Sydney is Australia’s beating heart, bursting with culture, beautiful beaches and an unmissable culinary scene. With countless things to do and so many world-renowned sites to visit, we’re here to give you the chance to experience Sydney a little differently. Instead of ticking off a tourist bucketlist, live like a local with this handy insider guide.
1. Day trip to Manly
Jump a 30-minute ferry ride from Circular Quay and cruise across the harbour to this relaxed beachside suburb. Get wet at the beach, then enjoy a stroll along Manly Corso whilst gorging on ice-cream.
2. Get fit with a view
Hit this stunning clifftop pathway during the week and you’re likely to escape the crowds. We recommend doing the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk back to front, ending this 6-kilometre trail at Bondi Beach with breakfast at local establishment, Porch and Parlour.
Sydney has loads of great markets, but firm local favourites include Bondi Farmers’ Market for fresh, flavourful food and Glebe Markets for everything fashion. Put it in the diary!
The sun always shines on zoo! Come and cure the rainy day blues!! #vintage #zooemporium A photo posted by @zooemporiumvintage on
4. Vintage fix
Surry Hills and Newtown are Sydney’s Queens of vintage shopping. Whether it’s unique clothing, trinkets or furniture you’re looking to add to the collection, these inner city neighbourhoods offer the ultimate selection of second-hand boutiques and op-shops.
Let’s have a #picnic #centennialparksydney #summer #ilovesydney #visitnsw #sydneyweekender #sydney A photo posted by @instaonthemove on
5. Picnic in the park
Stock up on meats, cheeses and bread, and head to the spectacular Centennial Park. This untouristy patch of greenery is expansive, and will leave you feeling like you’ve escaped from the city to a country retreat.
A perfect autumn’s day! #autumn #sydney #nature #blueskies #beauty #tourismaustralia #onefineday A photo posted by Esther L (@esterrific) on
Indulge tastebuds and your waistline with Sydney’s best meat pie at Harry’s Café de Wheels. Dating back to 1938, Harry’s Woolloomooloo location serves up their signature Harry’s Tiger pie complete with mushy peas, mash and gravy. Delicious!
If coffee is your drug then beeline to The Grounds of Alexandria. Among many things this cafe is also a coffee roaster, event space, patisserie and home to a lush, open garden. Hitting the Sydney food scene with a bang back in 2012 this hotspot is packed out most days. Nestle in for a piccolo and it’s unlikely you’ll want to leave. Ever.
#australia #australialife #sydney #sydneylife #sydneylove #ilovesydney #coogee#coogeebeach#coogeepool#wyliesbaths#wiseweirdo A photo posted by Fernanda Maio (@wiseweirdo) on
8. Lap it up in an ocean pool
Sydney is home to some of the best ocean tidal pools in the world. With a position that most hotels would kill for, these pools are often set on the beach or a nearby rock shelf. Dive in and join the locals for a few casual laps. Not sure where to start? Try Wylie’s Baths at Coogee Beach, the infamous Icebergs or Bronte Baths.
Enjoying an amazing jazz concert at @twilightattaronga #twilightattaronga #tarongazoo #jamesmorrison #oliviachindamo #jazz #bigband #outdoorconcert #greattunes #view #goodtimes #datenightout #sydney #ilovesydney #sydneylocal #sydneyharbour #twilight #sunset #lifeisgood #explorelife #seeaustralia A photo posted by Elisa Kuosmanen (@elizadoesoz) on
If you’re visiting Sydney in the summer, taking in live music at the Twilight at Taronga Concert Series is a must! Perched on Sydney Harbour, Taronga Zoo opens up its on-site amphitheatre to impressive acts every Friday and Saturday night.
This morning, quite different to this afternoon || photo @xamyuri A photo posted by The Boathouse Palm Beach (@theboathousepb) on
If you’re a fan of Home & Away chances are Palm Beach aka Summer Bay is already on your radar. But stay a little longer and live like a local by enjoying a long lunch at The Boathouse. With a rustic interior, gorgeous outdoor area and a scrumptious menu offering modern Australian cuisine, this seaside restaurant oozes laidback charm.
The weather held out just long enough for an amazing hike along the coast at Royal National Park #bushwalk #hike #Australia #NSW #weddingcakerock #wanderlust #manifestanywhere A photo posted by American werewolf in Oz (@manifestanywhere) on
11. Get back to nature at the Royal National Park
Buckle in and head south of Sydney to discover the beauty of the world’s second oldest national park. Vehicle entry is $11 and gives you access to untouched beaches, pristine bush, great walking tracks and countless photo opportunities. This natural wonder is worth a day trip or two.
Grapefruit Margarita ! (When you realise that you love tequila a little too much) #lunch #saturday #cocktail #sydney #watsonbay #watsonsbayhotel #tequila #yummy A photo posted by Marie-Marie (@marie_tolu) on
Nothing says hello to a new week like sunset drinks at Watsons Bay Hotel. Sitting pretty on the waterfront this uber cool pub serves up drool-worthy plates of seafood along with icy cold cocktails. If you’re travelling with kids and want some space to run amock, order takeaway from the open window and enjoy it in the park opposite.
Welcome to #VividLIVE @tvontheradio! Thumping out their opening track Young Liars after a mellow introduction to the night. A photo posted by sydneyoperahouse (@sydneyoperahouse) on
The Opera House is one of the most recognisable event spaces in the world. But we bet you didn’t know that you could attend some shows for as little as $25. Despite its fancy look and prestigious location, the events program offers affordable tickets to talks, theatre, dance performances and so much more.
Catch up with my bro = Yum Cha in the city #marigoldrestaurant #chinatown A photo posted by A P R I L C A R T W R I G H T (@travelsofastylist) on
14. Dine on cheap eats in Chinatown
You don’t have to splurge to eat well in Sydney. If you’re travelling on a budget, then head to this colourful enclave for a fantastic range of food halls, noodle bars and restaurants.
Sydney skyline and Milk Beach. April 2015 #milkbeach #sydneyharbour #sydney #ilovesydney #seeaustralia #australia #beach #city A photo posted by photosbygab (@photosbygab) on
15. Spend a day at a hidden harbourside beach
Sydneysiders are true beachlovers but did you know you don’t really need to leave the inner city to get wet or laze in the sun? Try Chinaman’s Beach at Mossman for a patch of sandy paradise or the serene Milk Beach.
16. Walk, don’t climb, the Harbour Bridge
If money and time is of the essence, skip the climbing tour and walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Not only will you get those same stunning views albeit from a different angle, but you’ll also have more cash to burn. Hello shopping!
#artgallery #sydney #artwork #paintings #artgalleryofnsw #vintageart #art #classicalart #architecture #artmuseum #antique #fineart #artexhibition #europeanart #gallery #museumofart #exhibition #vintage #westernart #classicalarchitecture #columns #artgalleryofnewsouthwales #visualsoflife #symmetry #neoclassical #perspective #neoclassicalarchitecture #victorian #italianate A photo posted by Munna Salekin (@munna_salekin) on
Enjoy free entry to one of Australia’s best galleries, the Art Gallery of NSW. Whilst exhibitions change regularly, mainstay galleries such as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Gallery and the Asian Gallery are just as exciting to view.
18. Barefoot bowls
Nothing beats great friends, a cold beer and a round of lawn bowls on a hot summer’s day. Luckily, Sydney is jam-packed with clubs who welcome the younger generation to take part in the sport by hosting casual weekend bowls minus the shoes. Good, cheap fun!
Renting a car? Take it to the drive-in at Blacktown for an old-school, romantic night out under the stars.
(Feature image: Nicki Mannix)