Sydney is one of the greatest cities in the world to be an adventurer. These 17 microadventures prove that Sydney still has hidden adventures waiting for you to find.
Hidden Adventures in Your Backyard
Without stumbling too far from your own doorstep you’ll be presented with an outdoor playground teeming with adventurous possibilities for anyone willing to explore it.
Don’t get us wrong, climbing the bridge and whizzing around the harbour on jet boats are both incredible experiences, but occasionally it pays to scratch a little at the surface to uncover some of the true gems that our city has to offer. For it’s then that you escape the crowds and delve deep into the realms of nature and discovery.
Nearly all of these suggestions are completely free and within the Sydney metropolis, but all are guaranteed to quench your wanderlust and send you back to your desks on a Monday morning with an ear-to-ear grin of satisfaction.
Read more: I Found A New Trail This Morning
1. Trek to Resolute Beach
Location – Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park
With hundreds of Sydney beaches to choose from, it can be challenging to find a hidden adventure where you can call your own for the day and stick your metaphorical flag into it. Resolute Beach is what you’ve been searching for.
Drive to the picnic ground on West Head Road and follow the walking trail through ancient caves and lush, unspoiled landscape to your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It’s isolated, it’s wild, it’s paradise. It’s also less than an hour from the CBD.
2. Hire Your Own Motorboat on Sydney Harbour
Location – Sydney Harbour
You’d assume that to self-drive a motorboat around the harbour you’d have to hold a suitable licence. Assumptions are the mother of all screw-ups.
Sydney Harbour Escapes are your fun facilitators here, and as their boats travel no faster than 10 knots all you need to bring along with you is a few mates, an esky of BBQ treats and some good old fashioned common sense. This is a great way to experience the nooks and crannies of the harbour in a truly unique way.
3. Urban Food Foraging
Location – Sydney
Dotted throughout Sydney are bountiful opportunities for the urban forager. From parklands to creeks, beaches to streets, if you’re feeling adventurous and have a desire to connect with your ancestral roots you should give this alternative hobby a go.
You may even bag yourself a free meal in the process! Blackberries, limes, wild fennel, seaweeds, asparagus, rosemary…you’ll be surprised by what you find out there. P.S. Trespassing’s for cheaters.
4. Sleep in a Cave
Location – Brisbane Waters National Park
Hidden away amongst spectacular scenery, Sydney has numerous cave escapes for anyone looking for an unusual weekend adventure. Whether you’re looking for something remote and intimate, or big enough to throw a cave rave, there’s a home for every kind of cave-dweller.
It really is surprising how ‘at home’ one feels sleeping in a cave, so dust down your loincloth and check out Curracurrang or Karloo Caves in the Royal National Park, or venture a bit further to Pindar Cave in Brisbane Waters National Park.
5. Surfing The Royal National Park
Location – Royal National Park
The congested mayhem of Bondi’s iconic waves can make surfing feel more like a game of dodgems than a fun day out.
For those feeling a little more adventurous, pack up the car and drive an hour south to Garie Beach in the Royal National Park. Leave the car there and walk over the southern headland to North Era Beach, odds are you’ll find a wave to call your own there.
6. Inflatable Packrafting in Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park
Location – Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park
For those willing to discover an untouched adventure playground, there lies a seemingly endless network of winding rivers and hidden waterways just north of Sydney at Ku-Ring-Gai National Park. The coolest way to explore them? Buy an inflatable boat, drive to where the road ends, walk to the river, pump up and paddle!
7. Go Horse Riding in The Hunter Valley
Location – Hunter Valley
Less ‘wild’ and more ‘wild west’, horse riding in the Hunter is a blast, especially if you throw in a visit to a winery (or three) and a night out under the stars.
8. Explore Abandoned Railway Tunnels
Location – Royal National Park
Between 1884 and 1886 a complex series of railway tunnels were built between Waterfall and Otford within the rugged wilderness of the Royal National Park. Now abandoned, it’s possible to explore these eerie remnants of the cities past. They’re a photographer’s dream-world so don’t forget your camera, and a torch!
9. Snorkelling With Sharks in Manly
Location – Manly Beach
Some might say you’d be ‘madder than a bag of frogs’ for even contemplating this adventure. However, Shelly Beach is a popular diving and swimming spot with sharks there that would be frightened to give you a tickle.
It’s Sydney’s only Aquatic Reserve, so aside from seeing Dust Whaler, Wobbegong, and Port Jackson Sharks, you’re likely to bump into a host of beautiful marine life such as stingrays, cuttlefish and eastern blue gropers.
10. Go For a Wild Swim
Location – Collin’s Beach Waterfall
If following lane dividers at your local swimming pool is getting a little tedious, then it’s probably time you tried wild swimming.
A wild swim adventure is about finding a remote river, lagoon, waterfall, or lake; basically anywhere that’s completely entombed by nature to ensure a seriously chlorine-free experience.
11. Camp Near The Sea Cliff Bridge
Location – Coledale
Did you know that you can camp down near the Sea Cliff Bridge, right on an epic surf beach, only 1.5 hours (if that!) from Sydney? You can. Do it.
12. Seek Out Historical Cave Paintings at Maiyingu Marragu Aboriginal Reserve
Location – Wolgan Valley
The cave paintings in Blackfellows Hand Cave remain protected from the elements and offer a glimpse into Australia’s cultural history. Walk quietly through the ancient rock pagodas and leave time to really appreciate this special place.
13. Spot Wild Koalas Without Leaving Sydney
Location – Western Sydney
Catching a glimpse of the iconic Aussie native, the koala, can be a bit of a faff. Luckily Matt ‘n’ Kat have found the perfect place to up your chances. You can even reach it by train!
14. Seek Out Glow Worms, Ruins, Rocky Cliffs, And Stunning Valleys at Newnes
Location: Newnes – Wolgan Valley
If driving down mysterious dirt roads to intriguing ruins is your thing (I think it’s everyone’s thing?) then a trip to Newnes should be top of your list. Take the trip over the Blue Mountains to the Glow Worm Tunnel (you can even ride there) or make it a weekender at the free campground.
15. Explore Conjola Beach And its Coastal Rainforest
Location – Conjola Beach, Shoalhaven
The Narrawallee Creek Nature Reserve takes in the protected coastline between Ulladulla and Lake Conjola. There are dunes, wetlands, and coastal forests to explore, as well as spots to swim, fish, and spot kangaroos. Go midweek and you’ll probably have it all to yourself!
16. Go Bouldering at Palm Beach
Location – Palm Beach
Bouldering in summer can be a bit of a task, so maintaining close proximity to water is a must. The boulders at Palm Beach are right on the sand, perfect for an early climb, a dip, and brunch!
17. Take a 5-9 Mid-week Microadventure
Location: Royal National Park – or anywhere you can reach after work and be back in time for the next morning!
What could be more rogue than leaving work with a stonkin’ great pack on your back, ready to sleep wild in the middle of the week? Shake up your everyday and reclaim your weeknights with a mid-week microadventure. This one’s accessible by train but the possibilities are endless.