Life’s too short for, ‘let’s grab a coffee?’ every other weekend (with a few notable exceptions of course) so why not try one of these hidden adventures with your very own Jake the Dog or Finn the Human?
From canonying and wormhole spotting; to exploring caves and abandoned railway tunnels, you’re sure to find something to make yourself a regular Indiana Jones. What are you waiting for?
Have A Picnic At Paddington Reservoir Gardens
There are certain adages that stand the test of time, “two wrongs don’t make a right” and “fortune favours the bold”, have both certainly never steered us wrong. Above all the rest we’ve found, “ain’t nothing a little cheese couldn’t fix” to be the bell that tolls truest, so why not celebrate with a smorgasbord of cheese and nibbles at the Paddington Reservoir Gardens? An award-winning venue (by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects) with a sunken garden and rooftop reserve, this former reservoir is the ideal place to stop and enjoy the day with a friend, loved one and most importantly, some cheese.
Canyoning In The Blue Mountains
Put simply, the Blue Mountains don’t get enough credit. Adding fuel to this fire, the Mountains’ many primo canyoning spots i.e. Empress Falls and Fortress Creek Canyon. With several tour companies there’s no need to source your own ‘D’ clip for a spot of exhilaration. Win. Hit up High n’ Wild Australian Adventures for moderate-level outings and the Blue Mountain Adventure Company for first-timer and invite-only experiences.
Find The Wormhole
We’ve all spent a well-earned arvo or two at Manly Wine soaking up the sun (and frosé) but how many of us can say we’ve hit up the Manly wormhole? Located on the far left of Manly beach—beyond the Children’s Pool—this naturally-formed tunnel runs approximately 50 metres through the cliff face and will give you a stunner of a view at both high and low tide. The best part? Access won’t cost you a thing.
Swim At Darook Park Beach
Located on the western tip of Cronulla’s coast line, Darook Park Beach is one of the few Sydney beaches from which the sunset can be seen. Serene, isolated and leafy AF, Darook Park Beach is perfect for staring into the distance and contemplating the meaning of life and how the hell you got mustard on your thongs. Bonus: as it faces the bay, water is calm and ideal for those who default to a doggy paddle.
Take A Tank Stream Tour
History and engineering nerds unite! Exploring what was once a freshwater stream that took to First Fleet Captain Arthur Phillips’ eye, The Tank Stream tour is an easy addition to the adventure bucket list thanks to 60 metres of state heritage-listed tunnels built by convicts and stonemasons. Before you start practicing your stoop however, be warned, this one’s only available twice a year by ballot. May the odds be ever in your favour.
Explore Abandoned Railway Tunnels
This one goes out to every kid who felt a pang of kinship watching Stand By Me or could’ve sworn they were one of the Lost Boys. Forty-five kilometres south of Sydney lay a series of abandoned railway tunnels to give you all the chills and ‘this-kind-of-feels-illegal’ thrills you’ve been craving. Built in the 1880s and abandoned a few accident-fraught years later, the Helensburgh tunnels are spooky, overgrown and brimming with hair-curling ghost stories. So, what are you waiting for? Grab a flashlight and enter… if you dare.
Camp By The Beach
Honeymoon Bay, Jervis Bay
It’s not too often we’re struck by the pure shape of something (outside of a fine donut) but Honeymoon Bay is one good looking cove. Great for snorkelling, kayaking, paddle boarding and with Point Perpendicular Lighthouse nearby, Honeymoon Bay is a must for camping folk. Bookings are sadly not available (and camping is only possible on weekends and school holidays) so it’s first-come, first-serve. Load up the van and stake your claim.
Plunge Down A Cave
Jenolan Caves, Blue Mountains
Year 8 excursion, eat your heart out. As a fully-fledged adult who sometimes pays bills ‘n stuff, we’ve come to realise a few hot spots of our youth are actually… kinda cool. Case in point: the Jenolan Caves. Filled with natural limestone formations, underground rivers and a consistent 15-degrees, these caves are perfect for adventurers of all ages and activity levels. Try the Legends, Mysteries & Ghosts night tour or Aladdin Caving Experience. Flying carpet may or may not be included.
Go Back In Time With North Fort Tours
North Head Sanctuary, Manly
Haven’t heard of North Fort Tours? Don’t worry, they’re a well-guarded secret but we’re willing to share. Explore underground tunnels and glimpse Sydney’s military history (including gun emplacements from World War II) before basking in superb Harbour views surrounded by thriving flora and fauna. Tunnel tours run every Sunday (barring a total fire ban). Visit their website for more.
Sunset At Milk Beach
Cards on the table, we’ve taken our fair share of lighthouse selfies at Vaucluse but did you know there’s more to this beach-side ‘burb than good lighting and a neutral backdrop? Hit up Milk Beach (at the base of Hermit Bay) for a killer sunset and view of the Harbour Bridge. BYO picnic and special pal. Just be sure to scout ahead if you want some quiet time, Milk Beach is famous for blowout summer beach parties.
Once you have ticked all these off, check out these free things to do in Sydney.
Image credit: Stocksy