Photo: Destination NSW
Whether you're 8 or 80, there's no experience quite like seeing a whale for the very first time. With the winter chill comes humpback whales migrating to warmer waters, and you can witness the action right in the heart of Sydney. If you like your chances at spotting whales without help, there are several vantage points across the city where people have been known to spot not only humpback whales, but orcas and minke whales too. South Head in Watsons Bay is a mere 11 kilometres north-east of the Sydney CBD – make your way to The Gap, an ocean cliff boasting exquisite views of Sydney Harbour, and hopefully a whale or two. Further north, you can take the Barrenjoey Lighthouse Walk, for unrivalled ocean views and - at 91 metres above sea level - a perfect lookout for whale spotting. If, however, you're not a risk-taker and want to be guaranteed a whale viewing, book a tour with Captain Cook Cruises. Not only will you cruise past the very best of Sydney Harbour, there is a 95% success rate of seeing a whale - if not, you’ll cruise again for free! This winter, don't live through your Instagram feed - get on out there on a sunny day and see a whale for yourself.
Photo: Daniel Boud, Destination NSW
Though it may be named after the notorious crime boss, there’s nothing dodgy or suspect about Love Tilly Devine, an intimate, chic wine bar located in the ultra-hip Darlinghurst area. Though centrally located, the bar itself is slightly off the beaten path in a secluded alley, and half the fun is finding it. Once you do, you’ll immediately sense the distinct European laneway vibes, where there’s more people outside than inside, cradling glasses of every type of wine under the sun. Indoors, you’re guaranteed to fall in love with the cosy ambience of it all, the perfect spot for a date night or friendly catch-up with a friend. While the European-inspired food menu is small, quality over quantity is the order of the day here - the menu is constantly changing based on whatever produce is at its most finest. Where the food menu is short and sweet, the wine list is long and luxurious, with over 300 different types to choose from. Diners have raved about the friendly service, the exquisite food and the dreamy, giddily romantic feel of it. Dim lighting, an excellent playlist and delicious wines…your experience at Love Tilly Devine will warm your winter and leave you hungry for more.
Photo: Destination NSW
Turn a corner in the heart of Sydney’s Ultimo area and find yourself in Spice Alley, a winding collection of hawker-style Asian eateries under the glow of red lanterns. Soak up the atmosphere, breathe in the tantalising smells and experience a touch of Asia right in the heart of Sydney, before perusing the endless food options. Whether you’re looking for a congee from Hong Kong Diner to warm your winter or you’re all about the famous roti from Alex Lee Kitchen, you’re guaranteed to find the perfect dish for your cravings. Other highlights include Japanese dining hall KYO-TO and Vietnamese delicacies from Viet. For the indecisive, the best option is to get a few small dishes from a range of cuisines, so you can sample half of Asia in one sitting! Once you’ve decided (and do take your sweet time in choosing) you can settle into one of the 350 seats available, enjoying the mouth-watering, authentic flavours and revelling in the entire experience. Being affordable, central, fun and ever-vibrant, Spice Alley is the go-to spot for every smart Sydneysider to meet friends for a mid-week dinner out. Fun fact: it’s BYO and no corkage is charged, so hit up the bottle-o beforehand!
Hermitage Foreshore Track. Photo: Destination NSW
You’ve seen the breathtaking shots from the lookouts on coastal walks, but you’ve never got around to doing it for yourself. Fair enough, it’s a big ask on a steamy summer’s day, you'll be drowning in your own sweat in no time. But a sunny, crisp winter’s day? Perfect! If you’re new to the walk game, take it easy with the 1.8 kilometre Hermitage Foreshore Track in Sydney’s beautiful east. Quick as it may be, there’ll be plenty of pit stops along the way, with enthralling views of Sydney Harbour, Shark Island and more. Still in the “short and sweet” realm, the three kilometre return journey that is the Barrenjoey Lighthouse Walk will take you to Sydney’s northern-most point at Barrenjoey Head – and you’ll feel that healthy burn in your calves as you hike up the steep trail! If you’re ready to kick things up a notch, the six kilometre Bondi to Coogee Walk is an excellent, easy-going workout – winding along a narrow stone path and offering glorious views of secret beaches along the way. Hungry for more? You’ll be wanting to try the ten kilometre Manly to Spit Bridge Walk showcasing everything that's incredible about Sydney’s Northern Beaches, with some ace views of Sydney Harbour on the side. Don't let the cold put you off - nothing warms you up like some easy-going exercise under the stunning Sydney sun.
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Skate the day (and some of the night) away in the heart of Sydney, with the backdrop of the famously impressive St Marys Cathedral. Cathedral Square will be transformed into the winter wonderland of your dreams from 28 June – 21 July, with a beautiful outdoor skating rink popping up for you to practise your twisting, turning, or falling on your backside techniques. Not only is it ridiculously fun, ice skating is an excellent workout and a great option if you’re looking for ways to keep fit this winter, that don’t involve waking up at the crack of dawn for a gym class you hate! Even better, you’ll be able to reward yourself afterwards, with a delicious hot chocolate or warming snack from one of the many food vendors popping up around the rink. The end result is a fairtyale White Christmas vibe worth rugging up and heading out for. The rink will be open from 10am - 9pm from Monday - Wednesday and until 10pm from Thursday – Sunday, making it a great family outing by day, and a romantic, unique date spot by night. At $9 for a lengthy 45-minute session, tickets are a steal too!
Sydney.com is your one-stop shop for the latest news and events happening in Sydney all year 'round! You can click here for even more Sydney events to keep you occupied this winter - whether you're looking for the warm embrace of retail therapy, a feel-good muscial theatre show or want to get right amongst the action during peak sporting season.
Sydney Central YHA with its rooftop pool, sauna, unrivalled activities and knowledgeable staff is the best place to base yourself this winter as you enjoy everything Sydney has to offer. Whether you’re walking, skating or stuffing your face all day – Sydney Central YHA will offer you a warm bed and even toastier hospitality to come home to every night. Check it out!