The Best Outdoor Activities In and Around Sydney

Manly Beach is a popular surf spot in Sydney
Manly Beach is a popular surf spot in Sydney | © Jack Malipan Travel Photography / Alamy Stock Photo
Lou Boyd

Commissioning Editor

A coastal metropolis made up of many beachside neighbourhoods and green spaces, Sydney is full of attractions that can be enjoyed al fresco. Discover the best outdoor activities to seek out in the Emerald City.

With beautiful outdoor spaces and a subtropical climate, Sydney is the type of city where you will want to spend most of your time outdoors. Luckily, this city has an abundance of outdoor attractions that are free to explore and easy to access.

From hiking, swimming and surfing between Bondi, Bronte and Manly Beach, to more gentle activities like picnicking and outdoor shopping at the city’s many charming markets, here are some al fresco activities to get involved with on a day out in Sydney.

1. Royal Botanical Gardens

Botanical Garden

In the heart of Sydney’s Central Business District, the Royal Botanical Gardens are a 30-acre (12-hectare) oasis of greenery. If you have an interest in science, plants and horticulture, this is a perfect day out. The gardens are also home to the oldest scientific institution in Australia, as well as many interesting species of plants, insects and animals. Frequent events are held here, with tickets available to book online. If you’re just looking to spend a day relaxing in the sun however, the Botanical Gardens are surrounded by The Domain, which has beautiful parklands for sports and days in the sunshine, as well as for meeting up for picnics with friends and family.

2. Manly Beach

Natural Feature

One of Sydney’s most beautiful beaches, Manly Beach offers over three kilometres (1.9 miles) of golden sands and perfect waves. With one of the best beach breaks in the area, you can have a go at riding the waves at Manly, or just watch the skilled locals do their thing. The Australian Open of Surfing is held here in February, but you will normally be able to spot some of the area’s most talented surfers out in the lineup at low tide, no matter what time of the year you visit. After a long day on the sand, there’s nothing better than a portion of fish and chips. Make a stop at the popular Corso, for the best chips around.

3. Hike From Coogee to Bondi

Hiking Trail

bondi to coogee costal walk in sydney
© picturelibrary / Alamy Stock Photo
Among the most stunning of Sydney’s coastline hikes, the walk between Coogee and Bondi is around six-kilometres (3.7-miles) long and takes approximately an hour and a half to complete. This gentle hike has everything you would expect from this part of Australia, with beaches, parks, cliffs, bays and rock pools to explore en route. Make sure to stop off at Bronte Bay for a paddle in the ocean and to take advantage of its picnic shelters, play areas, kiosks and toilets. If you want to take it easy during this walk, you can make a whole day of it, with bars and cafes along the route to drop in for a mid-afternoon snack or cold beverage.

4. Glebe Markets


Vintage clothes sellers at Glebe Markets
Courtesy of Glebe Markets

A hub for handmade and unique pieces, Glebe Market is one of Sydney’s best destinations for one-of-a-kind pieces. A nice element of this market is the stallholders’ close knit community, creating a communal vibe to each weekend’s event. Glebe Market specialises in vintage items and you will find various stalls that only trade pieces from a certain decade. Once you’ve had a wander around the clothes and bric-a-brac and worked up an appetite, look around the food stalls, which sell everything from Argentinian street food to vegan cupcakes.

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