Sydney is a popular destination for backpackers, with plenty of employment opportunities, the hustle and bustle of a big city, and astonishingly close proximity to some of the world’s most beautiful, pristine beaches.
But, are most people taking advantage of the day and nightlife of one of the best cities in the world? Do they know about the incredible places only a stone throw away from Sydney?
Ever wanted to explore more places but felt it wasn’t in your budget? Contrary to popular beliefs, Sydney has plenty of inexpensive and adventurous experiences! Let’s start with small trips that you can do from the city.
In case you didn’t know, public transport rates are reduced during the weekends. Travel across the entire Opal network on Saturdays and Sundays is capped at $8.05, which gives you a great opportunity for unlimited travel.
Now that you are aware of this tip, there’s no reason not to pack a bag and set off on your next adventure. With this guide, you can enjoy a different experience every weekend.
Here is a list of incredible places that you can visit around Sydney now!
Of course, you have to visit Sydney’s iconic Bondi beach. It is 30 minutes by train and has some of the most impressive sunrises and sunsets. On the right day, the sky bursts into shades of orange, rose and pink, which is even more spectacular while surfing or swimming in the ocean.
The chic neighborhood is mixed with an infinite number of cultures. Bondi Beach is a very popular home for internationals, from Brazilians having a BBQ, to Argentines and Germans having a drink on the beach. Plus, many more!
Once you get there, you will find a beautiful coastal walk, which surrounds the entire cliff with stunning ocean views. Before reaching Bronte Beach, you have to pass through small Tamarama Beach, which is a great spot to surf. However, conditions are more suited to advanced surfers so beginners may need to sit this one out.
Bronte Beach is also small compared to Bondi Beach, but is popular for its grassed lawn situated right in front of the sand bank. Here you can enjoy a barbecue with friends, listen to music and play ball. It definitely has a more relaxed and family-friendly atmosphere, and is enjoyed mostly by locals.
If you are not tired you can continue for another 45 minutes along the coastal walk, where you will arrive at Coogee Beach. It’s a laid back suburb, on a beautiful beach without all the hustle of Bondi. But that doesn’t mean you won’t find lively nights. Without a doubt, you cannot miss the Coogee Pavilion on Fridays, often pumping special guest DJ’s and plenty of eager party goers.
If you’d like to continue the journey, in just 20 minutes by bus from Coogee, you’ll be in Maroubra. A surfer’s haven. Its name originates from an Aboriginal dialect which translates to “thunder”, a fitting description of the sound of the waves hitting the shore.
If you are an adventurer, my recommendation is to spend the whole day here, since it’s surrounded by beautiful reserves and that you can endlessly explore.
MANLY & WATSONS BAY
Wake up early on a Saturday morning and enjoy the wind as you take the ferry to Manly. Relax and appreciate the amazing view from the sea, and take as many photos as you want.
Manly is another popular place that you must visit. Upon arrival, straight from the wharf, you will find Manly Beach. An extensive area accompanied by shops, bars, restaurants and of course a beautiful beach. There are also surfing competitions during the year that draw a great crowd. If you head east, you’ll arrive at Shelly Beach. This smaller beach will dazzle you with an amazing view. The walk will take you past many marine life sculptures and magical Fairy Bower Pool.
Otherwise, you can take a bus to one of the northern beaches, such as Freshwater Beach, Curl Curl Beach or Dee Why Beach.
These are very suburban areas, mostly filled with locals and families. The beaches however are uniquely beautiful; Dee Why beach especially is perfect for surfing or kitesurfing. To end the day, you can give the tour a different twist and take the ferry to Watsons Bay, where you can enjoy a few drinks at the beachfront bar with a spectacular sunset.
This trip will take around two hours by bus from Sydney city, but it’s absolutely worth it. Have you ever seen that iconic photo of the peninsula, with two adjacent beaches surrounded by oceans and beautiful green bushlands?
Well, that’s the wonderful view from Barrenjoey Head that looms over the northern end of Palm Beach, where you can also hike up to the historic lighthouse, which is high enough to see the milky way on a clear night.
Palm Beach is at the end of a long peninsula, bordered by a huge beach with waves on one side and calm waters on the other. It is one of the wealthiest suburbs in Sydney, their houses and lifestyle will amaze you.
ROYAL NATIONAL PARK
Shine your trekking shoes and prepare the tent. Royal National Park is a two day adventure, at least!
How to get there? Take the train to Cronulla, which will take about 40 minutes, and then walk to Cronulla Wharf. There you can catch a 20-minutes ferry to Bundeena.From there, grab your backpack and hit the coast track. You will find tourist attractions such as Wedding cake, Eaglehead Rock, Marley beach and Wattamolla Falls. It will take you four hours of gentle walking, remember that you are not in a hurry so take your time and soak in the views.
Once you get to Garie Beach, circle the entire coast to the south. You can take the stone path near the sea, or climb the steep mountain range to reach North Era Camp Ground. This area has bathrooms and extensive lawns where you can place tents and set up the camp. Make sure to book in advance.
If you are patient and silent, you can share the land with deer and kangaroos. Also, head into the forest to hear the deafening sound of the cicadas. At night, try to look at the sky and make thousands of wishes to the shooting stars.
Breathe and leave the stress of the city behind, it’s a magical place surrounded by nature.
Before leaving, walk 45 minutes south and immerse yourself in the well-known Figure 8 Pools where you can take some incredible photos that everyone will be raving about! Make sure to check for low tides on the National Park website before heading here as it can be dangerous and subject to closure.
Routine often absorbs us and time slips away. Wake up, look around you and realize that you are in Sydney, Australia! A city famous for its array of cultures, experiences and quality living! Embrace every street and every corner, let the city surprise you with its diversity.