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Travel over the Sydney Harbour Bridge to discover another side of the city. Sydney's North abounds with natural beauty, from unspoilt national parks to stunning beaches that make the perfect setting for outdoor adventures. There's also a world-famous zoo, a fun-filled amusement park, heritage suburbs and fantastic food scene.
Things to do
If you don't have time to delve deep, check out the major attractions that are an easy ferry ride across the harbour. Taronga Zoo is home to native and exotic animals, plus a thrilling ropes course, and makes for a fun-filled family day out. Luna Park is a restored 1930s amusement park and iconic Manly Beach is just a short daytrip from the CBD.
From Manly, hug the coastline and explore the fantastic smaller beaches of the Northern Beaches, which span more than 30km up to Palm Beach. From here or nearby Church Point, catch a ferry across glittering Pittwater waterway to Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park where the Red Hands Cave walking track leads to ancient Aboriginal paintings.
Other national parks include Lane Cove National Park northwest of Chatswood, and Berowra Valley National Park near Hornsby. Dharug National Park near Wisemans Ferry, on the banks of the meandering Hawkesbury River, is home to the convict-built Old North Road World Heritage Walk.
To access insider knowledge, sign up for one of the available tours including Hawkesbury River cruises, surfing lessons in Manly, snorkelling in a marine sanctuary, and kayaking and sailing on Sydney Harbour. Bring your mountain bike and explore bush trails, or hire a bicycle in Manly and ride to North Head for spectacular views.
Eat and drink
For that special occasion, fly in a seaplane from Rose Bay to acclaimed waterfront restaurants in the Northern Beaches, Hawkesbury and Pittwater. Berowra Waters Inn, Jonah's and Bert's are all perfect for a long lunch. If you're after venues accessible by car, Pilu at Freshwater and Ormeggio at the Spit in Mosman also offer award-winning views with spectacular views.
For more casual options, Manly has fantastic beach bars, cafes and restaurants with killer views, minus the price tag. You're spoilt for choice when it comes to cafes with great coffee and inventive menus in the Northern Beaches while the area around Chatswood is renowned for authentic Asian cuisine.
Public transport is available to many popular attractions. Ferries depart from Circular Quay across sparkling Sydney Harbour for Manly, Taronga Zoo in Mosman and Luna Park. There are buses to Palm Beach. Hop on a train for historic Windsor in the Hawkesbury region or simply take a train across the world’s largest steel arch bridge to North Sydney and Chatswood.