10 Things To Do In Sydney When It’s Bloody Freezing
Wet and grey? A-OK.
The best thing about Sydney is that it’s wrapped around some of the most stunning natural scenery in the world. ‘Gramworthy beaches, sprawling mountain trails and that very handsome harbour are all ideal backdrops to the passing city days – well, in summer that is.
Unfortunately for Sydneysiders, the betty of a beachside city pulls the short straw in winter. It hasn’t quite got the cafe, shopping and arty culture of its southern sister Melbourne or the year round tropical climate that the Queenslanders enjoy up north, but winter in Sydney can be ace if you know how to master it. So what can you do in Sydney when the weather is cold as hell?
1 / 10
At the drive-in
I know an outdoor movie theatre sounds more like a warm weather activity, but stay with me. Drive-ins are so much more fun in winter. Think of the potential: call up that one friend you know who owns a ute, chuck a mattress in the back, top it with plenty of warm blankets and pillows and you have yourself the most comfortable spot under the clear night sky.
Thankfully, the US is pumping out its summer blockbusters as we speak so there’s no shortage of things to watch. The Blacktown Drive In is Sydney’s only drive-in theatre and sports a bargain double screening. Pack a picnic and a flask of warm coffee and make a night out of it.
2 / 10
A winter light festival (that’s not Vivid)
Outdoor ice skating has always felt like one of those mythical winter activities reserved for those in the northern hemisphere, along with making snow angels and wearing really puffy coats. Thankfully, Parramatta’s Winterlight Festival said “nuh-uh” to this and was nice enough to gift Sydney with its largest outdoor iceskating rink. They’re also throwing in an ice slide and a merry old ferris wheel to add to the fun.
Sip some mulled wine and stuff your face with Dutch poffertjes at the European-inspired food stalls while you’re at it. There’s no better time to get that winter bulk started.
3 / 10
Remind yourself just how great it is to jump, flip, spin and fall over like the world’s biggest goober at an indoor trampoline centre. It’s a great form of exercise, too. Trampoline centres have been popping up all over Sydney recently, with different bounce zones in regions like Alexandria, and Miranda.
Just please take care of yourself; you may have the childlike wonder down pat, but you probably lack childlike agility.
4 / 10
A very cosy bar crawl
Staying in always seems ideal on a blustering winter’s night, but an intimate bar with a few friends has a much more comforting charm. Rediscover the city’s old favourites like The Baxter Inn and Button Bar or try something new at Della Hyde‘s classic lobby-style basement, complete with dollar dumplings and mulled wine daiquiris.
5 / 10
Newsflash: The Museum of Contemporary Art isn’t just a nice building that Vivid is projected onto – it’s an essential stop for every visit to the city. The gallery houses a prolific collection of Australian art, including contemporary and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artwork.
For something a little less traditional, take a visit to the White Rabbit Gallery in Chippendale which hosts the largest and most significant collections of Chinese art. Make sure to stop in at the gallery’s tea house for a warm pick-me-up.
6 / 10
Classic coastal walks without the tourists
Sydney coastal walks kick butt; the only problem is that, on a warm day, everyone else seems to think so too. You can easily avoid the hassle of tourist-clogged walkways by doing the coastal walks in winter when there’s far fewer people around.
The famed Bondi to Coogee hike will be unrecognisable with at least half of the foot traffic of summer. The Palm Beach lighthouse trek: a ghost town! Hit up the Spit to Manly to complete the holy trifecta.
7 / 10
Take a road trip to somewhere truly wintry
While Sydney’s CBD doesn’t exactly thrive in winter, you can’t say the same for its weekend destinations. Quaint cottages, roaring fireplaces and spots of snow can all be found within three hours of Sydney.
8 / 10
Treat yo’self to a day spa
When was the last time you truly, unashamedly pampered yourself? If the answer is ‘a long time’ or, god forbid, ‘never’, then you need to take a long hard look at yourself. Then take a long hard look at this website. It’s for the Balmain Bath House, one of Sydney’s most affordable and lush day spas.
For something a little quirkier (and pricier), try spaQ. The boutique-style spa is unapologetically lavish with treatments galore and even a barbershop to get your hipster haircut fix.
9 / 10
Learn some things
Did you know that you can make your own cheese? And your own perfume? Also that, as a fully grown adult, you can try your hand at drawing and sculpture outside the confines of a high school classroom?
Work-Shop Sydney boasts so many super sweet courses that will teach you things you never knew you had within you. And for a reasonable price, too. The class sizes are intimate and there are so many options to choose from, you’re welcome to keep coming back. Check the website for class availability.
10 / 10
Or, just fly to Tahiti
Just go. Get out of here. We won’t hold it against you.
(Lead image: JenolanCaves.org)