Sydney may not be the capital of Australia but this large city is certainly one of the most popular among tourists. The bustling metropolis is best known for the iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge, which sit on the beautiful Sydney Harbour. It’s also home to crowd favorites Bondi Beach, Taronga Zoo, and Sea Life Sydney Aquarium.
The bad news is, taking the average tourists’ lane and visiting these famous attractions may cause you to encounter immense crowds, tiring and time-consuming queues, and exorbitant prices. If you want to enjoy the best of Sydney without all the hassle, locals have one tip for you: go off the beaten path.
Escape the crowds and make your way to the following stunning yet non-touristy destinations and experiences around Sydney.
1. Go for a leisurely Spit Bridge To Manly Walk
While Sydney Harbour is the top attraction in the city, let’s not forget that the city’s beautiful coastline is just a few minutes away.
The coastal walk between Bondi and Coogee is Sydney’s most famous route, but it’s clogged with tourists. If you want an equally spectacular experience sans the crowd, see the scenic coastline on the northern edge of the Harbour in the middle of Mosman’s Spit Bridge and beachside Manly, which is linked by a leafy 10km trail. You’ll also see secret beaches like Sandy Beach and Fisher Bay.
2. Check out the Cockatoo Island
This UNESCO World Heritage site, which is also the largest island in Sydney Harbor, is an obligatory stop for visitors who’d like to learn about the Harbour City’s colonial past. Before being a prominent shipyard dock, Cockatoo Island used to be a large-scale convict penal establishment during the European colonization.
Today, it’s a charming place that serves as a hub for cultural and creative events, including historic tours, camping, music sessions, and outdoor games. If you still don’t feel like going to your hotel room, the island is just a short 20-minute ferry ride from the CBD so make sure to go for a visit.
3. Catch the picturesque Jacaranda trees before spring ends
The bustling city turns gorgeously purple during springtime – thanks to the blooming Jacaranda trees. From late October to early November, the purple blanket engulfs the city streets, making every sight looks like it’s taken straight out of a fairytale.
For the best view, head north and visit the suburb of Kirribilli, where you can see a whimsical jacaranda tunnel in McDougall street.
4. Discover Parramatta Sydney
Travel to the west and you’ll discover Parramatta, a major business and commercial district located 24 km from Sydney’s CBD. You’ll see other great things besides towering skyscrapers – tucked in this urban jungle are tranquil parks, reserves, and heritage sites.
Parramatta Park, for instance, is an 85-hectare park with a wealth of historical colonial buildings, flower gardens, playgrounds, and jogging and walking trails. The Lake Parramatta Reserve is another hidden gem in the heart of Sydney’s metropolis where families can swim and have a picnic.
Of course, the district never runs out of urban establishments including Parramatta hotels, shopping centers, museums, and a plethora of dining options for foodies.
5. Bare it all at a nude beach
Want to go to a beach where being 100% nude is totally fine and legal? You may head to Lady Jane Beach and Obelisk Beach, where you can strip off while basking and enjoying the stunning seaside.
6. Find serenity at the Wendy’s Secret Garden
Longing to escape to a peaceful green haven on the doorstep of the city? Tucked away next to loud and crowded Luna Park is a secret garden that’s been existing for more than 20 years yet is rarely discovered. Wendy’s Secret Garden in Lavender Bay is filled with shaded paths, sculptures, and stairways that are perfect for casual strolls and picnics.
7. Watch sports at Sydney Cricket Ground
Australia is obsessed with cricket. If you’re a sports buff, you wouldn’t want to miss a game in the Sydney Cricket Ground, a grand old stadium that was established in the 19th century. Grab a pie and a beer, and find the best seat in the house.
8. Shop and eat like a local in Newtown, Sydney
Exploring Newtown, dubbed as the city’s bohemian heartland, is another fun, non-touristy take on Sydney. The offbeat spot is filled with old-fashioned pastel-colored buildings, quirky shops, and vivid street art pieces.
Give yourself some retail therapy with Newtown’s surplus of vintage clothing stores, designer fashion boutiques, quaint book shops, and stores for home décor items and vintage gifts and souvenirs. For cheap grub, head to King Street where you can choose from a plethora of restaurants, cafes, and bars, offering Asian, Italian, and Spanish fares.
9. Grab your popcorn and watch in an open-air cinema
Trade expensive movie houses for a lovely evening with a film under the moonlight.
In Sydney, you can find a lot of open-air cinemas. For instance, you may head to St. George OpenAir Cinema at the Mrs. Macquaries Point in Royal Botanic Gardens for a great movie experience while seeing the views of the Harbour.
Other cinemas worth the visit are Moonlight Cinema at Centennial Park, Ben & Jerry’s Openair Cinema at Bondi, Skyline Drive-In Cinema in Blacktown, and Sunset Cinema at North Sydney Oval.Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is one of the seasoned writers for Holiday Inn Parramatta Hotel, a modern hotel located in the heart of Western Sydney, delivering top-class Parramatta accommodation. She has always been passionate about traveling, taking photos, and writing travel tips and tricks.