Australia’s largest city is a cosmopolitan melting pot of cultures surrounded by iconic beaches and world heritage sites. Last year, Sydney was voted the number one city in Australia for travel, which only further affirms how well the city caters to tourists. With that in mind, let’s have a look at some leisurely activities that are sure to help even a first-time visitor get immersed in the local culture and fall in love with this one-of-a-kind city.
Take In The Sporting Culture
When it comes to professional sports, Sydney is passionate about its teams and has a little bit of everything to offer. Aside from various international events, Harbour City hosts a multitude of local professional sports, with Rugby League being the most popular among spectators. The city also boasts exciting A-League soccer action, top-notch cricket, and the uniquely Australian AFL Aussie rules. There is even basketball (in which Australia is increasingly competitive), baseball, and - if you can believe it - ice hockey! With so many popular sports, fans are everywhere and like to get close to the action any way they can. Attending live matches is always the most exciting option, but many also choose to participate in Australia’s booming sports betting scene as a means of staying involved when not actually present. So even if you don't score tickets to an event of your choosing, it's easy enough to pick a team, place a bet online, and take up with some fans at a local bar, just to get a taste of the culture.
Visit Cockatoo Island (For Free)
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is located in the middle of Sydney Harbour and is a delightful detour from the usual tourist hotspots. Home to historic buildings, an old navy shipyard, and great waterfront camping sites, the island also affords gorgeous views of Sydney Harbour Bridge and the famous Opera House. The shipyard is perhaps the main attraction in terms of pure sightseeing and exploration, but the shoreline campground can wind up being the nicest part of the experience. Stay for the day or pitch a tent to camp out overnight and wake up to the magnificent views of one of the world's most famous waterside skylines. To make the experience sound even lovelier, we should also note that the ferry to the island is free (though you can also choose to rent a kayak to make your way over, if you'd like to be more adventurous about it!).
Enjoy The Food In Chinatown
Sydney’s Chinatown is where Australia’s increasing Asian influence can best be experienced. Particularly in the last two decades, it has transformed into a lively centre of Asian-Australian urban modernity and consumerist culture. Haymarket (the neighbourhood in which Chinatown resides) is a veritable melting pot of innovative Asian cuisine, and home to an eclectic mix of both classic and modern dishes. The specific food experiences are amazing, and are comprised of everything from Chinese and Cantonese to Thai, Malaysian and Vietnamese. Just to give one example of how interesting a typical night out in Haymarket can be, you can easily enjoy dinner in a Japanese tapas restaurant and then progress to a Hainanese gelato ice cream made with liquid nitrogen! And once you're done eating, you can also enjoy a stroll through Paddy's Market, near the centre of Chinatown. It's the closest approximation in the area of some of Asia's bustling night markets, and helps the whole area feel that much more authentic.
Be A Beach Bum
Sydney is one of the most beautiful coastal cities in the world, and this is thanks in large part to the amazing golden beaches for which Australia is famous. Tamarama, Bronte, Maroubra, Coogee and of course world-famous Bondi Beach are some of the many options you'll have if you'd like to get out and relax in the sun. Meanwhile, if you want to get away from the crowds and experience a different side of Australia’s natural beauty, taking the ferry from Circular Quay over to one of the northern beaches, like Manly or Neutral Bay, can be a perfect solution. The former offers a haven for surfers, while the latter is perfect for relaxation and swimming.
These suggestions don't tell the entire story of Sydney tourism, but hopefully they can get you off to a nice start the first time you visit! It really is one of the most extraordinary cities in the world.