Bring Me Sunshine: Travel to Sydney
Ringed by national parks and blessed with more than 100 beaches, the best bits of Sydney are outdoors, active and (mostly) free. Here’s how to enjoy it like a local.
The north side of Bondi Beach is where locals hang out in the mural-backed kiddie pool, on the orange-striped rocks around the Ben Buckler headland, and at the Biddigal Reserve, aka “grassy knoll”. It’s also where veteran Let’s Go Surfing staff can help novice surfers perfect their pop-ups, and where local legends own the greens at the refurbished Bondi Bowling Club.
Hermitage Foreshore walk
Sydney has no shortage of stunning coastal walks. You can start at Nielsen Park in the posh suburb of Vaucluse and meanders for 2km beneath gum trees and over rocky bluffs in Sydney Harbour national park to Rose Bay. Along the way, hikers might spot cliff jumpers and iguana-like water dragons sunning themselves on rocks. It’s tempting to join them, but it’s worth waiting to reach Milk Beach – a small sand crescent with Opera House and Harbour Bridge views. Walk from south to north and end with a tea and warm scones smothered in clotted cream and house-made rosella jam on the verandah of the Vaucluse House Tearooms.
Riding the ferry from Circular Quay to the northern surf ’hood of Manly is a thrill, even before rounding the bend from Manly Beach to spot the palm-fringed cove of one of Sydney’s best snorkelling and shore diving sites: Shelly Beach. As you fin your way over spiky yellow seaweed and lavender sea sponges in this marine reserve, keep an eye out for sightings of wrasse, cardinal fish, and eastern blue groper, as well as dusky whaler sharks, cuttlefish, weedy sea dragons and spotted nudibranchs. A rare west-facing beach, Shelly Beach is also a great spot for watching sunsets.