Sydney is, without a doubt, one of the best cities in the world – if not the best. With a vivid cityscape bustling with life, gourmet places, amazing architecture and a unique mixture of art and culture wherever you look, it is certainly a dream destination for many. However, there is so much more to Sydney than just the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. To experience a different side of this city that goes beyond the usual tourist attractions, you’ll have to do your research beforehand. To help you with that, here are eight secret places in Sydney you will love.
Paddington Reservoir Gardens
The Paddington Reservoir Gardens is certainly not what you’d expect in the middle of the busy streets. This park, that was once a water reservoir, is a calm and serene retreat that will make you forget you are in Sydney! It is a great location to take a breather or even have a picnic while taking pictures among the many plants and interesting structures that were restored and are now a unique mixture between the old and new. The place also has a lot of stories to tell!
If you’d rather chill and sunbathe on a beach but you want to avoid the overcrowded surfers’ hotspots, check out Milk Beach, which is a lesser known, small Sydney beach that boasts a great view of the city. It can be a challenge to find it at first, which is exactly why it can still be called a hidden gem in the middle of the bustling city. It’s also great for afternoon picnics with your family if you want to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.
Wendy’s Secret Garden
Located in Lavender Bay, Wendy’s Secret Garden is just as magical as it sounds. It was originally just a piece of unused land at the foot of Wendy Whiteley’s and her husband’s, the late artist Brett Whiteley’s home, overgrown with shrubs and rubbish. Following the death of the renowned artist, Wendy started to clear out the land and construct a beautiful garden in its place. While no longer a “secret”, this place remains a hidden paradise, which is easily accessible if you find accommodation in serviced apartments in Lower North Shore.
Collins Flat Beach
Another hidden little beach is Collins Flat Beach, located in the Sydney Harbour National Park. It’s a beautiful spot with little waterfalls and clear, calm water perfect for taking a refreshing dip. You can even embark on a short bushwalking adventure here – the track is easy enough for kids to enjoy as well, and the views are really worth it!
If you’re up for a little more difficult hiking adventure in Mosman, only 20 minutes away from the CBD, check out Bradley’s Head and the amazing views from this spot over the harbor. Then, consider taking on a hike to Chowder Bay: this grade 3 track will walk you all the way along the coast, so you can marvel at the ocean while enjoying the cooling shadows of the trees.
Located on Palm Beach, this lighthouse is a scenic view in itself, but what you can see from up there will take your breath away! The walk can be a little tiring, so come prepared, but the 360-degree view is well worth it. Moreover, you can stop by at Palm Beach and enjoy a dinner at one of the many great restaurants or even go for a kayak tour in the area!
Auburn Botanic Gardens
Another magical garden that will make you feel like you are on a different continent is Auburn Botanic Gardens. It boasts a beautiful Japanese garden with Cherry Blossoms, a maze that can be fun for kids and adults alike, and even some native animals such as kangaroos and emus. In the spring, you can take some amazing photos here!
Shark Island is a little piece of land located one kilometer away from Rose Bay, accessible by taking a ferry. With beautiful beaches, it is a great spot for both watersports and relaxing in silence. The view is amazing, so you can spend hours exploring the foreshore or swimming in the calm water. It’s a good day-trip destination for those who want to get away from the city.
Sydney is amazing, yes, but sometimes you just want to slow down for a day or two and enjoy a different side of it – a calm, natural paradise that makes you forget about your daily responsibilities. This list is a good starting point for both tourist and locals who feel like they never got to explore some of the hidden gems of this huge, colorful city.