What to do in Sydney in winter

Pay no notice to the cooler weather: Sydney still packs plenty of thrills in the cold season, you just need to know where to look.

Destination NSW

Destination NSW

May 09 -
min read

Take a long scenic coastal walk

With frequent sunny days, you can take in all the regular sights and activities in Sydney in winter, but cooler temperatures mean this is the perfect time for long walks. The Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk provides lovely coastal scenery even if swimming is probably off the agenda – although you could take the chilly plunge at Bondi Icebergs.

Federation Cliff Walk

Federation Cliff Walk, Watson Bay

Federation Cliff Walk and South Head Heritage Trail leading from Watson’s Bay aren’t as well-known but also very rewarding.

Keep your eye on the ocean, because winter is whale-watching season in Sydney, when southern right and humpback whales are commonly seen from the clifftops. For an up-close spectacle, join a cruise with Whale Watching Sydney or Oz Whale Watching.

Ride the ferry from Circular Quay to Manly and relax on the sunny harbour and ocean promenades. The stunning 10km Manly to Spit Bridge Walk leads through cliff-hugging national park with outstanding harbour views.

Manly Ferry in Manly, Sydney North

Manly Ferry, Sydney North

Wonder through the markets

A winter Saturday is the perfect time to discover Sydney’s markets. There’s plenty to choose from: Paddington Markets sits in the heart of this historic, chic suburb, also home to a great array of Australian designer label boutiques and very close to the vast greenery of Centennial Parklands.

Rozelle Collectors Market specialises in bric-a-brac and second-hand books – afterwards, wander down Darling Street and discover its eclectic range of shops and eateries. Carriageworks Farmers Market in Eveleigh is renowned for its fresh produce and food and is undercover if the weather turns bad.

Carriageworks Farmers Market at Eveleigh in Inner Sydney

Carriageworks Farmers Markets, Eveleigh - Credit: Jacquie Manning

Take a tour or visit these attractions

For a quirky thrill, ghost tours at the former Quarantine Station in Manly or The Rocks Ghost Tours are more atmospheric in the colder, darker months. The Rocks has attractive Georgian and Victorian buildings housing boutiques and restaurants, as well as cosy pubs, many with blazing fires, such as Lord Nelson Brewery (one of the oldest pubs in Australia) and the Fortune of War.

Q Station History and Ghost Tours in Manly, Sydney North

Q Station History and Ghost Tours, Manly - Credit: @manlydrone

If the weather turns exceptionally chilly, you can always retreat indoors, to attractions such as SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo (both in Darling Harbour) and the observation deck at Sydney Tower (don’t miss the fabulous Bar 83 on, you guessed it, the 83rd floor).

Or try out the likes of the Australian Museum and Art Gallery of New South Wales. The Powerhouse Museum runs the two-week Sydney Science Festival in August.

Family enjoying a winter ice skating session at Darling Harbour, Sydney

Ice Skating, Darling Harbour

In the winter school holidays of 4 to 15 of July, you can ice skate at the Darling Harbour ice rink at the International Convention Centre Sydney Forecourt.

Vivid Sydney in early June is the big cultural event of the winter season, lighting up prominent buildings (including the Opera House) to spectacular effect.

Views of Harbour Lights installations on marine vessels moving across Sydney Harbour during Vivid Sydney, Sydney City

Vivid Sydney, Sydney City

Enjoy a sporting event

Winter is a great time for sports lovers too: take in a State of Origin rugby-league battle between NSW and Queensland in June and see great Australian Rules football matches featuring the city’s two AFL teams (the Sydney Swans and Greater Western Sydney Giants).

A fan of Swans at Swans game, Sydney

A fan of Swans, Sydney - Credit: Phil Hillyard


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