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North Bondi Sunrise
Photograph: Matthew Fuentes

The best places to watch the sunrise and sunset in Sydney

Calling all love fools: here are the top places in and around town to catch the sun on its way up and on its way down

Written by
Time Out editors

Roses are lovely, and fancy dinners divine, but for our money few things are more romantic than plonking down somewhere to watch that great big star of ours do its thing. With our prime spot on the eastern seaboard, we do get great sunrises in Sydney... but don't dismiss our sunsets: a pink-skyed disappearing act over the Parramatta River is something to behold. 

Garie Beach
  • Things to do
  • Wollongong
It's a schlep, that's for sure, this wild and woolly bit of coast in the Royal National Park. But for a sunrise right where the forest meets the sea – and some of the best bird watching in town – Garie is hard to go past.
Hornby Lighthouse
  • Museums
  • Watsons Bay
This historical lighthouse on the extreme of South Head was built in 1858 and is standing tall today – use it as a marker for where you need to park yourself to catch a sunrise that we'll just call "full on". That means full pink-through-the-clouds views of the harbour and the ocean, all in one.
  • Sport and fitness
  • Pools
  • Bondi Beach
It's pretty much the best non-Port Jackson view in the city, and there's no better time to feast your eyes on it than at sun-up. A glowing, orange sun… the crashing waves of Bondi… salty old sea dogs splish-splashing in the oceanside pool… stunning.
  • Sport and fitness
  • Surry Hills

OK, so you're wondering whether the chlorine has seeped into our brains, what with us recommending a place with no views of the horizon and one that's walled in by grass mounds… But a gorgeous view does not always a perfect sunrise make. Whether catching the sunrise through water-dappled goggles as you backstroke up the pool or seeing it peer over the grass from a seat at the café, this is some idyllic morningness right here.

Leichhardt Park
  • Things to do
  • Lilyfield

This park on the shore of Iron Cove solves the problem of "how do you see a decent sunset over the water in the east?" with a little visual trickery. Look straight across the cove to Drummoyne and that sun setting behind the suburb in the west will look as if its melting into the water.

Henry Deane
  • Bars
  • Millers Point

You take the elevator up from the heart of the recently refurbed pub downstairs, but drinking at altitude is a popular pastime in this city so there might be a wait list. Although they’ve named the bar Henry Deane, after the engineer and architect who designed the hotel above the original Palisade pub up on Millers Point, there’s not a spirit level or drafting board in sight – it’s a high class joint – and perfect for watching the sun set. 

  • Bars
  • Sydney

Beauty and convenience don’t always go hand in hand, but Opera Bar is a glam exception to the rule. It manages to be both one of the most enviably located bars in the city as well as its most advantageous spot for a pre-show drink. On the day you snag a seat facing the Harbour Bridge up on the raised promenade you should go buy a lottery ticket, because lady luck has smiled on you.

Watch from a boat

  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours

This love affair with the crushed sapphire liquid expanse of the Harbour dates back many, many thousands of years to when the Gadigal people of central Sydney paddled their canoes around the bays. Today, those journeys of discovery are provided by Sydney Ferries when you clamber aboard one of the picture-postcard green-and-yellow ferries that still scoot across the harbour as they have for the past century-and-a-half. 

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