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Things To Do in Sydney – Chosen by Locals

by Globetrooper Todd | 7 Responses
Things to Do in Sydney

We could tell you to visit the Opera House, climb atop the Harbour Bridge, visit Bondi Beach… but then you’d spend most of your time with other tourists.

Instead, we’ve put together a list of things to do in Sydney from a local’s perspective. These are places where you’ll meet real Sydneysiders while taking advantage of real Sydney gems. Not surprisingly, most of them involve a short trip out of Sydney.

The Fish Markets

The Sydney Fish Market reaches peak activity in the early hours of the morning when fish mongers and fisherman do business to supply fish to Sydney’s sprawling population. It’s great to see this activity in full swing, but it’s even better to stay for the feast. Within the grounds of the fish markets are lots of seafood restaurants that benefit from access to the freshest fish of the day. You can also take a tour to see behind the scenes of the early-morning auction.

Things to Do in Sydney - Coledale Beach

Wollongong Beaches

Wollongong is home to a throng of quintessential Australian beaches, which is why it deserves a spot on any Things To Do in Sydney list.

There are fewer tourists, plenty of local ‘fish and chips’ shops, a great drive through the Royal National Park, and no reality television shows to corrupt the experience. For busier beaches, try either side of Wollongong, but for the real thing, try the more Northern beaches of Thirroul, Coledale and Austinmer.

Paddington Markets

Paddington is idyllically placed between Sydney’s city, harbour and beaches. It’s home to many quaint corner pubs and restaurants, but more importantly, the Paddington Markets. This is where liberal locals and enterprising itinerants come to sell their quirky wares. But more than that, it represents a great cross-section of Sydneysiders and a chance to mix with them on a hot summer Saturday morning (from 10am).

The Hunter Valley

The Hunter Valley is north of Sydney and home to various wineries and fromageries. Take one of many small bus tours to enjoy the region’s best wines, cheeses and lunches. A full-day tour to a handful of boutique properties costs $80-150, depending on the inclusions and size of group. The beauty of the Hunter Valley is that it gives tourists-in-a-rush a small taste of agricultural life in Australia. This makes it one of the more culturally authentic things to do in Sydney.

Dargan Springs

Things to Do in Sydney - Dargan Springs
Dargan Springs is an eco lodge in the Blue Mountains, just west of Sydney. It is one of the most tranquil places on Earth, but also a place of unrivaled adventure. Visitors can relax in the over-sized tree-house reading their favourite book, they can visit the spa for a private treatment, or they can take to the bush for rock climbing, abseiling and canyoning.

The food is hearty and healthy, the water is fresh from a nearby spring, and the atmosphere is conducive to great conversation with your fellow lodge-mates.

For other unique things to do in Sydney, check out the local sports (Cricket, Rugby, etc.), visit a microbrewery (for real Australian beer), or head to the outback to see a completely different side of Australia. And feel free to contact us for specific recommendations.

Posted in Australia | July 27th, 2010

7 Responses to Things To Do in Sydney – Chosen by Locals

  1. I was born in Sydney and love to visit, but I don’t think I could live there anymore. I agree with you about all the obvious things. I really love the Sydney ferries, and here’s a link to one of my stories (hope you don’t mind my shameless plug?):

    • Hey Grumpy, where do you live now? I think it’ll be a while until I return. I still love certain parts, but there’s just too much else out there worth exploring. Don’t mind the plug :)

  2. Like Steve, I used to live in Sydney (was born there) but left in 98 for Abu Dhabi and Dubai – not sure I could live there again just yet – even after 60+ countries still so many to see (and we’re especially loving our grand-touring of the globe on our Grantourismo project this year!) but your post brought back memories, and I think, a pang of homesickness.

    Sydney’s harbourside pools are wonderful too, the markets at Glebe and Balmain, the cafes, bars and restos at Potts Point, and Chinatown and Paddy’s Markets – we used to go every Saturday morning to do our shopping and buy pork buns!

    • Thanks for dropping by Lara (reminds me about entering your next comp). Well, we haven’t quite done 60 countries, but I’m certainly not ready to head back yet :) We lived on the north side in Lavender Bay, but still loved Glebe and Balmain. Gorgeous in summer, but a little too conservative for me at this moment in time.

  3. Good list, I just came back from the Hunter and used to have a caravan in Bulli next to Wollongong. All great for seeing the other side of Sydney. That being said, if you’re looking for the club scene in Sydney then shows you the 50 best clubs in the city – maybe for when you come back from the Blue Mountains!



  4. A much more livable city than my city London!

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