Posted February 15, 2022

10 Secret Spots to Visit in Sydney


Sydney, Australia, is the kind of glitzy city that opens up to you like a storybook: shimmering skyline, beautiful harbor, soft-sand beaches and all. While we think anybody should start with all the well-known highlights, like the Sydney Opera House (surely you’d recognize its iconic white-shelled roof) and the Harbour Bridge (hello, world’s tallest steel arch bridge), there are plenty of plot twists to discover.

Sydney Opera House, Photo by Unsplash

We gathered our top 10 picks of lesser-known—but still alluring—attractions. They’re all located within easy reach of Kimpton Margot Sydney (now open!). Housed in the former Sydney Water Board Building, a heritage-listed 1930s Art Deco revival, the new hotel will sing with bold style. Along with 172 guestrooms and suites, it’s set to entice travelers with a rooftop swimming pool, sun-filled conference and event spaces, and innovative culinary experiences. There’s no better place to start and end a day filled with the following adventures.

For local flavor
Paddington Markets
Every Saturday at 10 a.m., more than 150 designers, craftspeople and artisans fill the grounds of Paddington Uniting Church and prove that Sydney has quite the creative streak. From handmade soaps and handbags to bonsai trees and bread, the selection will make you happy you brought a spare suitcase. Don’t miss the international food hall, where locally made chocolate is a highlight.

Taronga Zoo, Photo by Unsplash

For Instagram inspo
Taronga Zoo
With some of the best views of Sydney, the Taronga Zoo has plenty of Insta ops, including a breathtaking view of giraffes with the Harbour Bridge. They are also home to five new African lion cubs and an exclusive koala encounter (which is a must when in Australia!). The Taronga Zoo team also leads conservation efforts and help establish insurance populations for species threatened in the wild.

For a history fix
Hyde Park Barracks
Set in the old convict barracks from the 18th century, this “living museum” illustrates what early colonial life was like in Australia. Immersive, multi-media experiences have been based on accounts from early settlers, historical information, artifacts and historical re-creations, resurrecting the past through a fresh and cutting-edge lens.

Kimpton Margot Sydney

For a breath of fresh air
Federation Cliff Walk
This five-kilometer trail from Watsons Bay to Dover Heights puts you seemingly on top of the world. Get panoramic views of the coast and Tasman Sea from sandstone cliffs. You’ll also meander through beautiful parklands and open spaces, and cross an architecturally impressive timber walkway with viewing platforms. To get there, take a ferry into Watsons Bay and walk to the starting point in Robertson Park.

For an island adventure
Cockatoo Island
Sydney’s largest island was once used to house convicts and is now a UNESCO World Heritage and National Heritage listed site. Over the years, it’s also been a shipbuilding yard and Commonwealth naval base. Being almost completely covered in concrete, structures and industrial equipment, it offers a somewhat jarring yet insightful perspective on wartime and maritime history. The island is reachable via a 10-minute ferry ride.

Luna Park, Photo by Unsplash

For family fun
Luna Park
Old-school amusement park thrills are waiting at this soon-to-reopen fun zone. From a boomerang-style rollercoaster to a hot air balloon-themed sky ride, there is something for all ages. Go for the day and embrace the throwback vibe — evident in the shouts of excitement coming from the mega-slide and crash of the bumper cars.Take the ferry from Circular Quay- the kids will love going underneath the Harbour Bridge – for a different perspective jump on the train at Milson’s Point Station to go back over the bridge into the city.

For peace and tranquility
Wendy’s Secret Garden
Built over an abandoned train yard in Lavender Bay, this botanical wonderland guides you down winding gully paths and offers views of Sydney Harbour. It was created by notable local Wendy Whiteley, who drew inspiration for the landscape from the paintings of her late husband, Brett. Keep your eyes open for parrots, kookaburras and wagtails; the garden is a birder’s paradise.

For a great day trip
Blue Mountains
A two-hour train trip or drive west of Sydney, the Blue Mountains tempt outdoors lovers with one million hectares of tall eucalyptus forests, sandstone cliffs, canyons and waterfalls. Set out on one of the many bushwalking trails. Just be sure to hire a local Darug guide from Blue Mountains Walkabout; you’ll stay on course and also learn about the region’s rich Aboriginal heritage.

For an oceanside escape
Manly Beach
Of the scores of beaches in Sydney, this one has it all — and doesn’t get overly crowded mid-week. Take your pick of two scenes: a long, surfer-friendly beach facing the ocean, and a quieter, relaxation-sparking beach facing Sydney Harbour. They’re connected by the Manly Corso, a pedestrian mall lined with pubs, cafes, surf shops, galleries and street entertainment. If you’re keen for a more local hang-out, walk further to Queenscliff Beach, Shelly Beach or over the headland to the locals’ absolute favourite – Freshwater Beach.

For a culture break
White Rabbit Gallery
Solely focused on Chinese contemporary artworks produced after 2020, this provocative gallery is housed in a former Rolls Royce showroom. It also features a street-level teahouse, where you can get your teapot topped off as long as you’re thirsty.

Kimpton Margot Sydney, Now Open!