Sydney’s 7 Best Summer Activities for Summer 2023/24


Summer 2023/24 is just around the corner (or upon us, depending on when you’re reading this article). This means an obligatory list of the seven best summer activities that you need on your Sydney summer bucket list.

With borders well and truly open and tourist numbers already swelling in anticipation of an El Niño Sydney summer, we thought it was time to take a look at everything this great city has to offer tourists — and to provide a friendly reminder to locals to appreciate what we’ve got right on our own doorstep.

Of course, as Sydney’s leading charter boat company, we’ve snuck in a plug for chartering a private boat – go on, indulge yourself. However, outside of this indulgence, we’ve prioritised cost-friendly and family-friendly activities that you can enjoy with mates, with the little ones, or even by yourself.


Table of contents

1. Take a hike through Malabar Headland

2. Stay overnight at Cockatoo Island

3. Charter a boat on the harbour

4. Taronga Zoo – by night

5. Explore underwater at Clovelly or Gordons Bay

6. Fish & Chips at Watsons Bay

7. Drinks by the Harbour At Opera Bar


1. Take a hike through Malabar Headland

Malabar Headland National Park is one of Sydney’s most underrated (if we can still call it that) walks. Offering incredible ocean views, the walk connecting Maroubra and Malabar beaches, the 6km loop trail winds along the coastline, passing by dramatic cliffs, secluded coves, and scenic lookouts.

Along the way, keep an eye out for native birds such as kookaburras, king parrots, and honeyeaters, each of them has a distinct bird call, so be sure to stop and look up when you hear one. And, if you’re especially lucky, you might even spot whales and dolphins along the coast.

The Malabar Headland Track is a relatively easy walk, but there are some sections with steps and uneven terrain. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and a hat, and bring plenty of water, especially since you'll be hiking in the hot Australian summer sun.

If you're looking for a more challenging hike, you can try the Boora Point Walking Track. This 1.6-mile trail takes you to the easternmost point of Malabar Headland, where you'll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the coastline and the Pacific Ocean.

2. Stay overnight at Cockatoo Island

Cockatoo Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the heart of Sydney Harbour. Formerly a convict-built shipyard, it’s now a unique destination bursting with history, culture, and nature.

Our take on the best way to experience Cockatoo Island? Stay overnight. There’s just so much to do on this beautiful island and staying the night will give you the chance to explore the island at your own pace and enjoy it after the day visitors have left.

In terms of accommodation options on Cockatoo Island, there’s something to fit every budget size and preference. You’ll be able to choose from heritage holiday houses, waterfront apartments, or if you’d like, your own camping experience on the island.

We don’t want to spoil too much, so suffice it to say that with the island's many attractions, you definitely won’t be bored.


3. Charter a boat on the harbour

Sydney Harbour is an icon, but as locals, we tend to take it for granted. So, this summer, remind yourself why you pay the Sydney tax for everyday life and make the most of the harbour at your doorstep.

As far as seeing the harbour goes, there’s really no better way to experience it than chartering a boat. With stunning views of the Sydney Opera House, and Harbour Bridge, as well as its many beautiful islands and beaches, a boat charter is a unique summer experience perfect for summer weather.

Having a boat to take you anywhere you want to go expands the options you have for exploring Sydney Harbour — sunset dinner cruises, snorkelling adventures, or island hopping, just to name a few.

If you're not sure where to start, why not let us help? As the best boat charter in Sydney Harbour with hundreds of happy customers, we can provide everything you need for an escape to the sea, whether it’s a small sailing boat to explore the best fishing spots in Sydney Harbour or a luxury yacht to celebrate a special occasion. Aside from the boat and crew, we also offer catering services to complete your sailing trip.

Remember to book with us in advance to make sure you’ll have the chance to experience Sydney Harbour from the water!


4. Taronga Zoo – by night

After the sun goes down, Taronga Zoo comes alive in a whole new way. If you’ve never heard of Taronga Zoo’s Roar and Snore experience, we recommend you hear us out.

This overnight adventure includes a guided tour of the zoo after hours, close encounters with some of the animals, and a delicious dinner and breakfast. You'll also get to sleep in a comfortable safari-style tent with stunning views of Sydney Harbour. There’s also an adults-only version of the Roar and Snore experience that includes wine and canapes!

Taronga Zoo also hosts special night events throughout the year. The Twilight at Taronga Summer Concert Series earlier this year saw 14 spectacular shows over 5 weekends and planning is already underway for the next one in 2024.


5. Explore underwater at Clovelly or Gordons Bay

Located just a short drive from Sydney's CBD, Clovelly and Gordons Bay are two of the city's most popular beaches for swimming, sunbathing, and snorkelling. But did you know that these two bays also offer some of the best underwater exploration opportunities in Sydney?

Clovelly Beach is a protected aquatic reserve teeming with marine life. The best place to snorkel at Clovelly is around the southern rock pools, where you can see a variety of fish, including blue gropers, wrasse, and bream. You may also be lucky enough to spot an octopus or cuttlefish hiding among the rocks.

Gordons Bay is home to Sydney's only underwater nature trail, a 600-meter-long trail that winds its way through the bay's seagrass beds and rocky reefs. The trail is marked by a series of concrete drums, each with a plaque that provides information about the marine life that can be found in the area.

If you’re new to snorkelling or diving, there are a number of guided tours available. These tours are led by experienced professionals who can help you navigate safely underwater and provide engaging information on the different marine species you’ll encounter.

6. Fish & Chips at Watsons Bay

Out of all the cuisine in Sydney, fish and chips are undoubtedly the one that feels the most like summer. A good plate of fish and chips isn’t hard to find, but if you want the best, you’ll find it on the edge of Watsons Bay. Here are some of the restaurants to look out for once you’re there.

  • Doyles on the Beach Restaurant
  • Beach Club at Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel
  • Ripples at Chowder Bay
  • Garfish


7. Drinks by the Harbour at Opera Bar

Last but not least, your summer won’t be complete without a refreshing drink in your hand. Instead of paying for overpriced drinks at the beach, head over to the Opera Bar just outside the Sydney Opera House. Right on the waterfront, overlooking the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, it's the perfect place to enjoy a drink while taking in the city's breathtaking views.

Whether you're a local or a tourist, Opera Bar is a must-visit. No matter what your drink of choice is, you're sure to enjoy it even more in the Opera Bar’s lively atmosphere, with live music on most nights.


Final Thoughts

And there you have it, our list of the seven best things to do in Sydney for the summer of 2023/24. Hopefully, you’ll try at least one of the activities we’ve included here (like a boat charter!).

If you are keen on chartering a boat with us, be sure to make your booking early to avoid the crowds. Don’t worry if you haven’t planned it all out yet, we can provide all the suggestions for you once you get in touch with us! So, grab your sunscreen lotion and sunnies, and get ready for the next season at the Sydney Harbour!

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