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Things to do in Sydney at least once in your life

Here are our favourite things to do in Sydney to tick off for when you make the short trek up
Icebergs Pool with Bondi Beach in the backgroud
Photograph: Daniel Boud
By Time Out editors |
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Sydney’s a beautiful place to live and a glorious city to visit. We’ve picked out 20 things to do in Sydney at least once, from kayaking on the harbour and cocktails with a view to our favourite weekly marketsthe best underground restaurant in the city and where to get your culture fix. Take a read and get cracking on that ultimate to do list. Want more? See the best rooftop bars and waterfront dining spots.

Things to do in Sydney at least once in your life

1
Bondi Icebergs Club
Sport and fitness, Pools

Swim at the Instagrammable Bondi Icebergs Pool

icon-location-pin Bondi Beach

What is is? It’s the most photographed ocean pool in Australia – at Sydney’s most famous beach. The 50-metre saltwater pool a popular spot for sunbathers and a bottleneck spot on the Bondi to Coogee walk.

Why go? The baths have been a landmark of Bondi for 100 years, and it’s only $7 for casual entry – giving you access to the pool, the sauna and the gym.

Don't miss: For the ultimate Bondi experience, book into a Yoga by the Sea class ($25, Tue-Sat during summer months).

2
Manly to Spit Middle Harbour
Photograph: Hamilton Lund / Destination NSW
Things to do, Walks

Take a coastal trek from Manly to Spit

icon-location-pin Balgowlah Heights

What is it? It's a 9- or 18-km coastal trek (depending on if you're going one way or returning to Manly) that takes you from sandy coves to beautiful vantage points of Sydney Harbour, up and down rocky staircases and to at least four secret beaches. 

Why go? The views are worth every drop of sweat you lose as you climb the stairs, and there are beaches here that you can only reach on this walk or by boat. 

Don't miss: At the pinnacle, look out for the Grotto Point Aboriginal engravings; you'll find the outlines of a giant kangaroo, boomerangs, a whale and several small fish carved into the Sydney sandstone. 

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3
BridgeClimb 02
Photograph: Supplied
Museums

Climb Sydney Harbour Bridge

icon-location-pin The Rocks

What is it? A chance to scale the world-famous "Coathanger".

Why go? You can see Sydney Harbour in all its majesty. We recommend the express climb, which is a little shorter and takes you up the inside arc so that you are surrounded by hand-riveted steel and feel a little like you’re inside the ribs of a metal skeleton.

Don't miss: The views out west. This is an incredible experince at dawn, dusk or at night. 

4
Hand picked crab at Saint Peter
Restaurants, Seafood

Feast on sustainable seafood at Saint Peter

icon-location-pin Paddington

What is it? Sydney's only dedicated sustainable seafood restaurant. 

Why go? Young gun chef Josh Niland sees that menu here changes from day to day, depending on what prized items Niland’s suppliers have wrested from the fishing nets that morning. 

Don't miss: Though this modest fish diner has scooped up awards for its dinner menus, head here for brunch for smoked eel served on pikelets and uni on crumpets.

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5
Ballooning over Macarthur
Attractions, Farms

Float above Camden Valley in a hot air balloon

icon-location-pin Campbelltown

What is it? A sunrise flight across country towns with Sydney city skyline on the horizon and the blue eucalyptus haze of the Blue Mountains in the other direction.

Why go? 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.

Don't miss: It’s around a three-hour experience, starting at 4am, so don't skip the Champagne brekky that's all part of the ticket, served up at Otis Bar and Grill at Rydges Campbelltown.

6
Young boy looking over Sydney harbour
Photograph: Murray Fredericks
Things to do, Walks and tours

Ride the iconic Manly Ferry

What is it? Locals use it every day on their commute to work but the Manly Ferry voyage is an impossibly beautiful treat.

Why go? While the motors chug soothingly, enjoy the scenery of the Sydney Harbour as it glides by, taking you past the bridge, Sydney Opera House, Taronga Zoo and harbourside beaches such as Shark Beach and Camp Cove out to one of the city’s most popular beachside suburbs, great for bars, restaurants, shopping and snorkelling.

Don't miss: We suggest you hop off and explore part or all the Many to Spit walk (see 3) for spectacular views of the north and south headlands.

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7
Anna_Kucera_Young_Henrys_7.jpg
Bars, Breweries

Drink locally brewed beers at Young Henrys cellar door

icon-location-pin Newtown

What is it? Young Henrys is a local beer that you’ll find on tap at all the best pubs and bars around Sydney. Prop up the bar with a frosty Newtowner beer at the brewery that made it.

Why go? 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, which makes it a busy time to visit so shake a leg in order to secure one of the prized high tables.

8
Indigenous guide in Dharawal National Park
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Walks and tours

Take an Indigenous walking tour of Dharawal National Park

icon-calendar

What is it? Sixty minutes from Sydney’s CBD, Dharawal National Park has stunning scenery and until recently public access to the bushland was restricted. Now you can enjoy guided tours of the park every second Saturday of the month.

Why go? Guiding the way will be an Aboriginal Discovery Ranger who will share local knowledge about flora and fauna, as well as Dreamtime stories that connect Indigenous Australians to the area.

Don't miss: Enjoy a short bushwalk and then picnic at Minerva Pool – a sacred women’s place for the Dharawal People (only women and children may enter the pool). 

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9
White Rabbit Gallery 2010 interior view (c) Time Out Sydney photographer credit Daniel Boud
Photograph: Daniel Boud
Art, Galleries

Marvel at contemporary Chinese art at White Rabbit

icon-location-pin Chippendale

What is it? 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. 

Why go? 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. 

Don't miss: Refuel with a plate of dumplings and toothsome tisanes at their in-house tea room. 

10
Show at the Imperial Hotel Erksinville
Bars, Gay bars

Celebrate Sydney's LGBTQIA history at the Imperial Hotel

icon-location-pin Erskineville

What is it? Inner West pub the Imperial has been a safe space for the LGBTQIA community since the '80s. Drag is at the forefront, queer culture is celebrated, and the music is loud, proud and Palms-level perfection.

Why go? The front bar has a fabulously daggy disco after-hours with Diana, Cher, Madonna, and Whitney on heavy rotation. The basement also hosts regular parties from some of Sydney’s best queer collectives; Honcho Disko, Heaps Gay and Girlthing.

Don't miss: Drag ‘n’ Dine, every night of the week. Your zucchini noodles will be accompanied by one of Sydney’s star drag kings and queens. 

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While you're in Sydney, visit

A wide shot of Bondi Beach showing crowds of people both sitting
Photograph: Daniel Boud
Attractions, Beaches

Sydney beaches

From Sydney’s most famous stretch of sand to the hidden bathing spots around the harbour, here’s our ultimate guide to our city’s beaches.

More to explore

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