The study session is over, the sun’s out and there’s no better time of the year to be a Sydney-sider! The city and its surrounds are jam-packed with things to do and see this summer – all you need is some sunscreen and a dose of enthusiasm. Here are our top ten picks, in no particular order:
1. Gordon’s Bay
Gordon’s Bay is a fantastic, secluded snorkelling spot on the coast yet close to the city. Bring a mask and snorkel and follow the 600m-long underwater trail that showcases the best of local sea life in the bay nestled between Clovelly and Coogee beaches.
Getting there: take the bus from Central to Coogee Beach then walk north along the foreshore path towards Clovelly.
2. The Royal National Park
South of the city sits more than 151 square kilometres of untouched forest, beach and rivers that make up the Royal National Park. You’ll have to make multiple visits though – there’s too much to do in one day. Camping, hiking, swimming, picnicking, surfing and canoeing are all possiblities. The park is generally open 7am-8:30pm daily – check the NSW National Parks’ website before you go.
Getting there: there are many ways to reach the park – figure out a route that suits you here.
3. North Sydney Olympic Pool
An outdoor pool situated almost below the northern foot of the Sydney Harbour Bridge; this is a swim with a supreme view. The art deco design is reminiscent of days past but the pool itself is always in vogue, especially when the summer heat is high. Casual entry costs just $6.50 for students, so remember to take your student card with you.
Getting there: catch the train to Milson’s Point Station and walk – it’s right next to Luna Park.
4. Secret Garden, Lavender Bay
Hidden away on the North side of Sydney is ‘Wendy’s Secret Garden’; a public space transformed from ‘wasteland’ into a gorgeous garden overlooking Lavender Bay. The retreat is filled with native flora, twisting paths, and dotted with shadows made by the canopies of tall, arcing gum trees. To top it off, in the background are the iconic Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge over the calm harbour waters.
Getting there: the garden is always open to the public. Catch the train to Milson’s Point train station and walk (approx. 7 minutes). Access is between Clark Park and the Lavender Bay rail-shunting yard.
5. Watson’s Bay
Need a break from swimming? Ride the ferry from Circular Quay to Watson’s Bay and enjoy a famous box of fish and chips on the waterfront. The view is tranquil and it’s the best place to sit back and enjoy a lazy Sunday afternoon. Hang out in the park next to the wharf if you’re on a budget, or indulge yourself in any of the fancy drinking spots that line the waterfront if you’re not.
Getting there: from Circular Quay, catch the F7 Eastern Suburbs ferry and alight at Watson’s Bay Wharf – it’s about a 25-minute journey.
6. Mrs Macquarie’s Chair
Well-known as one of the best vantage points in Sydney, Mrs Macquarie’s chair is a historic seat carved from rock over 150 years ago for Governor Macquarie’s wife, Elizabeth. The panoramic view of the Harbour features the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge – framed perfectly by a glowing orange sunset if you time your trip right.
Getting there: from Circular Quay station it’s a 20-minute walk along the Royal Botanic Gardens foreshore to the point.
7. Any Gelato Messina store
Is summer without sweet, melting treats even summer? Upgrade your Paddlepop for some luxurious gelato this time though at Sydney’s (and probably Australia’s) best: Gelato Messina. Top flavour picks include tiramisu, salted caramel & white chocolate, and apple pie.
Getting there: Gelato Messina has stores on Surry Hills’ Crown St, Victoria Road in Darlinghurst and in the Star Casino complex in Pyrmont.
8. Bondi Icebergs
It’s the most talked-about swimming pool in Sydney for a reason. Crystalline turquoise water fills the outdoor ocean pool, which sits in the water just south of Bondi Beach – lending amazing views to summer swimmers. Afterwards, dry off and enjoy a drink or a meal in the club with Bondi’s in-crowd. The casual entry fee of $6.50 gives you access to the gym, sauna and pool itself, or try Yoga by the Sea for something a little different.
Getting there: catch a train to Bondi Junction then hop on one of the many buses to the beach. Take the foreshore path south towards Coogee – you can’t miss it.
9. Wet n Wild Sydney
The best way to cool down is definitely by zipping through water slides and jumping into wave pools. As well as more than 13 water slides, the park has a load of events happening through the summer season like open-air movie screenings, live music, freestyle motocross and surf school programs.
Getting there: takes approximately 1.5 hours via public transport – catch a train to Blacktown Station and a bus to the park, or see other transport options.
10. Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens
Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens turned 200 years old in 2016 but is looking as beautiful as ever. Located right on the edge of Sydney’s CBD, take a break from the concrete and wander through the park’s abundance of flora and fauna. Free guided walks leave at 10:30am daily from the information booth. Entry to the park is also free; it is best enjoyed with a picnic and camera.
Getting there: catch a bus or train to Martin Place then walk to any entrance.
How many of these have you visited already? What are your favourite spots for summer? We’d love to hear – tell us in the comment section below!