Hidden Gems Sydney
Even though Sydney is one of the youngest cities in the world, it has developed into one of the must-visit destinations in the Southern Hemisphere. One of its appeal stems from the fact that you can do so many things and try a number of activities during your time here. From its natural beauty to the cultural sights and modern attractions, Sydney has it all.
There is more to Sydney than meets the eye. If you think you know all there is to see, you will be in for a surprise. You can skip the touristy places and discover new sights when you seek out these hidden gems.
Shark Island provides the perfect getaway from Sydney, especially if you are in search of isolated spots. This island is only accessible by boat (or kayak, if you dare). But this island has some of the best views in Sydney that offers a panoramic view of the Sydney Harbour. There are also lush lawns that you can set a picnic in.
You have plenty of other things to see in this island including the hidden grottos that were built by hand. And you can check out the abundant marine life at the rock pools. This is where you can find some of the untouched natural haven in Sydney.
Paddington Reservoir Gardens
Are you seeking a lush retreat from the hustle and bustle of Sydney? Head to the Paddington Reservoir Gardens. This is a sunken garden that is hidden by the Chinese eateries and skyscrapers that surround it. It boasts of excellent features such as the high walkways, enormous chambers, water features, and hanging gardens. This garden served numerous purposes over the years but its original architecture has been kept intact.
There were some renovations done in the garden during the 19th century. This adds to the uniqueness of this reservoir garden as it offers a mix of old and new architecture. If you are seeking out hidden gems in Sydney, this one is worth visiting as it is free of entry.
Elizabeth Bay House
The Elizabeth Bay House is one of many living museums in Sydney. This historic house is fronting a historical bay. When it was built in the 1900s, it was known to have been a lavish home that cost a lot to build.
Visitors can tour the home and its interior rooms wherein you can find antique furniture and interior details kept intact. There are also various events held at this lavish home throughout the year. This home is also complemented by a picturesque garden that offers magnificent harbour views.
The Cockatoo Island is a heritage-listed island that is located off the Sydney Harbour. While it is accessible, it is not as frequently visited as many other attractions in Sydney. While this is considered an alternative destination, it is a great place to visit if you want to learn the history of Sydney. There are also ghost tours available as this island is a former convict penal establishment.
Cork and Chroma
Raining outside? You can stay inside and go to Cork and Chroma wherein you can unleash your inner artist by painting acrylic on canvas. There are art lessons held throughout the year so this would be a great opportunity to practice your skills. You can even bring a bottle of wine to class! You can choose from one of two locations in Sydney: St. Leonards and Surrey Hills. If you decide to partake in this art class, make sure you book ahead of time as slots are limited.
Sydney Fish Market
The Sydney Fish Market is one of the best hidden gems in Sydney. This is a place known for its fresh seafood (obviously) and the largest market of its kind in Sydney. Aside from seafood, you can also find deli items, baked goods, and wine, along with a rich selection of restaurants. Given what you can find in this market, this is truly a hidden gem.
The SS Ayrfield is a shipwreck that floats atop the surface of Homebush Bay. This is a decommissioned ship that survived during the Second World War. This ship has inexplicably risen to the surface amidst the mangrove forest and is now a popular spot for photo spectacle among tourists. If you are looking for a unique attraction in Sydney that isn’t as flocked with tourists, this is the place to go. It would also be a unique opportunity to get up-close to a 110-year old shipwreck that isn’t submerged underwater.
Hidden Beaches and Coastal Walks in Sydney
Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay
Sydney is known for its coastal walks but you might not have heard of this one before. This is a 4-kilometer coastal walk that is perfect for Sunday mornings. To get here, you must drive to Taronga Zoo and then put on your walking shoes.
This secret coastal walk from Sydney requires you to weave through a bush track. You will be making your way through the harbour headlands as you traverse Bradleys Head towards Chowder Bay. This is the perfect walk for when you want to soak in the views of the harbour and Sydney’s skyline. Thankfully, this walk is still relatively unknown so you can enjoy the views to yourself – or with your hiking buddy!
Sydney is best known for its beaches but only a few probably know about Milk Beach in Vaucluse. If you are looking for a quiet beach escape, add this to your go-to destinations. This beach is located along Hermit Bay within the Sydney Harbour National Park. It is a small beach but it is isolated so you can have it all to yourself.
There is limited access to this beach, although you can get here via public transportation. Off-street parking is also limited. But it will be worth the effort to get here as you can enjoy many activities aside from swimming, such as snorkeling and fishing. You can even set up a picnic under the awnings at the Hermitage Foreshore.
Another secret beach that you can get to from Sydney is Chinamans Beach. This is a 250-meter stretch of beach that is a great place to go to for a relaxing swim. It is a great beach destination for the entire family, if you want to swim without the crowd. The beach itself is gorgeous with fine, white sand to sink your feet into.
Located in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, Resolute Beach is a hidden gem with virtually no tourists around. It is known for its emerald green water and panoramic views of the Barrenjoey Headland and Pittwater. You must navigate your way through the Resolute Loop Trail in order to access the beach. You can also follow the bushtrack from West Head Lookout. Keep following this trail until you get to the beach.
Hidden Foodie Gems
Indu is one of the foodie gems in Sydney that only the locals know about – or a select few foodies. It is located at the basement of Angel Place and offers a contemporary Indian cuisine. Their menu boasts of authentic curry dishes, seafood fare, and signature Indian dishes with a modern twist. Their drinks menu is equally as exotic as the dishes they serve. The next time you are craving for bold flavours in Sydney, you know where to go.
Celsius Coffee Co
There is no shortage of brunch spots and cafes in Sydney. But if you are looking for a hidden gem, Celsius Coffee Co definitely deserves your love. They are known for their ‘house blend’ coffees and great views, but what will leave you in awe are the views you can enjoy from this brunch spot! Their best food items include the braised lamb, burrata and mushrooms on toast, and waffles with peanut butter cream.
If you’re craving casual Japanese dining in Sydney, the Chaco Bar is an exciting foodie find in Sydney. This hidden gem only seats 25 so reservation is a must. This Japanese restaurant is known for their yakitori (although their Mondays are known as ramen night). The name Chaco is derived from ‘charcoal’, so you can expect that their skewers (yakitori) are grilled over charcoal. They have a variety of food choices such as gizzards, chicken hearts, lamb, meatballs, and more.
Hidden Hangout Spots/Bars
Bulletin Place Bar
This restaurant is perfectly hidden that you won’t find it unless you know about this place! To get here, you need to walk past Bar Tapavino and make your way through a door with the tattoo parlour sign. Go up a set of stairs until you see this tiny bar. It comes with a friendly service and a tapas food menu (great for pre- or post-dinner snacks). But you don’t come to Bulletin Place Bar for the food – their cocktails are their specialty. The best part is that they have different cocktails served every day.
This small bar is a local favourite. This bar is located within a short walking distance of Kings Cross. The ambiance of the bar is unique that features pressed metal walls to vinyl signs – you know you’ve never seen a place like it the moment you walk in. With a song playing on the background, bartenders are able to concoct unique cocktails to match your unique preferences. While this bar can get occasionally noisy, it is easy to find a spot to settle in for the night.
Shady Pines Saloon
Located in Darlinghurst, this hidden bar offers the ambiance of an old-world saloon that will make you feel like you are transported into the Western fictional world the moment you step inside. It is open from 4PM to 12AM. The bar is noted for its cocktail menu and can also be a great date place. The trick to being able to enjoy this bar is in finding it. It is located in a nondescript alley door and has no sign! But once you find it, it is going to be worth it as their bartenders know their cocktails! They don’t offer food, however, but you have plenty of local eateries nearby that you can stop in before heading here for a drink!