Explore Sydney

Activities & Events

Beautiful beaches, one-of-a-kind foodie havens and even a scenic seaplane ride – Sydney doesn’t skimp on unforgettable experiences.


Best Of The Beach

By now, Sydney has shed any dismissive beach bum aspersions and established itself as a thriving urban metropolis. But those beautiful beaches are still some of her most precious natural gifts, and they beg to be explored from the time you touch down. Here are a few of our favorite sandy detours:

Manly Beach, North Steyne  |  +61 2 9976 1500

Hop a ferry to this endearingly charming little seaside community (which is particularly breathtaking at sunset if you’re looking for the ultimate photo op). A land of bronzed, beautiful people (and even more beautiful tree-lined coves), take a hike to Shelly Beach and indulge in a little swim or snorkel. Then, beeline to the downtown promenade to wander around the infinitely entertaining Hotel Steyne, a thoughtful, multi-level pub with six unique watering holes. Also worth a stop is slick waterfront trattoria Hugo’s, the ideal place for a pizza and a glass before boarding your ferry back across the bay.

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Watson’s Bay | 1 Military Road, Watsons Bay | +61 2 9337 5444

Just a hop from the Harbour is Watson’s Bay, Sydney’s oldest fishing village (and most Instagrammable neighborhood). Though picturesque and welcoming, it’s tough to tear yourself away from the “I want to live here” vibe at Watson’s Bay Boutique Hotel. Arrive early to wrangle a waterfront seat, and make a day of indulgences like the Passionfruit Collins (which we still can’t forget)! Don’t miss the million dollar view (and killer real estate) at Camp Cove, or the gorgeous cliffside walk at The Gap. Finally, hike to Hornby Lighthouse for a glimpse of the candy striped active headlight. 



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Bondi To Bronte: 1 Notts Avenue, Bondi Beach |+61 2 9386 7999

Don’t be put off by Bondi’s world famous status: its beauty lives up to the hype. Get your day off to a wholesome start with the tasty Sprout café before embarking on your 90-minute trek. You’ll pass a visual feast of landscapes on your route, including the Bondi Baths, the Tamarama Park, the Bronte Baths and the Waverley Cemetery. Stop to admire the scenery (or take a dip in the pools!) along the way. 

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Visit The Butcher, The Baker & The Fromage-Maker

Victor Churchill | 132 Queen St, Woollahra | +61 2 9328 0402

Salt Meats Cheese | 41 Bourke Road, Alexandria |+61 2 9690 2406

From the time we began researching our Sydney trip to the time we departed, we were regaled with stories of Sydney’s meat and dairy superiority. Though we found this reputation to be well-earned everywhere from the finest restaurant to the most humble street stand, two gourmand meccas stand out in our minds as must-see, must-taste and must-love stops. Whether you’re plotting your perfect picnic basket or just need a good old fashioned sensory overload, reserve some time on your Sydney itinerary for these food field trips.


Established in 1876, small, family-owned Victor Churchill is an unmissable stopover for anyone remotely interested in food. This “Rolls Royce of butcher shops” takes a gallerist’s approach to meaty displays, showcasing Flintstone-sized cuts like works of art. Nearly every product is made in-house, so take your time perusing the crafty salads, elaborate tarts, terrines, rotisserie chickens, and charcuterie before you make your selections. Whatever your interest in butchery, should you find yourself at Churchill’s door, just grab that sausage link handle and go inside!



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If Dean & DeLuca and IKEA had a lovechild, we imagine it would look something like the lovely Salt, Meats & Cheese. The perfect excuse to explore bustling Alexandria, this warehouse-like fine foods store is a gourmet one-stop shop brimming with deli specialties, mozzarella, fresh pizzas and handmade pastas, charcuterie, and even an onsite restaurant. An impressive selection of namesake take-home items and too many tempting desserts rounds out this Italianate retail dream.





Score A Backstage Pass

Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point | +61 2 9250 7111

The Opera House is a stunning architectural feat from every angle, but the exterior is just one side of this landmark’s story. So we took a local’s advice and rose early to report to Stage Door 15 for a behind-the-scenes Backstage Tour. Our chatty and charming host guided us through the myriad secrets hidden in the backstage nooks and crannies, and nothing could quite prepare us for the grandeur of spilling out onto one of the world’s most famous stages. The final curtain call, a tasty breakfast in the House’s Green Room, was the standing ovation to cap off an experience well worth the early call time.



The Sydney Opera House by Jack Atley


Sea Sydney Fly

Sydney By Seaplane | sydneybyseaplane.com

Sydney Seaplanes | seaplanes.com.au

See Sydney from a different vantage via the exhilarating thrill of a seaplane ride. Flashbacks to a short-lived 90’s Disney cartoon may or may not have made us extra excited to hop on this cool aircraft (TaleSpin, anyone?), but whatever our initial motivation, this was a flight we’ll never forget. Sydney by Seaplane offers the perfect excuse to wash ashore on Whale Beach for lunch at the incredible Jonah’s Restaurant. The company takes care of everything – all you’ll need to worry about is how you’re going to move after your 5-star lunch coma. For a seaplane sojourn that’s a bit less of a time/funds investment, try Sydney Seaplane‘s 30-minute Sydney Secrets flights. Not only will you get a local’s historic overview, you’ll appreciate Sydney’s beautiful beaches, hidden coves, and most famous landmarks on a whole new plane.






Contributing Photography: Helen Brooks

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© Explore: Gather’s Guide to What to do In Sydney.