Think Sydney’s all about long summer days spent frolicking on Bondi Beach? Prepare to be surprised, as we take you through the five best reasons to find yourself in Sydney this winter.
Reason #1: Vivid
Vivid is one of the biggest events on Sydney’s calendar, and the city’s unique way of kicking off the cooler months. This year’s festival runs from Friday 24 May to Saturday 15 June, and includes more installations and events than ever. As well as the trademark display on the sails of the Sydney Opera House, there are lights popping up all over the city, from the Royal Botanical Gardens to Taronga Zoo. Vivid is also a festival of music and ideas, and this year’s lineup of performances, talks, and panels doesn’t disappoint.
Give yourself front row seats to all of it by booking a room at Rendezvous Hotel Sydney The Rocks, just a few minutes’ walk from the heart of the action.
Reason #2: Whale watching
While whale watching season officially kicks off in May, June and July are by far the best months to watch the gentle giants migrate up the coast. Catch a glimpse from one of the city’s stunning coastal walks (sightings are particularly common around beautiful Watson’s Bay) or make a day of it with a whale watching cruise.
Want to flit between whale watching destinations in style? Book a room at Vibe Hotel North Sydney, jump on a quick train to Circular Quay (coasting along Sydney Harbour Bridge in the process), and board a whale watching cruise or ferry to Watson’s Bay from there.
Added bonus? Head home for afternoon drinks at Green Moustache, the hotel’s luxury greenhouse-style rooftop bar.
Reason #3: Winter walks
Sydney’s has some of the best coastal walking tracks in Australia, and with summer crowds gone, winter is - in our humble opinion - the best time of year to get out there and tackle them. Our three favourites are the Bondi to Coogee, Spit to Manly, and Watson’s Bay walk. The views are spectacular, paths well-maintained, and you’re never too far from a cafe or bar, aka the perfect pit stop.
Set up stumps at Adina Apartment Hotel Sydney Coogee if you prefer to tackle open-ocean coastline, or Vibe Hotel Rushcutters Bay Sydney if you’re chasing harbour paths. Vibe Rushcutters is also the perfect option if you have a four-legged friend in tow, thanks to its dog-friendly rooms and next-level dogustation menu.
Reason #4: Markets
Let’s be honest. One of the best things about cooler weather is the way it pairs perfectly with warm, hearty food, and there’s nowhere better to sample a wide range than at one of Sydney’s famous fresh food markets. Our top picks are Carriageworks Farmers Market and Bondi Farmers Market, which both take place - rail, hail, or shine - every Saturday morning. Try breakfast at The Fritter House, early lunch at Bar Pho, and load up on delicious, flaky pastries at The Bread & Butter Project.
If you’re the kind who likes to load up on fresh produce to cook at home, spend the night at Adina Apartment Hotel Sydney Chippendale - just an easy 8 minute walk from Carriageworks - where rooms come with fully-equipped kitchens.
Reason #5: City2Surf
This 14km fun run is one of Sydney’s best events. It’s held every year on the second Sunday in August, when skies are almost always blue, and 14km of movement is just enough exercise to consider flinging yourself in the still-chilly ocean.
While the route itself is truly spectacular, running right from the centre of the CBD all the way to Bondi Beach, it’s the post-event celebrations that are most famous. Our favourite way to kick back and congratulate ourselves is with a big bowl of pasta and matching wine at longtime Sydney local, A Tavola. If this tickles your fancy, snag a room at Adina Apartment Hotel Bondi Beach Sydney, which is right next door.
If you’d prefer to set up stumps near the start line, book yourself in to Vibe Hotel Sydney, which is perfectly located just a few minutes’ walk from the start of the course.