25 Best Winter Activities in Sydney

Visiting Sydney in winter, and worrying that you’ll have nothing to do? We’ve got your back! 

Winter is a great time to visit Sydney. The weather is wonderful, and there’s so many places to go to and so many things to do  – other than hang out at the beach! These include hiking, spelunking, visiting various festivals, or simply having a mooch about town. 

So here are 25 activities that we think are perfect for a winter holiday in Sydney. Let us know which ones are your favourites! 

Bathe in Nature Near Sydney

1. The Blue Mountains

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We’ll start with the day trips, and the obvious recommendation is the Blue Mountains. There’s so much to do in the lap of nature out there, even in the winter. We know our favourite routine! We’d start by a visit to a local Japanese bath house, with outdoor pools and a hot tub in a cave, all, of course, with an incredible view.

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We’d then head out on a hike on the many trails in the Blue Mountains, all leading to various swimming spots, waterfalls, lookout points, caves and canyons. These include a trek to Wentworth Falls, canyoning or swimming in Empress Falls, climbing over a 1000 steps down into the Grand Canyon and more than 20 other routes! 

A word of caution: Remember to always wear hiking boots, keep your loved ones informed about your chosen path and don’t stray off it, and carry a lot of water. We’d also recommend doing your research and choosing the hikes based on the difficulty levels.

And why not round off your trip with a silent meditation retreat? More on these later!

Discover exciting New Year activities in Sydney.

2. The Southern Highlands

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For more beautiful mountain scenery, head to the Southern Highlands! Go on some beautiful hikes and lookout points in the famed Kangaroo Valley, (our favourites are such as Carrington Falls and Fitzroy Falls). Head to Bowral for its varied and top-notch cuisine at well-known restaurants. For a leisurely afternoon, read some books at local book stores, go on a wine tour, visit some antiques shops and for the sports-lovers, there’s the Bradman Museum of Cricket – all within Bowral! And why not check out the pie shop and cheese factory in nearby Robertson?

3. Jervis Bay

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Winter is a great time to visit the famous Jervis Bay, known for having the world’s whitest sand beach. The crowds will be gone and you can walk along the coast with its white sands and blue water. You could go boating through the narrow Jervis Bay Passage, overlooked by high cliffs, and explore the Gosangs tunnels. There’s also a lighthouse and botanical gardens. There are some great opportunities to camp out as well – to say nothing of the eateries!

4. Witness a Bondi Sunrise

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A winter sunrise over Bondi Beach is a rare treat, and one we’d recommend strongly. You don’t have to get up too early, and after watching the splendour of the sunrise, you can head to some of the local eateries on the beach for a spot of breakfast.

5. Look Out for Glow Worms

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Do you know what glow worms are? They’re fly larvae which glow in the dark. They’re native to Australia and New Zealand, and essential to the regions’ ecosystems as they help control the insect population. It’s a beautiful sight to see them among the trees at night. But our favourite spot to, well, spot them, is near the mouth of an old railway tunnel at the abandoned mining site of Newnes. Good for a spooky night out with a friend, we think! (Be safe, though!)

6. Go on a whale-watching tour

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What better time to witness a miracle of nature than on a winter holiday? Every year, between June to August, over 30,000 humpback whales migrate to the north to give birth. They pass right by Sydney, which means visitors get a chance to watch the enormous pods, with some of the world’s largest mammals, pass by. So go on a whale-watching tour! If possible, do some research and choose a company that respects the pods while giving you a good view.

Check Out The Local Festivals

7. Vivid Light Festival in Sydney

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The Vivid Light Festival in Sydney is internationally renowned as the world’s largest! It’s come back bigger and better after Covid. It happens at eight locations based around Sydney for three weeks from the beginning of June, lighting up the city’s skyline, with the Sydney Opera House being the most famous landmark. The lights turn on at 6pm and are shut off around midnight.

8. Christmas In July in the Blue Mountains

This is for the ones who want a cold Christmas! It was started by the British who wanted to experience a Christmas like the ones back home. There are Christmas parties with partygoers in Christmas jumpers to boot. 

9. The Bastille Festival in Sydney

This unique festival describes itself as a ‘French cultural celebration of Food, Wine and Arts.’ It takes place on the Circular Quay & in The Rocks, and it, too, celebrates Christmas in July.  We’d especially recommend the food – a wine and cheese feast is the highlight, with lots of baked good abounding.

10. City2Surf Running festival

This 14km run along the road from the city to Bondi is not just for the athletic ones. The main purpose of this ‘fun run’, if we’re being honest, is to get to the pubs on the beach (!). Of course, there are competitive runners present, but lots of participants are amateurs and choose to walk. The event has more than 80,000 people taking part!

11. Bondi Winter Festival

Ice skating and performances right on Bondi beach? You read that right! This art festival is open for three weeks. It includes an ice rink beside the beach and showcases artists from across Australia, as well as local businesses. It’s a great way to enjoy the best that Sydney has to offer.

Mooching About In Sydney

12. High Tea and Sunday Roasts

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Sydney is a multicultural city – but it does hold on to some of its British-era quirks, and one of those is the tradition of high tea. There are cafes with tea platters (we LOVE the sound of that), cafes with high tea spots overlooking the harbour, and even cafes that combine knitting workshops with their high tea! And of course, they all have finger sandwiches, cakes and scones galore.

And if that’s not quite your thing, we’d recommend going for a large traditional Sunday roast at the British-style pubs dotting the city. It’s the perfect warming and filling meal on a winter day.

13. Visit the Royal Botanical Garden

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The Royal Botanical Garden is over 200 years old! It’s divided into three overall regions, crisscrossed by long walks. There are specially designed areas for tropical plants such as palm trees, desert plants like succulents, rare and endangered plants and even a Herbarium. We’d also highly recommend a visit to the Conservatorium of Music located in the garden.

14. Shop at the Markets

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Markets of all kinds spring up around Sydney all the time, and some are permanently in place. We love the Bondi Markets with its mixture of vintage stores and trendy brands, the Saturday market at Glebe with its wonderful acoustic concerts, and Round She Goes for thrifted and vintage fashion. And if you need to empty your closet and fill your pockets, why not sell your pre-loved clothes at Kirribilli Markets? It takes place twice a month under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. 

15. Check Out Some Antique Shops 

Some mooching about in antique shops is a must on any visit to Sydney. These include places for homeware, vintage furniture and knick knacks. There are huge warehouses and cozy little whimsical shops, as well as one houses in a Tudor-style building!

16. Read at bookshops

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There’s a wide variety of bookshops in this culture-loving city – and apart from hosting thousands of titles, many of them come with cafes! Many of them also buy and sell used books, and have little corners for live performances. What could be better on a winter afternoon than checking out some books with a hot cup of coffee or tea, while listening to live music? 

17. Go on a movie tour

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If you just walk around Sydney, you’ll stumble across locations that more than 18 Hollywood movies were filmed at. There’s Martin’s Place, which has the waterfall from The Matrix series, and The Great Gatsby home at The International College of Management. There are unique film theatres around the city as well – some serve gourmet cheese and others have art deco bars! What a glamorous way to spend a winter’s day in the city.

18. Visit Some Art Galleries

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The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and the Art Gallery of New South Wales are just two of the galleries in the city – there are many other private ones in its nooks and crannies. 

The MCA is known for its well-curated exhibitions of artists from various backgrounds in Australia- especially indigenous ones. They also have a great rooftop cafe with panoramic views of the Harbour. The Art Gallery is known for the exhibition of artists nominated for Australia’s biggest art prize, The Archibald Prize.

Go On Adventures in and Near Sydney:

19. Try an Escape Room at Entermission Sydney

Entermission Sydney is a virtual reality escape room game. If you don’t know what that is – they’re safe, supervised locked room environments, in which you have to solve puzzles and take on challenges to be able to ‘escape’. 

It’s a great group activity on a winter’s day – so head there with your travel companions for an exciting hour filled with immersive missions to cool fictional worlds!

Our escape room environments are created with a headset. From fighting aliens in space to fighting supernatural creatures in creepy old temples to fighting a super villain inside his own brain – you can do it all! 

So book your slots for our escape room games today. Take a look at all our exciting missions here. 

You can also check out our large group vacation care packages for the ultimate fun times!

20. Ski in Thredbo

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The most famous ski resort in Australia is Thredbro. It’s about a five-hour drive from Sydney and totally worth the visit. It is situated at over 2,000 metres and is suitable for mid-level skiers. You can also buy passes for hiking, fly fishing, mountain biking and even hire out winter chalets!

21. Explore Some Caves

Time to find the childhood explorer in you! The Wombeyan and Jenolan cave systems are both in New South Wales. There are guided tours into the caves and around the canyons, campgrounds to stay on, and swimming holes. And of course, there are plenty of fossils to look at and calcite formations to enjoy!Relax and rejuvenate in and around Sydney

22. Go to a meditation retreat

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Put a pause on your busy schedule, and head for a meditation retreat amidst the forests of Kangaroo Valley or the silence of the Blue Mountains. Some are donation-based with no fixed entry prices, so you can pay what you are able to! 

23. Go on a Cruise

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There are so many cruises in Sydney Harbour and the Hawkesbury River. You can drift by famous landmarks, get beautiful photos and have a delicious lunch or dinner aboard. 

24. Camp Out In A Bubble Tent

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Heard of the world’s second biggest canyon at Capertee Valley? You can now camp above it! Our favourite option is definitely the bubble ten – a transparent dome in which you can lie and look up directly at the stars, and down at the deep valley right beside you. The views are inspiring, to say the least, and there are even options for an open-air hot-water bath. We’d recommend this one for a lovely night with your significant other!

25. Auburn Cherry Blossom and sumo wrestling

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We started this list with the beauty of nature, and we’re rounding it off with it as well – with the annual Cherry Blossom festival in nearby Auburn. The festival showcases Japanese culture, with sumo wrestling matches, a fashion show and a Hello Kitty makeover bay! You can also take pictures under the beautiful cherry blossom trees, famed across the world.

And there you have it! That’s our list of 25 things to do in Sydney in winter and new year’s eve. We hope you enjoy them. And don’t forget to book your session at Entermission Sydney! We’ll see you there.

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