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11 Experiences You Can Only Have in Sydney

Surfing on Bondi Beach, Sydney
Surfing on Bondi Beach, Sydney | © Vicki Smith/Getty

With a wealth of activities around, it comes as no surprise that wanderers, travellers and locals love Sydney for all of the unique experiences at hand. This cosmopolitan city boasts some serious lifestyle advantages, one certainly being its endless list of mind-blowing experiences only available here. Whether its an adrenaline-filled excursion or activities in tune with exercise and wellbeing, Sydney truly has it all.

Sydney Opera House, Sydney
Opera House, Architectural Landmark
Water taxi passing Sydney Opera House.

Sydney Opera House | © KC Hunter / Alamy Stock Photo

Experience live opera at the Sydney Opera House, one of the world’s leading venues for opera. Not only is it one of the 20th century’s most recognised buildings, but it has been voted in endless lists of ‘top 10 Best Opera Houses in the World’ from National Geographic to Culture Trip. Showing over 40 performances a week ranging from music, dance, theatre, and, of course, opera, this is the ultimate venue to experience unrivalled showmanship.

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Accessibility & Audience:

Accessible (Wheelchair)

Atmosphere:

Historical Landmark, Architectural Landmark, Instagrammable, Scenic, Touristy

BridgeClimb
Bridge, Opera House
Tourists descending Sydney Harbour Bridge. Image shot 2005. Exact date unknown.

Sydney Harbour Bridge | © Mark Salter / Alamy Stock Photo

This daredevil experience is not for the faint-hearted. Climb this grand piece of architecture, which soars 134 meters above sea level for the ultimate uninterrupted views of Sydney’s Central Business District, Opera House and Sydney Harbour at dawn, during the day or at dusk. Choose from five different climbs of varying prices that all show the city in different lights; it’ll be a pretty unique experience climbing the largest steel arch bridge in the world.
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Surf at Bondi
Natural Feature
Surfer with board and woman in bikini strolling on Bondi beach

Sydneysiders descend to the famous Bondi Beach for a day by the sea and to surf | © PAUL MARSHALL / Alamy Stock Photo

Bondi Beach is synonymous with that all-too-cool laid back Aussie lifestyle. A trip to Sydney would not be complete without getting immersed in Bondi; experience long-hair barefooted, bronze-skinned beach babes with board in hand en route to the beach. The continent may be flourish with places to catch a wave, but none other will match the quintessential experience that comes with doing so at Bondi. Luckily there’s a heap of surf schools dotting the shore, making it just as accessible for newbies as it is seasoned surfers.
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Atmosphere:

Touristy, Instagrammable

Ocean pools may be a popular scene in Australia, but nowhere else are they as popular than New South Wales – Sydney, to be specific. As sparking blue waters and cream-coloured sandy beaches dot the shore, so too do ocean pools. Although an enclosed sea-filled rock pool may not be everyone’s cup of tea – especially when the sea is so accessible – for some it’s a dream! Open year round, the ocean pools have become a cultural pastime over generations. Bondi Icebergs Pool, Bronte Pool and McIver Baths (the last remaining women’s only pool in Australia) are some of the most popular.

Icebergs Club and swimming pool on South Bondi Beach

Icebergs Club, Bondi Beach | © Go Australia - Neil Sutherland / Alamy Stock Photo

Royal National Park, New South Wales
Park
Coastal Cliffs in Royal National Park near Sydney

Coastal Cliffs in Royal National Park near Sydney | © Kerry Whitworth / Alamy Stock Photo

Find a little slice of heaven at the Royal National Park, about two hours’ drive out of Sydney city. Showing the finest festival of flora and fauna, wild bushland, jagged cliffs, white-sand secluded beaches and impressive rock formations (to name a few), the Royal National Park is an experience like no other. As the second oldest National Park in the world (and the first to coin the term ‘National Park’), this experience like no other.

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Whale Watching
Natural Feature
Golden light sunset humpback whale breach, Sydney, Australia

Humpback whale breach, Sydney, Australia | © Mark Wong / Alamy Stock Photo

Whale Watching in Sydney is one of the most impressive and beautiful natural displays the city has to offer. Curious locals and travellers can hop on a ferry and experience these magnificent creatures up close between May and November each year, and all just moments from Sydney Harbour. Although tour companies are aplenty, Whale Watching Sydney is a great choice with a 99% sight success rate and free return visit should you not catch a glimpse of these friendly giants on your first visit.

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Skywalk Sydney Tower
Shopping Mall, Architectural Landmark, Building
Santas Visit SKYWALK At Sydney Tower Eye

Santas visit the Skywalk at Sydney Tower | © Mark Metcalfe / Stringer/Getty

Sydney Tower is the city’s answer to London’s Big Ben, or New York’s Empire State Building. It is the tallest building in Sydney, not to mention the second tallest observation tower in the Southern Hemisphere. Enter Skywalk, an experience only suggested for serious thrill-seekers. Those who love to live life on the edge (literally) can rejoice as Skywalk allows visitors to walk the perimeter of the building which reaches to 309 meters in the sky with a 360-degree view of the city. This is certainly an experience only to be had in Sydney.
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Hot Air Balloon the Hunter Valley
Natural Feature

With breathtaking landscapes as far as the eye can see and over 150 wineries, Hunter Valley is certainly one of the most impressive sights just a few hours from the city; add a hot air balloon into the equation and the experience becomes like no other. Tours which include breakfast and lunch are on offer aplenty, and make for the perfect way to spend an afternoon, not far from Sydney city. Check out Beyond Ballooning for a serious selection of amazing experiences.

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Bondi to Coogee walk
Hiking Trail
bondi to coogee costal walk in sydney

The Bondi to Coogee Walk is a popular coastal trail offering spectacular views of the ocean | © picturelibrary / Alamy Stock Photo

This multi-million six-kilometre boardwalk is one of the most breath taking attractions in Sydney. The stretch leads visitors from the bustling beach of Bondi all the way to the sleepy seaside suburb of Coogee, with stunning coastal scenery, impressive cliffs and cream-coloured beaches in abundance en route. Bring a picnic and some swimmers (Aussie slang for swimsuit) and make this a true Sydney experience.

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Explore the Blue Mountains
Natural Feature, Park
Blue Mountains of Australia daytime landscape

Blue Mountains near Sydney, NSW | © Piter Lenk / Alamy Stock Photo

Not far from Sydney is Blue Mountains National Park, a stunning mountain range and parklands spanning over 11,400 km². With endless hikes and walking paths, stunning rock formations, waterfalls, camping grounds, eucalyptus forests and garden trails, this is the perfect way to experience nature in its fullest – all less than a few hours from the city.

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Atmosphere:

Outdoors, Instagrammable