Looking for things to do in Sydney in Winter? It’s easy to forget what life is like in Sydney when sitting on the beach is out of the question.
Fear not… Winter is a great time to visit Sydney because it generally offers up the best weather and it’s a time when you can really go and explore the area without feeling guilty that you should be on the beach. (Trust me, we always get the guilt on in Summer if we’re not at the beach.)
We’ve got some great ideas on how to have a fab time in Winter in Sydney from sitting in a hot tub in an igloo on Sydney Harbour to playing crazy golf in the pub and loads more!
Table of Contents
35 Things to do in Sydney in Winter
1. Visit the Japanese Bath House
The best thing to do in Sydney Winter is to head out to the Blue Mountains and go to the Japanese Bath House called Sparadise. You’ll have five outdoor pools to choose from and even a hot tub in a cave to relax in whilst over looking a spectacular view. For just $80pp this is an absolute Sydney gem to visit.
2. Visit Beautiful Southern Highlands
Head down to Southern Highlands for the weekend and browse the shops in Bowral as well as venturing on some hikes and lookout points. You could easily spend a good week exploring with the amount of things to do in Southern Highlands. Head to some of the best waterfalls in Kangaroo Valley such as Carrington Falls, Belmore Falls and Fitzroy Falls!
Watch our video to Southern Highlands below!
3. Visit Jervis Bay in Winter
Jervis Bay is mostly known as having the world’s whitest sand beach but we recommend visiting in Winter like we did as you’ll have it mostly to yourself. You’ll get one of the best coastal walks near Sydney pretty much to yourself and if you go in early Winter, the water will be warm enough to swim in! There’s so many things to do in Jervis Bay, you certainly won’t be bored!
If you’re wondering what to do in Sydney in Winter, there’s actually a few awesome festivals to visit which we’re listing all in this point.
4. Vivid Light Festival
Let’s start with the most well known… Vivid Light Festival. It’s the world’s largest light festival and definitely worth visiting as it’s pretty amazing. With eight locations based around Sydney, specifically Circular Quay and Sydney Opera House all transform into amazing light shows for three weeks at the start of June.
Our tip is to always visit on the opening night, but really late. The lights turn on at 6pm and finish around 12am so if you go around 10pm, there won’t be many crowds at all. Trust us, this is what we do every year!
We recommend staying at Sydney Harbour YHA as the rooftop views overlooking Sydney Opera House are brilliant and a place you can enjoy the festival without the crowds.
A random festival which mainly takes place in Blue Mountains is Christmas In July. Started by the Brits, it was a way to experience a proper Christmas in the cooler temps, rather than a usual 30C+ which Sydney tends to hold.
You’ll see lots of people in Christmas jumpers going to Christmas In July parties and even your work might hold one too.
Even retail advertising is a bit weird with their Christmas scenes in the shops. We’ve even seen Christmas trees in Pitt St Mall during this time of year. If you’re from England, you’ll never get used to this bizarre event in July.
6. City 2 Surf running festival
The world’s largest fun run takes place in August called City 2 Surf, a 14km run from the city to Bondi. Regardless of whether you can run or not, this is the event that everyone joins in on and gets sloshed at the pub afterwards.
7. Sydney Winter Festival and Bondi Winter Magic
Sydney Winter Festival takes places at St Mary’s Cathedral during Winter as well as Bondi Winter Magic. The biggest draw card to both festivals are the ice skating rinks. Just imagine skating on Bondi Beach!?
8. Hiking in Sydney
To us winter in Sydney is all about hiking. With the mostly clear skies and perfect cooler weather, we spend most of our winter getting out of Sydney and going on some beautiful hikes near Sydney.
We absolutely love The Tea Cosy in The Rocks which offers up some of the best high tea Sydney! It’s also really affordable and we love how kitsch it is with blankets on the table and a spot of knitting to be done as well!
Although the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney are impressive, there are some secret gardens we love to visit in Winter which are situated right in the middle of the city.
Watch our gardens in Sydney video below!
11. Make the most of the Sydney markets
There are some brilliant Sydney markets to visit at the weekend. Instead of spending time on the beach, we recommend the following markets to visit: Bondi Markets, Glebe and Round She Goes. Kirribilli Markets is our favourite which are situated right under the Sydney Harbour Bridge and take place twice a month.
12. Then sell your clothes at Kirribilli Markets
After you’ve checked out the markets, there’s no better time in Winter than to do a clear out and sell your clothes at Kirribilli Markets. We’ve sold a fair bit there and have tips on how you can make a good $1000!
13. Go hiking in Blue Mountains
There are so many amazing Blue Mountains hikes, swimming spots, waterfalls, lookout points, caves and canyons to check out that that we’ve nailed down the best 30 to put on your list to visit below! Winter in Sydney wouldn’t be complete without a visit to The Blue Mountains.
We recommend heading over to Martin’s Place to see the waterfall from the Matrix scene with the woman in the red dress above and over to Manly to check out The Great Gatsby home at The International College of Management.
Winter and a Sunday roast go hand in hand so if you’re looking for the best Sunday lunch in Sydney we recommend checking out some British worthy pubs like; The Lord Dudley in Woollahra or the Duke of Clarence in the CBD.
Sydney in Winter is a great time to go to all of the amazing galleries around the city. Head over to the MCA and finish the day at their awesome cafe on the rooftop for amazing views of the Harbour. We also recommend visiting The Archibald Prize, Australia’s biggest art prize which is held between May – September at the Art Gallery of NSW.
If you weren’t aware, Australia gets snow in Winter and has ski resorts to visit. The most popular ski resort near Sydney is called Thredbo which is a five hour drive away but it’s the most famous ski resort in the whole of Australia. Being the highest at 2,037m, Thredbo is mainly for the intermediate skier.
18. Riverboat Postman Cruise
One of our favourite things to do in Sydney is the Riverboat Postman Cruise on the Hawkesbury River. It’s easy to get to on the train or by car and is located just 1 hour away from the CBD. Also for just $50 per person, you’ll get a three hour cruise and lunch on board.
OK, we admit that we very nearly didn’t go to Marigold Yum Cha in Sydney because we honestly thought it would be rubbish because it’s so cheap. Turns out, we had one of the best nights in Sydney in a long time! Go with an open mind and experience an authentic yum cha in Sydney and you won’t be disappointed!
20. Go to a meditation retreat
If you need some time out from everything, we 100% recommend checking out the best meditation retreat in Sydney at Sunnataram Forest Monastery in Kangaroo Valley. They hold weekend retreats and it’s donation based so you can pay what you feel for your stay. We’ve been three times and love it so much! If you want to step is up a level, find out what it’s like doing a 10-day silent meditation retreat in Blue Mountains!
One of the great things about winter is it’s not too early to get up and watch the sunrise over Bondi Beach. The sun rises at around 7am in the winter meaning it’s easier to get up to watch one of the incredible shows it puts on at the beach.
Ever wanted to see Glow Worms? We recommend heading over to Newnes near Blue Mountains and trek over to the old railway tunnel to get a glimpse of them. There’s various ways to get there so check out the blog below for more details.
One of our favourite things to do in Sydney on a rainy day or in winter is to visit the antique shops. There are some cracking antique shops in Sydney, I bet you’ve not heard of some of them before! Be warned, you could easily spend a good few hours walking around them!
Experience the best bookshops in Sydney and sit back with a cuppa and good book! We love Ampersand Cafe in Paddington, Sappho Books in Glebe and Gertude & Ailice in Bondi!
26. Become an awesome axe thrower
Manix is a brilliant place to go with your mates! Compete to see who’s the best axe thrower and then head next door to the brewery. What a great day out!
27. Throw spoons at the cinema screen
One of our favourite things to do on the first Friday of the month is to go over to Hayden Orpheum Picture House in Cremorne and watch the cult classic, The Room. It’s an immersive cinema experience so make sure you grab a load of spoons at the door to throw at the screen.
We also love Radio Cairo over the road as somewhere to go for dinner. This North African restaurant is a one of a kind in Sydney and a definite must visit.
28. Visit Wollongong
There’s way more things to do in Wollongong than you think. Just an hour south of Sydney, you’ll find everything from hikes, an awesome pub on the cliff to more to visit in Wollongong!
29. Cave hunting at Wombeyan Caves
If you’re looking to spend the day exploring, we recommend heading over to Wombeyan Caves. The lesser-known cave system is much quieter than Jenolan Caves but is amazing to visit. With an insanely jaw-dropping canyon to swim through in the Summer months, a beautiful campground and caves you’ll more than likely have to yourself, Wombeyan Caves is an awesome weekend getaway from Sydney.
30. Spend the day at one of the bath houses in Sydney
There’s some great spas in the middle of Sydney such as Gillian Adams Spa (pictured above) and Bath Houses. If you’re feeling a bit cold or want to have a relaxing weekend if it’s raining, head over to one of these for pools that are as hot as 39C.
31. Go on the secret Bondi walk
One of our favourite walks is from North Bondi to Watson’s Bay. There’s far fewer people on this path and you’ll come across some complete gems like Diamond Bay Reserve.
32. Stay In A Bubble Tent In Sydney
Capertee, Gardens of Stone National Park
One thing that’s been at the top of our Sydney bucket list for a while is to stay in a Bubble Tent which overlooks the world’s second biggest canyon at Capertee. You can even have a bath outside the tent, a beautiful option for a romantic weekend away from Sydney.
33. Auburn Cherry Blossom and sumo wrestling
Want to feel like you’ve popped over to Japan for the weekend? Get all the Japanese vibes right near Sydney in August, because just an hour away in Auburn lies the annual Cherry Blossom festival.
For as little as $5 you’ll be able to take an iconic photo next to the cherry blossom but that’s not all… the festival includes sumo wrestling matches, a catwalk show and a Hello Kitty makeover station.
Find out more here about The Cherry Blossom Festival Which takes place in Auburn towards the end of August
34. Sit in a hot tub… In an igloo… On Sydney Harbour!
We’ve all seen those igloos on the South Bank in London on our Instafeed, but what if I were to tell you that Pier One has stepped it up and you can hire out your own igloo, over looking Sydney Harbour whilst sat in a hot tub? (Just double check it’s one post COVID)
For $200, you’ll need to spend $300 on food and drinks but you’ll get 2.5hrs to lounge around in a hot tub for six of your mates. Not bad when all you need to do is spend $50 each on it (plus $33 each for the hire).
35. Spend a romantic weekend in Blue Mountains
If you’re looking to escape Sydney and spend a relaxing weekend in Blue Mountains, then expect a day spa, beautiful accommodation, hikes, high tea and so much more. Just click on the link below to read our blog to give you some inspiration!
Unfortunately rain is to be expected but we’ve found it rains less in Winter in Sydney than it does in Summer. Be prepared because when it rains, it buckets down! Find out our top 18 things to do in the rain in Sydney to keep you entertained!
Looking For Some Winter Sun?
Escape Sydney Winter and head to Queensland for some sunshine! Check out our Queensland Page to discover more guides.