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75 Absolutely Free Things to do in Sydney

It might surprise you to hear there is no shortage of amazing free things to do in Sydney. We created this list to help you discover them; it includes spectacular lookouts, popular attractions, and amazing activities you can experience without spending a cent.

Whether you are a visitor or a local playing tourist at home (we highly recommend this, it’s the perfect way to remind yourself how lucky we are to live here), you should find something you want to do here.

You don’t need to be rich to enjoy yourself in Sydney

Keep this list on hand for those days you find yourself with some free time and a limited budget.

A google map location is included for each spot. Click the link and open the map on your device. Then you will have directions from your current location.

Contents

1. Walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Along with experiencing the bridge up close, to appreciate its size and beauty, there is no better place to watch the action below on the harbour. It is also a fantastic place to take shots of the Sydney Opera House.

Sydney Harbour Bridge Footpath
It takes about 20 minutes to walk across the bridge.

Location: Enter from 100 Cumberland Street in The Rocks
Google map location

Check out our detailed guide for walking across the bridge before you set off.

2. Sign up for a free walking tour of The Rocks

I’m Free Walking Tours run a free evening walk around The Rocks, a perfect crash course in Australia’s colonial history. Hear stories of the early days of the colony and its time as a buzzing maritime centre.

If you prefer, you can do a self-guided Rocks walk instead.

3. See how many of Tracey Emin’s birds you can find

This artwork titled The Distance of Your Heart comprises 67 realistic handmade bronze sculptures of tiny sparrows and starlings hidden around the city. Destination Differentville have a great article all about Tracey’s birds – how many can you spot? 

Tracey Emin Birds
67 handmade life-size bronze birds to be found

Take a walk up Loftus Street, and when you get to the park, be sure to look for the monument erected in 1818 that is the central point distances from Sydney are measured.

Location: Macquarie Place Park and surrounds
Google map location

4. Get a up close view of the Sydney Opera House

Have you ever taken a close look at the Opera House? Did you know there are two colours used in the 1,056,006 tiles that make up the Opera House’s sails?

Climb the steps and walk around the shells, taking in all the interesting angles of this world heritage listed beauty.

Opera House Close up blue sky Sydney
1,056,006 tiles cover the Sydney Opera House

If there are performances scheduled, you can usually walk inside into the public areas. If you are a keen architecture or arts lover, consider a tour. We discuss the various tours on offer here.

You might also like to take yourself on a walk to photograph the iconic building from all its best angles!

5. Join a morning tour of the Royal Botanic Gardens

The early morning is a special time to experience this harbourside botanic garden. If you like to start your day with a run – this is the ideal spot. You will find the little fella below not far from the Caylx.

Echidna topiary at Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney
Volunteers run free tours in the Botanic Gardens

Alternatively, join in one of the free tours that run every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10:30am.

6. Visit the Chau Chak Wing Museum 

Check out the brand new museum at Sydney University, home to an eclectic collection that comprises the Macleay Museum, Australia’s oldest natural history collection, and the Nicholson Museum with its 30,000 artefacts from Egypt, Greece, Italy, Cyprus and the Middle East.

Location: University Place, University of Sydney
Google map location

7. Find the paper bag, the treehouse and the hive – Explore the city’s newest architecture.

For a relatively young city, Sydney has some pretty magnificent buildings. From fine Victorian architecture, art deco beauty and modern masterpieces.

The Exchange in Darling Square houses Sydney City Library & restaurants

We have written extensively about our favourite historic buildings and also complied a list of what we consider the best buildings in Sydney.

Location: The Exchange Darling Square
Google map location

8. Learn about the past at the Rocks Discovery Museum

This small collection housed in a restored cottage displays many items uncovered from the area during development. You can also learn about the green bans that helped to save these gorgeous streets from redevelopment.

The staff are accommodating, and there are worksheets to engage young visitors.

Old plates at the Rocks Discovery Museum
artifacts dug up from streets in The Rocks

Pop in before you begin to explore the area and pick up a walking map of the area. History lovers will easily spend an hour taking it all in – for others, a short visit might be enough.

Location: The Rocks Discovery Museum
Google map location

10. Check out the Big Dig

After you visit the Rocks Museum, take our self-guided tour and be sure to spend some time looking at The Big Dig site underneath the Sydney Harbour YHA.

The Big Dig under Sydney Harbour YHA

You can wander around the dig site and read the info panels. Tours are available for guests of the YHA, but there is plenty to see on your own.

Location: 110 Cumberland Street The Rocks
Google Map reference

11. View the City Model at Customs House in Circular Quay

A great way to get the lay of the land, this scale model of Sydney under glass at Customs House highlight just how random the layout of Sydney is.

Customs House Library
Check it out before or after you take a city walk.

No nice tidy grid here. Many of our streets started as rough paths worn in by the original inhabitants, the Cadigal people or paths created by the newly arrived convicts.

If you do have some spare cash you might like to book a meal at Cafe Sydney on the top floor of the building.

Location: Customs House
Google Map reference

12. Wander through St Mary’s Cathedral

St Mary’s Cathedral is not the largest church in Australia, St Patrick’s in Melbourne takes that gong, and it’s not the oldest catholic church in the country either; that distinction goes to St Brigid’s in Millers Point. However, it is a beautiful structure both inside and out and worthy of a visit.

St Marys Cathedral in Hyde Park Sydney Australia
We snapped this shot from the William Street end of Hyde Park

The Cathedral features a marble replica of Michelangelo’s Pietà, which was bought to Australia by the department store David Jones for a store exhibit and later donated to the church. Another beautiful work is The Unknown Soldier by G. W. Lambert.

Attend any of the services to enjoy the sounds of the organ and choir.

Location: St Marys Rd, Sydney NSW
Google Map reference

13. Marvel at the wonders in the Powerhouse Museum

Although currently undergoing an extensive renovation there is still plenty to see here. Currently showing is an exhibition of Persian Art Iranzamin, and opening July 1, Eucalyptusdom an exploration of the eucalypt’s emergence as a symbol of Australian identity in post-federation Australia.

Location: St Marys Rd, Sydney NSW
Google Map reference

Related: Check out these free guided tours in Sydney

The Art Gallery of New South Wales has a great program of free events, including Art After Hours on Wednesday nights. Entry is free to most areas, although some major exhibitions have charges.

Scupture at the AGNSW
The English Channel by Michael Parekowhai AGNSW

There is an excellent Aboriginal Art collection and a good range of modern Australian art. Be sure to look for Brett Whiteley’s The Balcony 2, Grace Cossington Smith’s Curve of the Bridge and John Olsen’s Five Bells, three iconic Sydney works.

Location: Art Gallery Road Sydney NSW
Google Map reference

15. Take in the view from the rooftop cafe at the MCA

The cafe at the top of the MCA offers themed menus to match current exhibitions, which is quite a fun way to end a visit to this free gallery.

MCA Cafe view
The view from the terrace at the MCA Cafe

Affordable dining with a view; however you don’t actually have to spend a cent; you can just wander up to the 4th floor and take it all in.

Location: Museum of Contemporary Art Circular Quay
Google Map reference

16. Swim in Sydney Harbour at Murray Rose Pool

Named for Olympic swimming champion Murray Rose, this pool at Double Bay is open daily from 6am to 10pm. A deck runs around the outside of the pool, and there are a couple of pontoons placed in the centre of the pool, perfect for sunning yourself.

Murray Rose Pool Double Bay
Murray Rose Pool on Sydney Harbour

Nearby Blackburn Gardens offer plenty of shade if you need some respite from the sun and make a perfect picnic spot if you fancy lunch without aside of sand!

Location: 536 New South Head Rd, Double Bay
Google Map reference

Related – Murray Rose pool is one stop on our 325 self guided bus tour.

17. Stroll the Hermitage Foreshore trail from Rose Bay to Nielsen Park

A handful of secluded harbour beaches, views back to the city skyline and the beautiful Strickland House are just some of the reasons to make time to walk Hermitage Foreshore Track from Rose Bay to Nielson Park.

Check out our photo guide to the walk for more inspiration.

Location: Start from Bayview Hill Rd, Vaucluse
Google Map reference

18. Cool down in the water park at Pirrama Park Playground

Pirrama Park is one of the parks along the new Sydney Harbour Foreshore Walk. It offers plenty of picnic space, BBQs, a great playground and an onsite cafe. All just a couple of minutes from the light rail or bus stop.

Want more – you will find an impressive list of water parks over on Hello Sydney kids.

Location: Pirrama Rd, Pyrmont
Google Map reference

19. Admire the artwork at the Bondi graffiti wall

While Bondi Beach is one of the most famous in the city, its graffit wall often gets missed from the list of Bondi’s attractions and we think that’s a shame.

Bondi Beach Anzac Mural
The ANZAC mural is one of only 2 permanent murals on the wall

Work started appearing on the wall in the late 1970s, and by the late 1980s, it moved to a legal space for artists to work. These days you need to apply to paint here. Twice a year, artists are chosen to redo the walls meaning there is always something new to see. Two murals are permanent, the Anzac one shown about and a memorial to a Bali Bombing victim.

Check out our Bondi guide for tips on where to eat, drink and shop in the area.

Location: Queen Elizabeth Dr, Bondi Beach NSW 2026
Google Map reference

20. Amuse the kids at the Darling Harbour Playground

This award-winning playground at Tumblong Park in Darling Harbour is the perfect place to spend a few hours with the kids. There is a water play area, a huge climbing frame and a number of swings and slides for kids of different ages.

Kids Playground Darling Harbour
It’s not always this crowded but weekends can get busy.

The playground is surrounded by plenty of cafes and restaurants, and there is lots of seating, so it’s very easy to spend half a day here.

Location: Tumbalong Park Darling Harbour
Google Map reference

Related: Where to eat in Darling Harbour with or without kids.

21. Challenge yourself on the Spit Bridge to Manly Walk

An exceptional harbour walk, the views and pristine bushland will have you thinking you are hours away from civilisation. Start at the Spit Bridge for an easier walk; it’s more downhill than starting from Manly.

Manly walk view from Dobryd head
View from Tania Park, Dobroyd Head along the track

The 10km track is well marked and graded as level 3, so suitable for most people of average fitness.

Location: Fisher Bay Walk, Clontarf
Google Map reference

22. Climb the Observation Tower at the Overseas Passenger Terminal

At the end of Circular Quay’s Overseas Passenger Terminal is a round tower that is actually an observation deck. It’s the perfect place to capture photos of the city’s icons or watch the ferries as they come and go.

From the 3rd floor you have a birds eye view of the city.

There is a lift to the second floor from near the entry to Quay Restaurant and then one flight of stairs. It’s especially a great spot during the Vivid Sydney Festival.

Location: Nth end of the Overseas Passenger Terminal, Circular Quay West
Google Map reference

23. Go on a Free Guided walking tour

At least two companies currently offer free walking tours of the city. If you have not been in Sydney long or are visiting this is a great way to learn more about our past.

Check out I’m Free or Free Tours Sydney for more details.

24. Find the tiny doors in Manly and the northern beaches

Go on a treasure hunt and see how many doors you can find. The doors were created as part of a community art project. They can be found across the northern beaches suburbs, including Manly, Seaforth, Dee Why and Warringah Mall, Narrabeen, Mona Vale and Avalon.

25. Connect with a local by booking a Sydney greeter

Sydney Greeters is a free service that matches visitors with a proud Sydneysider who loves to show off their city. Go on a 2-4 hour walk and explore part of Sydney that you might not find on your own.

26. Explore Sydney’s most beautiful shopping arcade, the QVB

Pierre Cardin called the Queen Victoria Building “the most beautiful shopping centre in the world”, and this historic centrepiece of George Street is spectacular.

Queen Victoria Building in Sydney in afternoon sun
This shot was taken from the Meriton Apartments on Pitt St

Visit before the shops open at 9am for some great photographic opportunities. At Christmas, the centre’s giant Swarovski crystal-covered Xmas tree is a must-see.

Location: 455 George St, Sydney NSW 2000
Google map location

27. Get in touch with nature at Mount Annan Botanic Gardens

Meet the wallabies and wallaroo that call Mount Annan home. The gardens are teeming with wildlife, especially birds. There is a bird hide at Lake Nadungamba so twitchers should find a spot there and settle in.

There are 20kms of paths and dozens of picnic areas. Don’t miss the blue tree and the Stolen Generations memorial.

Location: 362 Narellan Rd, Mount Annan
Google Map reference

28. Explore Balmain on the Tom Uren Walking Trail

Balmain born Tom Uren was a Labour Party politician who was considered the “conscience of the Labor party”. He served as the Labor Party’s first environment spokesman and cared deeply about preserving the built environment.

Tom Uren Walk sign Balmain
Tom’s hat marks the walking route

This 2.3km loop walk takes in the Balmain foreshore and some of the suburbs beautiful colonial architecture. While caved markers of Tom’s hat appear along the route I recommend downloading a map.

Location: The walk starts and finishes at Thorton Park
Google Map reference

You don’t need to head to the CBD for quality art. Hazelhurst in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire hosts a range of exhibitions that are almost always free to enter.

There is a great cafe and a garden for the kids to run around. Easy walk from Gymea Station. Combine it with a visit to number 63 below!

Location: 782 Kingsway, Gymea
Google Map reference

30. Spot whales from the Sydney shoreline

There are dozens of brilliant spots in the city to see whales as they migrate north for the winter. North Head, Palm Beach South Head, Kamay National Park at Botany Bay and La Perouse are excellent choices.

Check out our guide to whale watching in Sydney for details.

31. Check out Contemporary Chinese Art at White Rabbit Gallery

One of the largest collections of contemporary Chinese art globally, White Rabbit Gallery in Chippendale, was founded by philanthropist Judith Neilson. Exhibitions that focus on art produced post-2000 are changed a couple of times a year.

The current exhibition “Lumen” features a number of light installations

There is a lovely tea room for refreshments at the end of your visit. Spice Alley is just a few minutes walk away if you fancy something more substantial.

Location: 30 Balfour St, Chippendale NSW 2008
Google Map reference

32. See the latest exhibition at the State Library of NSW Galleries

The State Library Galleries can be found in the Mitchell Wing of the library. Along with showing pieces from the libraries extensive collection, they host a range of visiting shows like the popular World Press Photography Exhibition.

Location: 1 Shakespeare Pl, Sydney
Google Map reference

33. Visit the Chinese Garden at Nurragingy Reserve

Chang Lai Yuan Chinese Gardens are one of the biggest drawcards to Nurragingy Reserve in Western Sydney Parklands. The traditional gates, pond and Qin Quan Lang waterfall, are inspired by the Ming Dynasty.

Blacktown Chinese Garden Gate
Credit: Brett Hemmings

The garden celebrates Blacktowns sister city Liaocheng Municipal, Shandong Province, People’s Republic of China. It’s a great place for a picnic with numerous sites and undercover pavilions.

Location: Knox Rd, Doonside
Google Map reference

34. Wander South Newtown’s quirky shops and street art

Newtown is one of Sydney’s more interesting suburbs with plenty of quirky shops, street art and affordable eats. Think less big-name brands and more small independent businesses, particularly if you begin exploring from St Peters Station at the southern end of King Street and walk north towards the city.

Georgia Hill 2017 Mural Mary Street Newtown
By Kyle Hughes-Odgers

We have written a detailed guide to the street art of the inner west that you might like to read before you head out. However, if time is short, this 2-hour walk might be a better fit.

Location: Start at St Peter’s Station
Google Map reference

35. Visit Captain Cooks Landing Place at Kurnell

Captain Cook landed here in 1770 and spent 8 days here with the crew of the Endeavour, a visit that changed the history of Australia forevermore. You can learn more about this event from the 8 Days in Kamay online exhibition

While you are visiting, don’t miss the new whale sculpture and the Burrawang-walk that features recordings of life here before the arrival of the colonials.

Location: Monument Track, Kurnell
Google Map reference

36. Take a walk along the Goods Line

When it was first announced, the Goods Line was touted as Sydney’s answer to NYC Highline, and while it may not have quite pulled it off, it is still an excellent addition to the city.

Frank Gehty Paper Bag UTS
Half way along the Goods Line is Frank Gehry’s building

It provides a walkway from the Central Station pedestrian tunnel to the back of Darling Square. A highlight of the walk is the famous Chau Chak Wing Building, nicknamed the paper bag, by Frank Gehry.

Location: Ultimo Pedestrian Network, Ultimo
Google Map reference

37. Pay your respects at the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park

The Art Deco style Anzac memorial sits as a centrepiece of Hyde Park. It was built in 1934 to commemorate the men and women who served in the First World War and, in recent years, underwent a huge renovation to expand the gallery spaces.

Be sure to pop inside if it is open as there is much to see, and the staff are happy to answer questions you might have about the collection.

A highlight is a bronze sculpture, “Sacrifice”, by Rayner Hoff, located in the Hall of Silence.

Location: Liverpool Street, Hyde Park South
Google Map reference

38. Swim in an ocean pool at Fairlight Beach

Just a short walk from the Manly Wharf, Fairlight beach is much less visited than its neighbour and quite a bit prettier in my view. Access is via a footpath meaning it attracts less visitors than other beaches in the area.

Fairlight Beach ocean pool

There is a great view of Sydney Heads and its a lovely spot to spend a summer evening watching the sunset.

Note: The pool is closed for weekly cleaning for 24 hours between Wednesday and Friday evenings depending on the weather.

Location: Fairlight Walk, Fairlight
Google Map reference

39. Visit the candy striped lighthouse on South Head

South Head provides spectacular views of the harbour from the city skyline to Manly. Add to the mix a cute red and white lighthouse, Lady Bay, one of Sydney’s official nude beaches, and the beautiful Camp Cove Beach, and there are more than enough reasons to visit.

Watsons Bay Hornby Lighthouse
Hornby Lighthouse is a fabulous spot to watch the sunset

This is one of the best spots to watch the Sydney to Hobart Yacht race start every Boxing Day. There is a self-guided walk you can follow here.

Location: Start from Watson’s Bay ferry wharf
Google Map reference

40. Take a free tour of Government House

Join a free 45-minute tour of the home of the Governor of NSW. Built between 1837 and 1843, this heritage-listed property is beautifully furnished, and the guided tour includes some great historical detail. It’s also a must for anyone ineterested in the history of design.

Note: The gardens are lovely and can be visited without joining a tour.

Location: Macquarie Street Sydney – inside the Botanic Gardens
Google Map reference

41. Admire the Kite Surfers at Monterey Beach

The Southern beaches of Botany Bay are one of the most popular kite surfing spots in Sydney. Lining the beach is a walking path, perfect for watching the action on the water.

Monterey Beach Kite Surfers Sydney
Watching the kitesurfers on a summer or spring afternoon walk

The footpath that lines Lady Robinson Beach allows you to walk 4-5km from Brighton le Sands to Sans Souci; Monterey Beach is about 1.5km into the walk.

Location: The Grand Pde opp Barton St, Monterey
Google Map reference

42. Visit the Brett Whitely Studio in Surry Hills

Step into the studio of one of Sydney’s most loved modern artists. Whitely lived here from 1987 to 1992, when he passed away in Thirroul. From unfinished works to his books and other personal belongings, you get to see what everyday life may have been like for the artist.

Location: 2 Raper St, Surry Hills NSW 2010
Google Map reference

43. Watch the sunset from Observatory Hill

The afternoon or golden hour light from Observatory Hill makes for a lovely view of the harbour’s western side and is a fabulous place to watch the sunset over Darling Harbour and Barangaroo.

It’s also a top place to photograph the Sydney Harbour Bridge with historic buildings in the foreground. When you are done why not check out one of the 12 historic pubs in the area

Location: Millers Point
Google Map reference

44. Take a swim in Maccullum Pool at Mosman

With its cute picket fence and stunning harbour backdrop, this small swimming pool that sits on the foreshore at Cremorne is a local favourite. You will find it just north of the ferry wharf. Arrive midweek, and you might have the place to yourself, but on summer weekends, it can be pretty busy.

Location: Milson Rd, Cremorne Point
Google Map reference

45. Visit the Saturday Carriageworks market for tastings

The weekly Carriageworks Market is one of the best farmers markets in Sydney. Being undercover in the old railway sheds makes it a great year-round option.

You will find the majority of sellers offering organic and sustainable – check out my favourites here.

Location: 245 Wilson St, Eveleigh
Google Map reference

Enjoy a good market? Check out this list of our favourite markets in Sydney for more ideas

46. Make your way to Summer Bay

If you are a lover of the long-running soap Home and Away, then a day trip to Summer Bay is a must. Filming happens at Palm Beach, 41 kilometres north of Sydney’s CBD. Fans may want to consider booking a tour, where there is a good chance you may see the stars filming.

Even if you are not a fan this is a lovely day trip with a bushwalk to Barrenjoey Lighthouse a great way to work off the fish and chips you will likely want to order for lunch here.

Palm Beach Pittwater NSW
Palm Beach is a great day trip.

More details including transport instructions can be found here.

Location: Beach Rd, Palm Beach
Google Map reference

47. Watch the Wellema video at Barangaroo

This video installation in the Cutaway at Barangaroo is a 10 minute Welcome to Country that pays respect to the Traditional Custodians of this land, the Cadigal.

Wellama Video Barangaroo
Filmmakers – Alison Page and Nik Lachajczak

Visually stunning, once you start viewing, it’s hard to turn away from. I highly encourage you to stop in when you are nearby.

Location: The Cutaway, 1 Merriman St, Barangaroo
Google Map reference

48. Check out Badu Gili projection on the Opera House

If you don’t know it’s here, you will likely miss this installation as it plays on the eastern side of the two smaller sails of the Sydney Opera House.

The projection appears 3 times per night, beginning after sunset. The current installation tells the stories of 6 female first nations artists. Check the official site for exact timing as this changes throughout the year.

49. Take a free guided tour of Parliament House

Join a one hour tour to learn more about NSW parliament, both the process and building and improve your knowledge of our state’s history.

Sit in the speaker’s chair or enjoy a cup of tea in the Stranger’s Dining Room. Tours are held Mondays and Fridays at 1:30pm. Extra tours are added in NSW School holiday periods.

Location: 6 Macquarie St, Sydney
Google Map reference

50. Learn all about money at Reserve Bank of Australia Museum

Learn everything you could ever want to know about Australia’s currency at the Reserve Bank Museum. If you have ever wondered how our colourful polymer money came to be, here is your chance to find out!

Location: 65 Martin Pl, Sydney
Google Map reference

51. Take the famous Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk

It’s not iconic without cause; this well-worn path along the cliffs of Sydney’s eastern beaches is a stunner and a walk I could do every single day!

Be sure to stop for a coffee at Clovelly and check out the beautiful ocean pool at Bronte. You can walk in either direction. We have shared tips and advice on walking the path here.

Location: 1 Notts Ave, Bondi Beach
Google Map reference

52. Explore the art deco beauty of Potts Point & Elizabeth Bay

Sitting on the edge of the city, Potts Point is said to have the highest concentration of Art Deco apartments in Australia; in fact, there are more than 60 buildings and a theatre here! Wander Macleay Street, Greenknowe Street and Orwell Street for some of the best examples.

Our article on exploring Potts Point and Elizabeth Bay has lots of tips to help you find the best spots.

Location: 20 Macleay St, Elizabeth Bay is a good place to start
Google Map reference

53. Have a swim at Giles Baths in Coogee

The Giles Bath rock pool at Coogee Beach is a natural rock pool or bogey hole and has been popular with swimmers for over 100 years.

Giles Baths Coogee Beach
Giles Baths is a natural rock pool, sometimes referred to as the Bogey hole.

Entry is via the path in Dunningham Reserve, close to the Bali Memorial. The old entryway makes a great photo stop.

Location: 105-109R Beach St, Coogee
Google Map reference

54. Discover Camp Curlews at Sirius Cove

Curlew Camp Artists’ Walk is one of Sydney’s secret places. In the early 1890s, some of Australia’s best impressionists, including Arthur Streeton and Tom Roberts spent several years here painting the harbour.

Today there is a walking track from South Mosman around the foreshore to Taronga Zoo Wharf, allowing you to see the aspects that capture their paint brushes for almost a decade. You can find some of these works in the AGNSW.

Location: Sirius Cove Reserve, Sirius Cove Rd, Mosman
Google Map reference

55. Stroll the Glebe Foreshore to the Tramsheds

A great pram and dog-friendly walk along the western harbour foreshore, the views are a little different and the path relatively peaceful mid-week.

Glebe foreshore walkway
The Glebe Foreshore path offers a different side of the city skyline.

Reward your efforts with some treats from one of Sydney’s foodie hotspot, the Tramsheds.

Location: 1 Dalgal Way, Forest Lodge
Google Map reference

56. Explore North Head Sanctuary

This fascinating historic site features 10km of walking tracks, 3 breathtaking lookouts with impressive harbour views and military sites.
Make sure you stop at the Visitor’s Centre to pick up a map when you arrive. The volunteers can also tell you where you will be most likely to spot some wildlife. See if you can spot an Echidna – I did!

Related: Check out our visit to North Head Sanctuary

Location: N Head Scenic Dr, Manly
Google Map reference

57. Have a sunrise swim at Mahon Pool in Maroubra

Our all-time favourite place to watch the sunrise. Mahon is a tidal rock pool that is hidden from the road and as a result gets less visitors than it might otherwise.

The pool gets pretty busy on warm days but if you arrive just before the sun comes up you usually have the pool to yourself.

Mahon Pool Maroubra Sydney
I challenge you not to want to take a dip here.

There is a cafe onsite and new facilities too. After a swim and a coffee tackle the walking track south from Malabar Headland National Park

Location:15R Marine Parade, Maroubra
Google Map reference

58. Learn about bush foods at Lake Parramatta

The Aboriginal Bush Food Garden, Arrunga Bardo at Lake Parramatta, is a great way to learn about how traditional owners, the Burramatta people, use the plants found in the area.

Download the self-guided walk before you head out. In summer, the lake is a popular spot to cool off. There is also a cafe in the park.

Location: Illawong Drive, North Parramatta
Google Map reference

59. Visit Parramatta Park and Old Government House

Did you know Old Government House, the centrepiece of Parramatta Park, is the oldest surviving public building in the country? While a tour of the inside is not free, you can explore the outbuildings and gardens.

The park itself has 2 great playgrounds, bicycle tracks, and plenty of picnich shelters.

UNESCO site Old Goverenment House Parramatta NSW
Old Government House in Parramatta Park

Location: Cnr Pitt and, Macquarie St, Parramatta
Google Map reference

Related: Check out this list of 25 things to do in Parramatta for more ideas.

60. Choose your favourite Northern Beaches rock pool

Northern Beaches locals have their favourite rock pools, why not take yourself on a tour of all 15 and find yours. We think the South Curl Curl Rock Pool might be top of our list.

Curl Curl Rock Pool Sydney
South Curl Curl Beach and Rock Pool

If you are car-less, the B line bus from Wynyard will get you to Dee Why or beyond. From here, slowly make your way back on foot or bus to Manly.

This list of pools on the Northern Beaches council website might help you make a shortlist.

61. Check out the wetlands at Sydney Park

Once a brickworks Sydney Park is now an international awarding winning urban renewal site complete with wetlands, a skate park, community garden and children’s playground.

Sydney Park Wetlands Alexandria
Walk through the wetlands at Sydney Park

It’s also possibly the dog capital of Sydney, so if you don’t love dogs, this might not be the park for you! Birdwatchers may be surprised by the variety of species spotted here.

Related: Want more parks, check out this guide to the city’s best parks.

Location: 416 Sydney Park Rd, Alexandria
Google Map reference

62. Uncover the secrets of Cockatoo Island

A visit to UNESCO World Heritage site Cockatoo Island is a history lovers dream day out. From convict prison to shipbuilding yard, there are many stories to uncover here.

These days you can add art space and campground (the only one near Sydney Harbour) to that list.

You can explore the island for free; guided tours are also available (paid). If you have kids, the Visitors Centre have free activity books for kids 12 and under.

Location: Sydney Harbour!
Google Map reference

63. Enjoy a walk in the Camellia Gardens

One of the most beautiful gardens in the Sutherland Shire, the Camellia Gardens is a lovely spot for a picnic. Camellias flower from autumn until spring, and in summer, the shade is a welcome escape making it a great spot to visit year-round.

Lush green foliage at the Camellia Gardens

There is a family of ducks who live in the garden and duck food is available from the teahouse. Kids will enjoy the two onsite playgrounds.

Location: President Ave &, Kareena Rd, Caringbah South
Google Map reference

64. Learn about Indigenous Australia at the Australian Museum

The Australian Museum recently reopened after a huge renovation. The current exhibition “Unsettled” tells of the arrival of the colonists from the point of view of Australia’s original inhabitants.

A must-see, the voices of our First Nation peoples share the hidden stories of the country’s foundation. Using a variety of experiences and displays, the exhibition runs until 10 October 2021.

Location: 1 William St, Darlinghurst
Google Map reference

65. Try snorkelling at Cabbage Tree Bay

Just a short walk around from Manly, Cabbage Tree Bay is a fantastic spot for beginners to try snorkelling. An official protected aquatic reserve with calm waters; you will be surprised by the amount of marine life to be seen here. The much loved blue groper is a favourite here. It’s also not uncommon to spot small Port Jackson sharks.

Shelly Beach Snorkelling Sydney
Calm shallow waters at Shelly Beach perfect for snorkelling

Volunteers list daily sightings on a signboard giving you a chance to learn more about the fish you spot. There is an ocean pool and a cafe opposite for those who don’t want to snorkel.

Location: 5 Marine Parade Manly
Google Map reference

66. Take the Long Reef Headland Walk

Long Reef Headland offers some of the finest views on the northern beaches, and it’s also a dog-friendly coastal walk.

The headland is a popular spot to watch the paraglides or keep a lookout for migrating whales. There is a map here if you want to walk around the entire headland. Arrive at low tide, and you can walk right down to the rock shelf.

Location: Enter off Anzac Ave Collaroy.
Google Map reference

67. Meet the wildlife at Centennial Park

You could spend hours in this park, with its 11 ponds, sandstone labyrinth, bushtucker trail and Ian Potter Wildplay garden for kids.

Over 120 species of birds found here, including the famous black cockatoos. You can even take their bird-spotting challenge.

Location: Lang Road Centennial Park
Google Map reference

68. Discover the Jibbon Rock Engravings

An easy walk from the end of Jibbon Beach in Bundeena, these Dharawal rock engravings are in excellent condition. A raised walkway has been installed to protect the artwork that results in a great view from above.

You will find outlines of whales, kangaroos, a stingray and a spiritual figure. Learn more about the engravings here.

Location: Jibbon Beach Royal National Park
Google Map reference

69. Cycle or walk the 7km Bay Run

This circuit path around Iron Cove Bay will take you from Rozelle to Drummoyne. It’s a popular running and cycling path for locals, and it can be pretty busy on sunny weekends.

If you complete the full 7km there is your 10k steps done! Just across the way is Birkenhead Shopping Centre – a great place to reward yourself for your exercise efforts.

Another great detour is Callen Park with its historic buildings and lovely open spaces.

Location: Henley Marine Drive Drummoyne
Google Map reference

70. Explore the Sydney Fish Markets

One of the largest in the southern hemisphere, the Sydney Fish Market on Blackwattle Bay is a bit of an eyesore from the outside, but inside you will find more seafood delicacies that you can imagine.

A new market is being built adjacent to the site due for completion in 2024.

Location: Corner Pyrmont Bridge Rd &, Bank St, Pyrmont
Google Map reference

71. Check out the Artist’s Precinct at Headland Park

Partway along the Taronga to Balmoral walk, you will find Headland Park. The park is home to Artists Precinct, a collection of studios set up in old military buildings. Home to 21 artists, there are regular exhibitions, and you can often wander into the studios to look around.

There are also several large scale sculptures, including some past Sculpture By the Sea pieces.

Location: Read Pl, Mosman
Google Map reference

72. Walk the Gadyan Bush Track at Berry Island

The “track” is an easy 750m loop walk that takes about 20 minutes to complete. Dotted along the way are signs highlighting the Aboriginal significance of the area and explaining how the land was used by the original inhabitants.

Berry Island’s Gadyan Track is a lovely short walk

It’s a great way to ease into your post isolation resolution of more exercise, and it is a lovely spot for a picnic. The park is dog-friendly and also has an enclosed playground and BBQ. Check out our visit to Berry Island here.

Location: 10 Shirley Rd, Wollstonecraft
Google Map reference

73. Take in the view from West Head Lookout

Arguably the most beautiful lookout in Sydney, the view from West Head at Kur-Ring-Gai National Park is breathtaking. The view takes in Barenjoey Head and Pittwater to the east and Lion Island and the Central Coast beaches to the north.

Looking north from West Head Lookout to Lion Island and the Central Coast

You can do as little or as much as you like here. Take an energetic hike down to Resolute Beach, check out Red Hand Caves walk or just soak up the view.

Location: W Head Rd, Ku-Ring-Gai Chase
Google Map reference

Check out more National Parks in Sydney

74. Check out Bare Island where Mission Impossible II was filmed

This small island and fort off La Perouse featured in the Hollywood film “Mission: Impossible 2”. Walk across the old wooden bridge or head down the stairs onto the rock platform.

The island itself is a gate but open to the public on Sundays and extra dates in the School Holidays. Check the official site for information on the tours (not free)

Location: Bare Island Rd, La Perouse
Google Map reference

75. Attend one of the city’s free festivals

There is a festival almost every month in Sydney, favourites include Vivid Sydney in August to Sydney Festival in January and Good Food Month in October.

Vivid Sydney
The Opera House is always the centrepiece of Vivid Sydney

Check out our events pages to find the dates of Sydney’s best free festivals.

Related – Sydney Budget Travel Bucketlist

Have we missed anything? We would love to add your ideas to this list. Get in touch via our FB page or leave a comment below.

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