Sydney has all the glamour you would expect from Australia’s most famous city. The tourist trail is packed with iconic sights, amazing restaurants, busy beaches and trendy suburbs. Yet there are many things to see and do in Sydney that are not necessarily in every city guide. Here’s a rundown of a few of Sydney’s coolest hidden gems to add into your itinerary next time you are Down Under.
1. Indulge in a private overnight cruise on the harbour
The ultimate luxe romantic experience in Sydney is an overnight stay on a private yacht in the iconic harbour. Take your other half for an unforgettable night out on the water. Most packages include drinks on the deck as you watch the sunset, followed by a gourmet meal for two after which you are left with the sounds of the water and the glittering city lights for company.
2. Get spooked on a ghost tour
Choose from an old quarantine station, Sydney’s historical slums or aboriginal sites for your scary tour. The Rocks, one of Sydney’s hippest, gentrified districts, has a dark past as home to the city’s 19th century slums and brothels frequented by sailors. Learn about gang wars and grimy murders and be disturbed at what lies beneath the area’s shiny new surface. The Rocks Ghost Tours operate every evening and tickets cost 45 AUD (~32.50 USD). Alternatively, try the supernatural experience at the Quarantine Station, North Head, Manly. Over 500 people died at the station between 1833 and 1984 and unexplained occurrences were frequently reported during its years of operation. You can even opt for a ghostly sleepover at the station if you dare! Sydney’s Lower Shore ghost tour offers another experience altogether. The experience ranges from supposedly haunted aboriginal sites to a seriously spooky haunted mansion and a cemetery.
3. Escape the crowds at Bronte beach
Forget Bondi, hit one of Sydney’s less world-famous beaches where you’ll encounter locals rather than tourists. Ok, so there’s less of chance you’ll bump into Hugh Jackman at Bronte but the swathes of empty sand and impressive surf swells will make up for that. Bring a picnic and make use of the parkland and public barbeques next to the beach. Bronte also boasts one of Sydney’s finest ocean-fed saltwater lap pools located just below the south headland.
4. Soak in the majesty of St Mary’s Cathedral
St Mary’s Cathedral is definitely one of the most beautiful buildings in Sydney, but it also has huge historical importance as it represents the birthplace of Catholic Christianity in Australia. The gothic-style architecture is a real treat in a city filled with so many modern buildings. Inside the cathedral is a fascinating exhibition on the history of Catholicism in Australia. If you happen to be in Sydney over Christmas time, the festive lights that are displayed on St Mary’s are probably the finest in the city.
Sydney's Offbeat Highlights
These cherry-picked hidden gems are recommended to show you the best of Sydney off the well-beaten track. Hopefully you will find these sights and experiences less tourist-filled and as worthwhile as visiting the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.
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