So did you know Airbnb isn’t just for finding a house to stay in for your next holiday? Since 2017, Airbnb has also offered “Airbnb Experiences”, which are small-group tours, activities and workshops hosted by locals.
Since launching, Airbnb Experiences has grown to 50K tours in over 1000 cities all around the world. In Sydney, there are now over 100 experiences, offering everything from snorkelling, kayaking, boat rides, photography classes, walking tours, food tours, street art tours, bike tours and secret bar crawls.
There are also plenty of full-day trips to the Hunter Valley, the Blue Mountains, the South Coast and beyond.
What makes these tours and activities unique compared to other tours is that group sizes are capped at ten people and that your host or tour guide is the owner of the experience. No more anonymous tour guides or tours without a personal connection! And because of the smaller group sizes, hosts can offer a more personalised experience that highlights their insider access and knowledge.
Before COVD-19, most Airbnb Experience hosts would have told you that their guests were almost all international visitors. But with borders closed and flights cancelled, these hosts have seen their small businesses decimated.
With restrictions starting to lift in Sydney, now is the perfect time for locals to begin exploring their backyards. Here are 11 of the most highly-rated Sydney Airbnb Experiences to get you started!
- 1. Discover Sydney’s Urban Art in a Kombi with Frank
- 2. Learn photography secrets in The Rocks with Alfonso
- 3 Discover hidden nature reserves and Aboriginal carvings with Matt
- 4. Eat your way through Newtown and check out street art with Justin
- 5. Explore Marrickville with Caite
- 6. Race around Sydney Harbour on a speedboat with Dirk
- 7. Discover Sydney by E-Bike with Grant and Linda
- 8. Snorkel at Shelly Beach with Tamila
- 9. Gorge on wine and cheese in the Hunter Valley with Sean
- 10. Learn to play the Ukulele on Bondi Beach with Dan
- 11. Hike to hidden viewpoints in the Blue Mountains with Peter
1. Discover Sydney’s Urban Art in a Kombi with Frank
Frank’s experience, Discover Sydney’s Urban Art, will take you all over Sydney in one of his restored Kombis to check out the best urban art around town. Frank was formerly an illustrator, so he provides excellent commentary on the variety of art styles and points out works by world-renowned street artists.
This experience visits more than 15 sites in Glebe, Chippendale, Darlington, St Peters, Newtown, and Redfern over 3 hours.
Frank can offer a 20% discount if you mention Sydney Expert email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Learn photography secrets in The Rocks with Alfonso
Professional photographer Alfonso is the host of several experiences, including Smartphone Travel Photography and DSLR Night Photography.
Alfonso will take you on a customised route along back streets of The Rocks to point out best spots from which to shoot, including great angles of the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House.
You’ll get to explore your phone or camera’s technical capabilities to master lighting and composition. Alfonso will offer a set of photographic challenges which are open to creative interpretation. He’ll also use his passion for history to help you caption your photos.
Book directly on Alfonso’s website and get $10 off using the promo code “sydneyexpert”.
Related: Check out the best pubs in the rocks for after your tour
Has this lockdown got you craving an escape into nature? You’re not alone! Avoid the more well-known locations with Matt’s Sydney Secrets – Nature, wildlife & more experience.
His experience combines the coast with the bush, visiting pristine uncrowded beaches and going on bushwalks above untouched picturesque valleys.
As a volunteer Aboriginal site monitor, Matt is trained to locate, monitor and report on the condition of sites, and will point out some ancient Aboriginal carvings, unknown to locals.
Matt is offering a 20% discount for all bookings made before 31 July 2020.
4. Eat your way through Newtown and check out street art with Justin
One of the best things about Sydney is all the different multicultural cuisines on offer! And what is one of the best places to check them all out? Newtown! Join Justin on his Newtown Chewtown – Food & Street Art experience to combine great food with insightful stories about the local street art scene.
This food and street art tour includes a minimum of 4 food stops, with cuisine options including Egyptian, Indian, Pakistani, Turkish, Thai, Japanese, “Australian” (whatever that is) and more. Vegetarian and vegans are sorted too – Newtown is famous for its many vego-friendly restaurants.
Along the way, Justin will point out some of the neighbourhood’s best street art and introduce you to some of the biggest names in Sydney’s street art scene. Your tour also starts or finishes with a visit to Newtown’s most popular craft brewery.
Justin is also the host of two other experiences, including a “Hidden Sydney” walking tour through Pyrmont, Ultimo and Glebe, and a Secret Bar Crawl in Darlinghurst and Surry Hills.
Book any of these experiences directly through Justin’s website, AussieYou Tours, and get 5% using the code “SYDNEYEXPERT”.
5. Explore Marrickville with Caite
Even if you’ve lived in Sydney your whole life, there are bound to be neighbourhoods that you’ve never explored in depth. Is Marrickville on that list for you? If so, Caite’s experience, The Mixed Bag tour of Marrickville, will set you straight.
Tag along with Caite and her doggie co-host Gea on a 3-hour walking tour exploring all the best bets of this inner-west enclave. Caite’s afternoon tour weaves in the history and development of Marrickville while stopping at independent boutique stores, restaurants, Vietnamese bakeries (banh mi included!), distilleries, breweries and more.
Get $10 off if you mention Sydney Expert, email Caite through her website, Walk This Way Tours.
6. Race around Sydney Harbour on a speedboat with Dirk
Want something a bit faster? Join Dirk for a Self-drive Speed Boat Adventure on Sydney Harbour. German-born Dirk has custom-built your ride, a 2-seater speed boat that sits just half a metre above the water.
If you’ve never driven a boat before – don’t panic. These speed boats are safe and easy to operate, and Dirk will be right there to help you! No experience or licence is required.
Dirk’s 2-hour experience will take you on a whip-around of the harbour, starting in Rose Bay, crossing over towards Taronga Zoo, heading under the Harbour Bridge to Luna Park, before passing right beside the Opera House on your way back.
If you want a bit longer out on the harbour, Dirk also offers a 3-hour experience.
7. Discover Sydney by E-Bike with Grant and Linda
Seen all those delivery riders zipping around Sydney on electric bikes while you’re stuck in traffic and got a bit jealous? Then jump on an electric bike with Linda and Grant’s Discover Sydney Harbour by e-Bike experience.
Linda and Grant’s e-bike tour takes you on a 20-kilometre ride around Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, The Domain, the Sydney Opera House, over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and around hidden gems of the harbour.
You’ll stop for some of the best coffee in Sydney then riding back through Surry Hills and colourful Darlinghurst providing the perfect loop!
Book directly on their website and get 10% off if you mention Sydney Expert.
Related: Find more “active” things to do in Sydney
8. Snorkel at Shelly Beach with Tamila
The water might be getting cooler, but that won’t stop Tamila from warmly welcoming you on her snorkelling experience, Snorkel in Sydney with Mermaid. Tamila is a Brazilian-Australian who has been living in Sydney for over 10 years.
A swimming teacher, sports manager and a certified scuba diver, Tamila is an experienced and passionate snorkel guide. Even if you’re not a strong swimmer, you’ll be in safe hands!
You’ll spend up to 1.5 hours in the water with Tamila as she takes you on a guided tour of Shelly Beach, pointing out all the fishies and other sea creatures that call this marine sanctuary home. Snorkels, masks and floatation devices are included with wetsuits available for hire, plus you’ll get underwater photos of your experience.
There are multiple times throughout the day, and private tours are also available.
Related: Check out our guide to the best things to do in Manly
9. Gorge on wine and cheese in the Hunter Valley with Sean
How does your own custom, highly personalised wine and cheese Hunter Valley tour sound? Then hop aboard Hunter Valley Wine, Cheese & Kangaroos with Sean. Starting and finishing in Manly, Sean takes groups of up to 7 people out to his favourite Hunter Valley wineries for an epic day adventure. Sean’s experience is rated 4.99 out of 5 from over 400 reviews on Airbnb, making this one of the top Airbnb Experiences in all of Australia.
Expect to visit 4 or 5 different smaller wineries, ones that the larger tour groups can’t visit. At your final winery, Sean will pair several hundred dollars worth of cheese with your wines for the ultimate tasting experience.
Contact Sean directly on 1800 CHEESE or at email@example.com prior to booking, mention “Sydney Expert” to get $20 per person (minimum 2 people).
10. Learn to play the Ukulele on Bondi Beach with Dan
For something a bit different, why not learn the ukulele while enjoying the sights of Bondi Beach? That’s exactly what you’ll get with Dan, a professional musician who is the host of the appropriately named Learn to Play Ukulele on Bondi Beach experience.
Join Dan for a fun and musically-inspired experience, where you’ll sit on the grass overlooking the surfers at Bondi and learn some easy songs to get you started playing (and singing) your first song! Dan’s 2-hour lesson includes everything you need to know about playing the ukulele, including chords, strumming, fingerpicking, scales, soloing & improvising – even writing songs!
Dan is also a bestselling author on Amazon who’s published five books on topics ranging from salsa dancing to Brazilian percussion to autism.
He’s recently taken his other experience, It’s Time to Write Your Book online as a virtual experience.
The Blue Mountains have had a tough 6 months – first there were months of bushfires, followed by sudden floods, and then COVID-19 hit. Finally things are improving, which means many Sydneysiders will be looking to the mountains for day trips and winter escapes. Avoid the crowds by going on Peter’s Blue Mountains Hike, Art and Coffee experience.
Peter’s experience only takes up to 4 people at a time, and he prides himself on going beyond the usual spots. The itinerary is always flexible but includes a 2-hour hike, a cool cafe stop, a quality art gallery and several other unique secret places. In Peter’s own words, “when people say they’ve seen the Blue Mountains, they haven’t really until they come with me.”
Book directly on Peter’s website and get 15% off if you mention Sydney Expert.
Related: Check out our list of 50 things to do in the Blue Mountains.
All of these experiences and tours are perfect for both locals and visitors so why not support one of these small businesses and get to know another side of Sydney.
Want more ideas for exploring Sydney? Join our Sydney Expert Facebook Group, where you can ask questions to help you plan your visit to Sydney.
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