Choosing among Sydney activities
We just love the term “Sydney activities”. If you’ve never been to Sydney, you probably won’t understand why. Put simply, it is because Sydney is a huge, buzzing city, home to many ethnicities. As is ever the case with the “new world”, all those people have brought a good deal of their own customs to their new home.
The result is no less wondrous than you’re imagining: a fine mixture of cuisines, outing options, festivals, and arts. Nowadays, one may easily stay in Sydney for a month and not even get to explore the most popular activities to the fullest.
How do we do justice to the truth? We think the best approach is by presenting bits of every little varied aspect that makes Sydney what it is today. Pick your hotel first, and then let’s go to a virtual tour around the city!
Things to do in Sydney this weekend
Given that every mortal gets hungry on a daily basis, the list of things to do in Sydney this weekend probably must commence with some unusual dining options. Why unusual? Because we want you to feel the vibe of one of the world’s most vibrant cities while enjoying some fine dining. All kinds of international dishes are to be encountered in Sydney, for the reason mentioned above.
Get to taste all world cuisines!
Is that even possible, you might ask? It’s as close to possible as it will ever get, we assure you. The thing is, there is a curious institution in Sydney called Gourmet Safaris. As the name portends, the business makes certain people get to taste as many international cuisines as their stomach allows.
Gourmet Safaris organizes walking tours, bus tours, banquets and visits to Sydney’s food villages. Taste moussaka, bánh ph?, sukiyaki, baklava, sundubu jjigae, biscotti, spanakopita, baba ghanoush, ratatouille… the list goes on. Safaris’ standard offer includes Turkish, Korean, European, Italian, French, Mediterranean, Vietnamese, Lebanese and Greek food safaris.
Many themed programs are also being organized. E.g., the fire safari will teach you numerous fire-harnessing techniques and recipes to practice them. You will get to taste everything from coffee to pastries to briskets. Vietnamese maestro Ben Nguyen will share his special courses and skills.
The earth safari is, perhaps, even more curious. The tour includes visits to Sydney produce store of Amy Chanta & Palisa Anderson from Boon Luck Farm (tropical and Thai herbs and vegetables), an Indian family that makes traditional chutneys, and a Maltese fruit and vegetable grower. A vegetarian lunch at PAZAR Food Collective is included.
Enjoy fine dining at Scarlett Restaurant
Hotel Harbour Rocks (34 Harrington St.) is home to one of tourists’ favourite dining spots, namely Scarlett Restaurant. The venue combines heritage charm and modern appointments and serves delicious and affordable food.
Trivia: Scarlett Restaurant is located on the site of Sydney’s first hospital, opening up onto Nurses Walk. Dubbed “the oldest new restaurant in Sydney”, Scarlett Restaurant provides privacy galore and is available for exclusive use.
Explore Homebush Bay Shipwrecks
Homebush Bay is famous for its shipwrecks. How come? In 1966, a section of the bay was approved to be used as a shipwreck yard by the Maritime Services Board. A visit to this out-of-space spot will help you learn more about Sydney’s history, as well as summon your inner explorer.
The shipwrecks on display served in WWI and WWII. They are as follows: Shipwreck No. 1 – SS Ayrfield (formerly SS Corrimal), Shipwreck No.2 – SS Heroic, Shipwreck No.3 – HMAS Karangi, and Shipwreck No.4 – SS Mortlake Bank.
- From Bennelong Parkway: from Homebush Bay Drive, turn into Australia Ave, pass Bicentennial Park’s main entrance, then turn right at Bennelong Parkway. Then follow the signs to the Archery Centre until you get opposite the apartment block on the corner at Wentworth Point. From there, you must proceed on foot. Cross the road and follow the footpath to the water’s edge.
- From Bicentennial Park: from Homebush Bay Drive, turn into Australia Ave, pass Bicentennial Park’s main entrance, then follow the road to the P10f parking lot (opposite the Badu Mangrove boardwalk). From there, you must proceed on foot. The walking track is 1.3km long; starting as a mangrove boardwalk and finally joining with the footpath. Follow the footpath to the water’s edge.
Time-travel to Japan in the heart of Sydney
The Japanese Gardens (Chiswick and Chisholm Roads, Auburn) are a must-see for every fan of the Land of the Rising Sun, especially if they cannot afford to visit the real thing. Many fall under this category, sadly. Sydney’s Japanese Gardens will make you feel like you are really there, perhaps in Kyoto during the sakura season.
The Japanese Gardens feature all those stunning Japanese bridges and gateways, waterfalls, a Zen garden and a tea house. They also host their very own Cherry Blossom Festival, so if you’re visiting Sydney anywhere from mid-August to early September, don’t miss the spectacle.
Enjoy a five-course tea
Sydney might be famous for coffee, but that isn’t to say that tea drinkers have been forgotten. On the contrary, T Totaler has seen to providing them with unique teas! Several tea bars are run by the establishment (check their website for the closest one).
All tea blends are locally grown. You may either buy them and enjoy them later at home, or attend a five-course tea and cake degustation. Note: for the latter, book your appointment in advance, as the degustation is popular among Sydneysiders.
Visit Taronga Zoo
Located near a many sought-after hotel Circular Quay, Taronga Zoo (Bradleys Head Rd., Mosman) is a popular tourist destination. In addition to visiting it on your own accord, you may choose a tour that includes a visit to the zoo. The best-loved ones include:
- Sydney Harbour Cruise, Taronga Zoo and Sky Safari. Includes: travel to Taronga Zoo by rocket ferry, sightseeing of Sydney landmarks (the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge), a ride on the Sky Safari gondola, and a viewing of interactive animal shows and zoo keeper demonstrations.
- Ultimate Sydney Pass with Sydney Tower Skywalk. Includes: Sydney Tower Eye and Skywalk, a visit to the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, a visit to the Wild Life Sydney Zoo, a visit to Madame Tussauds Sydney, and a visit to the Manly Sea Life Sanctuary.
- The Taronga Wild Australia Experience. A two-hour journey during which you will learn fascinating facts about native Australian wildlife (wombats, platypuses, koalas, bilbies and feathertail gliders, to name a few) and their habitats. The tour also includes a visit to a food-preparation kitchen for animals’ meals and taking photos with koalas and kangaroos.
Fun activities to do in Sydney
There is a number of fun activities to do in Sydney, especially if you are a first-time visitor. The list of must-experience Sydney activities would be indeed incomplete, if short of at least one sports event. Hence, our first recommendation would be: enjoy sports. Read on!
See a game at the SCG
The SCG (The Sydney Cricket Ground; Moore Park Rd., Moore Park) is a famous sports stadium. It hosts everything from cricket to soccer to rugby. Make sure to check the list of upcoming events before your arrival, though, as sports events are highly popular in Australia.
Simply pick the one that calls your name and grab a ticket. From autumn to September, the SCG hosts Aussie rules, rugby union and rugby league events; during the summer, it’s cricket.
Enjoy Sydney Harbour Captains Dinner Cruise
If you’re staying at a hotel Circular Quay, Sydney Harbour Captains Dinner Cruise is a recommended activity. Get to enjoy delicious contemporary Australian a la carte dining aboard one of Sydney’s premier vessels and listen to some live music. Did we say you’ll sail around the Sydney Harbour? Vessels: the MV Sydney 2000 (summer), John Cadman II or John Cadman III (winter).
<li> Entrée: smoked ocean trout, shaved fennel, dill, capers with black caviar dressing, spinach and ricotta ravioli, napolitana salsa with grana padano cheese, tre colori – assorted seasonal greens, baby bocconcini, basil infused heirloom tomatoes with a light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and smoked chicken fillets, with mango salad and honey dijon mustard.
- Main course: Tasmanian grilled salmon fillet with Dutch carrots and asparagus, Australian beef tenderloin fillet, sautéed mushrooms, served with seeded mustard jus, pumpkin and spinach stuffed chicken breast with baby broccoli, and roasted vegetables and chicken jus, slow cooked lamb shank, mash potatoes with traditional sugo di pomodoro, and vegetable gratin with infused tomato and pesto sauce.
- Dessert: orange and chocolate flourless cake with butterscotch sauce, Bavarian vanilla slice, strawberries and chocolate sauce, smooth chocolate roche with raspberry coulis, Manhattan cheesecake set on crushed biscuit, grated coconut and berry coulis, and slow baked lemon and lime tart, served with a dollop of thickened cream.</li>
Additional Sydney activities
There are way too many Sydney activities to choose from, as we promised in the beginning. These are just some of our hand-picked recommendations, and we already feel sorry for excluding many of our additional favourites. Tastes differ, as the saying goes, so make sure to ask the staff for additional guidance.
More articles as part of our Syney guide: