Summer Fun in Sydney
Set on a stunning harbour always dynamic and bursting with life, Sydney is an exhilarating place to visit, whether it’s your first time or you simply can’t keep away!
While Sydney has its stunning iconic sightsincluding the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and the quintessentially Australian Bondi Beach, this is a city that is constantly offering visitors new enticements to explore its charms in more depth.
Sydney’s harbour is one of the most breathtaking in the world. It’s the city’s playground and an essential element in many Sydneysiders daily lives. One of the most spectacular ways to take to it's sparkling waters is under glorious full sail aboard an historic tall ship, the Southern Swan.
You don’t have to travel far in Sydney to discover a city in love with water activities. As well as Sydney Harbour being one of the world’s finest, Sydney has some of the most well-known beaches, such as the surfer’s heaven, Bondi Beach. There are beaches with espresso bars aswell as sand bars, and beaches with booming, creamy waves for the surfers. There are beaches with gentle lapping waves and saltwater rock pools and netted enclosures that are ideal for children. To the north and west, Sydney is ringed by the Hawkesbury and Nepean rivers, natural arteries that burrow deep into areas of outstanding natural wilderness.
Whether you’re on the water for play or to learn a new skill, you’ll find just what you’re looking for. Learn to surf, scuba dive, sail a catamaran or discover how to drive a maxi yacht. Spread your wings on a seaplane trip, take a high speed ride across the harbour on a jet boat or paddle along a quiet stretch of river with pelicans and kookaburras for company.
Sydney Harbour Islands
Sydney Harbour islands are the jewels in Sydney Harbour National Park, which was established in 1975. They are Fort Denison, Goat Island, Shark Island, Clark Island, Rodd Island and Cockatoo Island, all of which are easily accessed from the city.
The islands also make unique settings for cultural events. Cockatoo Island is a major exhibition venue for the 17th Biennale of Sydney which will run from May 12 to August 1 and it will be the World’s Funniest Island in October with comedy performances during the Crave Sydney festival.
Groups of 25 or more people can now explore Goat Island; Sydney Harbour National Park’s largest. Three tour options offer visitors the opportunity to learn about the Aboriginal, convict, colonial andmaritime history of the island. Participants can opt for extra time and picnic on the island. Group tours can be organised any weekday between 10am and 3pm and the cost includes return ferry transfers from Circular Quay. Serviced by Sydney Ferries, Cockatoo Island offers overnight camping. Visitors awake to million-dollar harbour views; sip billy tea in the shade of ancient Port Jackson fig trees, wave at ferries heading past and look at old industrial heritage, including prison buildings nominated for World Heritage listing.
Matilda Cruises and Captain Cook operate ferry services to Fort Denison, where you can dine in the Fort Denison Marquee café in the middle of Sydney Harbour. Captain Cook Cruises also runs a Shark Island Express Ferry departing about every 45 minutes from Darling Harbour and Circular Quay. Other islands can be visited by private or hired craft – or by yacht, a superb way to get there.
As well as the essential ingredients of booming surf, seagulls riding the breeze and the smell of sun-block, Bondi has a style all on its own. The promenade at the back of the beach is a favourite track for joggers and roller bladers while Campbell Parade is a popular grazing ground with Sydney’s café society.
Book in for a board lesson at Let’s Go Surfing or head for Bondi Icebergs at the southern end of the beach. Take astroll along the Bondi to Bronte Coastwalk, which winds over sea-sculpted sandstone headlands past a string of beaches including Tamarama and Bronte.
Coogee is typical of the ocean front beaches that fringe Sydney’s eastern suburbs, a wide and honey-toned beauty with plenty of cafes and dining options. At the southern end, Wylies Baths is a Sydney institution, a historic sea pool with massages available by the poolside and early morning yoga classes.
Extending along the shoreline north from Coogee Beach for four kilometres, the Bronte-Coogee Aquatic Reserve offers outstanding snorkeling and diving, especially around Gordons Bay. The coastal walking trail winds north from here all the way to Bondi Beach, past some of Sydney’s most expensive real estate and a succession of beaches including Clovelly, Bronte and Tamarama.
A waterside playground at Manly
Relaxed, good looking and shady when you need it, Manly has all the essential ingredients for a fabulous day at the beach. Hit the surf, get a lesson from the experts at the surf school or head for Freshwater Beach Baths, a lovely pool set into the rocks just north of Manly.
At Oceanworld Manly, a 110m see-through tunnel gives you a fish-eye view of the underwater world. Test yourself for the fear factor with Shark Dive Xtreme, a scuba session with the aquarium’s grey nurse sharks, giant stingrays and moray eels. Hire a kayak and paddle around the headlands and visit beaches that few will ever see.
Things to do
On the harbour
Catch a ferry, take a harbor cruise or feel the wind in your sails on one of the world’s most beautiful harbours. Kayaking in the quieter parts of the harbour is relaxing while a high-speed jet boat trip is pure fun.
Above the harbour
Take a seaplane flight from Rose Bay to Palm Beach or a shorter flight over the harbour and city gardens. Climb to the summit of the Sydney Harbour Bridge at dawn – or dusk –for a refreshing look at Australia’s favourite waterway.
By the harbour
Join a cycling tour that takes you through the heart of the city and around the harbour foreshores. Or jump on the back of a shiny Harley Davidson for a spin along the beach or over the Harbour Bridge.
In the harbour
Explore the temperate waters of Sydney Harbour and its large variety of marine life on a snorkeling tour, guided shore dive or boat dive from Chowder Bay near Balmoral.
Sydney’s great walks – Bondi to Bronte and Coogee or Manly to the Spit.
Surfing Sydney’s beaches - You can hire boards at most beaches or have lessons at Bondi and Manly beach.
Scaling Sydney Harbour Bridge on a Bridge Climb. One of the most exhilarating ways to enjoy Sydney Harbour is on a Bridge Climb, a trek which takes you to the summit of the Harbour Bridge. Climb at dawn, day, twilight or night, or take the Discovery Climb, which takes you for a closer look at the inside workings of the Bridge.
Kayaking on the harbour from Rose Bay, Middle Harbour or Manly.
A dive with the sharks at Manly’s Oceanworld.