If you’re planning a trip to Sydney, chances are that you have an idea of what you want to do and see in the city during the day — but have you thought about any nighttime activities? There are plenty of spots you can drive to after-hours, whether it is to grab a tasty dessert, admire views of the city after the sun goes down, or simply to do some exploring on four wheels.
Put your seatbelt on and discover some of the best places for a nighttime drive in Sydney and places to stop by at each destination. Even if you’re a native Sydneysider, we’re sure there’s somewhere here you haven’t been for a night time drive in Sydney:
8 Suburbs to Go for a Night-time Drive in Sydney
1. Night Driving in Manly
Distance from Sydney CBD: 14.7 km (37-minute drive)
One of the most visited suburbs of the Northern Beaches, Manly is known for its coastal charm, and who doesn’t love a night walk by the shore? Drive to Manly Beach for a peaceful stroll with sounds of waves in the background, but keep in mind that the beach isn’t well lit at night so bringing a torch might be worth it.
Another popular nighttime activity in Manly is ghost hunting at Q Station, one of Australia’s most haunted sites. There are four different ghost tours you can join to discover the stories of the spirits who are still believed to linger through the station… if you dare.
Those looking for a feed have plenty of restaurants to choose from. Momo Bar is open until 9 pm, Queen Chow Manly serves delicious Chinese food until 10 pm on the weekends and Garfish Manly operates until 11 pm on weekdays (except Tuesdays) and 12 am on Fridays and Saturdays.
2. Night Driving in Bondi
Distance from Sydney CBD: 8.2 km (19-minute drive)
With its surf culture, shopping sites and vibrant cafe culture, Bondi is a great daytime destination for a getaway from the city centre, but if you’ve never explored the eastern suburb after dark, you need to add a Bondi nighttime drive to your Sydney bucket list.
To enjoy the magnificent ocean views without having to get out of the car, drive from Bondi to Coogee and continue along to Maroubra Beach or Little Bay Beach for a longer drive.
If you want to stay close to Bondi Beach instead, stop by the Bondi Beach Markets, which stay open until 9 pm during the summer, and shop jewellery, plants, arts and crafts, accessories and more, all at an irresistible price. Or why not do something completely different and join a dance class in the dark at No Lights No Lycra?
3. Night Driving in Newtown
Distance from Sydney CBD: 5.7 km (17-minute drive)
Newtown is one of the busiest suburbs in Sydney and you’ll certainly notice that during your nighttime drive. There are restaurants, pubs and rooftop bars galore, so those wanting to pause their drive for a meal with a drink will be spoiled for choice.
If have a furry friend in the back seat, park by the Camperdown Memorial Rest Park and go for a stroll with your pet. This dog-friendly park is open daily, and dogs can be off-leash 24 hours a day on weekdays and from 4 pm to 9 am on weekends. Those driving around with friends can swing by Holey Moley, a mini-golf bar open until 10 pm every day except Fridays and Saturdays when it only closes at 12 am.
While in Newtown, you can explore a bit more of the inner west and drive to Enmore for an after-dark scoop of gelato at Cow & The Moon. The family-run gelateria closes between 10 and 11 pm every day and with flavours like strawberry balsamic pannacotta, orange poppyseed and raspberry white chocolate, it is the perfect place to satisfy any post-dinner sugar cravings.
4. Night Driving in Cronulla
Distance from Sydney CBD: 30.7 km (43-minute drive)
Keen on a longer drive? Then make your way to Cronulla, a popular seaside suburb in southern Sydney. There are a number of vantage points you can stop by to enjoy magical views of the moonlight reflection on the water, including Bass and Flinders Point and two lookouts at Wanda Beach.
For a late-night snack, your can stop by Marvelicious, a dessert bar open until 9 pm on Thursdays and Sundays, 10 pm on Fridays and 11 pm on Saturdays. Including sugary treats like apple pie nachos and Oreo loaded churros, the menu will win over any sweet tooth. If you’re looking for romantic things to do, nothing says ‘I love you’ like sharing a lush chocolate fondue for two.
Those heading to Cronulla before the night falls can witness a gorgeous sunset during a coastal walk into the night at Cronulla beach, before driving back to Sydney under the stars. If you’re exploring the suburb with a pet, swing by Greenhills Beach instead, a dog-friendly beach where your furry friend is allowed off-leash from 4 pm.
5. Night Driving in Balmain
Distance from Sydney CBD: 4.7 km (10-minute drive)
If you want to explore somewhere different but don’t feel like driving for too long, Balmain is the perfect spot to visit. The neighbourhood is widely known for its pubs, so it comes as no surprise that the nightlife is incredible.
But there’s more to do after hours in Balmain than going out and drinking. Dolce Amore is a healthy dessert shop open every day until 10 pm, where you can treat yourself to delicious handmade cheesecakes, protein balls, cookies and more, including gluten-free and vegan-friendly options.
After getting your sugar fix, drive just a few minutes to Elkington Park and spot the Sydney Harbour Bridge on the other side of the water. If you’re up for a walk, park nearby and head to the White Horse Point for even better views. Or drive by some of Balmain’s most emblematic heritage sites: from Balmain Town Hall to The Old Balmain Post Office and more, there is a lot of history to be discovered
6. Night Driving in Parramatta
Distance from Sydney CBD: 25.4 km (35-minute drive)
Located in Greater Western Sydney, Parramatta is the second oldest city in Australia, so those planning a history-filled night trip have plenty of landmarks to drive by, including the Old Government House, Parramatta Female Factory, Parramatta Town Hall and St John’s Cemetery, which is open 24 hours a day.
The 3.5-kilometre Parramatta Riverside Walk is a popular trail in Sydney, perfect if you’re wanting to stretch your legs and in the North Rocks, you can stop at the Don Moore Reserve, a park with a leash-free area for dogs (and an on-site car park).
If you’re feeling peckish, Harris Park is a suburb in Parramatta also known as Little India. With several eateries open until late, such as Chatkazz Sweets & Namkeen, Dosa Hut and Ginger Indian Restaurant, it’s the perfect spot to drop by and indulge in some delightful Indian delicacies.
7. Night Driving in Avalon
Distance from Sydney CBD: 42.6 km (1 hour, 6-minute drive)
Another popular suburb in the Northern Beaches, Avalon is popular for its beach and surfing culture, with many sun-seekers visiting to get their fix of vitamin D and try out scuba diving, kayaking, snorkelling and many other water sports.
At night, Avalon is an excellent destination for those hoping to catch some postcard-worthy photos of the moon shining on the water. For the best vantage points, drive to the Avalon Beach Public Lookout or to Bangalley Head Lookout, only one kilometre north.
Couples going for a drive together have plenty of restaurants to stop by, with a laid-back yet charming atmosphere that is perfect for an impromptu date. Alma serves Coastal Mexican food until 10 pm from Tuesday to Thursday, 12 am on Fridays and Saturdays, and 9 pm on Sundays, while Sunset Diner closes between 8 and 9.30 pm every day (except Tuesdays), ideal for an early dinner.
8. Night Driving in Watsons Bay
Distance from Sydney CBD: 12.3 km (30-minute drive)
Located on the east of Sydney, Watsons Bay is a harbourside suburb popular for its beaches, walking trails and fantastic sightseeing spots. A must-do when driving to Watsons Bay at night is stopping by The Gap, one of the most popular viewpoints in Sydney. To get the best panoramic views of the ocean, be sure to hop out of the car and go up the stairs to any of the viewing platforms available.
Only a 5-minute drive from Watsons Bay, you will find Hornby Lighthouse, a heritage-listed lighthouse that is still active. Although it is only open until 7 pm, this iconic landmark is still worth driving by.
For an after-dark stroll in nature, Robertson Park is located a stone’s throw away from The Gap and it remains open 24 hours a day. Just keep in mind that dogs are prohibited at all times and that there is no on-site parking.
Sydney is an amazing city to explore during the day, but there is also a lot to see and do once the sun sets. If you’re planning a trip to Sydney, book your Sydney flights at the best price with Webjet and make sure to hire a car for your nighttime drive to any of these suburbs and neighbourhoods.