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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Medieval Towns with German Castles Near Munich & Frankfurt
Our favorite castles in Germany near Frankfurt and Munich:
We were crazy enough to visit Neuschwanstein Castle on a public holiday. This meant that along with all the Asian tourists, there were an awful lot of Germans. Plus, even though we arrived by 11 am, the soonest tickets we could buy were for the German tour at 2.30 pm, as the terms in English were sold out until 4 pm. So, if you don’t have German friends at hand to translate the tour for you, we recommend booking in advance online. The castle was impressive, and the time was undoubtedly fascinating! Don’t worry, I won’t spill the beans, but the manmade Grotto room made my jaw drop!
Mespelbrunn Castle is located on a pond between Frankfurt and Wurzburg. Unfortunately, we arrived 30 minutes after its closing time of 5 pm, but it looked cool from behind the fence!
Lichtenstein Castle is located on a clifftop near Stuttgart and costs 6 euros per person for a tour in German; however, they did give us a very informative written guide in English. This castle is small compared to Hohenzollern castle, but its story is fascinating. Tanks shelled it in World War II, and today you can still see the cracked mirror from where a small fragment of a tank grenade ricocheted!
Hohenzollern Castle is not too far from Lichtenstein Castle. It is located on a hilltop near Hechingen, and we enjoyed the guided tour. Along with getting to wear GIANT slippers, make sure you explore the casemates and secret passages. One sign made me want to learn more. It read, “Exactly where these steps lead to is unknown. More casemates and secret passageways are likely waiting to be discovered in the heart of the mountain”!
Heidelberg Castle was a lot larger than we expected! Unfortunately, we had spent far too much time at the Auto & Technik Museum in Sinsheim, so we did not have time to explore this castle. But if we get the chance, we will explore the town and its castle next time in Germany.
On our drive from Munich to Frankfurt, we also loved:
The beer garden at Andechs Monastery was just like Oktoberfest but amongst trees and more family-friendly. The beer was cheaper, and the food was great, including the giant pork knuckle, which Moss could not finish. It was also fun walking up multiple flights of stairs to the tower’s very top.
Three hours in Rothenburg was not enough to explore this wonderful medieval town! We recommend getting your hands on a city map from the tourist information office. We enjoyed Roder Gate, walking along the wall and exploring the 17th-century spital bastion, plus Moss lost me in the Kathe Wohlfahrt Christmas shop for over half an hour, and I didn’t even buy anything!
The average person would Google Munich to Frankfurt and see that it only takes about 3 ½ hours depending on how fast you wish to drive on the autobahn! However, we are NOT typical. We took one look at train prices and decided that hiring a car wouldn’t cost too much more.
We aren’t going to tell you our exact route. Still, after surviving Oktoberfest in Munich, we did a giant zigzag to see as many castles and medieval towns as possible. So to save you doing so much driving, we have picked our favorite cities and castles. First of all, ‘Ausfahrt’ is not a destination accessible from every off-ramp! It means ‘Exit’! Another word of wisdom to keep in mind is that the autobahns with speed limits do have speed cameras… and the flash is blinding!
Running with the Bulls Video
Our shaky Running with the Bulls Video footage from the Festival de San Fermin in 2012. Experience it first hand in Pamplona. Enjoy.
We recently wrote about our life or death experience of Running with the Bulls this year at the Festival of San Fermin in Pamplona. On that run, I carried along with our GoPro video camera and tried to shoot some footage for our running with the video of the bull.
All our travel video shooting techniques went out the window when the bulls’ hooves started to shake the ground beneath our feet.
Once we had lined up for the running with the bulls, there was no escape from it as we were walled in by apartment blocks, shopfront windows, and 3-meter high wooden barriers packed with photographers along the entire length. At one end lay the relative safety of the bull ring pulsating with the cheers of the crowd who were still partying from the night before. Behind me, a dozen wild bulls pawed the stony ground looking for freedom.
Unfortunately, I was standing in their path.
What we ended up with is below. However, I think what we filmed for our running with the bull video captures the chaos, craziness, and complete madness a lot better than if I had stood my ground.
Enjoy it and watch for the guy that nearly gets trampled to death near the beginning!
Running with the Bulls Video
Would you ever consider running with the bulls?
While we are very aware that not all people agree that the San Fermin Festival should be allowed to go ahead mainly due to animal cruelty, we think there are two sides to every story. We wrote a post about the controversy surrounding Bullfighting in Spain and the Festival de San Fermin.
We would love to hear your thoughts on the Festival de San Fermin and whether you would ever consider running with the bulls.
Outdoor Activities in Bangkok – Adventure City Guide
Find out how you can explore the streets, canals and local markets within minutes of Bangkok with our Outdoor Activities in Bangkok Adventure City Guide.
Are you looking for an insider’s adventure travel guide for the best outdoor activities in Bangkok?
Why visit Bangkok for adventure?
Bangkok is one of the world’s largest metropolises and a gateway for most of the world to access the rest of South East Asia. With numbers surpassing 14 million people in the Greater Bangkok Region, this is no small player in the world’s super-cities. Of course, having such a long history with foreign visitors, the city has become incredibly established in the world’s tourist sector.
This has allowed it to grow many facets of adventurous activities – making access to something for everyone!
Outdoor Activities in Bangkok
Exploring the Klongs
Klongs are canals that used to feed the entire city with life-giving water, branched off from the city’s main artery – the Chao Phraya River. Today, the locals wouldn’t drink the water if you paid them, but there is still a fascinating life along the Klongs’ banks. There is so much to explore, from floating markets to old houses on stilts, and it gives insight into this ancient way of life!
What’s it cost, and how to get to the Klongs?
You can usually arrange the Klongs from the pier “Saphan Taksin” along the Chao Phraya River. This is conveniently a stop on the Skytrain, making it very easy to access. Usually, you will be renting the entire boat for the day (about 1000 THB, or USD 35) and not paying a per-person rate. So if you can find a few people to go with, the price will drop significantly per person.
Rickshaw City Tours
If you’ve never been to Asia before, Rickshaws are one of the most fun ways to get around. Although they can often be a little more expensive than metered taxis, you get an experience (and a view) that is unparalleled, especially in the busy streets of Bangkok.
What’s it cost?
Occasionally, you can even haggle a deal for a city tour for next to nothing (50-100 THB or $1.50-3 USD), as long as you visit a couple of affiliated ‘custom suit tailors’ throughout the day, as they’ll get a kickback from the shops just for bringing you there… No purchase is necessary.
You can often find Tuk Tuk drivers willing to do this standing along the perimeter of the Kings’ Palace. It may take a few attempts of asking for a ‘special city tour,’ but you will be bound to find someone ready for a cut of this business.
Local Secret Spot
Though most people wouldn’t consider going to a market an adventure, they probably have never experienced the likes of Chatuchak (also known as JJs). This is one of SE Asia’s LARGEST outdoor markets. It’s so prominent that you can find maps of the market to help navigate. It’s roughly the size of 4 city blocks and is divided into various sections.
You’ll find everything under the sun here, from clothing to handicrafts, food, mobile phones, and even puppies and other cute critters for sale!! It’s bonkers. If it gets too much for you, you can take a break in one of Bangkok’s most famous parks (Chatuchak park), located next to the market.
How to get there?
You can get here via Skytrain (BTS), subway (MRT), taxi, bus, you name it – it’s very accessible! But it’s only open on weekends, from about dawn until 5 or 6 pm at its peak. Some shops stay open longer, but most will be closed by dusk. It’s free entry and a perfect place to buy ANY souvenirs at the end of your time in Thailand.
Suppose you can coordinate to be here on the weekend. I generally hate shopping for ‘stuff,’ but I love this market and its energy!
Best time of the year to visit Bangkok for adventure?
Bangkok is in the tropics and quite close to the Equator. Of course, this means it’s hot on a year-round basis.
It’s considered the rainy season from May to October, though showers can happen at any time of the year. This is generally a less busy time for tourists, though the rains are not quite as bad as expected and often only last 30 mins-1 hour, cooling the city’s heart. Peak season is in December-January when temperatures are at their most astounding ad driest… though it’s still pretty hot!
And if Bangkok isn’t to your taste, the luxury Koh Samui will be. Endless sandy beach, beautiful clear waters, and nightlife that could be lived in forever. The luxury rental properties are stunning, and we recommend Tempston Luxury villa rentals.
Finally, the reason I love Bangkok for adventure is that…
It’s never-ending. This city is SO BIG that you could get lost in a new neighborhood almost every day. Single. Day. And still find new, exciting things to explore. On my list for the upcoming weeks, I’ve got the Scala Cinema, the Thai Air Force Museum, Papaya Vintage Shop, and the Erawan Museum – to name a few. Every time I explore one place, I learn of 3 more!!
From a young age, Ian was always a wanderer. He’s since travelled to all 7 continents, and has spent the majority of his life pursuing this passion. You can follow him in his off-the-beaten-path adventures and discoveries on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and his travel blog Where Sidewalks End.
Have you been to Bangkok? What were your favorite outdoor activities in Bangkok?
Meet Cole and Adela
We have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...
New on Four Jandals
- My Insane The Red Light District Tour of The Amsterdam Peep Shows August 9, 2022
- Paris on a Budget: Best Cheap Eats in Paris August 9, 2022
- Travel Tip: Train to Pisa from Florence August 9, 2022
What Are You Looking For?
See Our Favorite Topics
- Europe6 days ago
My Insane The Red Light District Tour of The Amsterdam Peep Shows
- Europe7 days ago
Travel Tip: Train to Pisa from Florence
- Asia3 weeks ago
Devouring seafood at the Fethiye Fish Market
- Europe7 days ago
Paris on a Budget: Best Cheap Eats in Paris
- Europe3 months ago
Yellow Hostel Rome Review
- Travel Tips3 weeks ago
A Quick Guide to Some of the Best Restaurants on Timog Avenue
- Europe4 weeks ago
Cooking tips while traveling in Italy
- Travel Tips3 weeks ago
Las Vegas Restaurants You Need to Visit