Sydney is known well for its Opera House and it’s neighboring Harbour Bridge. But there are some hidden treasures around Sydney with amazing views and a break from crowd.
Although Watson’s Bay can get crowded at times it is still a little get away from the chaos of the city. Take a walk up to Hornsby Lighthouse for an amazing view. On the way up there are a few beaches you can stop at (including Lady Bay Nude Beach), some amazing views with the city center in the distance and all different birds to spot. The Federal Cliff Walk is also lined with breathtaking spots to watch the ocean.
Darling Harbour is located next to the central business district. It is lined with bars and restaurants and is a great location for Happy Hour. You can also find the beautiful Chinese Friendship Garden located here.
Opera House, Harbour Bridge & Botanical Gardens
The Opera House is Sydney’s most popular landmark. The are many places you can see the Opera House from. Adjacent to the Opera House is the Harbour Bridge. Take a train down to Circular Quay and walk along the water to get a good view of these two iconic landmarks. If you continue further down Circular Quay you won’t be too far from The Botanical Gardens.
Bradley’s Head Beach
Bradley’s Head is a monument located near Taronga Zoo but right next to it is a small strip of sand with an amazing view of the city, Opera House and Harbour Bridge and few people. It is the best escape from the chaotic city. To get there, take a ferry from Circular Quay to Taronga Zoo. There is an entrance to a path across from the sign for the Zoo, follow the path down to Bradley’s Head Monument (stopping to spot lizards, kookaburras and admiring the view of the city in the distance along the way) and the beach will be located on the left.
New Year’s Eve Fireworks at Balls Head Reserve
Millions of people flock to Sydney for the New Year’s fireworks on the Harbour. There are certain points to watch from that fill up fast so people will head out early (or even camp out) to get a good view. But if you don’t mind admiring the display from a distance Ball’s Head Reserve is the place to do it. Head across the Harbour by train Waverton Station and follow Balls Head Drive until you cannot go any further. There will be a path that will take you to the cliffs overlooking the Harbour with an amazing view of all the firework displays.
Newtown is filled with little shops, plant-based restaurants, including my favorite not-for-profit — Lentil As Anything, and more. The vibe of this suburb is great. Their is street art in some areas to check out as well. Just spend some time walking around Newtown and you’ll fall in love.
Bondi, Tamarama & Bronte
Bondi is Sydney’s most well-known beach so it can get a bit crowded but it is definitely worth checking out (especially at sunrise). From Bondi you can do the Bondi to Coogee walk with amazing views along the way. You can also do the Bronte to Bondi coastal walk, stopping at Tamarama beach along the way (which was my favorite) and maybe even stop at the famous Icebergs pool.
From Circular Quay you can take a ferry over to Manly. I did not do much exploring in Manly but the beach is said to be great. There are some good bars, including the ones in Hotel Steyne.
Take the train on a Sunday (it only costs to $2.50 to go anywhere on Sundays) to the Blue Mountains. There are many hiking paths leading to different places, such as the Three Sisters. Do a little research before going to see what path might be good for you.
Figure 8 Pools
Unfortunately, I did not make it to the Figure 8 Pools but they are worth checking out. Take a short hike through Royal National Park to these natural poles made in the rocks next to the ocean. Check tide times before going because the pools will get covered during high tide.