Looking for things to do in Sydney in winter? Because the seasons are flipped in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s likely that it’ll be chilly during your “summer” trip from the USA, Canada, or Europe.
While it’s nice to know that unlike other parts of Australia, Sydney doesn’t get too TOO cold in the winter (think like in the 60’s℉ / mid-teens℃ during the day and 50’s℉/ low-teens℃ during the night), the dampness of the air can still make things feel quite chilly.
But if you don’t what to experience the brain-melting heat of actual Australian summer, then winter in Sydney is the best time to visit.
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The Best Things To Do in Sydney in Winter
There are things that are fun to do in Sydney year round, like climb the Harbour Bridge take a tour of the Opera House, but there are certain things you can only do in Sydney in Winter.
Here are my favorites:
Take in the Lights at Vivid Sydney
Vivid Sydney is an annual 3-week festival of “lights, music, and ideas” that typically runs from late May to early June. There are cool concerts and Ted-ish Talks that you can attend, but the main attraction is the light and sculpture installations sprinkled throughout the city.
My friends and I started in Darling Harbour (you can use the Wynyard or Town Hall train stops), walked through Barangaroo, and down under the Harbour Bridge to Circular Quay to grab a bite at the many food trucks, and then ended the night taking in the Opera House and Royal Botanical Gardens.
While it was fun to see the city bathed in neon lights while munching on street food, Vivid Sydney is definitly something to do while you’re IN Sydney during the winter, but it’s not so awesome that you should make a special trip to the city to see it.
Go Whale Watching in Manly
Winter in Sydney is a great time of year for whale watching and nearby Manly is a great place to do it. Whale watching season in Sydney technically runs from mid-May through mid-November, so the winter months of June, July, and August are prime real estate for a great time.
You’ll usually see Humpback Whales on their annual migration down the New South Wales’s (oh ho ho) coast. If you’d like to book a boat tour, there are many companies that depart from both Sydney’s Darling Harbour and Manly, but if you’re lucky, you can take it the whales, and great views, from the many hiking trails on the North Head.
Hot tip: go to Manly on a Sunday! On Sundays, the maximum amount you’ll spend on transport in the Sydney area (unless you visit the airport) is $2.60.
Walk from Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach
You can also try your luck whale watching on the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk.
I did the walk my first week in Sydney and will say that while Bondi, Coogee, and all the beaches in between (e.g. Bronte and Tamarama) are lovely, I definitly got tired and stopped having fun around Bronte Beach. But that’s probably because I didn’t bring any snacks with me.
This walk is one of the perfect things to do in Sydney in winter because the stunning views of the ocean and white sands of the beaches are the same all year long — but during the winter, you don’t have to fight with extreme temperatures and obnoxiously large crowds.
Go for a Spin at a Local Ice Rink
Ice skating is one of the best things to do in Sydney in winter simply because of the number of awesome options available to you. You should take the time to check out:
- Luna Park
Every kid’s dream! During July, Luna Park has an ice skating / unlimited ride combo that’s sure to delight kids and anyone with an inner-kid. The park sells tickets by height, so if you, your boo, or your bestie is on the shorter side, you’ll be able to save big. Luna Park is also perfectly perched on the north edge of Sydney’s Harbour, so the views are unreal.
Get the deets here.
- Bondi Beach
If you’re not too tired out after your coastal walk, you can stick around Bondi to skate and try to snag yourself one of the lifeguards from Bondi Rescue.
Get the deets here.
- St. Mary’s Cathedral
The rink is a little small, but it’s convenient because it’s right in the CBD at St. Mary’s Cathedral, less than a 5-minute walk away from the St. James’ train stop. Skates are included in your admission ticket and the music played is on point.
Hot tip: the little blue kangaroos aren’t just for kids. Get your boo or bestie to push you around on one when your feet start to hurt.
Enjoy the Sydney Film Festival
Each June, Sydney celebrates the silver screen with the annual Sydney Film Festival. In any given year there are more than 300 screenings of over 180 films from 50+ countries.
There’s also always engaging talks, parties and special events. So, whether or not you’re a movie buff, if you’re looking for things to do in Sydney in Winter, the film festival is your best bet of keeping warm.
Feel Cultured at the Biennale of Sydney
Created in 1973, Biennale of Sydney is an bi-annual showcase of nearly 1,800 artists from more than 100 countries. It holds an important place on both the national and international stage and is a must-see for any art or history lovers visiting Sydney during the winter.
It usually runs from March to June every other year and has multiple installations at multiple locations throughout the city.
Upcoming Biennales will be in 2020, 2022, 2024, and 2026.
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