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.