21st December, 2023

The best ways to experience Summer in Sydney

Summer in Sydney is a vibrant and exciting time. The city buzzes with an infectious energy drawing both locals and travellers alike to explore its many offerings from outdoor adventures to fine dining and festivals, island hopping to beach days and headland hikes.

Join us as we discover some of the best ways to experience Summer in Sydney, both on land and by water- you may even learn a local secret or two!

1. Sip and Seafood

Sydney loves seafood and it is nearly always accompanied by a fine Australian sparkling. The Sydney Fish Market offers the finest quality and a huge array of seafood both direct to the consumer and to Sydney’s top restaurants. The markets are open daily and they also are home to the Sydney Seafood School where you can dive into the wonderful world of seafood cooking.

2. Visit an island

Sydney Harbour once boasted 14 islands, but many have been annexed to the mainland. Me-Mel (Goat Island) was recently transferred to Aboriginal ownership and management and guided tours are available through National Parks. Shark Island (Boowambillee) lies in the centre of Sydney Harbour and is a popular picnic destination with ferries from Circular Quay. Clark Island also lies in the Main Harbour and is smaller than Shark Island. Rodd is a small island in the sheltered waters of Iron Cove in the Inner Harbour.

Aerial of Shark Island national park attraction sightseeing HOHO ferry non-ccc dnsw
Skark Island (Boowambillee) in the centre of the Harbour

3. Take a Hike

Sydney boasts some absolutely spectacular walking trails including the famous Bondi to Coogee (6km - 2.5hr), Watsons Bay to Hornby Lighthouse (2.8km – 1hr), Manly to Spit Walk (10km – 4hr), Bradleys Head (starting from Taronga Zoo) to Chowder Bay (4km – 1.5hr), Bondi to Coogee (6km - 2.5hr), Barenjoey Lighthouse (2km – 1hr) and Cremorne Point Walk (3.3km – 1.5hr).

4. Taronga Zoo

The animals at Taronga Zoo have million-dollar views over Sydney Harbour! Open 365 days Taronga is one of Sydney’s most popular attractions with daily seal and bird shows included in the entrance price. The best way to avoid the traffic and parking hassle is to travel to the Zoo by ferry. There is a choice of public ferries or rocket express ferries with commentary.

Koala Zoo 4088 - ST
The residents of Taronga Zoo have the best Harbour views

5. Show Stoppers

Melbourne was once the King of theatre but Sydney takes the crown in Summer with an impressive choice of mainstream and fringe shows during the Sydney Festival. Check out the range of upcoming events at the Sydney Opera House, Lyric Theatre, Capitol Theatre, Theatre Royal, State Theatre, Sydney Dance Company and Sydney Theatre Company, to name just a few.

6. Hidden beaches

You don’t need to head to the coast to enjoy Sydney’s beach culture. Sydney Harbour boasts some beautiful beaches that only the locals know. Camp Cove next to Watsons Bay on the southern entrance to the Harbour is hard to beat with some of the best views and aquamarine waters protected by shark nets. But there are many others including Quarantine Beach (North Head), Redleaf Beach (Double Bay), Queens Beach (Vaucluse), Collins Flat Beach (Manly), Clifton Gardens (Mosman Council), Castle Rock (Clontarf), West Head Beach, Balmoral and Chinamans Beach (Mosman).

Couple picnic at the beach on Shark Island attraction HOHO sightseeing non-ccc dnsw
Sydney boasts some amazing beaches and breathtaking views

7. Daylight Saving Sunsets

Sunset in Sydney in Summer falls between 7:30pm and 8.10pm making it the perfect time of year to enjoy late night outdoor dining. Which means you can make the most of your afternoons, maybe even slipping in a mediterrean-style nap. If the humidity is up it’s best to be near the coast to enjoy the cooler breezes, or you can head to the Harbour for a dinner cruise under the stars.

8. Watsons Bay

The ex fishing village of Watsons Bay is located on the South Head peninsula and encapsulates Sydney’s vibrant outdoor lifestyle. The bay is synonymous with seafood, being the location of the iconic Doyles Restaurant plus a choice of open-air pub-style and takeaway dining. From this vantage point the views go all the way to the city and north to the entrance of Sydney Harbour and Middle Harbour. Only a short walk away is beautiful Camp Cove swimming beach, a fantastic nature walk to Hornby Lighthouse on South Head and a more energetic walk along the headland to the coast.

Watsons Bay heads with lighthouse Hop On Hop Off sightseeing non-ccc dnsw
Watsons Bay headland and lighthouse

9. The Finer Things

There's no better way to enjoy Summer in Sydney than with your friends on the Harbour. Enjoy some of the finer things in life aboard luxury superyacht The Jackson for Veuve Clicquot in the Sun. Dance the day away to Sydney's hottest DJs, savour Clicquot-inspired canapes, an oyster bar, gelato and Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label all while taking in panoramic views of the world's most beautiful Harbour.

Jackson Veuve summer deck
Veueve Clicquot in the Sun aboard superyacht The Jackson

10. Australia Day

Sydney Harbour takes centre stage for Australia Day and on the water is the place to be on 26 January for all the action. The 2024 Australia Day Harbourfest will feature all your favourite events including the Ferrython and Tall Ships Race and in the evening the Harbour sets the stunning backdrop for Australia Day Live, broadcast nationally on live TV.

Australia Day Live Concert Salty Dingo 2017 night fireworks special event non-ccc dnsw
Australia Day Live concert overlooking our iconic Harbour

11. Season of Love

The Summer holidays may be over but the heat turns up again on 14 February for Valentine’s Day. Once the domain dedicated to the young, Valentines Day is making a come-back with the young at heart. First marriages don’t always work. Sometimes it takes a wiser head to fully appreciate what love really means. If you think you’re too old for a super romantic night out in the Harbour City, think again. Love is all around you at every age.

Couple having Gold Penfolds Dinner with wine glasses and dine table romance
Sydney Harbour dining on Valentine's Day

Experiences mentioned in this article

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