What to do in Sydney during Winter - 33 things to do, including free activities

33 Things To Do In Sydney In Winter 2023 | Bucket List

If you’re planning to visit Sydney during the winter months, you might be wondering what to do. While the city is notorious for blue skies, brilliant beaches and sunny days, we’re here to tell you that there is a lot more that makes Sydney a non-negotiable on your Australian travels. So, whether it’s raining, windy, or just a bit cold, we hope you can take inspiration from our list below of 33 unique things to do in Sydney this winter 2023.

Oh, and by the way… winter is also a great time to visit Sydney’s beaches. Less crowds means you can take your time to really savour in the view (which is still absolutely stunning in winter, by the way!).

What To Do In Sydney In Winter

  1. Vivid Sydney
    A festival of light, music and ideas that transforms the city into a rainbow of neon colour from 26 May – 17 June 2023. Take a self-guided light walk, or join in our free hostel activities for guests at Wake Up! Sydney.
    • Hot Tip! Guests at Wake Up! Sydney can enjoy a special edition activity schedule during Vivid Sydney, including Vivid themed nights, Vivid walking tours, and a Vivid pub crawl.
  1. Sydney Film Festival
    One of the longest-running film festivals in the world. Running from 7 – 18 June 2023, see some of the best local and international cinema with over 200 films to pick from.
  1. Bondi Winter Festival
    Bondi’s heating up this winter from 30 June – 16 July with an ice-skating rink, ferris wheel, local artists, and interactive performances.
  1. Darling Harbour Winter Festival
    A winter wonderland from 30 June – 16 July 2023, with free live music, foodie markets, outdoor bar, firepits and igloos.
  1. Visit the Sydney Opera House
    Take a tour, attend a show, or just admire the stunning architecture and views of the harbour. They also offer a free sketching/drawing tour – the best kind of souvenir (all skill levels welcome)!
  1. NAIDOC Week
    Discover food, song, art, dance and stories in Hyde Park on 8 July, as we celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and history.
  1. Bastille Festival
    A free day-and-night festival from 13 – 16 July 2023 in Circular Quay, with a Parisian Foodie Village, Chef Village, a Wine Passeport experience, and so much more.
  1. FIFA Women’s World Cup
    From 20 July – 20 August, Tumbalong Park will transform into the FIFA Fan Festival with a buzzing atmosphere, music, entertainment, local culture, food and games.
  1. Explore Sydney’s Museums & Galleries
    There are plenty of museums in Sydney to explore, including the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Australian Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia.
  1. Visit the Queen Victoria Building (QVB)
    See its beautiful architecture across multi-levels, high-end shops, and the very narrow spiral staircase.
  1. Join in the hostel activities
    Meet new people at Wake Up! Sydney’s Wine & Cheese Night – a complimentary activity for all guests, every week.
  1. Check out the State Library of NSW
    It gives off major Harry Potter vibes! There are also exhibitions including Pride (R)evolution, and experiences like Backstage Pass which take you underground into unseen levels.
33 Things to Do In Sydney In Winter. 12) State Library of NSW
  1. Go for a walk or hike
    It might seem counterintuitive, but winter weather doesn’t always mean rain! On a cold but dry day, take advantage of the smaller crowds along Sydney’s beautiful walking trails like the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk and the Spit Bridge to Manly Walk.
  1. Shop at the markets
    Some of our favourites include the Bondi Markets, Paddington Markets, Carriageworks Farmers Market, and The Rocks Market.
  1. Sydney Fish Market
    Wake up early for a Behind The Scenes Tour of the Sydney Fish Market to see the weird and wonderful world of Australian seafood.
  1. Eat all the food at Carriageworks Night Market
    A one-night-only event on 16 June 2023, with music, live entertainment and over 45 food and drinks stalls from so many of our most-loved eateries in Sydney.
  1. Visit Gelato Messina’s new HQ
    Our #1 favourite gelato-maker has opened up a brand new headquarters, where you can visit its ice-creamery as well as the full gelato and chocolate production facility, encased in floor to ceiling glass.
  1. Catch a concert
    Catch Lizzo perform on her The Special Tour, on 24 July 2023; or buy tickets to the best boogie ever when Hot Dub Time Machine bring their biggest show yet to Hordern Pavillion on 8 July 2023.
33 Things to do in Sydney in Winter 2023. Backpacker-friendly activities to make epic travel memories
  1. Go on a food tour
    Explore your favourite type of cuisine and pick from some of our recommendations, like the Taste Of Chinatown Tour, a Gourmet Food Safari, or the Newtown Chewtown Food & Street Art Tour!
  1. The Rocks Pub Tour
    Drink in history and have a beer at Sydney’s oldest pub with The Rocks Pub Tour.
  1. Taco Tuesday
    Eat $2 tacos at everyone’s favourite place for a Mexican fiesta, El Camino, every Tuesday.
  1. Watch an Australian sporting match
    Experience an Australian Rules Football (AFL) game at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), or catch an NRL match at Allianz Stadium.
  1. Bouldering and beers
    Go climbing at NOMAD Bouldering Gym and afterwards walk one-minute away to Wayward Brewing Co for craft beers and food trucks.
33 backpacker travel friendly activities to do in Sydney during the winter. 23) Bouldering and beers
  1. Do a Hunter Valley day trip
    Take a day trip to the world-famous Hunter Valley by joining a hop-on or hop-off bus or organised winery tour.
  1. Go shopping at a DFO
    Go shopping at Birkenhead Point factory outlet, where you can pick up bargains from brands including Adidas, Glassons, Nike, Sheike, Superdry, and Ugg!
  1. Dance the night away
    Call us biased, but Side Bar put on the best party nights, seven days a week, with themed nights, cocktail buckets, and great opportunities to make friends from around the world.
  1. Attend a ghost tour
    Explore the city’s haunted history! Try the Ghost Tour of The Rocks or the Quarantine Station Ghost Tour for a spooky experience. These tours will run in rain, hail, and moonshine.
  1. Spot whales
    Winter is the perfect time to go whale watching in Sydney as more than 40,000 humpback and southern right whales make their way north along Sydney’s coastline in their annual migration from Antarctica to the warmer waters of the Pacific. Cape Solander is one of the best places to spot the whales, but the walking trail along the Bondi to Coogee walk also offers great (and more convenient) viewing opportunities.
  1. Climb the Harbour Bridge Pylon Lookout
    For a unique panoramic view of Sydney that is significantly more affordable than climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge (without the sky high prices of climbing the Harbour Bridge), visit and climb the 200 steps of the Sydney Harbour Bridge Pylon Lookout.
  1. Take in panoramic views of Sydney
    See 360º views of Sydney from the Sydney Tower’s indoor Observation Deck, located at the highest point of our city! Or instead of purchasing a ticket, buy a drink and snacks at the bar instead!
  1. Take a cocktail class
    Stir, shake, strain and have a heap of fun at a cocktail class. After all, Sydney is home to some of the finest bars and cocktail-makers around! We love the classes with Archie Rose and Kittyhawk.
  1. Drink at Sydney’s underground bars
    Drink at a moody, low-lit bar like Shady Pines Saloon, Uncle Mings and The Baxter Inn.
  1. See Brett Whiteley Studio
    The art museum and former home of avant-garde Australian artist, Brett Whiteley. Experience his unique studio with unfinished paintings, art equipment, and his graffiti wall covered with quotes and images. Walk to one of the nearby cafes or bars in Surry Hills afterwards.
Wake Up! Hostels provides award winning backpacker accommodation in Sydney, Bondi Beach and Byron Bay. Australia's top hostel and affordable accommodation.


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