find very reasonably priced souvenirs, bric-a-brac and general fun items, as well as a great atmosphere and tasty food.
4. Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge
This iconic bridge is another of the most well-known symbols of Sydney, and is one of the world’s few climbable bridges.
You’ll be prepared with health and safety essentials, and any weather-appropriate gear that you’ll need for the climb, and venture out on your climbing adventure with a group of other climbers and an experienced Climb Leader.
5. Swim at the Instagrammable Bondi Icebergs Pool
It’s the most photographed ocean pool in Australia-at Sydney’s most famous beach-which makes the 50-metre saltwater pool a popular spot for sunbathers and a bottleneck spot on the Bondi to Coogee walk. The baths have been a landmark of Bondi for 100 years, and if you want to become a member of the oldest winter swimming club in Australia you must swim three Sundays a month for a period of five years. Luckily, for those who just want a slice of the active lifestyle synonymous with the suburb, it’s only $6.50 for casual entry-giving you access to the pool, the sauna and the gym.
6. Feast on sustainable seafood at Saint Peter
Saint Peter is a modest-looking establishment from the street. The narrow dining room lands the minimalist brief with bare stone walls and artfully placed ferns. It’s practically a sensory deprivation tank, because you’re here to eat seafood, talk about seafood; rank your favourite seafood and then go home warm in the knowledge that you just had the best fish dinner in Sydney.
7. Float above Camden Valley in a hot air balloon
Start the day drifting 300m above farmyards, mansions and pretty country towns. The longstanding Camden-based company Balloon Aloft were the first people to offer commercial balloon flights in Australia, over 35 years ago.
In the padded basket everyone gets a spectacular view of the sun rising in the east and the pink tones and long shadows hitting the countryside below, including the steep hills of the Razorback Ranges to the pretty church steeples of Camden.
Their pick-up point is the Rydges Hotel in Campbelltown and exact times vary for the dawn departure depending on the weather conditions. You might want to book a room at the hotel for the night before you fly.
8. Drink locally brewed beers at Young Henrys cellar door
Young Henrys is all about the inclusive afternoon sessions and on a weekend you’ll want to shake a leg in order to secure one of the prized high tables at the brewery cellar door. Drink like a local with a frosty Newtowner, down a Real Ale for a proper, English-style bitter or secure serious summer refreshment with the perennially popular cloudy cider. Get a flavour for the bohemian suburb Newtown with the inclusive and diverse crowd at the craft beer cellar door. Don't miss Sydney food trucks park up at the brewery each weekend.
9. Marvel at contemporary Chinese art at White Rabbit
The state-of-the-art, four-floor gallery brings together 21st century Chinese art, with a rotation of four key exhibitions throughout the year. Founder Judith Neilson created the self-funded non-profit gallery to house her epic collection of post-millennial Chinese art. And entry is always free.
White Rabbit are known for putting on bold and sometimes confronting exhibitions. In their current exhibition, Supernatural, ten life-like nude figures hang from the ceiling. They're part man, part dragonfly.
The gallery also houses a gift-shop full of cheap, cheerful and colourful gifts, and a ground-floor tea house that also serves dumplings.
10. Explore experimental art and theatre at Carriageworks
Worth visiting for the space alone, Carriageworks is the latest incarnation of the Eveleigh Rail Yards, built in the 1880s.
With a program of large-scale theatre, dance and installation works, and as a host of the experimental and cross-disciplinary theatre company Performance Space, Sydney Chamber Opera and Moogahlin Performing Arts, Carriageworks is gaining a reputation as the venue for the most progressive Sydney drama, dance and art.