The iconic Bondi Icebergs. © Simon Rae

Six picks for a weekend in Sydney


With metropolitan bustle, beautiful beaches, iconic coastal pools and a myriad of dining hotspots, Sydney is the perfect spot for an indulgent weekend away.

1. Coastal walks from Bondi to Coogee  

The 6km Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk affirms why Sydney is one of the world’s most desirable coastal destinations. Ascending from world-famous Bondi Beach to the cliff tops, a sea-facing footpath weaves from beach to beach, with lofty views over an expansive and hypnotic ocean. Keep your eyes peeled for whales breaching on the horizon and once you reach Clovelly, make a quick detour down to the rock pools. With seawater spraying over the crags and a series of emerald pools, it’s the perfect place to cool off.     

2. Sydney harbour islands

Sydney Harbour is sprinkled with tiny islands with many boasting the best panoramas over the city. A great option is to picnic at Clark Island. You’ll have to book in advance with Sydney Harbour National Park Information Centre and take a water taxi over, but the landing fee is nominal and the views are mighty. Cockatoo is the largest island in the collection, with a colourful history. Just 20 minutes by ferry from the CBD, this UNESCO World Heritage Site was once a prison, girl’s reformatory school and naval training base. For a reprieve from city noise, Shark Island (named for its shape, not its inhabitants) boasts a small, pretty beach. 

3. Outdoor swimming pools

There’s something deliciously retro about lounging beside one of Sydney’s outdoor pools. With its photogenic, wave-thrashed position, Bondi Icebergs will always be the poster boy for summer in the city, and while Bronte Baths might not be as iconic, the water is just as attractive, especially first thing in the morning. If you’re keen to explore all of Sydney’s famed swimming holes, North Sydney Olympic Pool sits directly under the bridge, still championing the glamour it oozed during its art deco heyday, and Andrew Boy Charlton (or The ABC as the locals call it) enjoys a picture-perfect location just a short walk from the Royal Botanic Gardens. 

4. Waterfront bars

It’s hard to say no to a drink when the sun’s beaming. The Island is actually a floating beach club so the water is all around you. Sought-after tickets include complimentary return water taxis and a drink upon arrival. If you fancy living the high life with the best of them, Pool Club is the hangout for Sydney’s glitterati. Channeling all the glamour of a 1960s Palm Springs’ resort, including a rooftop pool, private cabanas and fire pits, this is where the in-crowd gathers. For something more relaxed, quench your thirst at Cruise Bar in bustling Circular Quay. With uninterrupted harbour views, people-watching over a Prosecco is a popular pastime. 

5. High tea with high views

Taking the lift 36 floors to the top of Shangri La Hotel will present both a gargantuan collection of high tea delicacies and an equally tasty view of Sydney Harbour. Drink up the views from Blu Bar on 36’s enormous floor-to-ceiling windows while indulging in their weekly cream tea, held every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The buffet-style fondants look just as pretty as a French patisserie, while the views, bathed in blue sky and sunshine, perfectly complement the free-flowing cocktails.  

6. Barangaroo dining 

Sydney’s Barangaroo precinct is no longer classified as “new” per se, but it remains so slick, it still feels fresh. Just four minutes on foot from Wynyard Train Station, you’ll find a global culinary scene in one easy location. There’s everything from budget-conscious food emporiums to fine dining restaurants, with ample places to grab a latte or a sweet treat. You can even work up an appetite beforehand, with a guided Aboriginal Cultural Tour, exploring six hectares of Barangaroo headland.   

Be the first to comment on this page. You cannot post comments until you have logged in. Please log in or register if you don't have an account.

on your next trip

Find out more


Five picks for a weekend in Byron Bay

We’ve picked five ways to squeeze the most out of a long weekend in Byron Bay, the rustic seaside township at the northern tip of New South Wales.  Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Food and drink

The art of Melbourne

It’s the movement of paint, from canvas to brick and concrete, that captures the spirit of Melbourne. The city's pulse is liquid and colourful.  Read the story . . . 

Find out more


Seven unbeatable experiences on Australia's Sunshine Coast

The Sunshine Coast is bathed in golden rays for more than 300 days each year, so the chance of your holiday being, well, sunny, is high. Eat. Sleep. Beach. Repeat. And then try some of these extra special experiences. Read the story . . . 

Find out more


A Queensland Outback adventure

‘These parts’ is Outback Queensland. Way out back: two and a half hours’ flight or two days’ drive from Brisbane. When we visit, there’s been no rain to speak of for several years. Read the story . . . 

AA Members save on selected accommodation with
AA Traveller

AA Members
Book now
Non Members
Book now