Blog & Insights

What’s on: Summer in Sydney

With long hot days and warm tropical nights, you’re in the right spot to enjoy the very best this city has to offer. From beaches and bush walks to festivals and fine art, Sydney has something for everyone to enjoy this summertime. Put the books away, grab some mates and take the opportunity to indulge in all the summer treats that Sydney has in store. Not sure where to begin? Here’s how.

The great outdoors

There is no place in the world quite like Sydney, as every Sydneysider will confirm. Blessed with endless beautiful weather, a picture-perfect harbour setting, incredible beaches and natural surrounds, there literally is an activity for every day of the year.

Ocean dippers can take their pick from the many available beaches, whether you’re after great surf, calmer swim conditions, snorkeling or kayaking opportunities. For 5 of the best Sydney beaches look no further and for an ocean pool like no other head straight down to the iconic Bondi Icebergs.

For those that enjoy the outdoors but prefer to keep it terra firma, take the chance to explore some of the wonderful national parks close by. The Royal National Park – or Nasho as it is fondly referred to by the locals – is Sydney’s oldest National Park, and the world’s second oldest (pipped to the post by America’s Yellowstone). Heritage listed, it boasts over 15,000 hectares of coast-lined bushwalks as well as secret beaches, surf breaks and swim spots. For a perfect slice of Sydney summer, this is the spot.

Alternatively swim your way up the many Northern Beaches to Palm Beach where you can jump on a ferry over to The Basin. Nestled in Ku-ring-gai National Park, this is a popular summer hangout for picnicker and campers alike. But beware, access is only by boat so make sure you travel light!

For more of Sydney’s stunning scenery try out the Bondi-Coogee coastal walk. Tracking the rugged harbour coastline, this well-worn path delivers some of the finest views in Australia.

And if you prefer wheels to waterways, the city cycleways will not disappoint. Explore Sydney on one of these self-guided rides and be sure to enjoy the journey as well as the destination.

Culture fix

When it’s time to feed your mind and spend some quality time out of the sun, Sydney does not disappoint with plenty on offer to occupy your time. Try a mash-up of art and science where you can learn all about the growing impact of climate change on the arctic region – courtesy of a stunning installation positioned just outside Darling Harbour’s Maritime Museum. Elysium Arctic showcases a series of breathtaking photographs documented and designed to inspire positive climate action.

If mother nature is your thing, don’t miss the Wildlife Photographer of the Year showcasing at the very same Museum. With some outstanding natural photography on loan from London’s Natural History Museum this exhibition never fails to deliver.

Head over to Darlinghurst’s Museum of Magic and discover the secrets that lie behind the mysterious world of magical theatre. Set inside the Magician’s Cabaret Theatre, you will have the chance to peek beyond the audience experience and understand the workings behind some of the greatest creative minds that have existed.

Festival fever

Australia is rightly renowned for her fantastic festival culture, and Sydney is no different. There is something on offer whatever your taste, so just grab yourself a festival hat and you’re good to go.

Lost Paradise (28 December-1 January) is the place to be on New Years Eve with a diverse line up of music spread across 3 glorious days. Enjoy the immortal sounds of Hilltop Hoods and The Veronicas as you bag a camping spot in Glenworth Valley and immerse yourself in all things arty as the New Year rolls in. Don’t forget to heal your mind and body along the way with workshops and talks, all part of the Lost Paradise package.

Kicking off the 2020 festival season is the annual Sydney Festival (8 January-26 January), with the return of more critical thinking and cutting edge ideas that feature a range of local and international artists across the city. Acts vary from dance and theatre through to performance and circus.

If you prefer more of a day-tripper experience, try out Days Like This (7 March) in Victoria’s Camperdown Park. Featuring some of the house and techno industry’s biggest names this is as good as it gets.

Another one-dayer for the diary is the Laneway Festival (2 February) headlining The 1975 and Charlie XCX. Located in Sydney’s Domain for the first time, this is one indication of just how good this festival really is.

And for those who hate to miss out, FOMO returns to Paramatta Park on 11 January with an incredible mix of international and local talent on the one big stage.

If you love festivals but have a really short attention span, Tropfest is for you. The world’s largest short-film festival comes back to Parramatta Park for a candle-themed night of 7-minute movie magic.

And finally, Sydney’s Mardi Gras – the most spectacular show of them all – returns to 2020 bigger and better than ever. Running from 14 February-1 March with the main parade scheduled for Saturday 29 February, be sure to have your sunnies on hand for a dazzling array of creative sensations.

Summer of sports

It’s not summer without sport, and there’s no sport like spectating the traditional Boxing Day Sydney-Hobart boat race. Arrive early and bagsy yourself a perch around the heads to watch the boats jostle for space as their 630 nautical mile journey to Hobart begins.

Out on the green, golfing fans will rejoice to see the Australian Open (5 December-8 December) return to Alexandria with a full league of A-listers vying to hold up the prestigious Stonehaven Cup. As the oldest and most legendary golfing event, this is definitely not to be missed.

Cricket fans will not be disappointed with an exciting raft of International fixtures to watch across the summer period. Factor in the return of the T20 Big Bash League, as well as the Women’s T20 World Cup and it really starts to feel like the summer has arrived.

Sleigh bells ringing…

There’s the faint sound of jingle bells, and the smell of freshly baked stolen is wafting across the beach. It’s Christmas in the city and Sydney has an action packed agenda to get you in the festive spirit.

Martin Place is host to the city’s largest Christmas tree with a light show broadcasting every 15 minutes from 7pm. Evening choirs are set to serenade the crowds from under the tree (28 November-22 December) with all your favourite carols and festive tunes.

Don’t miss the annual Carols in the Domain (21 December) to really get in the spirit or try Bondi’s Carols by the Sea for a more community style affair. A free event, all you will need is a rug, a picnic and your very best singing voice.

Get your shopping done early at one of the many Christmas markets  for some unique finds from local talents. With gifts ranging from local produce and seasonal foods to bespoke designs and craft, you definitely won’t leave empty handed.

As for Christmas Day itself, the most difficult decision you will face is which beach to lay your towel on…

Photo by Juliette F on Unsplash

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