There’s no denying Sydney is a special place to be in summer. That said, the fresh, crisp days and cool nights of winter are pretty underrated, especially when you think about all things that Sydney has to offer during the cooler months. The reality is that the Harbour City has plenty of tricks up its sleeve that may just tempt you into extending your trip for a few extra days even when the temperatures get low – think whale-watching expeditions, night-time helicopter flights, brewery tours.
So, what will you do when you visit Sydney in winter? Here are some suggestions…
What To Do When Visiting Sydney In Winter
- Whale Watching
- Water Sports
- Sydney Opera House
- Sydney’s Historical Legacy
- Sea Life Sydney Aquarium
- Madame Tussauds
- Jet Boating Adventures
- Scenic Flights
- Brewery & Wine Tours
- Dining at the Sydney Tower
- Tour of Chinatown
- Vivid Sydney
12. Whale watching
Just because the weather has cooled down a bit, doesn’t mean you should avoid getting out and enjoying yourself on the water – remember, this is Sydney, not Melbourne, so it’s not really that cold at all (or that’s what the Melburnians will say!).
There are a number of activities you can enjoy, but the one thing most people don’t want to miss are the whales. From May to November, migrating humpback whales make their way along the Sydney coastline, with the months of June through to August the busiest for sightings. Discover the best spots for whale watching in Sydney, jump aboard a whale-watching cruise and admire these gentle giants as they frolic in the ocean and journey to the breeding grounds up north in warmer waters.
11. Endless water sports opportunities
Prefer to be even closer to the water? Water activities are just as fun in winter as they are in summer, so hire a kayak or stand-up paddleboard to explore Sydney’s secret beaches and hidden coves of the harbour, or pop your wettie on and plunge beneath the surface on a guided scuba dive off the coast of Botany.
If it’s a more laidback (and sophisticated) activity you’re looking for, book onto an afternoon sail on a historic, real-life tall ship, or splash out by chartering a luxurious private yacht for you and your mates.
10. The iconic Sydney Opera House
On a rainy day in Sydney, there’s no better place to head for shelter than one of the city’s art galleries, museums and theatres. Catching a show at the Sydney Opera House is a must-do for locals and tourists alike, with performances ranging from classical operas by iconic composers to Broadway musicals, depending on the season.
Even if you choose not to watch a show, sit down to a fine meal at the Bennelong restaurant, sip on a cocktail by the harbour at the Opera Bar or book one of the many tours available at the Opera House, including one for foodies and another one for children!
9. Sydney’s rich historical legacy
The Australian National Maritime Museum is worth checking out if you’re a fan of all things ships, submarines and the navy, while the Sydney Jewish Museum tells the story of Holocaust survivors who came to Australia for a sobering, but truly unforgettable experience.
Sporting enthusiasts should go straight to the Harbour City’s original home of sports, Sydney Cricket Ground for an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour through some of the country’s most iconic sports conquests and those wanting to learn about Australia’s convict history can visit Hyde Park Barracks Museum for an immersive educational experience.
8. The Sea Life Sydney Aquarium
When it comes to family-friendly fun in Sydney, you’re spoiled for choice. A popular attraction is Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, one of the largest aquariums in the world and home to more than 13,000 aquatic creatures, including stingrays, sharks, penguins, crabs and dugongs. The littlies will love the Shark Walk exhibit – a glass walkway that allows you to see a variety of shark species up close and learn all about marine life at the interactive rock pool.
If you find yourself in the city on a sunny winter day, why not make it a two-in-one with a combo ticket that gives you access to the aquarium and the WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo, where lions, kangaroos, crocodiles and many other animals live?
7. Madame Tussaud’s A-lister residents
A visit to Madame Tussauds is another great option, especially for pop culture devotees, and gives you the opportunity to come face-to-face with Aussie celebrities like Chris Hemsworth, Nicole Kidman, Troye Sivan and Steve Irwin. The kids will have a blast taking selfies with their favourite sporting idols, pop stars and even superheroes. Become a Bollywood star, join the British Royal Family portrait, walk amongst the world’s most influential leaders and meet all your most-loved celebs in one afternoon!
6. The heart-pumping jet boating adventures
One way to stay warm this winter in Sydney is to get the heart pumping – and these couple of suggestions should do the trick. A 30-minute thrill ride aboard a high-speed jet boat is guaranteed to raise your heart rate – and maybe even give your vocal cords a workout, too.
You’ll reach speeds of up to 75 kilometres per hour as you zoom past the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Taronga Zoo and Rose Bay, and hang on for dear life as the boat spins, skids and slides across the water.
5. The scenic flights across the city
From the water to the sky, take things to new heights when you soar over Sydney in a helicopter. This isn’t any old chopper ride; this 25-minute joy flight takes place at night when the city lights are aglow. If you ever wanted a bird’s-eye view of the shimmering Vivid Sydney projections, this is your chance.
For something even more exhilarating, look no further than an aerobatic flight in a stunt plane. Your daredevil pilot will take you through a sequence of loop-de-loops, barrel rolls and figure eights, all while pointing out the beautiful sights of Sydney – just make sure to keep your eyes open.
4. The brewery and wine tours
If your idea of properly exploring a city involves eating and drinking in as many of the hidden bars, trendy cafes and fancy restaurants as you can find, Sydney’s culinary scene will not disappoint. Kick things off with a bang on a brewery tour of the CBD that takes in a number of venues, including an ultra-modern brewhouse and an old-school pub for a hearty lunch.
If a cold schooner during a winter day doesn’t appeal to you, you might prefer a tasting session at Urban Winery Sydney, during which you’ll learn all about the winemaking process, get to sample six regional wines and even take home a complimentary bottle.
3. A unique dining experience at the Sydney Tower
In terms of dining experiences, it doesn’t come much more spectacular than a meal at the Sydney Tower’s revolving restaurant. Boasting enormous picture windows and 360-degree views (on a clear day you can see the Blue Mountains), you can devour a delightful buffet lunch or dinner, with fresh seafood, antipasto and an impressive selection of desserts on the menu.
2. A trip to Asia through your tastebuds
Another foodie must-do is a guided tour of Chinatown. Over three jam-packed hours you’ll meet restaurant owners and chefs, take part in a traditional tea ceremony and try a variety of dishes from Korea, China, Thailand and Malaysia.
Or if you prefer, explore Chinatown at your own pace. Stop by Hello Auntie for a bowl of pho – after all, there’s nothing like warm soup to keep you cosy during the cooler months, try the best of Cantonese cuisine at The Eight Restaurant or get a serving of juicy Korean fried chicken at Arisun Korean. Craving something sweet? Head to Matcha-Ya!
1. The spectacular Vivid Sydney shows
After taking a two-year hiatus due to you-know-what, Vivid Sydney is back bigger, brighter and more breathtaking than ever before. One of the most popular events in Sydney, the festival of light, music and ideas officially kicks off on May 27 and runs for 23 nights until June 18, boasting a diverse offering of musical performances, public art activations, workshops and deep-dive discussions.
Sydney will once again come to life in a blaze of colour as the much-loved light installations take over many of the city’s most iconic sites. The sails of the Sydney Opera House make for the perfect canvas to showcase Yarrkalpa – Hunting Ground, Parnngurr Area, a collective painting by Martu Artists that depicts the Parnngurr community and surrounding landscape with colour, patterns and energy. Other spots around The Rocks, Darling Harbour, Barangaroo and Circular Quay will also transform into open-air outdoor galleries.
Music fans will be treated to an eclectic line-up that includes Sampa the Great, Baxter Bury, Cakes Da Killa and Flight Facilities, with gigs being held across a number of special locations. Other must-see events include a live intimate conversation between journalist Patrick Abboud and singer-songwriter Troye Sivan and a series of live events featuring Audible Original creators. With a program this good, the best advice is to secure your tickets, ASAP.
Ready to book your flights to Sydney? Webjet has an incredible range of Sydney airfares from all major domestic airlines and you can book your Sydney hotels and accommodation too. Plan your winter getaway to Sydney with us!
Hero: Vivid Sydney. Credit: Destination NSW.