Sydney is undoubtedly one of Australia’s most popular cities to visit, attracting nearly 15 million visitors each year from interstate and overseas. Everybody knows about the iconic imagery of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House, but we can guarantee there’s plenty of fun things to do in Sydney that maybe you’ve never heard of.
We’re going to show you some of the hidden treasures Sydney has to offer, so you can pack your next visit full of fun family activities, unique dining options and great nightlife. There’s even plenty of things to do in Sydney for the more adventurous out there!
Family Things to Do in Sydney
Ride the Manly Ferry
It may not be as big as the Opera House, but the Manly Ferry is one of the top things to do in Sydney. Not only do you get to visit Manly, a beautiful beachside suburb packed with shopping and dining options, but the view along the way is spectacular.
You’ll get a unique look at the Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and some of Sydney’s beautiful harbourside beaches.
Visit Taronga Zoo
Taronga Zoo will arguably always feature in any list of the top 10 things to do in Sydney. Who doesn’t love a trip to the zoo? Taronga is known as quite a large zoo, and you can easily spend a day checking out the diverse range of animals, and even gets a bird’s-eye view on the Sky Safari.
A great activity for families, couples and singles alike, Taronga Zoo is only a short ferry ride from Sydney Harbour.
Swim at the Famous Bondi Icebergs Pool
Bondi might be known as the home of perhaps Australia’s most well-known beach, but there’s also a hidden gem along the coastline that many tourists miss.
The Bondi Icebergs pool is a 50-metre saltwater pool right on the ocean, and has been around for over 100 years. It’s not just a beautiful place for a swim, but it’s also incredibly popular for snap-happy Instagrammers, so don’t miss your chance to share this glorious spot with all your friends.
Take the Coastal Walk Between Spit Bridge and Manly Beach
This 9km (or 18km return) walk is something that has to be experienced to be believed. As you make your way along the coastline you’ll be able to climb up and down beautiful rocky staircases for views that money can’t buy.
If you’re a fan of discovering a little piece of paradise at secret beaches only accessible by foot or boat, then you’ll find at least four of these treasures along the way.
Be Enchanted by Wendy’s Secret Garden
Once an overgrown mess of land at the bottom of famous artist Brett Whiteley’s home, Wendy’s Secret Garden is now a picture of serenity and a place to escape from it all.
Created by Whiteley’s widow following his death, Wendy’s Secret Garden is a true oasis in Lavender Bay, and offers a truly unique view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge from a magnificent, beautiful garden setting.
Take a Ferry to Cockatoo Island
Cockatoo Island is the largest island in Sydney harbour, and has a rich and varied history. Once used as a gaol for convicts, a naval training base, and the home of many arts and cultural festivals, Cockatoo Island is now a much more relaxed place to visit.
Easily accessible by ferry, you can take a quick trip to explore the island, or you can even stay a bit longer with a variety of camping or apartment accommodation options.
Catch an Event at the Sydney Cricket Ground
Attention sports lovers! If you love your cricket, AFL or even rugby, then you’ve no doubt watched your favourite teams run out onto the SCG plenty of times. If you’re visiting Sydney, make sure you check the schedule and cheer on some of the best sports action Australia has to offer. You can even book a tour of the stadium.
Check Out the Street Art in Newtown
Newtown has become synonymous with high-quality street art, and some of this work has to be seen to be believed. We’re not talking about messy graffiti – Newtown is home to an incredibly diverse array of street art murals.
You can take a walk around at your leisure or book a guided tour, and you can also enjoy plenty of hip food and drink options and make a day of it.
View Contemporary Chinese Art at White Rabbit
If you’re looking for something different in your quest for contemporary art, then White Rabbit is the place to go. Founder Judith Neilsen created the four-storey gallery to showcase her love of contemporary Chinese art, and there’s usually a different exhibition at any given time of year.
Best of all, as a non-profit art gallery, entry is free!
Things to Do in Sydney for Food and Drink
Visit the Carriageworks Farmer’s Market
If you love a unique dining experience, head to the Carriageworks Farmer’s Market held in Eveleigh every Saturday. There’s something for everyone to enjoy, as the market showcases fresh produce from farmers and food producers all over New South Wales.
From organic produce to incredibly modern seafood dishes prepared by famous chefs, your stomach will thank you for fuelling up at the Carriageworks Farmer’s Market.
Eat Fresh Seafood at the Sydney Fish Market
If you’re a lover of fresh seafood, you don’t want to miss the Sydney Fish Market at Pyrmont. Only a stone’s throw from the CBD, you can buy fresh seafood if you want to get amongst the wholesale fish auctions but you’ll have to be up early for a 5:30am start.
If you just want to dine in on some incredible local seafood, there’s a bevy of options for one of the best seafood lunches you’ll find.
Enjoy Authentic Vietnamese Food in Cabramatta
When the Vietnamese locals in Sydney are flocking to one suburb for the best cuisine, you know that you’re onto a winner. That place is Cabramatta.
Indulge your taste buds with a visit to Cabramatta’s Vietnamese food district and check out the popular Tan Viet Noodle House, Dong Xanh or Bau Truong.
Things to Do in Sydney at Night
Visit Sydney’s Best Rooftop Bars
If you love a great night out, there’s plenty of things to do in Sydney after dark. One of those is experiencing one (or several) of Sydney’s awesome rooftop bars. For al-fresco drinking and incredible views over Sydney’s nightlife, get yourself along to some of the best rooftop bars in Sydney.
It’s not just for the night owls either – most of these bars are open during the day, so if you want to enjoy a beer or win in the beautiful outdoor sun, you’re spoilt for choice!
See a Gig at the Enmore Theatre
There’s a reason the Enmore Theatre is Sydney’s longest-running live performance venue. The building itself is beautiful, providing seating and a mezzanine floor for a huge variety of acts. On any given night you can give your ears a solid workout with an awesome rock performance, or kick back and enjoy some laughs at a comedy show. Check their events guide to see what’s playing during your visit.
Young Henry’s Cellar Door
While you can grab one of Young Henry’s local beers at several pubs in Sydney, it’s a lot more fun drinking at the brewery where it all began. You can enjoy the relaxed, bohemian atmosphere of Newtown while you sample the Young Henry’s range to find your favourite.
If you’re visiting on a weekend, get in early and grab a table because you’ll be treated to a host of food trucks to help you soak up those beers.
Feeling More Adventurous?
Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge
The Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb is one of the best things to do in Sydney – as long as you’re not afraid of heights! Thrill seekers can take advantage of the city’s best view and feel the wind in their hair as they scale to the top of Sydney’s famous ‘coat-hanger’.
If you’re looking for something even more unique, why not try the climb at dawn, dusk or even night for some spectacular views.
Snorkel in Manly
Manly is an incredibly popular beachside town which is bustling with activity. But there’s plenty of action happening under the water too.
Book a snorkelling safari with the Dive Centre Manly, and check out some of the beautiful marine life at some of the most popular snorkelling areas of Manly. If you want to go it alone, you can also hire some gear and choose your own adventure.
Bushwalk Through Dharawal National Park
The Dharawal National Park is a beautiful bushwalking experience just an hour from the city. Best of all, you can take guided tours with an Aboriginal Discovery Ranger who can tell you all about the land’s history, the local flora and fauna, and even share some Dreamtime stories from Indigenous culture.
For a cultural experience that few people will experience in their lifetime, the Dharawal National Park is something that should be right up there on your list of things to do in Sydney.
Visit the Blue Mountains National Park
If you want to escape the city for a while and enjoy the real outdoors, you can do it by visiting the Blue Mountains National Park just an hour west of Sydney. While the area is known for its incredible bushwalks and stunning views, you can also get a bit more extreme and try out some canoeing or climbing.
Fastrack V8 Race – Supercar Experience
If you really want to cut loose and get your adrenaline pumping, the Fastrack V8 Race Experience is just the thing. If you thought that doing some fast laps around Sydney Motorsport Park was only for professional Supercar drivers, think again!
For the ultimate V8 experience, take some time out of your holiday schedule to experience the exhilaration of tearing up the track with this once in a lifetime opportunity. Or, if you’re not a Supercar or motor sport fan, but have a loved one who has the need for speed, the Fastrack V8 experience in Sydney would make one hell of a birthday gift.