Sydney is a tourist mecca by the sea. Etched against the deep blues of one of the worlds largest harbors the skyline is dominated by the unforgettable Sydney Opera House and the imposing Harbor Bridge. But sadly for a lot of Sydney travelers that is where the tour ends. There are a lot of great places in Sydney and most of them are outside the CBD, even if it’s a hard place to leave. So here are six great places to see the Sydney that locals see every day.
Manly is on the northern coast of Sydney and is one of the most spectacular beaches you can visit while in town. This long white stretch is home to Sydney’s beach bunny and backpacker population and is a huge draw for locals in the weekend. Take the Manly Fast Ferry from Circular Quay and it will drop you off in the middle of the action.
A short five minute walk from the Manly Ferry Terminal puts you on the beach front where you can compete with the bronzed bodies for who gets the most glances. Check out the street markets during Saturday for some local trends and grab a coffee or beer at Hemingway’s Cafe to relax.
If you’re up for more of a walk you can follow the waterfront path around the rocks to Shelly Beach. This crescent moon shaped beach is quieter than Manly and with it’s crystal clear water it is worthy of the tag great places in Sydney.
The Grounds of Alexandria
The Grounds is another of the many great places in Sydney. An old pie factory (believe it or not) converted into a trendy cafe. Set in the crumbling brinks of the old factory this trendy cafe and restaurant is one of Sydney’s best kept hide outs. The complex itself has markets, a cafe, a restaurant, a petting zoo (complete with pigs) and turns into a bar in the evening.
The decaying brick and garden setting makes this cafe one of Sydney’s most beautiful places to get coffee and explore. Make sure that you get there early as it tends to fill up very fast.
If you’re looking for free things to do in Sydney the suburb of Kirribilli sits right on the edge of Sydney Harbor. On the direct opposite side for the water from the iconic Sydney Opera House this suburb has some of the best views in all of Sydney. You can find your way there from the CBD by walking across the Harbor Bridge – yes walking across the Harbor Bridge. The bridge has a pedestrian walkway all the way across which can be accessed from the Rocks precinct. The short walk to Kirribilli takes in views of the harbor and the city skyline that are unforgettable – and the best part is that it’s free.
Once you arrive in Kirribilli there are cafes and walkways everywhere. You can either explore or grab a coffee and watch the city go by. Wherever you go you’ll have an amazing view of the city, definitely worthy to mention in a list of great places in Sydney.
If you’re are looking for things to do in Sydney with kids you can’t go much further than Rose Bay. Situated in the cities inner east this tiny suburb is where I’d live if I could afford it. A tree lined walkway and park connect two beautiful dog friendly beaches. It’s a great stop for a swim so close to the city.
Getting there is a ten minute drive but if you have time to spare I’d highly recommend the ferry. Sydney’s ferry network itself is one of best things in Sydney. Taking you to where you need to go with an amazing view while you’re in transit. Better yet, if your wallet can handle it, Rose Bay is also serviced by Sydney’s seaplanes, take in the view in style.
The beaches in Rose Bay also have kayak and paddle board hiring facilities which makes it a great place in Sydney to travel with kids.
Cremorne Point is often voted as one of the best walks in Sydney. This easy stretch of walkway takes in the surrounding Mosman area with a view of the CBD. The walkway teeters on the edge of a Mediterranean like series of inlets with beautiful azure water and historical houses.
Historical government houses and the super rich make up the population here with cliff top views and waterfront swimming pools. Come at the right time of the day and you might see a giant cruise ship past by on the way to Circular Quay.
The walk takes around one or two hours depending on your fitness level and takes in ocean views the whole way around. The spot is very popular for locals, weddings and photographers. Where you get there you’ll know why.
Featherdale Wildlife Park
Out of all of the great places in Sydney this would have to be the one visitors talk about the most. One of the most famous tourist attractions in Sydney is the Taronga Zoo (deservedly so). The less well known and smaller Featherdale Wildlife Park sits in the western suburbs of the city and although harder to get to is very popular with the locals.
Ever wanted to pat a Kangaroo? This is the place to head to. Featherdale lets you get up and personal with the animals and will give you an unforgettable experience. You’ll be able to meet all the weird and wonderful creatures that Australia has to offer. They also have an amazing amount of educational material which makes it one of the great places in Sydney to take kids.