10 Best Non-Touristy Things To Do In Sydney, Australia

non touristy things to do in sydney
| 5 min read

Do you wish to take a break from the constant recommendations to see the same statues, monuments, and beaches every time you go traveling? Immersing oneself in the heart of any culture involves thinking like a local, and indulging yourself in more fresh and unique activities. Doing so can enrich your experience of traveling the world, and bring you a broader perspective of how the local culture of any place really functions. If you want to explore this beautiful city like a true Sydneysider, take a detour from Bondi Beach, Sydney Opera House, and the Sydney Harbour Bridge and read on as we explore the best non-touristy things to do in Sydney, Australia.

1. Enjoy a refreshing coastal walk to Manly Beach

Manly sydney harbour
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Adam.J.W.C. used under CC BY 3.0

There are few things that are as instantly charming and enjoyable as a quiet walk on the beach. Whether you are traveling alone, with your friends, or with your family, you can always enjoy watching the sun rising in the distance on an early morning. Check out the unique boutiques that sell souvenirs here, have breakfast at one of the beachside cafes, eateries, bars, and restaurants that offer all kinds of cuisines. Get active with water sports if you wish to, or just feel the sand below your feet.

Manly Beach

Address: Manly Beach, Sydney, New South Wales 2095, Australia

Opening hours: 24 hours a day

Price: Free

2. Take a ferry to Cockatoo Island

Cockatoo Island sunset
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Carolyn Hough used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Cockatoo Island has a very rich history and is a great place to explore when you’re in Sydney. Retaining a classic charm from the yesteryears, and the heritage from decades of human endeavor by convicts and shipbuilders, this island is now a beautiful escape and a hub for cultural and creative events. Hop on a ferry to get to this island, and spend a day exploring the different parts of it and the history behind it. The ferry ride will be a quick 20-minute one, and you can make a day trip out of it.

Cockatoo Island

Address: Sydney Harbour, Sydney, Cockatoo Island, New South Wales, Australia

Opening hours: Mon - Sun: 10am - 4pm

Price: 7.50 USD per person

3. Relax at Wendy’s Secret Garden

Wendy Whiteley's Secret Garden
Source: Photo by user Curtinconverge used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden is a beautiful yet surprisingly unnoticed destination for tourists, making it an undiscovered gem. It has a breathtakingly beautiful landscape, and you are sure to get lost in the beauty and magic of this awe-inspiring place and the rich story behind it. The layout is very quirky and perfect for enjoying a picnic by yourself or with someone else. It is also surprisingly free, as it is maintained by a group of volunteers who put in their heart and soul into it, and that really shows.

Wendy’s Secret Garden

Address: Lavender St, Lavender Bay NSW 2060, Australia

Website: Wendy’s Secret Garden

Opening hours: Open 24 hours a day

Price: Free

4. Enjoy swimming in the North Sydney Olympic Pool

Set in an incredible location with beautiful views of the city, this Olympic-sized pool is a great experience to try out when you’re in Sydney. Take a hot shower and dive into either the saltwater pool or the main pool. There are lanes for trying out laps and testing your stamina, and there’s also a kid’s pool area where your kids can safely splash about in the shallow waters. The staff is very warm and helpful, and you can watch ferries go by from the stands if you wish to simply relax and sunbathe for a while.

North Sydney Olympic Pool

Address: 4 Alfred St S, Milsons Point NSW 2061, Australia

Website: North Sydney Olympic Pool

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 5:30am - 9pm; Sat - Sun: 7am - 7pm

Price: 6 USD for adults

5. Sunbathe at Lady Jane Beach

This is a unique beach untouched by tourists yet and is very pristine and wonderful to sunbathe in. Keep in mind that this is a nudist beach primarily, and so you may be expected to bare it all. Take the opportunity to sunbathe in the beautiful surroundings and erase the annoying tan lines. The beach itself is quiet and private, with the waves less aggressive than most other beaches, so you can take a dip in the rocky waters and just let your worries melt away.

Lady Jane Beach

Address: Lady Jane Beach, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Opening hours: 24 hours a day

Price: Free

6. Shop at Newtown, Sydney

If you are a shopaholic, indulge yourself at the Newtown shopping areas where you can shop till you drop! Enjoy some retail therapy with the plethora of clothing, accessories, home decor items, vintage gifts and souvenirs and much much more. Just take a walk down this street and you are sure to end up splurging even if you aren’t an aggressive shopper, and are just looking at the choices available here.


Address: Newtown, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Opening hours: 24 hours a day

Price: Free

7. Visit George OpenAir Cinema for a unique movie experience

Dive into one of the most unique movie-watching experiences you will ever have in your life. The George OpenAir Cinema offers outdoor seating with an incredible view behind the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Bridge in the distance, and the video and audio quality of the movie itself are truly excellent. Check out the latest movies being screened here, either alone or with your partner as a movie date. This is truly Sydney at its best.

George OpenAir Cinema

Address: Mrs Macquaries Point Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

Website: George OpenAir Cinema

Opening hours: Mon - Sun: 6:15pm - 11:59pm

Price: 28 USD

8. Enjoy a buffet with 360-degree views at the revolving Sydney Tower Restaurant

Enjoy an amazing dinner experience accompanied by some truly magnificent views, with the sky-high rotating tower that provides a 360-degree view of Sydney. Make unforgettable memories and take loads of pictures with the backdrop of beautiful Sydney behind you, and an incredible culinary experience unlike any you’ve ever tried before. The buffet includes sumptuous seasonal dishes, paired with award-winning wines that will stimulate your senses. Although on the pricier side, it is totally worth the once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Sydney Tower Buffet

Address: Pitt St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

Website: Sydney Tower Buffet

Opening hours: Mon - Sun: 11:30am - 2pm; 5pm - 9pm

Price: 50 USD

9. Ride on a white-knuckle speedboat (from USD 67.0)

Try out a whole new experience with the white-knuckle speedboat and cruise at incredibly high speeds to Bondi Beach. Feel the thrill as you zoom along the coast at speeds of up to 100 kilometers/hour (62 miles/hour). This will be a very unique way to sightsee important landmarks such as the Circular Quay, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House, and Lady Macquarie’s Chair. There will be a knowledgeable guide traveling with you to show you the amazing views and landmarks, and there will also be live commentary on board. The trip will end on the famous Bondi Beach and includes hotel pick-up and drop-off.

Bondi Beach High-Speed Offshore Thrill Ride

Duration: 1 hour

10. Tour Jenolan Caves (from USD 132.0)

non touristy things to do in sydney | tour jenolan caves
Source: www.viator.com

This incredible tour will take you to the famous Jenolan Caves, Blue Lake as well as the scenic World Blue Mountains. Start in an air-conditioned vehicle from several convenient pick-up points, and explore the Jenolan Caves first for approximately one hour. There will be a knowledgeable guide who will teach you about the rich history and culture of these caves, and about their fascinating fossils and chambers. Next, you move on to Blue Lake, which is a beautiful lake with incredible views and fascinating wildlife. And finally, check out the fresh air of the Blue Mountain rainforest for another two hours.

PJ Blue Mountains & Jenolan Caves Tours

Immerse yourself into the heart of Sydney, Australia

As travelers, we are used to certain inconveniences! From crowded queues and inflated prices to a certain apathy that seems to set in as you seem to only explore monuments and statues and cathedrals every country you visit. Once in a while, it can be a truly rewarding experience to avoid the most popular sites and dive into the local scene, and get involved in the culture that a city has to offer. So delve into the heart of Sydney, and you are sure to create an unforgettable experience with a city that has so much to offer.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Being a military kid, Shamika has lived and travelled all over India, and her nomadic childhood has fueled an immense hunger and fascination for new cultures and languages (she's a polyglot!)...Read more

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