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19 Things to Do in Bondi, Sydney

19 Things to Do in Bondi, Sydney

Bondi Beach is possibly, no definitely, the most famous beach town in Sydney. It’s known around the globe for its beauty and of course the hit show ‘Bondi Surf Rescue’. It seems like everyone who visits Sydney wants to snag a cheeky pic or 2 with those hunky lifeguards! Bondi Beach was one of our first ports of call in Sydney And after a few weeks of checking out the local suburbs, we actually decided to live in Bondi!

In a bid to be nearer the beach so we could live out a beach town life for a while we fully embraced ourselves in the Bondi lifestyle. I say lifestyle because living in Bondi is a lifestyle choice. You’re living in your own little Bondi bubble and often forget that your anywhere near the city! So after living in Bondi I thought I’d put together this post giving you 19 things to do in Bondi because there is so much more to this place than just the beach!

19 Things to Do in Bondi Beach!

1. Go to the Beach 

Bondi beach at sunset
Bondi Beach at Golden Hour!

Okay so yes there are a lot more things to do in Bondi than just hanging out on the beach BUT it is the go-to activity in Bondi. Bondi is full of surfing buffs, sun lovers, families playing on the sand, friends watching the sunset, the beach is a huge part of the lifestyle in Bondi so make sure you enjoy it during your visit too!

When we first came to Bondi I was actually surprised at how small the beach was – it looks a lot bigger on TV! I recommend heading to Bondi during the week when it’s less busy and catch some of those rays! 

2. Take a Surf Lesson with Let’s Go Surfing 

Surfing is the ultimate Aussie sport! If you haven’t imagined yourself at least trying to ride those waves then maybe you can never be a real Aussie, sorry! Just kidding but surfing is a way of life down at Bondi Beach and everywhere else in Australia so you might as well give it try! We took our first lesson on Bondi Beach in December 2018 for Dave’s birthday and it was epic! Neither of us had surfed before and we couldn’t have had more fun – we even both managed to stand up on our first lesson!!! True Aussies at heart?

Let’s Go Surfing is the only company teaching in Bondi and they also have a school up in Byron Bay. The guys at Let’s Go Surfing learnt to surf before they could walk and are the best people to teach you. The lessons start at around $98 per person so they aren’t cheap but they are so worth it! That gets you a 3-hour group surfing lesson with 2 instructors and all the gear hire like a board, wetsuit and suncream! 

These classes are perfect if you’ve never touched a surfboard before. I personally don’t really like deep water and my co-ordination? Well, let’s just leave that one to the imagination. So let’s just say I was terrified and even though this was one of the top things I wanted to do on Bondi Beach, I was shitting my pants. Luckily, the guys at Let’s Go Surfing were so good at what they do I instantly went from being scared to having the time of my life! 

The surfing classes aren’t about who’s the better surfer and there not even about making it to standing. You get taught the basic surfing technique and then head into the water to test out the theory. There’s a lot of laughing and falling straight in the water in fact, be prepared to spend more time on your arse in the water than on the surfboard! For more information on surf lessons on Bondi Beach then take a look at here. 

3. Walk from Bondi-Coogee 

Walking from Bondi to Coogee is another really famous thing to do in Bondi. It’s probably the most popular coastal walk in Sydney and honestly, it’s so worthy of that tittle. I’m not really a huge fan of tourist traps but here’s the thing about tourist traps and one of the reasons I always visit them. They became tourist traps for a reason, usually because these places are freaking insane! So, if you’re looking for a leisurely stroll along the Sydney coastline with no tourists taking photographs and being all giddy then this walk isn’t for you. But please don’t let that deter you from at least walking part of it. 

Bronte ocean baths
Bronte Ocean Baths!

The Bondi to Coogee walk starts at the Bondi Icebergs and follows the coastline for 6 km eventually finishing at Coogee beach and pavilion. The walk weaves through the stunning eastern suburbs, Tamarama,  Bronte, Clovelly and Coogee. If we didn’t live in Bondi then we’d have lived in Bronte which is my second favourite eastern suburb.

The walk includes getting sandy on all the beaches and weaving in and out of sea cliffs with picture-perfect views of the ocean and beaches behind. One of my favourite points of the walk is just after Bronte when you reach the top of the hill to the right of the beach. Here you can choose to climb to onto of the ledge that runs across the sea cliff (don’t worry this bit is safe) and you’re greeted with an epic view of Bondi in the distance, it’s simply beautiful. 

Coogee beach from the end of the bondi to coogee coastal walk
Coogee Beach where the walk ends!

The views just keep coming as you keep walking along with some beautiful houses that you and I could probably only ever dream of living in! I recommend taking as long as possible to tackle this coastal walk. If you have a full day then pack your swimmers and swim in every ocean pool you pass on the way! Clovelly has some great snorkelling so pack a snorkel too! 

If you don’t have long in Bondi then the full walk will take about 3 hours or you can just walk part of it like Bondi to Bronte. It might be a tourist and local trap (yep, the locals love this walk too) but it’s one of the best things to do in Bondi and should be on your list! Sydney has hundreds of coastal walks that are worth checking out, I wrote about some more of my favourites in this post!

4. Swim in the Free Bondi Ocean Pool

We’ve all seen the gorgeous photographs of the Bondi Icebergs, haven’t we? They are special indeed but even though I do recommend getting in those they are a little pricey which I’ve talked about right below! What a lot of people don’t realise is that there is a free ocean pool at the opposite end of Bondi Beach. 

One of the things that I loved about Australia is that every single beach has it’s own ocean baths. Basically a swimming pool that’s filled with ocean water but has all the safety aspects of a swimming pool. No current, no getting whisked out to sea but still enjoying being outside and on the beach! They are perfect for those who are a little daunted by the deep blue water but still want to enjoy a swim on the beach! 

People often miss this pool out because the attention is on the icebergs but if you’re on a budget and want a safe free swim then head to the other side of the beach for the free Bondi ocean baths. They’re only small and often full of families but still worth checking out.  

5. Swim at the Bondi Icebergs 

Bondi Beach wouldn’t be complete without these aqua blue swimming pools making up so much of the landscape. The Bondi Icebergs are ocean water swimming pools that overlook both the beach and the ocean. There are three swimming pools in total, a shallow pool, children’s pool and lane swimming pool. To swim it’s $7 per adult for a swim and sauna. There’s also a bar and restaurant inside. Again, this is another Bondi tourist trap so expect lots of people taking photographs both from above and in the pools! 

Always check the website before you go for a swim because Sydney swimming clubs often train at the Icebergs. 

Bondi icebergs from above
The famous Bondi Icebergs!

6. Watch the Sunrise 

Bondi does sunrises like no other place in Sydney. The sun does rise early in the summertime but it’s so worth it. Set that early alarm, get a breakfast picnic ready and head to the beach! Watch the sunrise behind the ocean creating a twinkling blue sheet below. On a good day the sunrise at Bondi Beach is perfect and so is the sunset! 

Bondi Beach at sunrise number 6 of my 19 things to do in Bondi

7. And Watch the Sunset too! 

The sun sets in Bondi to the right near Bronte and Tamarama so it fills the sky in Bondi with a pink hue that’s just incredible. Watching the sunset in Bondi is a perfect way to end the day. Sit up high on the grassy hill that overlooks the beach or get round to the sea cliffs near Bronte and watch from there. There’s always a tonne of surfers in the water at sunset too which are great to watch! 

Okay, so that’s enough for beach and swimming themed things to do in Bondi! Here are some more of the must-dos around Bondi that don’t involve getting sandy feet or wet! 

 8. Hit the Shops!

Bondi is shopping heaven. If you enjoy getting lost amongst cute indy boutique shops then you’re in for a real treat. Bondi is the queen of boutique gift shops and you can find some wonderful souvenirs. Head to Gould Street and check out all the shops. There are also rows of shops lining the beachfront –  These tend to be a little more mainstream for gifts but still great to browse! 

One of my favourite activewear shops EVER is found in Bondi too! If you’re a yoga lover or gym-bunny then make sure you check out Bondi Active. Dave and I bought our fair share of leggings, hoodies and shorts during our time in Australia and they are amazing. The material they use is so soft and durable – Definitely worth investing in! They remind me of a ‘Bondi Branded’ Lululemon type shop. 

9. Gertrude and Alice 

Gertrude and Alice is 100% one of the must-enjoy spots in Bondi! This place is a bookstore come cafe, a gorgeous little slice of heaven in other words! If you love reading and drinking coffee then this is your spot. My Saturdays were spent regulating trying to find my next read whilst blogging and enjoying a coffee from the tables afterwards. They sell second-hand books and is a favourite among the locals. If you plan on hitting the beach in Bondi then you’re going to need a great book right?! 

Gertrude and Alice are located on Hall Street and open 7 days a week 7:30 am – 8:30 pm. 

10. Things to Do in Bondi Sydney – Enjoy the Street Art!

The beach is actually lined with incredible street art murals. Walk from one end of the beach to the other and take in the amazing artwork.  The artwork changes from time to time so it’s fun to head down again and again if you have an extended stay in Australia. Don’t worry there’s a concrete walkway that lines the beach so you don’t have to get sandy enjoying the artwork! The artists often leave their social media handles on the paintings too so be sure to go them a little love if you enjoyed a particular piece! 

bondi beach street art
Some of the art on Bondi!

11. Take a Yoga Lesson on the Beach 

I think I completely failed when it came to keeping this section away from the beach didn’t I?! The truth is that Bondi revolves around the beach so you just have to embrace it! Yoga is also a way of life down on Bondi Beach. There’s a yoga studio on every corner but the best way to practice is on that stunning beach with the sound of the ocean in the background – there’s honestly nothing more relaxing in my opinion! 

There are a few ways to enjoy Yoga on the beach in Bondi. You can book an experience through Air BnB or check out the company Yoga By the Sea. They run yoga classes outside all year round at reasonable prices. Take a look at the schedule on their website here, they also practice at Bronte and Tamarama too! 

Tamarama beach next to Bondi Beach
Tamarama beach next door to Bondi – a beautiful beach with fewer people!

12. Or Take a Yoga Class Inside

If you prefer the comfort and safety of a studio then don’t worry Bondi is full of them! All you need to do is Google yoga in Bondi and you’ll be overwhelmed by options. My favourite studios are BodyMindLife and Power Living. Australia also has an app called Class Pass where you can find heaps of fitness classes around the country and you can do a free trial for 2 weeks. 

13. Eat at all the Cafes!

Bondi is full of gorgeous cafes. Honestly, I don’t even think I could pick a favourite because they are so good! The only thing I noticed about the cafes in Bondi is that they are all pretty similar. If you want eggs Benedict or smash ago on toast then you won’t have to go far in Bondi trust me. Explore the cafes along the main street on Gould Street. Breakfast and brunch is a social activity on Bondi. Everyone is up early and enjoying the sunshine with a morning coffee in hand. 

14. Weekend Markets 

Every Sunday Bondi is home to the farmer’s markets where you can grab your local produce at a cheaper price. Food in Australia is expensive there’s no getting around it. Shopping at the markets if the cheapest place and it’s also the most organic so its a win-win for everybody! If you’re into health foods then make sure you find the Yellow Deli stall! You can find out more about the Yellow Deli here but they produce the best healthy green bars I’ve ever tasted! You can find them at the Bondi and Bondi Junction Markets!

15. Go Golfing (even just visit the Golf Course for the views)

There’s a huge golf course in Bondi for those golf lovers amongst us. I must admit I’m not a golfer but Dave is. What I will say about the Bondi golf course is that the views are amazing. Head towards the course even if just to daydream at the awe-inspiring views of the beach. 

16. Explore the Parks

As well as the beach Bondi also has some wonderful parks which are a great spot for a BBQ. It’s worth noting that there are no BBQ pits on the grassland or beach in Bondi. There are BBQ areas on Tamarama beach which is just around the corner from Bondi but Marks Park and Hunter Park are both great spots to enjoy a BBQ and gathering with friends. 

17. Bondi Events and Festivals 

Before you go to Bondi make sure you check the dates you’re going for any events and festivals down at Bondi. The main events that run at Bondi throughout the year are:

  • Sculpture by the Sea – October to November. 
  • Carols by the Sea – December. 
  • Bowl-A-Rama –  Skateboarding Competition usually February. 
  • Festival of the Winds – Usually September time. 

18. Get Fit in the North Bondi Outdoor Exercise Area

Not having time or being able to afford a gym membership is a thing of the past these days. Bondi has an outdoor exercise area which is free to use for everyone. There’s your usual gym crowd that hang out there but if you need a workout then do not let them stop you! I admit I never went but if you need a workout to feel a little more human after eating out on vacation so much – we all do it, then head on down! The views overlooking the beach are pretty great! 

19. Go Shopping at Westfield in Bondi Junction

Just a short bus ride away from Bond is Bondi junction which is at the shopping hub of the eastern suburbs. You’ll find a huge Westfield with everything you could possibly need for your shopping needs! It’s also air-conditioned and. Perfect on a. Sweltering day! If you do visit make sure you go to the ground floor and find the pet shop – baby puppies everywhere! We would go just to look at the puppies every week! 

So, there you have it! 19 great things to do in Bondi, you could spend weeks in Bondi just laying on the beach and enjoying the cafes. Living here was one of our greatest life experiences and Bondi will always have a special spot in my heart. I know it’s a place we’ll visit time and time again as the years go on. I hope you enjoyed this post and I hope you love Bondi as much as we did! If you did enjoy this post I would be so thankful if you could share it with your friends!

If you’re spending three days in Sydney why not check out my itinerary and make sure you don’t miss anything out in this amazing city!

Happy Travels!

Alicia

How to Use the Sydney Opal Card and How to Get Around on Public Transport!

How to Use the Sydney Opal Card and How to Get Around on Public Transport!

Sydney is one vast city. Its boundaries appear limitless and I’ll be honest getting around Sydney can feel like trying to navigate a giant labyrinth maze! After living in Sydney for 6 months with no car it’s safe to say I’ve experienced more than my fair share of public transport getting around Sydney.

Luckily, there a few systems in place, like the Opal Card, to make your commute from A to B run smoothly. In this post, I’ll be going into detail about how to use the Sydney Opal Card and how to get the best out of it, including rewards! I’ll also be going over all the important things to know about Sydney’s public transport system! If you’re planning on visiting this vibrant city in Australia then I suggest getting to know a little about the transport first. I can tell you that if you don’t it will be very confusing when you land in one of the worlds most popular cities. 

How to use the Sydney Opal Card - Image of train station
A very quiet central station

How to Use the Sydney Opal Card 

Before going into the public transport systems in Sydney lets talk about the Opal Card.

I decided to write this post because I found the whole Opal Card thing quite overwhelming when I first arrived in Sydney. Roll your eyes and call me old fashioned but pre Australia I lived in the countryside where we paid on board for buses and still bought paper tickets for trains. And I’ve also been driving for many years and unfortunately once you stop using public transport you become useless at figuring it out – I can’t be the only one?! 

So if like me you can be a little clueless to the systems then I hope you find this guide before you’re in the city and using the Opal Card for real!

What is the Opal Card?

Basically, the Opal Card is a pre-paid travel card that you top-up and then use to pay for public transport. If you’ve been to London and had an Oyster card then it’s exactly the same thing. 

Wynyard station in Sydney Australia
Wynyard Station is pretty special!

How to Use the Sydney Opal Card – Technical Aspect

Topping Up

The Opal Card is super easy to use. To top up your card simply go to any newsagents, shop, or station that has the Opal sign. You can honestly top-up anywhere in Sydney there are so many places that do it including the big supermarkets like Coles. The other option which I found so helpful is to top-up via the free opal app!

Download from the App Store or Google Play store, register the card and then top-up by using a master or debit card. 

Tapping On and Off 

The Sydney transport system works on a tap-on tap-off system. To get on and off public transport tap the opal card on the sensors at the train/ferry stations and on the reader as you hop on the bus. It really is that simple. When the balance is running low the reader will let you know that you need to top-up. If you run into a negative balance then the amount will be deducted the next time you top-up the Opal card. 

Now you know how to use the Sydney Opal card on a technical level there are few other things to keep in mind when getting around public transport using an Opal card. 

Initial Cost of Opal Card

The Opal card doesn’t cost but there is a $10 minimum requirement when you top-up for the first time. Honestly, you won’t get far on $10 in Sydney so top-up at least $20 to begin with!

It’s also worth noting that if you purchase an Opal Card from the airport the minimum top-up is $35! This is a total tourist trap if you ask me so don’t purchase until you get to the city! The train from the airport to city is a standard $20 so just buy a ticket from the airport! 

how to use the sydney opal card

Using a Contactless Card instead of an Opal Card as a Tourist 

Again, if you’re familiar with the London Oyster card then you’ll know you can now use a debit/master card on the underground instead of an Oyster.

There is that option in Sydney too. This is for sure an easier way to travel around in Sydney opposed to topping up the Opal card all the time. However, if you’re a tourist just get the card! Using an International card will occur international transaction fees. Sydney transport is already expensive enough without that extra cost on top! 

Alternatives to Using the Opal Card in Sydney 

If you really don’t want to buy an Opal card then you can buy a single ticket on buses and in stations. But these will be more expensive so I honestly recommend just getting a card on your first day and make it cheaper for yourself! 

The downside to the Sydney Opal Cards for travellers is that you can’t get the money that’s on the card back unless you have an Australian address/bank account. Keep an eye on your travel costs throughout the day so that you don’t top-up too much! But if you are on a working holiday visa make sure you claim any unused balances back from your opal card before you leave!

Fare Capping on Sundays in Sydney! 

Sundays are an important day in Sydney for public transport as all transport costs are capped at $2.70! This does mean that Sundays in Sydney are extra busy but worth it for the cheap travel! No matter if you use the Opal card or contactless the fare will be capped at $2.70. 

Other Budget caps on the Opal Card 

As well as capping the public transport fare at $2.70 on a Sunday the fares are also capped daily and weekly. The daily amount is $16.10 and weekly is $50 for your standard adult. Also if you make more than 8 journeys in one week the rest of the week is half price using the Opal card. 

Guide to the Public Transport in Service

Now you know how to use the Sydney Opal Card and everything else that comes with it, here’s an overview of the types of public transport available and the easiest ways to get around! 

Available Public Transport in Sydney 

Like most big cities in the world, Sydney has a fairly decent public transport system. I personally think it could be a lot better but that’s a matter of opinion. If Sydney had a tube system like London then I think it would make so many commuters very happy indeed! In Sydney, you’ll find the usual public transport options, trains, buses, ferries and the light rail (just another word they use for the tram – don’t ask me why!).

Sydney spent the last year rebuilding the tram system in the city centre. The first tram ran on the 14th of October 2019 so I’m sure it would be wise to expect some teething issues over the next few months!

The Sydney Train System 

a train in sydney
All Sydney trains are double-decker inside!

Sydney has a decent train system and I would say it’s the most efficient way to travel whilst visiting or living in Sydney.

The trains run very frequently throughout the city centre and to the suburbs daily so it’s easy to hop on the train to your destination. You’ll need an opal card to travel on the train in Sydney and once you know how to use the Sydney opal card getting on and off the trains is easy!  

The only downside to the trains in Sydney is that I don’t think they go far enough! For example, if you want to get to Bondi Beach you’ll have to get a train to Bondi Junction and then switch to the 333 bus to Bondi Beach which is a little bit of a pain! On the other hand, there has been talk about building a train station on Bondi Beach which has attracted a lot of backlash from the locals. I can understand why because Bondi and the area surrounding it is just beautiful but I do think it would help in the long run. Standing in line for the bus at Bondi is not fun and definitely not quick. 

The trains and most of the public transport in Sydney run all night which is brilliant for those out exploring until late at night or having a few gins down at the chic Bondi bars! 

Buses in Sydney 

The bus network in Sydney is actually very good. The only reasons I hated travelling on Sydneys buses wasn’t because of the service but the sheer volume of traffic. Honestly, Sydneys traffic is ridiculous to say that a lot of people don’t actually drive in the city centre! I get terrible motion sickness and there is so much stopping and starting on these Sydney buses. The other reason why I don’t favour the bus is that it does take a long time to get from one end of the city to the other, again because of traffic. But don’t let deter you from using them!

The Sydney bus service is very reliable and in my experience, the buses are always on time! The fare for the buses and trains is similar so it doesn’t matter too much which one you choose! The best thing to do is use some of the planning apps on your smartphone to help plan your transport routes! Keep reading for information on which Apps you’ll need in Sydney to get around easily!  

Tram 

Back in the 60’s the tram system in Sydney was halted and ripped out. That was perhaps one of the worst decisions the city made because now in 2019 it’s back up and running once again! The tram system or ‘light rail’ as they call it in Sydney now runs between the CBD and Kensington. The light rail was still under construction when we lived there so I can’t comment on it really but take a look at the official light rail website here for more information.

Ferries in Sydney

the commuter/public transport ferry in Sydney
This is the ferry you want to pay less!

As well as buses trains and trams Sydney also has ferries! The ferries are brilliant and offer some of the best views of the city so I highly recommend getting one at some point! The ferries are expensive which is the only downside. If you’re in Sydney for a Sunday then this is a great time to take a ferry ride when the fare is capped! Otherwise, fares on the ferries are usually about $7 upwards. The most popular and my favourite ferry journey in Sydney is the Sydney – Manly. The views are amazing and Manly should definitely be on your Sydney itinerary!

Fast Ferries: There are fast ferries available in Sydney and it depends on the company as to whether or not you can use the Opal card so check beforehand. The fast ferries are good because they get you from A to B faster but they are more expensive. You can easily tell the difference between the fast ferries and normal ones. The normal ferries are the huge yellow and green ones as photographed above!

Helpful Apps to Download in Sydney for the Public Transport 

Opal Card App – Download the Opal Card app if you’re in Sydney for an extended period. It’s easy to top-up via the app and you can keep a track of your weekly rewards. 

Google Maps – You can use Google Maps to get all the public transport information in Sydney.

NSW Trip Planner – This app is also helpful when planning your trips in Sydney and sometimes has a little more information than Google Maps if there are delays. 

Handy Sydney Transport Tips: 

  • For Bondi Beach the bus you’ll need is the 333
  • You cannot get the train to Manly or Bondi – you have to switch to the bus
  • The 333 also runs an all night service which is handy to know 
  • Sydney public transport runs on Christmas Day (crazy I know)! 
  • The ferry to Manly takes 45 minutes 
  • For the best views of the city take the ferry to either Manly, Watsons Bay or Rose Bay and sit at the rear of the boat outside 
  • The Sydney Harbour is choppy as! So if you get seasick be warned! 
  • If you sit at the front of the ferries you’ll probably get wet on a choppy day!
  • Your journey will take longer than it says because of crazy traffic 
  • Opal Card fares do not apply when travelling to the airport 
  • Kids under 5 go free! 
  • Students, Children/Youths and Seniors get discounted travel 

I really hope you found this post helpful and it makes your journeys in Sydney a little easier! Once you get used it and know how to use the Sydney Opal card then the system is really handy! If you’re on a Working Holiday Visa and have an Australian bank account then use contactless making it even easier to get around on the public transport! My biggest takeaway on getting around Sydney is to schedule enough time for traffic and always set off early!

Find more of my Sydney posts here!

If you did enjoy this post or find it useful then I would so grateful if you could share it! Thank you! 

Happy Travels, 

Alicia

Things to Do Indoors in Sydney, When The Weather isn’t On Your Side!

Things to Do Indoors in Sydney, When The Weather isn’t On Your Side!

Australia is renowned for its exceptional sunny weather and its true Australia has some of the best weather in the world. But much like everywhere else, contrary to belief, it does still rain and when it rains in Sydney, it pours. When it does pour you’re going to need to find things to do indoors in Sydney! Don’t get me wrong, Sydney in the summertime is magical. The beaches are some of the beautiful in the world. In fact, a lot of my favourite beaches in Australia were in Sydney. But when the heavens open it’s safe to say that beach days are off-limits in Sydney. In fact, the first day we arrived in Sydney, it chucked it down.

We’d just come from Queensland and experienced glorious sunshine for 3 months. Much to my dismay my first glimpse of the Sydney Opera House was through a condensated bus window. Chances are the weather when you visit Sydney will be perfect. But if you find yourself to be one of the extremely unlucky ones then here are some of the best things to do enjoy inside in Sydney! 

Quick side note: I naturally associate bad weather with ‘rain and storms’ in Sydney but let’s not forget about the days it’s too hot to go outside! We experienced some corkers during our year in Australia. 42 degrees Celsius and a humidity of 80? No thanks! When the sun is scorching take some respite and find things to do indoors in Sydney! Honestly, the Australian sun will burn you a lot quicker than you think!

Indoor Museums in Sydney 

Things to Do Indoors in Sydney – Go Inside the Opera House 

Sydney’s most famous and iconic building has to be the Opera House. It first opened its doors back in 1973 after 14 years of hard construction. The Opera House has been a staple landmark in the city of Sydney ever since. Even though the Opera House can be enjoyed for free from the outside and, believe me when I say you could literally just look at it all day, you can go in and enjoy the inside too. There are shows on every night on the stage, take a look at the timetable here. But seeing a show can be expensive. If you want to explore the inside for cheaper, enjoy a guided tour instead.

sydney opera house
I do LOVE the outside but the inside is pretty nice too!

There are actually so many different tours to choose from when exploring inside the Opera House. From the basic guided tour to a ‘tour and dine’ package or a ‘tour and tasting plate’. For most people visiting the Opera House, the standard tour will be exactly what you’re looking for. Learn all about the rich history behind the magic of this iconic build and how exactly it came to be. The views across the harbour are stunning from every single angle so bring your camera even on a rainy day.

If you do find yourself in Sydney on a perfectly sunny day the Opera House Tour is still awesome to enjoy. The standard tour only takes an hour and you’re bound to learn some facts about Sydney that you didn’t already know! The cost of the tour is $42 per person for a standard ticket so I admit, it isn’t cheap. But worth it if you’re looking for things to do indoors in Sydney and don’t worry I’ve got plenty of other free options in the rest of this post.

OR a complete guide of Free Things to Do in Sydney here!

You can take photographs inside the Opera House and in the auditorium but never when a show is taking place. If you a take backstage tour photography is not permitted there either. 

National Art Gallery of New South Wales 

Another great spot to check out, whether you’re into art or not, is the National Art Gallery of New South Wales. If you are into art I recommend finding at least a whole afternoon in your Sydney itinerary to fully enjoy the gallery, it’s huge! Located in The Domain in central Sydney it’s super easy to find from the Botanical Gardens, it’s actually signposted all the way through! The art gallery is magnificent from the outside in, the architectural aspect of the building is inspiring:

one of the best things to do indoors in sydney is to visit the new south wales art gallery as photographed here.
The Art Gallery of New South Wales – Image Unplash

The museum was established back in 1871 and showcases both 19th-century Australian art as well as modern and contemporary. It’s completely free to enter and enjoy the many exhibitions. There are some exhibitions that you need to pay for but you can have a glance at the website here to find out what’s on and what you might like to see. The one thing I’ll say about this Gallery is don’t expect to be able to do everything in one visit. Unless you’ve got a whole day to spend at there, which if you’re looking for things to do indoors in Sydney then you might, it near impossible to get around it all and enjoy it.

You can’t eat and drink inside the gallery but there is a cafe you can enjoy. All large bags have to be checked into storage beforehand, which is free. Cameras can be used but no flash allowed. 

The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Located on the harbour front at Circular Quay this museum hosts the finest of Modern and Contemporary art in Australia. I must admit I’m not always a huge fan of the Contemporary arts but it’s a great place to have a wander around nonetheless and it’s indoors so you’ll be away from any bad weather! The museum only showcases the artwork of those that are still living, sounds morbid doesn’t it, but I actually think it makes it pretty unique. The museum holds over 4000 pieces of work so you certainly won’t get bored during your time inside! 

the contemporary arts museum of Sydney
The Contemporary Arts Museum of Sydney

If you’ve got a good imagination and enjoy edgy, colourful art then this might just be your place! You also get great views of the harbour through the long glass window panels too! If there’s one thing you should try do in a Sydney storm it’s watching it – those lightning bolts are incredible!!! 

The museum is free to enter which makes it even better!

The Museum of Sydney

If you want to learn about the city your visiting then have a look at the Museum of Sydney! This building is actually one of the oldest in the city! It was the first Government House in the city. Today you can learn about the history of Sydney and the European settlement inside the museum. The Museum of Sydney is located right in the middle of the city on Corner Phillip and Bridge Street so it’s super convenient. There is an entrance fee of $15 per person so really think about how much you want to learn. I would recommend the on of the Art Galleries over this spot! 

Hide Indoors in Cafes and Bars!

The cafe culture in Sydney is amazing. There are gorgeous little cafes popping up everywhere and it’s darn impossible to get around them all! Every time I walked through the city or a suburb I’d add a new cafe to visit on the list in my notebook. The reality of the matter is that even coffee is expensive in Sydney so cafe trips were kept to minimal during our working weeks whilst living in this vibrant city! Anyway, that said there are some cafes that you just have to visit in Sydney.

The Grounds of Alexandria 

Hands down everybody’s favourite cafe in Sydney. Honestly, if you don’t believe me then just go and do an Instagram poll or something! It’s the most beautiful cafe I’ve ever been to and before I went I honestly didn’t know if I’d like it. Unfortunately, like a lot of places, it was Instagram that brought my attention to this spot. I use unfortunately loosely because I do think Instagram does contribute to over-tourism in some places but that story is for another day! I’d seen so many photographs of people roaming around the gardens enjoying and photographing all it has to offer. But when you get there it’s so much more than a bunch of people posing for the gram. 

Cute decor in Easter 2019 at The Grounds!

The Grounds of Alexandria is more like a playground than a cafe. It honestly reminds me of something that belongs in Alice in Wonderland. The grounds first opened in 2012 with the idea of creating unique experiences that everyone can enjoy. It sends the imagination wild as it conjures up different themes throughout the year. For example, they’ll be a Christmas theme, summer theme, there was an Aladdin theme when the film came out etc. The Grounds create an experience for everybody to enjoy. When we visited it was Easter time so colourful easter eggs were everywhere.

But its defiantly not just about the decor there’s also 2 cafes and a flower shop inside. The cafes themselves are an experience with cakes to die for! Good to note: it’s definitely not just a place that looks good, the food tastes good too! I recommend going with a completely empty stomach as there’s often a doughnut trailer and other treats hanging around too! 

I wouldn’t recommend a trip to The Grounds in full on Sydney storm but it’s definitely good for when its a little drizzly and grey. 

Enjoy a Pint in the Oldest Pub in Sydney

Filled with character and those who love a good pint or schooner is the Oldest Pub in Sydney otherwise known as, The Fortune of the War. Located in The Rocks why not take a book and ignore the foul weather outside. It’s a great spot to get refreshed and enjoy some well-brewed beer. The Rocks, in general, is full of wonderful pubs you can hop between! 

The oldest pub in Sydney
The Oldest Pub in Sydney!

Try some ‘Middle Eastern’ Inspired Dishes at Shuk

Located on Mitchell Street in the heart of Bondi is Shuk. A cafe infused with tastes from the Middle East. What I love about this place is, it’s different. If you’re looking for a decent Avo on toast or Eggs Benedict then anywhere you turn in Bondi is almost guaranteed to have it on offer. Shuk is different which I love! Their food is also delicious and with space to sit both inside and out you can hopefully find a spot indoors on a rainy day. It is popular so don’t be surprised if you do turn up to a full cafe. But don’t sweat it, embrace the Aussie way of life and just relax elsewhere until a table turns up free.

Enjoy a Beverage at Opera Bar

Underneath The Opera House, you’ll find Opera Bar. The same kind of speaks for itself. It’s probably one of the most touristy bars in the whole of Sydney but it offers a drink with those incredible harbour views. You’ll find undercover seating and an inside area where you don’t get the views but you can keep dry or cool!

Things to Do Indoors in Sydney – Explore Bookstores! 

Sydney has some amazing bookstores and one or two double up as cafes making it even more worth it! Though I’m only going to share my two favourites there are heaps of bookstores to explore in Sydney come rain or shine! 

Gertrude and Alice 

An avid reader’s little slice of heaven on Bondi Beach. If you’re like me and easily get bored on the beach, unless I’m reading of course, then head up to Gertrude and Alice’s bookstore come cafe. The shelves are lined with every genre you can imagine, and the cafe does an excellent coffee and the tea is decent too – hard to come by in Australia, sorry. 

Either sit and enjoy a book with your hot drink or rummage the shelves for something to take away. Honestly, books cost a small fortune in Australia and if you look hard enough here you might find one that’s reasonably priced. In the UK we pay 7 GBP for a new paperback realise here on the other side of the world? You’re talking $30-40 15-20 GBP, to me it’s steep! 

Sappho Books and Wine Bar 

This is another little gem and a great thing to do indoors in Sydney. After checking out what titles they’ve got on the shelves, everything! Head into the cafe for coffee or wine and either read the afternoon away or play a board game! It was in this very cafe that Dave taught me how to play chess. And whilst I still have no idea what I’m doing it’s a very memorable afternoon that I treasure. The weather was crappy and it was just a blessing to spend time with each other away from the hustle and bustle of the city. 

If you only have 3 days or similar in Sydney you’re probably going to want to stick to the more ‘touristy’ areas of the city to make sure you see all it has to offer but if you have longer to stay definitely check this little space out in the suburb of Glebe! 

Green Square Library 

Green Square Library is a brand new state of the art library that’s opened up in Sydney, paired perfectly with a day at The Grounds of Alexandria as it’s just down the road! The architecture of the library is stunning and the reading room offers wonderful views. There’s also a very popular colourful backdrop that does make for great photo-taking too! The library is free to explore making it a great place to relax indoors in busy Sydney!

Scout out the Best Views of Sydney from Inside! 

Go up the Sydney Tower Eye 

Head up to the top of the Sydney Tower Eye for amazing views of the city below. There is plenty to do inside the tower from shopping and dining but the star of the attraction is seeing the city below! I recommend going up at night time if you do decide to because the city looks so much more magical when the lights are glistening! The observation deck is 250 metres above the city offering views for miles and miles! 

Tickets are cheaper online starting at $23.90 per adult. 

sydney tower eye
The views from up there will blow your mind!

Other Unique Things to Do Indoors in Sydney

Cork and Chroma in Surrey Hills

Honestly, I wish we had experienced this in Sydney! This is something I’ve come across very recently in Wellington, more on that after we’ve been to our class. Basically, grab a bottle of wine and some friends and let’s paint! These art classes are for anyone wanting to get a little creative on their next night out. Book online depending on which painting you’d like to have a go at and go along to the class. The company was created by husband and wife and has expanded all over Australia! 

Prices start at $30 depending on which painting you choose but that includes all of your supplies and canvas painting to take home at the end of the night!

Book your tickets here!

It’s a great way to get your creative juices flowing and I can’t wait for Dave and I to give a similar event a try in Wellington. I’m no painter but it’s all part of the fun, right? 

Indulge in the Shops in the Queen Victoria Building (QVB)

If you don’t like shopping then do not worry the Queen Victoria Building is somewhere everyone can appreciate. The QVB is my favourite building in Sydney by day and night. It was first built way back in the 1890s as a Municipal Market on a whopping scale. It was restored in 86 and to such a beautiful standard indeed. It’s one of Sydney’s most sought after shopping centres attracting people from all different walks of life. 

The Royal Clock in the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney
The Royal Clock in the QVB is certainly impressive and opens on the hour for all to enjoy!

Expect the designers, architectural buffs and tourists looking to watch the famous Royal Clock which opens and puts on a show every hour – A must-see inside the building. If you get the chance go back to see the QVB at night too as it’s lit up brilliantly and if you’re anywhere near Sydney at Christmas then you’ll want to go in and see the Christmas tree! 

Go Indoor Rock Climbing 

Okay, this list wouldn’t be complete with adding our true passion on the end! If you’ve followed me on Instagram or just here at Alicia Overseas then you may have noticed we rock climb, a lot. We’ve tried out all the climbing gyms in Sydney and we love Nomads Bouldering Gym in Glebe! Probably because its the exact style of climbing we love but there are plenty of others to choose from and the 9 Degree’s Gyms are very popular – they also have air conditioning which is exactly what the gyms need in the summertime! 

Explore the Indoor Things to Do in Darling Harbour 

Darling Harbour is a fun spot in Sydney with heaps to do but it can be very touristy, which why I’ve left it until last. There are plenty of indoor activities on the harbour like Madamme Tussauds and the Sealife Aquarium but I kind of think you can do those anywhere. But if you are looking to hide away from bad weather and aren’t too bothered about museums, books or anything else I mentioned above then go check the harbour out! Here are some of the best indoor things to do in Darling Harbour Sydney: 

  • Madamme Tussauds 
  • Sydney Sea Life Aquarium 
  • Australian National Maritime Museum 
  • Wild Life Sydney Zoo 
  • Powerhouse Museum 

Round-Up of Things to Do Indoors in Sydney

I hope that this post has given you a few ideas on how you can enjoy Sydney even when the weather may not be on your side. I have to admit Sydney is its best self when the sun is shining. There’s no better feeling than experiencing the beaches, Opera House and Harbour Bridge in the sunshine! But that doesn’t mean there isn’t fun to have! I highly recommend the Opera House Tour, Cafe/Bookstore Hopping, Rock Climbing and the Sydney Tower Eye! If you want to avoid the Sydney tourist traps then stay away from the Darling Harbour indoor actives I mentioned above – My opinion only!

If you did enjoy this post then I would really appreciate it if you could share it with your friends! I hope you enjoy Sydney and if you know of any other great things to do indoors in Sydney let me know! 

For more of my Sydney content take a look here!

Happy Travels, 

Alicia

13 Lessons I Learnt About Myself After Living in a Campervan!

13 Lessons I Learnt About Myself After Living in a Campervan!

When I think back to how I ‘holidayed’ a few years ago I can’t quite believe that now I’d rather pitch up a tent or spend a month in a campervan! I used to be quite the ‘all-inclusive resort’ kind of girl. But since jetting off to Australia I’ve found a love for being in the backcountry and that really began after our first campervan road trip! It’s coming up to a year since we rented our first house on wheels from Camperman Australia so to reminisce I thought I’d put together some of the lessons I learnt about myself after living in a campervan.

During our time in Australia, we hired two campervans both for around six weeks each.  We then hired one when we touched down in New Zealand for a month too! So all in all, though it might not have been consecutive, David and I have lived in a camper for three months. Living in a campervan is such an experience. It’s out with all the materialistic things in life, which we really don’t need, and into the wild.

Literally, your neighbours are likely to become mosquito’s and breakfast is served outside come rain, shine, wind or frost! 

I honestly had no idea how I’d cope with living in a van! I’m a lover of hot showers and nights curled up watching Netflix. I love a full fridge and having my own space to read, create and blog! Put all these things together and throw a campervan into the mix and you get, a tiny bar fridge, a living area, bedroom and toilet all in one and absolutely ZERO personal space! I had no idea whether it was going to be for me! 

Campervan in Australia showing one of the lessons I learnt about myself whilst living in a campervan
Another big lesson I learnt about myself whilst living in a campervan? I’m pretty good at improvising!

If I ask myself when I’ve been the happiest in my entire life, it’s those months in the campervan. 

Falling in Love with Life Outside 

Lucky for me I took to van life like the country girl I am at heart. I bloody well loved it! For the first time in my life, I felt freedom. Waking up in the mornings and feeling the cool air on my skin before doing anything else. Cooking breakfast on the hob and sitting outside with a book and a cup of tea.

Honestly, those campervan mornings were when I learnt the most about myself. It felt like we had all the time in the world probably because we were waking up with the sun. Waking up at 5 am honestly takes your day to a whole new level! Who knew there were so many hours in the day when you aren’t lazing around in bed until noon? 

Dave eating breakfast outside our campervan
A gourmet breakfast outside..

Of course, it isn’t just breakfast that’s ate outside. It’s every single meal, just sitting with Dave outside at the table chatting about the day, our travel plans, our life plans, it slaps a huge smile on my face just thinking about these moments! Our first trip in our campervan was actually the trip that really got me thinking about pursuing this blog as a career. I think it was because as I mentioned earlier I just felt completely free. My creativity was at an all-time high and I would love to be able to take regular campervan trips!  

Some Things I Didn’t Like About Living in a Campervan!

But like everything in life living in a campervan isn’t always plain sailing. I hated going to the toilet in the middle of the night! At age 25 I’m always up in the night and if I somehow manage to hold it in I am literally bursting at the seams come the morning. God help me when I have kids right?

The amount of dirt that gets inside the bed is also pretty gross. No matter how hard we tried bits of the ground, leaves, soil, dirt, bark always found their way inside! Storage space is also a little limited, especially for food! When we return to the UK and hopefully, buy our own campervan, storage space will be a biggie! 

I could honestly write separate posts on the pros and cons of living in a campervan. In fact, I think I’ll add those to the never-ending ‘blog post lists’ to write! But for now, I want to talk about the lessons I’ve learnt about myself whilst living in a campervan. I had some real home truths come to light whilst living in the van and also some real ‘this is me’ moments. That probably makes no sense but just keep reading to find out the lessons I learnt about myself, things I may have never discovered if we hadn’t taken these minimalist van life trips! 

13 Lessons I Learnt About Myself After Living in a Campervan 

I Can Be a Morning Person

Ask anybody close to me and they’ll tell you I’m not a morning person.  My mum still doesn’t speak to me until I’ve had my first cuppa of the day. Back in Sheffield, I used to sleep in until 11 am on my days off work. Even when we first got to Australia I was still enjoying lazing around until 10ish and then wondering why I ‘had no time to blog’. But after living in a campervan and being woken up by the sun every morning, it proved that I could get up early and actually enjoy it. In fact, on our trip getting up and having a brew outside first thing in the morning was my favourite part of the day. 

The Sun is the Best Alarm Clock

Continuing from my previous point, the sun is the best and only alarm clock we should ever need. It’s not natural for our bodies to be startled awake by a painful jingle harrowing into our eardrums. It’s no wonder so many of us feel like getting up after we’ve been brutally disturbed from our beauty sleep by such a noise! Waking up naturally because of the light allowed my body to feel like it had woken itself up and was ready to conquer the day.  

sunset view from the back of the campervan
Sunsets from the van are pretty great too…

I Don’t Need as Much Personal Space as I think!

I love my own space. Until this trip, I was certain that I needed my space to stop myself becoming anxious and a little crazy. Of course, I still love having space and time to myself but I realised on this trip that I wasn’t craving it as much as I thought I would. Maybe it’s because I love my partner dearly and we can happily spend 24 hours a day 7 days a week together. My idea of personal space changed from needing hours by myself to having a cup of tea by myself before Dave got up. Or taking a short walk to the local coffee shop to return with coffee and a pastry. Perhaps it was just because spending so much time outside did wonders for my mental health and I was in a clearer headspace. 

I Can Live Without Netflix 

I’ve always been more of a reader than a television watcher but when I start a series on Netflix I find it so hard to switch off! I’m often late to bed and tired the following day after watching way too many episodes of Gossip Girl! Living in a van forced me to open those books on a night because I didn’t have Netflix as a distraction. 

Mornings Outside Are the Best Way for Me to Start the Day 

Being outside first thing in the morning allowed me to be in such much more relaxed/mindful headspace. I took time to reflect on the past few days, think about the day ahead and other aspects of my life. Spending so much time outside in the early AM prepared me for a much more productive day. I try and adopt these practices whilst not living in a van but I must admit it’s hard with day to day life, living in the city with no outside space. 

One of my favourite sunrises from a freedom camping spot in New Zealand
One of my favourite sunrises from a freedom camping spot in New Zealand

Note to Self: I must try and get out early for morning walks more. 

TMI Alert – I Love David So Much

Prepare for some mega cheese right here! I knew this already but as a couple, I was so interested to see what living in a campervan would be like! There is literally no space to get away from each other and no matter how much you love someone that can be a lot! But for Dave and I, life was no different. We didn’t argue, we didn’t get sick of each other, we agreed on most things. Being so close to one another at all times had no negative impact on our relationship. We’ve always lived in each other’s pockets since we met but being such a tiny space together was something new for us! It just made realise how lucky I am to have met someone and have that kind of relationship!

If you want to test your relationship then van lie could be a great way – if you can live in a van together you can do ANYTHING!

Things Don’t Buy Happiness

Whilst travelling around the world for the last 15 months we haven’t really had all the material things that we had back home but we still bought things we didn’t need. Campervan life is so stripped back and proved to me that I don’t need all that aesthetic and materialistic stuff. Google home? I can live without you. TV? Yep, I can live without you too! I realised that a lot of the time we buy things to distract ourselves from other things going on in our minds and sometimes we just buy shit because we can! Money is so much more valuable when spent on experiences, not things! 

I Could Go Vegetarian 

I’m not a veggie and I’ve never considered it. Not because I can’t live without meat I’d just not ever mindfully thought about it. But if someone asked me I think I’d always say ‘I could never go veggie’ but I definitely could. During our campervan life we hardly ever ate meat. Our meals never consist of much meat, mainly because of our backpacker budget and meat costs a fortune in Australia.  It certainly got me thinking about continuing to reduce how much meat we eat in the future. 

I can be SO Lazy!

Confession time, sometimes I can be a lazy sod! The number of times I was sat in the van holding my bladder because it was cold outside or not showering because it was too far from the van. After a week I started cutting it out because I was. Recognising that I was just being lazy and I  hate lazy people! 

Campervan parked up
Just another campervan shot…

Things I can’t Live Without

Living in a campervan definitely gives you an idea of what you can’t live without in life. Here I’m talking about things rather than people. The things I learnt that I can’t live without whilst living in a van are:

  • Books – I already knew this but it just made it more apparent. I can live without TV but not my books. They help me escape to a fictional reality and just relax.
  • Tea – I’m a typical Brit and I could not live with TEA EVER! 
  • A Dressing Gown – I love being warm and if I could live in my dressing gown I would. I got rid of it before our campervan trip and it’s safe to say I don’t think I’ll be parting with it again! 
  • Pen and Paper – We rely on technology so much these days but when the WIFI is crap and signal non-existent a good old fashioned pad and papers brings such joy. From playing games to writing life lists I’ve always got paper and pens with me wherever I go!
Making a cup of tea in our campervan
Just give us tea and we are happy people!

I Don’t Need a Shower Everyday…

Showering kind of goes out of the window especially when you’re freedom camping in New Zealand! Freedom camping is when you don’t pay for campsites you just camp in public places. It’s great because it saves so money but it can be pretty gross! I think the total days we went without showering was maybe four or five – I’m cringing just writing this out but it’s the truth! 

I’m a lot better in traffic! 

Some, David, may not agree with this but sometimes whilst living and travelling in campervan timing doesn’t work out. Some days you need to stop more, sometimes the traffic is horrendous and there ain’t nothing you can do about it! I’m learning to be a lot more realistic and just embrace it when our plans and schedule go a little off course. 

I CAN drive something bigger than a Fiat 500 

When we took our first road trip in a camper from Cairns to Sydney I was bricking it. As the only driver between us, it was up to me to get us from A to B in a huge home on wheels! Before moving to Australia I owned and drove a Fiat 500, one of the smallest cars around. I adored it,  I could whip into just about any parking space and squeeze down many a cramped side street! But I was terrified about driving this long, tall and narrow-hunk of metal around. Turned out driving is the same in any car its spacial awareness that’s different but so far I’ve driven 3 of these beasts with zero issues. GO ME. 

I can also drive and automatic and now I believe that manual cars no longer need to exist. 

Sharing is Caring

I hope you enjoyed this little insight into the lessons I’ve learnt about myself whilst living in a campervan! Living in a vehicle is a great way to discover what you really want and need from life.  Whenever I’m curating life goals I’m always taken back to our trips on the road. They are my happiest times and I honestly believe it’s got a lot to do with, minimalism, being outside, cooking outside and being forced (due to ropey phone signal) to spend time offline. Don’t get me wrong I know I couldn’t live in a campervan full time but it’s my favourite way to travel for an extended trip. I reckon three months in a campervan right now would be my limit. 

I hope you enjoyed this post, I know it’s a little different from my usual posts but I honestly love writing more about my thoughts and opinions. I’m going to start writing more of these posts on my blog. So please, if you did enjoy this post please let me know by leaving a comment, DM on Instagram, or email! I would also love to know if you didn’t enjoy it too but please be kind! 

Happy Travels, 

Alicia 

19 Fun Things to Do in Agnes Water & 1770 – Don’t Skip These Towns in Australia!

19 Fun Things to Do in Agnes Water & 1770 – Don’t Skip These Towns in Australia!

Agnes Water and the town of 1770 are located in Central Queensland not far from the Southern Great Barrier Reef. These two sleepy coastal towns brought us calm and beauty during our east coast road trip. I’d read awesome things about Agnes Water so made sure I included it in our road trip itinerary and I’m so glad.  Road trips in Australia are epic but also exhausting. Drives are long with not much to look at in-between destinations. We’d driven for 8 hours to reach Agnes Water from Airlie Beach, which FYI I do not recommend doing, and we were welcomed by a charming town with a heavy sense of relaxation in the atmosphere. We spent two perfect days in these towns so I’m sharing the best things to do in Agnes Water in this post. 

Where is Agnes Water?

Agnes Water is found in Central Queensland on the coast about 80 kilometres from the Bruce Highway. If you’re driving the east coast of Australia then you’ll get to know the Bruce Highway very well. Basically, two-way traffic for miles and miles and miles and miles, get the picture? The easiest way to get to Agnes Water is to drive. In fact, the best way to see the east coast is to self drive the whole thing. We rented a campervan for 6 weeks to drive from Cairns and Sydney the experience was epic, it was our first experience of van life and not one I’ll ever forget. The nearest cities from Agnes Water are Bundaberg a little further south and Gladstone/Rockhampton slightly north. 

If you don’t drive then the Grey Hound coach does stop in Agnes Water. The Grey Hound coach is a popular way that travellers backpack around Australia. It’s popular with those looking to save some $ on accommodation as they have a lot of services running through the night. For more information on the Grey Hound experience take a look at this post. Unfortunately, I can’t comment as I’ve never been on board!

Why Visit Agnes Water and 1770?

These two coastal gems are a beautiful getaway from the busy tourist areas of the Australian east coast. Don’t get me wrong, these places can be busy and are still popular with tourists however, a lot of travellers tend to skip past these beauties. Don’t be one of them because there are plenty of fun things to do in Agnes Water. If you enjoy relaxing, wildlife spotting, markets, beach days, surfing, cute cafes, then Agnes Water and 1770 will be worth popping your Australian bucket list.

I also found it a great spot to regather myself during our road trip too. Since arriving in Cairns our road trip was epic and we did amazing activity after amazing activity. Swam the Great Barrier Reef,  Explored the Daintree Rainforest, Sailed The Whitsundays and drove over 1000 kilometres. Though we were having the time of our lives it was a weekend of a slower pace which was essential. It’s a great stopping point after the Whitsundays and before the likes of Fraser Island and Noosa. 

Things to Know Before Visiting Agnes Water

Okay, this is just one thing to note but I think it’s pretty important there is ZERO mobile. phone reception. It’ll depend on what network you are within Australia but we were with Vodafone, a popular network and we got nothing. Nada, zilch. Which was wonderful and meant we could totally switch off and have a present weekend! But I just thought I’d mention so that of you planning on working or need a mobile phone reception, you can do some research before visiting Agnes Water. 

19 Things to Do in Agnes Water 

So what is there to do in Agnes Water? Well, from relaxing on the beach, bushwalking and sailing to fishing and explore boutique shops, there is something for everyone to enjoy! It’s also a great little spot for families wanting to enjoy a weekend on the coast. Agnes Water is a popular holiday spot for local Aussies as well as tourists.

1. Relax on the Beach!

Agnes Water has a great main beach which is perfect to spend an afternoon in the sun on. The sand is golden brown and actually reminded of the UK beaches for a little moment. Most of the beaches in Queensland we’d seen so far were bright white giving them that tropical feel. Australia has some of the best beaches in the world and the beach at Agnes Water is definitely a lovely way to spend the afternoon.

hire a surf board at agnes water one of the best things to do in agnes water
Definitely not a beginner board..

2. Hire a Surfboard

Hire a board and go into the waves. Agnes Water is the most northerly surf in Australia where the water is considered ‘safe’ for surfers. Make sure you check the weather report before deciding to hire a surfboard if you’re surfing on your own out there. But for those experienced surfers, Agnes Water has some epic breaks to enjoy. It’s also great fun to watch the surfers on the waves. Imagine a row of campers with surfers walking around surfboard under the arm and wispy hair flowing – honestly, I’m not being stereotypical there were so many blond Aussie surfers around!

You can hire surfboards from various spots in Agnes Water and 1770:

Lazy Lizard
Surfy Nomads
Reef 2 Beach

3. Take a Surf Lesson

If you’re not a pro surfer then why not. Join in any way and take a surfing lesson! The shops I mentioned above all run surf lessons too! We didn’t learn to surf in Agnes Water but we did on Bondi Beach and it was a great experience! I’m a little scared of deep water and I HATE saltwater in my eyes but surfing has completed wiped those fears! It’s so much fun and I can’t explain how awesome I felt about myself once I stood up on that board!

Learning to surf is one of the best things to do in Agnes Water especially if you’re travelling on a budget. Surfing isn’t a cheap experience and on Bondi Beach, we definitely paid for it at just under $100 each for a couple of hours! At Agnes Water, you can learn to surf for just $25 for three hours with Reef 2 Surf – big sigh from me as I type that! Expect whichever lessons you take to start from $25 and be as expensive at $100 depending on what kind of surf lessons you opt for. 

me surfing on bondi beach
This is my first ever surf lesson – it is on Bondi Beach but I just had to share cause it lights me up!!!

4. Visit 1770

1770 is a small town just minutes along the coast from Agnes Water. It will literally take 15 minutes by car. The walk is about 1.5 hours so doable if you do want to visit 1770. 1770 is actually written as Seventeen Seventy in the town not in number form so I guess I’m writing it all completely wrong on here but it’s a lot easier in my opinion! I always see it written like ‘1770’ online too – perhaps it’s the lazy internet age taking over? 

5. Grab a Morning Coffee and Cookie at the Marina Cafe

The Marina Cafe in 1770 is the perfect spot for a morning coffee. We sat outside and it just felt so local and authentic. We had a giant cookie which was delightful but honestly, the breakfasts looked so good too! We had to fight it not to order – budget travels and all that! 

6. Take a trip on the LARC!

LARC tours are a unique thing to do whilst in Agnes Water and 1770! Imagine gliding through the waves on a big pink boat and you’re halfway there! The crew at LARC run various around the southern reef. Choose from a full day tour or. Just an afternoon cruise with lunch included. The tours aren’t cheap starting at around $140 per person. But still one of the most fun things to do in Agnes Water! 

7. Visit Horizons Kangaroo Sanctuary

This was my favourite part of Agnes Water. Horizons Kangaroo Sanctuary is run by Agnes Water locals at their beautiful home on the top of a pretty impressive hill. Kangaroos are everywhere around these coastal towns. If you’re driving at night or even walk I can guarantee you’ll see some bopping around. Horizons Kangaroo Sanctuary takes in orphaned and injured joeys and nurse them back to health before realising them back out into the wild. It’s so beautiful.

We actually stayed at the campsite at the sanctuary which they run in their back garden to help fund the work they do for the joeys. It really is heartwarming and waking up with joeys was just incredible. I can’t recommend this place more if you’re camping or in a camper van! 

horizons kangaroo sanctuary
What cuties to wake up to!

8. Enjoy the Boutique Shops

Agnes Water has plenty of cute boutique shops to enjoy during your visit. the fancy clothes shops are of which are way out of my travelling price range, is one of my fave things to do in a new town! The shops in Australia are all super gorgeous especially the boohoo chic style you find in the coastal towns. Bondi Beach in Sydney is HEAVEN for any fashion/accessories shopaholic out there! 

9. Take a Trip to Lady Musgrave Island

Lady Musgrave Island is just a short boat ride away from Ages Water. Lady Musgrave Island is one of the only islands in the Great Barrier Reef where you can snorkel and then sleep overnight onboard vessel in the same spot! 

10. Dive on Lady Musgrave Island

Always wanted to dive on an Australian drop-off? Well, Lady Musgrave Island might be just your place then! Personally, I’m too much of a chicken too dive but if I wasn’t and one day when I decide to conquer my fear of being in deep deep water with only an oxygen tank to save me, I’d go all out and visit the Musgrave Drop-off! The drop-off on Lady Musgrave Island sounds incredible. The reef drops from 10 metres to 25 forming a beautiful wall of coral life.

A bonus about visiting this spot as opposed to the Great Barrier Reef for diving? Well, do I really need to go into it? The Great Barrier Reef is amazing. The marine life, the coral and the tours are fantastic but it gets so much traffic, and by traffic I mean other tourists who want in on the action, myself included! We spent a full day on the Great Barrier Reef departing from Cairns and we loved it, I was amazed at the sight of the coral and I thought it was sparkling despite what people may say.

It wasn’t until we sailed the Whitsundays and snorkelled a little further down the coast that I realised just how much traffic the reef nearer to Cairns gets. My previous definition of a ‘sparkling’ reef has been outshone massively by. What I got to experience in the Whitsundays! What I’m trying to say is here, sorry about all the ramble, is that less visited reefs are the better to enjoy! For memories, experience and of course the impact that we humans have on the coral life. I honestly think parts of the reef need shutting down to tourists for a while.

12. Butterly Walk in 1770

The Butterfly Walk in 1770 is perfect for the nature lovers amongst us. Starting at the Captain Cook Monument this walk follows the. Headland around to spectacular views of the ocean and coastal bays. The walk is fairly easy at just 1.2 km in distance but the main attraction is the blue tiger butterflies who visit seventeen seventy during their migration. 

13. Paperbark Trail Agnes Water

This trail is also a fairly easy walk and one of the most interesting! It’s only 400 metres but you’ll enjoy stepping stones and broad walks. Along the way! Again, keep your eyes peeled above and on the ground for Aussie natives hanging around! 

14. Red Rock Walking Trail 

If the hiker in you is literally bursting at the seams then tackle the Red Rock walking trail! You’ll need an afternoon to complete the track and maybe even longer in the summer heat. It’s only 2.5 kilometres but does cover some difficult terrain. That compared with hot Aussie days and this trail might just take. A little longer than your average 2.5-kilometre stroll. 

15. Kayak the Ocean 

Kayaking is also very popular in 1770 and Agnes water and you can even take a kayak tour if you wish. There are multiple companies that hire and run kayak tours including a sunset tour! I actually wished we’d had enough time to do t his on our trip to Agnes Water! The tours aren’t too expensive either starting at $30 per person depending on which tour you select. For more information on hiring a kayak or taking a tour then check out this website and tour company.

If you do plan on taking a kayak tour make sure you check the weather before hitting Agnes Water because sometimes they. Won’t run if the weather isn’t up to scratch! 

16. Visit the Agnes Water Museum

I wouldn’t get too excited about this one but if you’re a history buff or maritime fanatic then you might want to check out the Agnes Water Museum. The museum pays tribute to the rich aboriginal past at Agnes Water and the Discovery Coast. Agnes Water museum has been collecting maritime pieces since 1952 and even includes a copy of Captain Cooks log book. It costs just $3 per adult and children go free!

sunset from Horizons kangaroo sanctuary
Another reason to visit Horizons Kangaroo Sanctuary – epic sunset views!

17. Take a Scooteroo Motorcycle Tour

During our weekend in Agnes Water on both days, we watched what felt like hundreds of motorcycles whizz around on the roads. At first, I presumed it was a bike club enjoying the open coastal road after all the views of the Queensland coast are awe-inspiring. Turns out you can actually take a motorcycle tour around Agnes Water and 1770! Starting at $85 a day I can’t think of a much better way to enjoy the views than with a bit of adrenaline pumping through your veins too!

18. Cycle Hire

If you don’t have a car then hiring a bicycle in Agnes Water could be perfect to go between the main beach and seventeen seventy. Hiring a bike starts at $20 for 4 hours and just $30 for all-day which I don’t think is too bad for Aussie prices!

19. Eurimbula National Park

Just a short 14 kilometre drives from the main towns is Eurimbula National Park. Find more sublime beaches and bushwalks in the national park. If you’re flash and have your own boat then you can take it out from the national park if you fish. Canoeing, kayaking and fishing are also allowed inside the park. But make sure you proceed with care because there are crocodiles in the water and marine stingers so make sure you do your research first and check this website for any wildlife alerts!

Where to Stay in Agnes Water

There are plenty of accommodation options to choose from in both 1770 and Agnes Water. When choosing accommodation to think about the things to do in Agnes Water and how close to the beach you want to be. We stayed at Horizons Kangaroo Sanctuary which was about a 15-minute drive from the beach which was perfect for us. But if it’s likely you’ll want an ice-cold beer after a long day in the Queensland sunshine then perhaps somewhere a little more central might be better!

Agnes Water Hostels $

There are plenty of hostels to choose from even for such a small coastal town! You’ll find your usual YHA is very popular with travellers as is, Cool Bananas and Backpackers at 1770. The prices for different rooms vary as always. For a bunk in a dorm, you’re looking at $23 upwards per night.

Booking.com

Camp Sites $

There are a few campsites around for those enjoying the Australian east coast by campervan too! The only one I can recommend if Horizons Kangaroo Sanctuary because it’s the only campsite we stayed it. It costs just $20 which was one of the cheapest sites we stayed on in Australia. Staying there also helps the owns keep their joey rehabilitation programme going which is so important!

Hotels and Air BnB $$

If you’ve got a little bit more cash to play around with then there are plenty of hotels, bed and breakfasts and Air BnB options available here too! I find you always get a more local authentic experience with Air BnB hosts especially if they have useful tips on the area! But if I don’t book with Air BnB then I always book with Booking.com to get the best deal and they often have a handy cancellation free of charge up to 24 hours before. Having travelled for the past 15 months I know how quickly and unexpectedly travel plans can change!

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19 Fun Things to Do in Agnes Water! Agnes Water and the town of 1770 may be small coastal towns but both are beautiful! We spent the most relaxing weekend in Agnes Water. It was filled with beaches, surf boards, kangaroos and baby joeys being rehabilitated! It was a haven away from the madness on the East Australia Coast! I've put together 19 awesome things to do in Agnes Water that you just don't want to miss! #agneswater #australia #travel #travelguide #eastcoastaustralia

I hope you enjoyed this guide on fun things to do in Agnes Water! I really hope you don’t skip out on these two gorgeous coastal towns – you won’t regret spending some time here I promise! If you’re just starting to plan your Australian adventure then check out some more of my posts on Australia here and for my full itinerary driving from Cairns to Sydney go here! If you did enjoy this post I would be so grateful if you could share it with your friends!

Happy Travels!

Alicia

The Best Day Trips from Cairns Australia

The Best Day Trips from Cairns Australia

Cairns Australia is one beautiful place and you can take some amazing day trips from Cairns! I had no idea what to expect when we touched down at the teeny tiny airport ready to commence our Australian east coast road trip! I’d heard that Cairns gets the big thumbs up from a lot of backpackers because of its insane nightlife. Now call me a granny but my clubbing days are well and truly behind me so I was sceptical to whether we would really enjoy Cairns, given we wouldn’t be participating in staying out until 3 am.

Luckily, Cairns exceeded all of our expectations set the bar high for our road trip! As well as spending two days in the city of Cairns, one day on the Great Barrier Reef we also took two-day trips from cairns. In this post, I’ll be giving you low down on the best day trips from Cairns! If you love chasing waterfalls and jumping in lakes then these day trips will be right up your alley! 

The Gateway to the Ocean and Rainforest

Cairns is the city where the rainforest meets the reef. You’ve got. The Daintree rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef both easily accessible from Cairns, which is what makes this city so popular! Both the Daintree and Great Barrier Reef are incredible places and I urge you to visit both! Snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef is one of the most fabulous experiences I’ve ever had. In fact, I think it was easily as epic as sailing the Whitsundays and our weekend on Fraser Island! The reef may not be as colourful as it once was but it still blew my mind! The views as you’re sailing out into the middle of the ocean when the reef comes into view is like nothing I’ve seen before. If you’re planning to visit Australia then the Great Barrier Reef has to be on your Australian Bucket List! 

Cairns Lagoon
Cairns Lagoon – Get ready for plenty more water selfies like this throughout this post!

Even though the reef maybe what made Cairns so popular it’s not the only amazing sight to see! The day trips we took from Cairns were so much fun! We spent a full day exploring waterfalls and another one jumping into lakes in the Atherton Tablelands.

The Best Day Trip from Cairns – Places to Go

  • Atherton Tablelands
  • Yungaburra
  • Lake Eacham
  • Lake Barrine
  • Curtain Fig Tree National Park
  • Lake Tinaroo
  • Josephine Falls
  • Millaa Millaa Falls
  • Diner Falls and Crater

These are some of the best destinations to visit near Cairns. I’ve gone into details about each of these places below and it’s safe to say I recommend them all!

Driving into the Backcountry 

Before I get into some of the best day trips from Cairns in Australia a few things about the drives! The places mentioned in this post are located in the Atherton Tablelands. To get there the main highway is called the. Gillies Range and it is very windy with steep drop-offs! We managed to avoid on the way there but braved it on the way back. I must admit, although it was fine, it was a little scary! Just be sure to go very slowly around the bends especially in a campervan, those drops are big as! There are other routes so just take a look on your navigation device before you set off.

The backcountry is also very rural and there’s only a few gas station so just make sure you fill up before you go and at anywhere you pass. Don’t try to be savvy and wait until you pass a cheaper station and you just might not find one before having to push and nobody wants that on vacation do they?! 

Day Trips from Cairns – Lake Eacham and Lake Tinaroo 

Nestled into the Atherton Tablelands are three beautiful lakes which are 100% worth a visit. I actually didn’t know much about these lakes but they turned out to be awesome! The Atherton Tablelands is gorgeous the countryside is stunning. The hills roll for miles. It’s so refreshing to be back into the countryside and leave the coast behind for a day. Hopping between lakes in the Atherton Tablelands is a great day trip from Cairns, pack your swimmers and bring the kayak if you’ve got one! 

Lake Eacham 

The best lake in the Atherton Tablelands in undoubtedly Lake Eacham it was my favourite part about this day trip from Cairns. This crystal clear lake is situated in the Crater Lakes National Park. The lake is surrounded by lush green rainforest and if you could see if from above it literally looks like a crater in the middle of the rainforest which is pretty cool! The lake was created by a volcanic explosion many years ago, over the years the crater filled with water creating Lake Eacham. 

Lake Eacham
The gorgeous Lake Eacham!

Swimming in Lake Eacham 

Swimming is allowed in Lake Eacham, there were even people diving in the lake during our visit. The lake is deep but there’s also a ramp down to the water so you can even have a little paddle if you’re not a confident swimmer. If you do swim in the lake then make sure you bring some goggles! We didn’t have any and I was so gutted as there are so many fish in this lake. There are also turtles and we saw 3 baby turtles swimming around which was magical! 

baby turtle in lake eacham
Cutie???

Crocodiles in Lake Eacham 

Before visiting Lake Eacham it’s handy to be aware of the crocodile that lives in the lake! Yes, you can swim in the lake with Lake Eacham’s very own freshwater crocodile! It wasn’t until we got out that we heard some other travellers talking about it! It turns out that this crocodile has lived in the lake for years. This particular croc is known to be timid and never attacked any swimmers. As a rule, freshwater water crocodiles are very tame compared to the saltwater croc – you don’t want to meet one of those guys whilst swimming!

Be aware that there are plenty of saltwater crocodiles in the lakes of Far North Queensland so just be careful and only swim where swimming is permitted! 

Other Things to Do at Lake Eacham 

If you don’t fancy swimming on this day trip from Cairns then there are plenty of walks to enjoy at Lake Eacham. The Lake Circuit Track is a great walk to enjoy that’s accessible for all. This 3 km walk follows around the lake and is a great spot for spotting wildlife and enjoying views of the lake. Make sure you do stick to the track though because there are some prohibited areas which are clearly signposted! For more information on the walk take a look at this website. 

couple swimming in lake eacham
Just swimming with a freshwater croc..

Day Trips from Cairns – Lake Tinaroo 

Even though we spent just one day visit all three of the lakes you could easily spend a whole day at Lake Tinaroo. Lake Tinaroo is huge stretching over 3000 hectares! As well as being a beautiful landscape to enjoy the lake also supplied water to some of the neighbouring rural towns. Lake Tinaroo is a popular place enjoyed by locals and travellers. You can swim, kayak and enjoy various walking tracks around the lake. We actually stayed overnight at Lake Tinaroo and only had a few hours left of the day to enjoy the lake. I recommend having at least a whole afternoon to enjoy the beauty! The Lake Tinaroo Holiday Park is located upon the lake where you can rent boats and kayaks, they also sell gas if you end up running low! 

Lake Tinaroo
Lake Tinaroo!

Day Trips from Cairns – Yungaburra, Lake Barrine and Curtain Fig Tree 

Yungaburra

Yungaburra is a tiny village nestled in the heart of the Atherton Tablelands! The village may be small but it’s quaint and runs a market every weekend which has the locals from Cairns flocking in! Stroll around the streets enjoying the old feel of the village. You can also explore the Avenue of Honour a memorial honouring those who fought for Australia and New Zealand in the War.  

Lake Barrine 

Lake Barrine is another gorgeous lake! If someone told me how much I would love walking around and having lunch beside a lake when I was younger I’d have a lot more attention to the places my mum used to take me 😉 anyone else? Anyway, Lake Barrine is stunning. They have a cafe with a veranda that looks out onto the water and their cheese toasties are one of the best I’ve ever had (and I’m a toastie snob)! You can also take out a glass-bottom boat on the lake which you can find more information about here. 

Curtain Fig Tree National Park

the curtain fig tree in australia
The impressive Curtain Fig Tree!

The Curtain Fig tree is worth seeing on one of these day trips from Cairns! It’s only a short distance away from Lake Barrine. It’s one of those natural wonders you could just stare at for hours. This Curtain Fig Tree is huge! The fig tree has been around for over 500 years and started out as a single tree! Several branches then grow out of the tree’s branches and back into the ground and new trees then grew into it! You can see it’s quite impressive! 

Day Trips from Cairns – Waterfalls in the Atherton Tablelands 

We spent one of our day trips exploring three of the best waterfalls around Cairns. This actually wasn’t something we had planned which made our day trip even better! We actually saw heaps of leaflets advertising waterfall trails from Cairns. Most of them were included in tours but we decided to take a look at the waterfalls online and drive ourselves if they looked fun! As soon we started researching we were literally on our way into the backcountry of Cairns hunting down waterfalls. The three waterfalls we visited were: 

  • Josephine Falls 
  • Millaa Millaa Falls 
  • Crater Lake 
  • Diner Falls

    
        Booking.com

There are plenty more hidden waterfalls near Cairns but we knew that you could swim in these so thought if we stick to just a few we’ll have plenty of time. Travelling slowly is what Dave and I love! I’m so over rushing around places just to fit everything in. If we see less but enjoy the places we do see more then it’s totally worth it! So if you are thinking of taking a day trip from Cairns to chase waterfalls and want to fit more in then take a look at this post about the best waterfalls near Cairns! 

waterfall in cairns
Millaa Millaa Falls!

But if you decide just to visit these waterfalls then you certainly aren’t missing out. It actually took us all day to get around each of these falls. And no, it isn’t because I’m a slow driver. I recommend starting at Josephine Falls and ending at Diner Falls. You can swim in both Josephine and Millaa Millaa but not the Crater or Diner falls so it makes sense to visiting this last when it starts cooler and you start losing some light. 

I’m not going to go into too much detail about this day trip chasing waterfalls because I actually wrote a whole other post on it here!

But it’s honestly one of the best things to do near Cairns. Josephine Falls has an epic natural slide where you can throw yourself down and land in another section of the waterfall. Don’t be fooled as you watch kids throw themselves down, it’s actually scary as hell, you can tell by my terrified face on the footage below!

Millaa Millaa is a little more mellow but the water if gorgeous to swim into. Millaa Millaa was actually used for the Herbal Essence advert broadcast all over the world so expect to see people trying to get the perfect Instagram shot of them whipping their hair back! It’s pretty funny when the boys attempt it though! 

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Cairns is surrounded by an epic landscape so it’s worth taking one of these day trips to experience all that the region has to offer. We loved every moment of these trips as you can see by the photographs and hilarious videos! It’s also great to escape the coast. Being from the countryside myself I love being amongst country fields and the land. So many travellers come to Australia and explore only the coast but Australia is just as beautiful inland too! I hope you enjoyed this post on day trips from Cairns! If you did enjoy it I would love it if you could share it with your friends! 

For more of my posts about Australia then take a look here! Also make sure you subscribe to my monthly newsletter where I send out life updates, a round-up of blog posts and general travel tips/information! AND if you’re a fellow nurse like me then you might like these posts about travel nursing! 

Happy Travels!

Alicia