21 things to do in Sydney during winter

Harbour bridge, Sydney


Does the thought of winter just mean Ski trips or severely cold situations where you are forced to bundle up and stay indoors? Try Sydney for a change.

Sydney is by far the brightest location you can look forward when you look for places which are cold. In fact, the winter here is a mix of cold winds blowing from the Antarctic and the Sun shining through the afternoon. Early colorful sunsets and late mornings thanks to the daylight savings are indeed fun. Still, you may need a list to help you out this season, so you can get the best of what the city has to offer.

Here is our tried and tested one for the winter here. We have covered quite a number of them with a few more on the checklist for us to try out.

Heading outdoors

Bushwalk Sydney

Bushwalk through Lane Cove national park


The best of Sydney is in the suburbs and the innumerable bushwalk trails that line most of the bushland areas are a welcome break to the city humdrum. The mangrove bridges and mud tracks are the best to explore by foot. Make sure you have good battery back up and enough rehydration. Try the Great North Walk at Lane Cove national park. The milk beach walk path or the Aboriginal Heritage walk at Ku- ring-gai Chase National park. Check the respective websites for details of difficulty, length of the path and the conditions of the track for the day.

Walks and parks sydney

Coastal walks

May it be the famous Bondi beach or manly coast, the chill has never stopped a Sydneysider from the sea. But yes, it is cold. What we prefer to do is to soak up the beauty of the lashing washes along the rocky coast and walk the amazing coastal walks. Check the tracks based on the distance you would like to cover, there are longer and shorter tracks all around the coast. The 10 km track from spit bridge to Manly is our favorite. You could try, Federation cliff walks, Bondi to Coogee walk, Royal national park Coastal track or Rosebay to Watson bay walk.

Whale watch

Sydney enjoys two admirable seasons of whale watching adventure as the Humpback whales migrate back and forth for cooler to warmer water and then back with their calves. With an extensive coastline and some jutting deep into the sea, these provide admirable lookout points for the pod. Grab your woollies, the binoculars and head out early to Barrenjoey Lighthouse, Botany Bay or Palm Beach. For a more up-close adventure try the whale watching cruises. Dress in layers as the open sea tends to be colder and hope you get the splash of the large tail fin.

Bike rides

The bike paths of Sydney are the best way to explore the suburbs. Most paths are dedicated to cyclists so you do not have to worry about the traffic. The cyclists favorite is the Centennial Park or the Sydney Olympic Park. You could try the shorter Harbour bridge to Anzac Bridge path, or the Paramatta Heritage trail. Check the paths before you start, have adequate hydration at hand and don’t forget your helmets.

Vivid Sydney

As an attempt to bring warmth to the chilly season the colorful display at Vivid Sydney is indeed a crowd puller. The iconic Harbour Bridge and the Opera house transforming into colorful works of light and music warms up the spirit as the winter days begin. With photographers tourists and families swarming the Circular Quay and patiently waiting for the lights to go up, it is one of the best ways Sydney has found to counter the winter gusts.

Luna park

The fun at Luna park doubles in winter. Though the park opens for shorter hours, it is far more fun to have the winter landscape update right by the harbour. Enjoy the lively hours of fun and excitement this amusement park can create, with the iceskating ring too added to the winter fun. Watch out the site for twilight savers if you love the lights and a later evening.

Blue mountains, sydney

view from honeymoon bridge walk

Blue mountain hikes

For a surreal scenic experience,e you should try the blue mountains hiking trails. Personally, I like this workout in winter as it does get the best cardio for you and the chill in the air reduces the excessive sticky perspiration. The path can be a flight of stairs as in the Three Sisters track or the easy Honeymoon Bridge track or a longer walking one through the forest. The visitor’s center at the lookout is very informative with the tracks open for the season and the condition of the track for the day.

Walking trails blue mountains

Game Nights

Yet another attempt to get the crowd away from the dark ebbs is the predominance of winter games in different parts of Sydney. Catch some Rugby or Soccer fever this season, cheer and and boo the chill at Olympic stadium.

Game night, Sydney olympic stadium

Lighthouse Hikes

One of the most picturesque walks, according to us is the lighthouse hikes of Watson bay and Barrenjoey. If you are not a hiker, try out the ferry rides that pass through this ay to give you a glimpse of this beautiful stand out structures.

Orchards and fruit picking

It really doesn’t matter what time of the year, New South Wales is always ready for fruit picking and some picnic. In winter, the citrus predominate so enjoy the day picking bucket loads of Mandarins, limes, lemons or qumkats. There are plenty of places approx. 150 kms from the heart of Sydney you can get to. I am exploring some and will update my favorites once I find them.

Christmas in July

Santa makes his additional special trip this season. May it be the “Ugly Christmas” celebrations or the fab Yulefest at blue mountains, don’t miss this unique opportunity. If you are looking for something nearer, head to The Rocks.

Stay in and warm up


If you are a book lover, the wonderful community libraries are the best warm spot to cosy up with a good read. With the city dotted with lots of libraries and innumerable books., Cds DVDs, ebooks and more. You can enjoy some lovely people interaction, help to tutor someone in need or just enjoy the cozy corners.

Timtam slam

You really cannot have it the Sydney siders way if you have never tried a Timtam Slam. Gather up some good company, lots of timtams in assorted flavours and brew some aromatic coffee. Bite off the both ends of the timtam. Sip your coffee with timtam as the straw. The hot coffee, passing through melty chocolate flavours and the wafers and then to your taste buds creating a unique experience. We had fun trying the timtam slam… now we are trying to pick our favourite flavours of it.

QVB shopping

Tucked in the busy Cbd is the most sought out shopping destination. The Queen Victorria building, constructed in the 1890s underwent  restoration and now stands proudly encasing some of the best stores, brands and cafes  in the city. Shop or not enjoy the four flours of excuisite craftmenship, the tiles to the roof top dome and the beautiful stained glass windows.


have you wondered what it will be to have the rain pour outside and you take a time by your stride exploring the warm and exhaustive museum displays? Well, Sydney has it well planned. With evening lectures, day time workshops or just take your time with the exhibits, the Australian museum has planned it quite well. With kids, our favourite is emerging to be the Powerhouse museum. You could try out the Maritime museum, the Australian museum or catch the latest on the website.

Australian museum

Art galleries

Just like the museum, the well curated art galleries are a timeless feature you cannot afford to miss in Sydney. You could stroll through and enjoy the Art gallery of NSW, the Museum of Contemporary Art or one of the innumerable private galleries and artist run initiatives around the city. You could catch some great ticketed displays or explore art for children based on your need from their dedicated websites.


Overlooking the Sydney Harbour, the Sydney Observatory had been the historic site of time keeping, navigation and seafaring needs. The giant telescope is currently a part of the viewing program. The Observatory Hill as such is a beautiful spot , but our favorite is the night sky observation and lecture watching the clear night skies and finding the giants of the galaxy through the telescope. This a best do if you love astronomy as Australia offers one of the best views of the milky way.

Sydney Observatory website

Laser arena, trampoline parks and bowling alleys

The laser arenas and bowling alleys are not just a recreational hub which you can easily dismiss in the winters. They are spaces to come together and enjoy being active. These are winter perfect warmer spaces providing the well needed break from the lethargic wakeups and the bundled up woollies. 

Theatre and Dance

Watch the show in the iconic opera house or pick any of the theatres and shows dotted along the city, Sydney is a city of talents. Showcasing the best of concerts, dance and theatre, winter transforms to a wonderland under the short span of the show times. Pick one based on where you are and your interests.

Ice-skating rinks

Sydney receives no snowfall, yet come winter the city sprouts up with skating rings for children and adults alike. If you are a newbie, fret not, slipping, sliding and holding on to your partner are the best ways to have some ice magic. Try out Bondi Winter magic, the Luna park skating ring or the Winterlight at Paramatta.

Cafes and Pubs

With enough activities charted out you need some sit down and unwind time. Sydney boasts some of the best fireplace corners, brilliant coffee, and live music. We haven’t picked my favorites yet, so if you have your best suggestions leave them in the comments for us to try. Most places have great deals and free kids meal during winter to add to the fun.

Luna park, Sydney

The fun never stops at Luna Park

Sydney is a fun location for winter because pretty much get the best deals, the hot chocolate and your winter gear out. The people love to be outdoors and other than a few rainy days, the weatherman is pretty much accurate. With the list of stuff to do, I am sure you will love the winter.

Now, we are off to another adventure…See you later

Check our extensive travel reports of Asian sites through our travel diaries, leaving some links for immediate access

Vietnam river caves

4 days in Siam reap

Malaysian adventure

10 must do in Hanoi

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Charlie | The Barefoot Angel
5 years ago

Sydney is such a beautiful city – thank you for the fantastic suggestions. Some of those hikes look great! 🙂

Erin | The Rendezvous Spot
5 years ago

I would love, love, love to do a whale watch in Sydney. My family went on one when I was about 5 or 6, so I don’t remember it well. YOu have a great list of ideas, but I think I have to have that one on my bucket list lol Pinning this to my group travel board 🙂

5 years ago

Excellent ideas for visiting. Thank you for sharing!

5 years ago

I love these tips for visiting. So many great ideas. Thank you for sharing!

Alanna Koritzke
5 years ago

I went to Australia in the winter and it was awesome. I don’t even remember being cold, although I think it rained for a bit. For part of my time I stayed with a local family who gave us TimTams but I didn’t know how to eat them properly so I didn’t really like them. Everyone afterwards assured me it was just because I didn’t eat them right. That TimTam slam sounds way better!

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