Best Outdoor Activities in Sydney – Adventure City Guide

| September 2, 2013 | 18 Comments

Are you looking for an insider’s adventure travel guide for the best outdoor activities in Sydney?

As part of our Adventure City Guide series, here are my expert insider tips on the top adventure and outdoor activities to do in Sydney.

Sydney Opera house HDR Sydney Australia

Why visit Sydney for adventure?

Sydney, on the south-east Coast of Australia, is the most populous city in the country. It is also one of the most popular travel destinations in Australia. However, if you want to escape the crazy rat-race, then Sydney is perfect for any adventure travellers. From sailing on the harbour, to hiking along the coast and in the Blue Mountains, there are plenty of outdoor activities in Sydney to keep you busy.

Plus you can fly cheaply to Sydney from New Zealand in just a few short hours.

Outdoor Activities in Sydney

Kayaking on Sydney Harbour

Getting out onto the water in Sydney Harbour is one of the most iconic outdoor activities you can do in the city.

Jumping into a Kayak for a couple of hours and paddling under the Harbour Bridge and around the Sydney Opera House will give you views like no other adventure activity can. Fully guided by experienced kayakers you can paddle for 2 – 4 hours and grab a picnic lunch on the shore as well.

Kayaking on the harbour.

Getting to the start point for Kayaking on Sydney HarbourThere are a variety of Kayaking operators in Sydney but a lot will start and finish in the Rose Bay area. This is central Sydney so any of the city buses can get you where you need to be. You will also need to book in advance as weather can sometimes change the plans of the trip.

Cost of Kayaking on Sydney Harbour

All your safety equipment and kayaks are included in your tours. 2 hour trips start from $70 while longer ones over 4 hours are $105 per person. You will usually need at least 4 of you to book a private trip.

Hiking the Blue Mountain from Sydney

The Blue Mountains are an easy day or weekend trip away from the city. Within just a couple of hours drive of downtown Sydney you can be high up in the majestic Blue Mountains which are world renowned for their hiking and beauty.

From 3 hours to multi-day camping hikes, there are a variety of different routes available with tour guides in the Blue Mountains. Or you can have a crack yourself. Just remember to have everything you might need.

You will be able to discover ancient rock formations, sweeping rainforest views, and waterfalls to cool off in when it gets too hot.

Bridal Veil Falls, Blue Mountains

Getting to the Blue Mountains from Sydney

The Blue Mountains are only a two hire drive away from the CBD. Tours can drop you off and pick you up, or you can drive out there very easily. There are also some bus services to the Blue Mountains.

Cost of Hiking the Blue Mountains from Sydney

If you join a tour then prices range from $150 – $200 for a day of hiking. This will include transportation and lunch. If you make your own way up there then make sure you have all the right equipment and know where you are going.

Make sure you also let someone else know too.

Surfing in Sydney

Manly Beach is only 17 kms from Sydney CBD, but it feels like a world away.

Sydney is a serious surf centre and Manly Beach is also one of the best places to learn to surf in Australia. Manly beach itself has over 6 surf breaks although there are plenty more along the coastline to the north. And while there are plenty of beach breaks for beginners, there are also some serious point breaks over some very shallow reefs for advanced surfers looking for a challenge.

If you are a beginner then there are plenty of surf schools at Manly Beach who will have you riding the waves in just a couple of hours.

Manly Beach Surf

Getting to Manly Beach

You can transfer out to Manly Beach via the ferry. This is one of the best ways as you get to cross Sydney harbour and enjoy the views rather than squeeze through traffic.

There are also Buses which will take you out to Manly Beach from various areas around Sydney CBD.

Cost of surfing at Manly Beach

Free if you have your own equipment. But if you want to rent your gear it’s going to cost about $40 a day for surfboard and wetsuit rental.

Exploring the Coastline on foot

The Coastline around Sydney is spectacular and there are plenty of half-day and day hikes for you to explore the area. One of them is the popular coastline hike through the rugged Sydney Harbour National Park. It’s only 10 km’s in length so shouldn’t take you any longer than 4 hours.

Outdoor Activites in Sydney - Spit Bridge

Outdoor Activites in Sydney – Spit Bridge

If you have already been out to Manly then this is where it starts. Head along the coast past Manly Aquarium to Fairlight Beach. There are some amazing views along this section so bring your camera and take your time.

Entering the Sydney Harbour National Park the path becomes harder as you contend with shifting sand and rocky paths. But the views from Dobroyd Head will make all the sweating worthwhile. Keep an eye out as well for original Aboriginal rock carvings on a ledge to the left of the track near Grotto Point Lighthouse.

From here you finish up at the westernend of the National Park at Spit Bridge and it’s time to jump a bus back into Manly. Make sure you bring food and water as there aren’t any cafes or shops along the hike.

Getting to the start point

Just head out to Manly Beach via the ferry. This is one of the best ways as you get to cross Sydney harbour and enjoy the views rather than squeeze through traffic.

To come back at the end of the hike catch any of the local buses. Or feel free to hike back into town too.

Cost

Apart from your transport costs it is free to hike along the Sydney Harbour coastal trail.

Best time of the year to visit Sydney for adventure?

Sydney has on average 340 days of sunshine every year. It’s unlikely that you are going to get terrible weather, but it can happen.

As with everywhere in Australia, January – April, which is the southern hemisphere summer, is the most popular time to visit. The weather is warmer and outdoor activities in Sydney can be fully enjoyed. However if you want to go hiking then you may want to consider spring or autumn to keep the temperatures down.

Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge

Finally, the reason I love Sydney for adventure is because…

Sydney is a city that has it all. The CBD is always bustling but it also is only a short drive out to some of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world. And you have the natural coastline and harbour right on your doorstep. Sydney is definitely perfect for adventure travellers.

About the Author ()

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

Comments (18)

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  1. OCDemon says:

    That’s such a massive harbor that it looks like a million people could be there and it might still feel empty. But I’d be looking for Nemo dumbly. I expect quite a few people would, though.
    OCDemon recently posted..The Russian version of Winnie the Pooh is the greatest thing in the universeMy Profile

  2. What I love about Sydney is their delicious food and their hot coffee.

  3. Peter Lee says:

    Lovely post ! The scenario from blue mountains is so beautiful. I have included Sydney in my bucket list. Thanks for sharing this information.

  4. Yes I completely agree that Sydney is one of the most popular cities in Australia as people can do various outdoor activities over there. I have also visited this place once.

  5. Sonali says:

    I’ve done all of the except the dog tour! My favorite tour the last time I was there was actually the Robert Service walk. It was a hike though the woods around the city with frequent stops for poetry.

  6. emi says:

    this is so great. we can’t wait to visit sydney. let’s collaborate! we are travel bloggers based in san francsico! XOXO
    emi recently posted..haystack rockMy Profile

  7. Ann Shirley says:

    Great post! I really love the photographs you included! I have heard so many great things about Manly. I will be visiting Sydney from the US in January. I’m really looking forward to escaping the cold climate of the US to enjoy Australia’s summer! It’s nice hearing that this is a popular time to visit! I love reading your description of Manly. I was aware of their beach, but didn’t know they had an aquarium. Have you ever been to it? Is it nice? I’m definitely considering checking it out!

    The pictures you included of Blue Mountains are also stunning! This is one of the things I have planned for my trip that I am most excited about seeing. You mentioned that some people visit them as part of a tour. I’m going to be taking a Blue Mountain day tour from Sydney. Are you familiar with this tour? I heard they have a wildlife park that I’m really looking forward to seeing. I hope I can be lucky enough to cuddle a koala or something!

    • Hi Ann,
      Thanks for your wonderful comment :)
      I actually haven’t been to the museum at Manly but have heard it is good. And I think the idea to go on a tour into the Blue Mountains is fantastic. I haven’t done that particular tour either but I think you will get a lot more out of it than trying to do it yourself! Let me know how it goes :)
      Enjoy your travels.
      Cheers,
      Cole

  8. Thanks Cole Burmester for this post. You gave us lovely ideas for adventure tour for Sydney. Your photography is good. So keep posting.

  9. Abby Ang says:

    Hello there!

    Thank you very much for sharing this. Nice shot here! Sydney is such a nice place.

    -Abby
    Abby Ang recently posted..MRS ESSENCE 2013 LAQUISHA HALL ON SOULFUL ESSENTIALS OCTOBER 9, 2013 AT 9PM ESTMy Profile

  10. Vinson says:

    Sydney is a city with lot of Activities to do there. Tourists are often found performing some great enjoyable activities in Sydney, as you mentioned above. Always a big fun to visit Sydney

  11. Australia has been a hands down favorite adventure spot for me. I am yet to explore Sydney to its full capacity though..:)

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