20 Things to do in Sydney
What to do
in Sydney? Go Whale Watching!
The top 20 things
to do in Sydney includes exploring South Head and Watsons Bay, watching
the whales, cuddling a koala or perhaps not, skipping over to see the
kangaroos or maybe West Head for some awesome views. Then there is wine
tasting or a trip to Church Point to see, and maybe visit, Scotland Island
16 (17) Sydney Whale Watching
As further evidence of their
intelligence, whales and dolphins love to visit Sydney whenever they are
passing. The only thing that might beat seeing Sydney Harbour would be
to see a whale and Sydney Harbour. So why not do both at the same time.
June to November is the best time to see a whale. During the winter months,
you might even see a mother with her calf.
Majestic and Magnificent
If you are fortunate enough
to see these majestic, magnificent creatures throwing themselves out
of the water, you will never forget it. You can clearly hear the sound
before you even see them. Failing that, just to see them gently swimming
around is a great experience.
Whale Watching in Sydney
and the best onshore places to see them
Whales do venture between
Sydney Heads but most stay off shore. You can't really beat whale
spotting from a boat but there are some great spots around Sydney
where you can get a good view of these wonderful creatures. Cape Solander,
at Kurnell Bay, is widely considered Sydney's best place to see them.
There are no guarantees of course and if the whales are not keen on
being seen, you can at least read about them as the lookout has loads
of useful information.
Other good Whale Watching
spots around Sydney
Other good whale watching
spots around Sydney include North Head near Manly, Long Reef on the
Northern Beaches, South Head, La Perouse and Cape Banks, Maroubra and
Ben Buckler Headland at North Bondi.
Fastest Whale Watching 'Cruise'
Humpback Whale People Watching
This is whale watching at
high speed. If bobbing about on the ocean for hours looking at the waves
has no great appeal, but spotting a whale does, then this ride is for
(18) West Head - Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
West Head is yet another 'must
see'. A half hour drive through Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park will take
you to West Head for sensational views out to Lion Island, Palm Beach
and Broken Bay - stunning blues, and greens against the canopy of an endless
sky...yeah it's worth the drive and there's a variety of walks to choose
Amazing West Head
It is amazing that somewhere
like West Head, with its pristine natural outlook in such an expansive
national park, exists so close to a city as large as Sydney.
If you can, whiz up to West
Head in the morning to give yourself plenty time for a nice lunch (See
listing No.19 - Church or Cottage Point).
18 (16) South
Head and Watsons Bay
South Head's imposing sandstone
cliffs guard the southern entrance to Sydney Harbour. In case the cliffs
weren't scary enough, the army placed armaments on the headland to ward
off invaders. The whole set up was so scary that the only incursion into
Sydney territory was from Japanese miniature submarines in WW2 and odd
group of 'Melbournites' following their local footy team.
History and Outstanding
The army has dismantled their
weaponry but the placements, if that's the right word, remain. This
adds an historic element to an area of outstanding beauty.
If you are familiar with
the phrase 'Mind the Gap' you will. The Gap has a reputation as a place
for suicide and murder. If there is a sizable swell, the fallen rocks
at its base create a 'washing machine effect' in the surf below. The
Gap can be found east of Watsons Bay Wharf. Just ask for directions
but whichever way you go, ‘it’s all good'.
Watsons Bay Wharf
Assuming you commence your
exploratory endeavours from Watsons Bay, you will need to head northwards
to get to South Head and the Hornsby Lighthouse. Give yourself at least
an hour. On route you will pass a nudist beach. If someone waves - wave
Taking it easy
If you prefer, you can just
enjoy Doyle's famous fish and chips in the local park with the seagulls
and Sydney Harbour views. Alternatively, just have a picnic; there is
usually plenty of space on the grass.
Visit Church Point and see Scotland
There is something a little
special about Church Point. As you drive along Pittwater Road your eyes
may be drawn towards the gentle Pittwater waves lapping over the mangrove
mud flats and against the petite sandy beaches. More likely perhaps, you'll
focus on Scotland Island, monarch of this little slice of paradise.
Scotland Island is beautifully
framed by green hills rising from the blue of Pittwater. The sound of
water birds, parrots, a power boat or two and the smell of salty sea
air will enhance the experience whilst degrading your vehicle's paintwork.
Catch the Scotland Island
If you have always wanted
to go to Scotland this could be your chance as this version is but a
short ferry ride off-shore. Be warned however, not to linger too long
or else you'll find yourself looking for a real estate agent. You are
allowed a long lunch however.
Lunch at Church Point /
We used to suggest Pasadena's
for lunch but they are currently closed for refurbishment. Here is some
The Pasadena Hotel is
now (thankfully) closed for refurbishment/redevelopment. We live at
Bayview and stopped going there for lunch several years ago. The food
became very average and the ‘service’ was even worse. Try
the café at The Quays marina, one bay back from Church Point,
or keep on going to the waterfront Cottage Point Inn in the National
Park. Here, one is treated to sensational food, wonderful views and
great service. And no, I have no financial interest in the place at
all – we just love going there.
More Local Advice
Just thought I'd let
you know there is an absolutely gorgeous cafe at Church Point, I definitely
agree with Rosemary that the Pasadena was in desperate need of refurbishment,
however The Waterfront Store just across the park from Pasadena is a
very lovely and cosy place to lunch. I'm a local Bayview resident and
when I have interstate/overseas guests I take them down for lunch and
a round trip on the ferry! Kind Regards, Monique
[Thank you Rosemary and Monique,
very much appreciated. If anyone else has any Church Points, Cottage
Points, or any other points please let us know.
Lunch at Cottage Point
to Cottage Point
You can visit to the Cottage
Point Inn that Rosemary recommends above by seaplane from Sydney Harbour.
So that's views, excitement, delicious food served with a dash of romance.
It is a wonderfully special and memorable experience.
As for Scotland Island, the
ferries depart Church Point every hour at the weekend between 8am and
6pm. You can also just stay on the ferry as it goes all the way around
the island. There are some nice views from Scotland Island itself but
it is more of a residential island than a tourist attraction and lacks
How did Scotland Island
get its name?
Scotland Island was named
by Andrew Thompson, a convict who arrived in 1792 and was pardoned in
1797. Mr Thompson developed several businesses, including a salt manufacturing
plant which he moved to the island and named it after his homeland.
(A big thank you to Stuart
for researching this)
Finally, don't bother checking
the map you are still Sydney. It just doesn't feel like it.
Picture the scene –
you've arrived at twelve for lunch at Cottage Point Inn– food
has been excellent, view is hard to take your eyes off and you really
feel like spending just that bit longer over dessert and maybe something
to wash it down with. But wait - what about West
Head? This great web site (?) you're found says it’s a ‘must-see'.
Must you ‘must-see it’? No - tomorrow, next time, no worries.
20 See the Wildlife - Koalas
Are there any Kangaroos in
There are kangaroo's in Sydney's
national parks, wild life reserves and animal sanctuaries and, of course,
you can always visit Taronga
Zoo or Featherdale
Wildlife Park. The Blue Mountains are a happy 'hunting' ground for
kangaroo spotting. Kangaroos are more active and easier to spot in the
morning and evening.
Wildlife Tours including
kangaroos and koalas:
Koala Park Sanctuary
The Koala Park Sanctuary
has been with us since the 1920s. It not only gives you chance to see
Koalas sleeping from limb to limb but also does a fine selection of
Red and Grey Kangaroos.
The Koala Park Sanctuary
is a 45 minute drive from Sydney CBD and about as close as you are likely
to get to seeing these iconic Aussie marsupials without heading out
of Sydney to Jervis Bay or the Blue Mountains. So if you want to see
your koala and kangaroo in something resembling natural habitat then
the Koala Park Sanctuary is (probably) for you.
Dingoes, Wombats, Echidnas,
Emus and Wallabies
Within Koala Park's extensive
rainforest and gardens you should also find the supporting cast of wombats,
echidnas, dingoes, emus and wallabies, not to mention numerous species
of native birds.
To find out more about The
Koala Park Sanctuary
You used to be able to do
the cuddle, scratch, mum it peed on me koala photos, but you can’t anymore.
Koala cuddling is illegal in NSW. For a cuddle you'll have travel north
up to Queensland.
Why this is the case I don't
know. Could it be that Queensland koalas are just tougher than their
southern cousins? If your koala turns out to be a Queenslander, do you
have to be in Queensland before you touch it? If you get hold of NSW
koala in Queensland - can you cuddle it? Should you cuddle it?
Pale Looking Koalas
If it didn't matter where
you are, how could you tell the difference? The Queensland koala may
look slightly more ruffled, and a lot more loved, but how can you be
sure? You can be fairly sure the pale looking koalas are from Victoria
but that doesn't help much. Seems to me we can't really know where we
stand, until we know where we're stood and even then you could be on
Cute Looking Koalas
Asleep for most of the time
the Koala's diet consists of gum leafs containing about as much nutrition
as cardboard - so you shouldn't expect much beyond cute.
Seen it, now would you eat
it? (Or does Skippy taste nice?)
I've eaten kangaroo three times
but only had one 'flavourable' experience. A difficult meat to cook (apparently)
as it gets tough pretty easily. Give it a try but be selective about where
(kangaroo pizza does not count).