You asked Sydney and here it is.
We’ve gone and pulled together one of the most epic itineraries to crack into so you can spend less time searching for new hidden beaches and more swimming under waterfalls and setting off on a sling of glorious, fresh hikes.
Whether you want to chase hazy sunsets, get off the grid and check out the hype around NSW’s tiny house population or even try your luck at a touch of SUP, we have your back.
Start plotting these into your diary, here’s everything to cross of your bucket list if you want an adventure-filled summer in Sydney.
And remember to be fire safe this summer. If you're planning to head into a national park, we recommend first checking for closures and fire bans here. In the State's present conditions, some parks in our list below will be closed. You should also download the RFS Fires Near Me app and avoid especially remote areas. To donate to bushfire relief, head over here.
Grab A Tray Of Calamari And Watch The Sun Go Down At La Perouse Point
It’s no secret that this gem of a spot should be your go-to when it comes to watching the colour-changing sky at dusk. Our suggestion? Kick your evening off at around 6pm with a short walk to Henry’s Head (which will take no more than 45 minutes there and back), loop back to Bare And Grill Cafe and pick up a crunchy batter of calamari and then make your way over to La Perouse Point for absolutely uninterrupted views of the sky. You’ll also be able to spot planes departing and arriving against the sunset. Head right here for more sunset ops.
Beat The Crowds This Summer With These New Secret Beaches In Sydney
Tucked away so well that even Google Maps has a hard time finding them, Sydney has a sling of rockpools, retro baths and tiny beaches to get around when you’d rather skip the half-day carpark search riddled along Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. Pack all the essentials (snacks, beach umbrella, fold-out chairs and, of course, a frisbee) and take off for a morning dip at Little Manly’s Baths or hit the absolutely secluded sanctuary of Castle Rock, which is completely surrounded by rainforest.
Rent A Paddleboard And Cruise Around Sydney’s Most Beautiful Lagoons
As the saying goes—if you didn’t SUP, did you even do Sydney summer right? There are plenty of places to get your paddleboard on around the harbour but if you want to literally steer clear of waves and boats, The Basin Estuary is your go-to. Rightfully famous for its turquoise waters and known for being one of the top areas for camping, this beauty is perfectly sheltered from the wind so you’ll have all the space to paddle around without an audience… because we all know multiple slips, slides and stacks are inevitable.
Book An Epic Getaway To One Of These Off-The-Grid Tiny Houses
Tiny houses. Yep, while travelling overseas for a big trip is all well and fun, spontaneous road trips are definitely where the wanderlust is at this summer. And to really put the cherry on your local getaway, make a tiny house the treasure trove at the end of your drive. To be fair, these bad boys are in high demand so you’ll want to start working your way through this list now and lock something in for January and then brace yourself for all the eco-friendly, mountain top and toasty marshmallow feels.
Hunt Down The Paranormal At Cockatoo Island’s Ghostyard Tours
We know, occult encounters are definitely not for everyone, but for the people keen to live out their best Ghostbusters dream, this one’s for you (thank us later). To give you a good rundown, it’s believed Sydney’s Cockatoo Island site is trapped in a vortex of negative energy as a result of its horrific past, which means its Ghostyard Tours go off. Apparition sightings and paranormal-induced symptoms (slight queasiness and headaches) are not uncommon here. If you really can’t get enough of this stuff, after your tour, you can also glamp on the island overnight.
Hike Through Sprawling Rainforests, Hidden Waterfalls And Rockpools On This Track
For a real crack at a hike-and-a-half, consider taking out a couple of days to conquer the Bundeena to Otford track. With magnificent white-cliff coastlines to bushwalk in the North and rugged, gym-free beaches to surf in the South (Garie Beach and North/South Era), the Royal National Park is something else. This route stretches over 26km and is decked out with rainforests, hidden waterfalls, rockpools and a beachside campsite for those looking to spread the trek over a couple of days.
Wind Your Way Through The Most Next Level Road Trips In NSW
Start pumping your playlists with golden oldies (we’re talking Fleetwood Mac-style) and get set for some absolute scenic crackers, it’s road trip season. No doubt, if you’re anything like us, you’re a sucker for ditching the big smoke and taking a quick (read: long) drive every now and then. This NSW road-trip bucket list brings you endless highways, winding mountains ranges, coastal beauties, a few river crossings, rock tunnels, valleys, farmlands and one hell of a waterfall safari.
Slap On Your Best Walking Shoes And Hit This 18.5 Metre High Loop
Not much can out-do the simplicity of a good walk. Thankfully, Sydney has many, many brilliant walks to get into, but choosing which one is always the hard part. That’s where we come in. Sure, you could always recharge your soul with another coastal walk but when you’re looking to change things up a bit, give Sydney’s Brick Ring Walk a red hot go. She’s an absolute must for any early morning or late afternoon walker with a soaring circular walkway casually sitting at 18.5 metres high so you can get a birds-eye view of the pond below. The path extends to around 550-metres so you can do a number of rounds and get those steps in.
Pack The Bug Spray, Bring Your Crew And Head Down To Honeymoon Bay
If you’re after pristine, uninterrupted views that kind of look like you spent all your dosh and jetted off to the Maldives… this one’s for you. Honeymoon Bay campground is set in a picturesque location in Jervis Bay and it’s the absolute best spot to kick off the new year with all your best mates. Spaces are served up on a first-in-first-served basis and in peak summer, the campgrounds are allocated by ballot. But it’s totally worth it to score some front-row seats to the white sands and clear water of this private enclosure by camping at this NSW gem. If you’d rather not risk it, here’s a bunch of other beautiful camping grounds to hit (or head here to check out the best dog-friendly spots).
Forget Mermaid Pools And Adventure To This Under The Radar Swimming Hole
By now, you’ve ticked off Mermaid Pools and crossed Wattamolla lagoon off your adventure bucket list. So, in true Urban List fashion, we’re delivering your next hidden getaway on a silver platter. Say goodbye to the bustling crowds of budgie smuggler-infested Sydney beaches and hello to the magical landing of the South West Arm Pool. This gem is tucked inside the Royal National Park and if you’ve got a thing for rope swings, cliff jumps, rocks to sunbake on, lush forest and just generally the bluest water ever, we reckon you’re going to absolutely love this little place.
Make Like Bear Grylls And Paddle Your Way Around The Hawkesbury
Hit up Hawkesbury River Kayaks for one hell of a kayak spree this summer and choose from a range of routes including Dangar Island (20 minutes), Jerusalem Bay (1.5 hours) and Cottage Point (2 – 3 hours). If you’d rather stick to Sydney waterways – Rozelle Bay has you and your instant gratification needs sorted. Have more time? Here's every other epic place to kayak this summer.
Take In The Most Impressive Waterfalls Near Sydney
We mean, who wouldn’t want to visit spectacularly high gorges with cascading water falling hundreds of metres into a prehistoric rockpool? Or what about exploring secretive waterfalls hidden away in lush rainforests? Exactly. You can check out an epic list to explore here.
Image credit: Kate Mason, Andrea Proietti, Pauline Mae De Leon and Bee Balogun