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20 ways to beat the winter blues

Don’t waste away under a doona. These activities will have you warming up outside the house in no time

People sitting at the Temperance Society in Summer Hill
Photograph: Rachel Murdolo The Temperance Society in Summer Hill
By Fatima Olumee |

We at Time Out love the odd Netflix binge like the next person, but it’s very easy to get cabin fever when caught indoors in the colder months. But we say you should brave the outdoors and explore what Sydney has to offer at this cooler time of year. With average temperatures at 13 degrees during winter, we Sydneysiders have no excuse.

Check out the 50 best bars in Sydney, 50 best restaurants in Sydney and the best things to do when you're alone in Sydney for more ideas.

20 ways to beat the winter blues

People ice skating at St Mary's Cathedral
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Ice skating

Go outdoor ice skating

There’s nothing more magical than skating across ice glistening underneath the winter sunlight. Ice skating is perfect for a romantic first date, a family day out or even just a casual hang-out with friends. Bondi Winter Magic and the Skating at Sydney festivals held throughout June and July provide a wintery atmosphere that makes up for the lack of snow in Australia. Embrace the chill and get active on the ice.

People in a yoga class
Photograph: The Space Studio
Sport and fitness, Yoga, pilates and meditation

Turn up the heat with hot yoga

Sweat it out with fiery vinyasa at your nearest hot yoga studio. Stretch your muscles in the toasty rooms at Bikram Yoga Darlinghurst. Or hone your practice at BodyMindLife Yoga in Surry Hills. Wherever you choose, you’ll be guaranteed to warm up your muscles in a room that mirrors your body temperature.

9 Degrees Indoor Bouldering Climbing Gym
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Games and hobbies

Scale the walls indoors

Another way to stay active this winter is indoor rock climbing. Head to your nearest gym to reach new heights and burn those arm and core muscles with a killer workout. Brave the ropes at Sydney Indoor Rock Climbing Gym. For more experienced climbers, try bouldering 4.5m high walls.

Royal National Park NSW Sydney
Things to do

Hike through the Royal National Park

Royal National Park

Take advantage of less crowded trails during winter at the Royal National Park. Build up heat by trekking the expansive coastal cliffs or roaming the empty beaches. Cycle Loftus Loop Trail then treat yourself to a much-deserved picnic lunch at Ironbark Flat. Admire the Wattamolla waterfalls or paddle down Hacking river in a canoe hired from Audley Boatshed. Wintertime is whale migration season, so take your binoculars to catch a glimpse of the marine mammals in action.

Health and beauty

Take a hot bath or sauna


Indulge in a hot soak or a restorative steam and sauna to cure your frostbite. Heat up at the fragrant Balmain Bath House by stimulating your tired joints in a hot and bubbly spa heated to 39 degrees. Follow this by boosting your immunity in a cold spa. You can then venture into a eucalyptus-scented steam room or a dry-heat Swedish sauna. Afterwards, treat yourself to a massage, spa facial or a scrub.

Bartender at Soda Factory

Settle in for a flick at the Soda Factory

Surry Hills

Enjoy a feelgood film on the big screen and tasty hot dogs, burgers and cocktails with friends on Monday nights from 8pm at the Soda Factory. Experience the perks of 'staying in' with the added bonus of being in a retro party environment with lively tunes. The new $35 Date Night Package includes a discounted meal, drink, Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream, unlimited popcorn and a guaranteed comfy seat.

BridgeClimb 01

Go on a twilight Bridgeclimb

The Rocks

There’s nothing like feasting your eyes on the Sydney Harbour at twilight during winter. The Bridgeclimb twilight sessions run every day around sunset and include live performances to create a romantic atmosphere. It’s ideal to book a twilight climb during the colder months because the sunset looks pretty cool over the harbour. Plus – fewer tourists.

Prince Alfred Park Pool
Sport and fitness

Swim at the heated Prince Alfred Park Pool

Surry Hills

There’s nothing like a warm dip in a heated pool when it’s cold outside. And who says you can’t go swimming in the winter? Whether you’re looking to escape the chill or eager to work up some heat by swimming some laps, the Prince Alfred Park Pool has got you covered.

An exterior shot of the entrance to the Museum of Contemporary A
Photograph: Pieter Naessens
Art, Galleries

Go gallery hopping

Cultivate a new appreciation for art this winter. The 21st Biennale of Sydney is showcasing around 69 artists across seven different venues until June 11, but don’t let your gallery hopping stop there. There are plenty more art galleries all over Sydney that you can feast your intellectual eyes on.

A bowl of orange-coloured soup with croutons on top
Restaurants, Cafés

Warm up with some soup

There’s no more fitting time to sip a steaming bowl of savoury goodness. Sample some of Sydney’s best soups by trying the lentil options at Crouton’s Soup Bar, the prawn laksa from Malay Chinese Takeaway or the crispy chicken rice noodle soup from Pho Pasteur.

Generic Orange
Photograph: Nathan Rupert
Things to do

Go citrus fruit picking

Tis the season for citrus, and we’ve got a list of the best places to pick the best and ripest fruits this winter. For mandarins, look no further than Watkins Family Farm, just a one hour drive from Sydney. Ford’s Farm is also a great spot for mandarins along with limes, lemons and cumquats. If you can’t help but crave summer fruits, Berrylicious Berries grows their fruits in greenhouses, meaning you can indulge in delicious strawberries just before the dead of winter.

Things to do

Sweat it our in a spin class


Beyoncé’s doing it. Mel B’s doing it. And so should you. Spin class is a great way to work up a sweat during the colder months. Scenic Cycle transports you to foreign landscapes such as the cliffs of Southern France and the harsh terrains of Arizona, all while listening to upbeat pop and EDM tracks.

Young woman standing on rock, halfway down lighhouse walk track
Photograph: Hamilton Lund
Sport and fitness, Walks

Enjoy a quiet coastal walk

Seize the advantage of emptier tracks along the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk. Trek six km of coastline and breathtaking beach landscapes without the stifling summer heat or crowds. Pack your swimmers if you’re eager to brave the chilly ocean.


A close up shot of metal handcuffs hanging at Paniq Room
Photograph: Paniq Room
Things to do

Work up a mental sweat in an escape room

Unlock your inner Sherlock Holmes by heading to your nearest escape room. Venture into various themed rooms and solve a series of puzzles and riddles before time runs out. Defrost the winter brain freeze by stimulating your senses at Next Level, Paniq Room, the Cipher Room and many more.

People on trampolines at Sky Zone
Photograph: Anna Kucera
Sport and fitness

Jump for joy at SkyZone


Work up a sweat on the dozens of trampolines that will have you forgetting the cold weather. SkyZone takes trampolining to a whole new level with interconnected trampolines, some even lining the walls. Defy gravity in a basketball game in the Sky Slam, dive into the pit of foam squares, or sign up for a SkyFit exercise class. 

Skiers Powder
Photograph: Aedan O'Donnell
Travel, Short getaways

Hit the snow-capped slopes

Who says Australian winters are devoid of snow? Go cross-country skiing in the dead of winter at Thredbo, by braving the five km Village Trail. You’ll feel mountains away from the beachside city. Keep your eye out for flare running on Saturday nights, snow shoeing tours, tobogganing and snow tubing. Tune in to the weather reports for snowfall updates so you can visit during the best powdery times.

Crowd and stage at Venue 505

Settle in for a night of live jazz

Surry Hills

Lock yourself inside Venue 505 for a night of smooth jazz and independent live music. Experience a range of sounds including old-school funk, groove and blues. Turn up on Wednesdays for Blue Wednesday Jazz Lounge or every Monday for their Games Night.

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