1. Book a Culture Scouts walking tour
Walking is honestly one of the best ways to discover a city—better still when you have expert guidance at hand. Explore the street art and niche food spots of Sydney’s eclectic neighbourhoods with Culture Scouts—whose guides are a mix of artists, designers and creatives—and you’ll come away with interesting stories and conversations that you’d probably miss out on your own.
There’s nothing quite like walking through Newtown with a guide who knows about the street art at nearly every street and alley like it’s the back of his hand. If you’re lucky, you might even stumble upon a street artist at work.
2. Dine at Tramsheds
Once a former tram depot, the space was recently redeveloped and reopened to the public in 2016 as the bustling food haven that is Tramsheds as we know it today. Dine at one of the 12 restaurants and cafes, and then shop for grocery or specialty foods (eucalyptus honey, anyone?) all under one roof. Look out for the last tram standing from the former Sydney tramway near the entrance of the complex.
3. Take a scenic stroll to Bondi Beach
Instead of taking a bus straight to Bondi, have a nice leisurely stroll there from Coogee. Don’t worry, the walk will only take about 2 hours, and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful coastal views.
If you’re there during whale migration season (May – Sept) and lady luck is on your side, perhaps you’ll even catch sight of the magnificent mammals from shore. Love to snorkel? Gordons Bay in the Bronte-Coogee Aquatic Reserve is a great snorkelling point. Near the end of your walk, you’ll be greeted by a grand view of the famous Icebergs pool.
4. Head out to Cockatoo Island
Just a quick 10-minute ferry ride from Barangaroo, and 25 minutes from Circular Quay, Cockatoo Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that sits in the middle of Sydney Harbour. In the 19th century, the island operated as a convict penal establishment, before becoming the site of one of Australia’s biggest shipyards. One can easily explore the island on foot, best done with a self-guided audio tour to really immerse in its history.
If you’re up for glamping, there is a camp ground on site, along with a cinema and communal kitchen. Tip: book ahead and be one of the first in the world to ring in the New Year with a stunning view of Sydney’s renowned NYE fireworks.
5. Climb a bridge
Not just any bridge, but the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Most people have seen the iconic landmark, and probably walked across it too—but how many can say that they’ve scaled it? Let the adventurer in you take over and have a once-in-a-lifetime experience with BridgeClimb Sydney, which will take you to the summit for the most breathtaking views of the city.
6. Roam the Grounds of Alexandria
Even if you haven’t been here, you’ve probably seen it all over Instagram. The incredibly photogenic Grounds is repurposed from its former industrial roots to become a new landmark, housing a café, restaurant & bar, bakery, coffee roaster, florist and markets that are always bustling with activity.
It also has a mini farm (yes, in the city!), home to the one and only Kevin Bacon, the pig. Sadly, the beloved hog will be leaving the grounds in August—there is a full 7-week retirement party for him—making way for a younger prince to take his throne while Bacon retires to the Riverside Eco Farm Retreat in Minimbah.
7. Plan your trip around Vivid Sydney
This is when you get to see Sydney in a dazzling new light. The annual festival usually takes place around the middle of the year, illuminating the city’s wintry nights with captivating light installations, music performances, and progressive ideas. It gets bigger and better every year, so keep your eyes peeled for next year’s edition!
Qantas flies from Kuala Lumpur to Sydney via Singapore.
For more information on Sydney and Destination New South Wales, visit their website.
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