Sydney is universally known for its good weather, and winter is no exception.
Snow is a thing of urban legends here, with only four recorded incidences since early European settlement. The climate here remains sunny and dry on most days, with temperatures usually sitting in the teens (Celsius). A wintry day in Sydney is therefore a poor excuse for staying under the covers and drinking hot cocoa.
For anyone looking to come here during the summer holidays in the northern hemisphere, you can be rest assured that there are plenty of activities to do in a Sydney winter!
Whale watch along Sydney’s coastline
Our pristine coastline might be chilly to swim in during winter, but they make great hikes for travellers still looking to enjoy the view.
During the winter months every year, whales also migrate past Sydney’s coastline for their mating season, coming back down again in spring with their newly born calves. Sydney is dotted with some of the world’s greatest whale-watching lookouts, primed for catching a glimpse of half the entire world’s population of whales and dolphins, which currently resides in Australian waters.
If you’re looking at taking a glimpse, make your way to some of the famous whale-watching locations. Two of my personal favourites are North Head and South Head, two headlands on opposite ends of the entrance to Sydney Harbour. Both headlands are a short hike away from the wharves where a ferry from the city can dock, making them perfect as day trips from Sydney’s busy city area.
The walk for these headlands is truly breath-taking, even if you don’t spot any whales along the way.
Embrace the dramatic arts
Sydney might not be particularly famous for the arts, but with several world-class theatres including the Sydney Opera House, why not buy tickets to see a show on a rainy day?
As an incredible architectural feat, our iconic Opera House looks even more magnificent up close. Why not drop by and book a tour to learn its history?
The Capitol Theatre in anotherof Sydney’s historic theatres. Ornately decorated and with an atmospheric design that has the audience feeling as if they were seated in an open-air theatre. Some of the world’s most critically acclaimed shows have been brought here straight from New York’s Broadway, with the latest musical to be showed in August being Aladdin.
If you’re into something more alternative, check out the Enmore Theatre in Newtown, operating as the longest running live music venue in the state. When it’s not shining the spotlight down on local musicians, this theatre is home to comedians. With a much more intimate stage, jokesters and singers alike find this venue a great place to connect with their fans. One can’t-miss occasion is the Enmore Comedy Club on Tuesday Nights, where a rotating line of great comedians take turns in stealing the mike to tell their best jokes.
Visit a contemporary art gallery
If the weather has you feeling restless, why not spend the day indoors uncovering the stories behind contemporary exhibitions in art galleries?
The Museum of Contemporary Art and the Art Gallery of NSW are considered Sydney’s two primary art galleries, both offering free guided tours every day with the occasional quirky exhibition.
On Thursday nights, the MCA holds Mystery Tours, where the expert guide explores a mystery theme, artist or exhibition.
If you’re interested in exploring smaller art collections scattered across the suburbs, a definite highlight is the White Rabbit Gallery in Chippendale, the world’s most significant collection of contemporary Chinese art.
In the spirit of its name, the artworks here come together to evoke a magical sense of surrealism with the motifs sourced from traditional Chinese mythology. The gallery also comes with a teahouse stocked in Chinese teas, with teapots topped at no extra however many times you’d like.
Enjoy a quirky small bar
In recent years, Sydney’s small bar scene has well and truly boomed in response to our state government’s enforcement of strict alcohol laws. If the weather’s putting you off from doing the crazy pub crawl, why not spend the best part of your night exploring a bar lurking behind some nondescript door?
One local favourite that has gained a huge following lately is the Baxter’s Inn, voted one of the world’s best bars in 2015. Hidden behind a dark alleyway, this underground bar comes with an eyebrow-raising selection of whiskeys and even free pretzels.
Quirky food joints that double as a popular live music venue are also gaining traction, and these are perfect for winter nights when you just want to sit back and enjoy the food.
Soda Factory in Surry Hills makes a crazy-good selection of gourmet hot dogs – on Tuesdays, all hot dogs are just $1 each. On Mondays, the stage also turns into a huge theatre screen for movie night – the perfect way to start the week.
When it comes to winter in Sydney, you’ll find that there is plenty of activities indoors and out just waiting for travellers to enjoy. Whether it’s nodding along with the soulful melodies of young musicians at a live music venue, or mulling over questions of reality at an art exhibit, make the most of your time here in this beautiful city regardless of the season. You’ll surprise yourself with just how much more there is to a city than its obvious landmarks.