Sydney’s had a tough year with a lockdown stretching longer than anyone expected.
However, with Sydney out of lockdown and residents revelling in the joy of newly reclaimed freedoms, what are the things you can do to make the most of the city now you can travel and enjoy?
If you have been pondering this exact question then this article is for you!
Few cities in the world can rival Sydney’s natural beauty and there's so much to see, do, sip and chew here, you could be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed. But worry not, we're here to help.
We've sifted through every good time Australia's largest city has to offer to put together a Sydney bucket list for the ages; whether you're a visitor or a born-and-bred local, this round-up of the city's must-do activities will let you experience Sydney from every angle.
As a reminder, respect and follow the existing restrictions in place, such as wearing a mask, hand sanitising and social distancing. COVID-19 still exists and can still make you and others ill regardless of your vaccination status
So, where to start?
1. Nothing beats a cruise on Sydney's spectacular harbour
A Sydney Harbour cruise is arguably the highlight of any visit to Australia's most famous city.
The delight of a Sydney Harbour cruise is something that must be experienced first-hand - no picture or video can do justice to it. Sydney Harbour is in fact just one of several bodies of water that form Port Jackson, but it is the main - and most beautiful - waterway.
2. Kayak in the harbour
Sure, you’ve probably boated across the harbour, driven over it and walked around it, but have you ever kayaked in it? Put it on the list! It’ll make you appreciate life and this gorgeous city even more – and burn a few cheeky lockdown-excess calories. We recommend renting a kayak from Rose Bay and paddling your way to the many coves in the area.
3. Climb the Harbour Bridge
If you’re a Sydneysider, chances are you’ve never climbed the coat hanger. It’s funny, isn’t it – we always say we’ll do that thing in our own backyard ‘another time’. Well, now’s the time!
The Bridge Climb is an incredible experience: not only is it such an adrenaline rush to be on top of one of Australia’s iconic monuments, but the views when you’re there are insane. Our tip? Book the twilight climb, so you can watch the sun dip into the horizon, and the city light up.
4. The Royal Botanic Garden And other natural attractions
Located at Farm Cove on the eastern side of the CBD, the Royal Botanic Garden is a heritage listed site, covering 30 hectares. An iconic garden popular for wedding ceremonies, expect nothing less than spectacular views of the Harbour, Opera House, and Sydney landmarks.
5. Pubs and Restaurants
High on the list of Sydney's most-missed activities during lockdown was absolutely hitting the pub for a few cold ones. Luckily, this city is packed with awesome pubs. From friendly locals to historic boozers, there's a reason why the pub crawl is a legitimate sport around these parts (well, not really, but according to us it is). If you're raring to hit the pub this weekend, we'll level with you, so is the rest of Sydney—so you'll need to book ahead or prepare for a little wait. Can't decide where to go first? No problem, just go where the locals go.
Whether you’re from outside Sydney or you’re local, give your brain a break, leave the car behind and get on a train, bus, ferry or bike to day trip around The Rocks, Sydney Opera House, Taronga Zoo and Darling Harbour. The beauty, breeze, sunshine, views will make you feel as though you’ve been on a one day holiday.
7. Just do stuff
We’ve suggested the same for visitors and locals to Melbourne. We’ve all been locked away for so long that we should do at least one thing we never thought we would do again. So:
- spend a bit of $$ and have lunch or dinner on a Harbour boat cruise
- for something a little more wild, book a girls night out on a party boat – you can be over 50 and still do this, just in case you need some encouragement;
- we all need a laugh – a big one if you live in Sydney and Melbourne – and comedy clubs are the best places to find it;
- support live music! Our thanks to all the creatives who have really put up with an excruciatingly tough 18 months. Go to a type of music event you’d never usually consider.
- What’s that? You want to watch a movie? Are you serious? Haven’t you watched enough? If you want to share the joy of cinema with anyone other than the people you live with, grab an outdoor movie.
- get yourself locked in an escape room – that’s got to be more fun than the real lockdown!
- go on a walking tour around some of Sydney's historic inner city suburbs
- go to a cabaret – if you haven’t been to a cabaret in more than three years, just go!
- get a ticket to a musical or show – and hurry! Hamilton leaves for Melbourne in 2022 and everyone wants a ticket before it goes.
- If you haven’t been to a museum, art gallery, concert, theatre or planetarium in a least three years, then you need to this year.
- Walk through the Royal National Park or Ku-ring-gai National Park to see ancient Aboriginal rock art and check out local Aboriginal markets, festivals, bands, food and markets.
- Treat yourself to some luxury and sleep in a bed that isn’t your own for the first time in ages. Hotels in particular have great specials at the moment as the CBD wakes up.
Do any, some or all of these and you’ll remember how wonderful it is to be back in our cities, towns and communities and how lucky we are to live where we do.
Welcome back Sydney!
We've missed you.
📸 Ethan Ou @Unsplash