Things to Do in Sydney in Summer 2018-2019 – Attractions, Activities & More

With top rated beaches, perfect weather and a seemingly infinite amount of outdoor activities to keep you busy, it’s no surprise that summer is the perfect time to visit Sydney.

Just as we’re gearing up for a chilly winter over in the United States, Australian summer is just beginning in December. Average summer temperatures in Sydney range from 77-80°F during the day, making for fantastic sunny-and-75 travel days.

If you’re planning a visit and looking for things to do in Sydney in the summer 2018, check out our list of the top attractions and activities going on this year, including…

  • SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium
  • Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus Sydney and Bondi: 1-Day Classic Tour
  • The Sydney Opera House Tour
  • WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo
  • The Sydney Tower Eye with 4D Cinema Experience
  • Magistic Cruisemart 2-Hour Harbour Sightseeing Cruise
  • Sydney Jet – Thrill Ride
  • Blue Mountains Explorer Bus: Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
  • BlueBananas Electric Bike Tours
  • Bondi Surf: 2-Hour Surfboard & Wetsuit Rental
  • Madame Tussauds Sydney

Save on Summertime Activities

Regular admission to a number of these attractions are available on the Sydney Explorer Pass.

Choose as you go from popular attractions and save up to 45% on combined admission vs paying at the gate.

Check out all Sydney tourist passes, attractions and prices.

Please note, some of these special summer events may be separately ticketed and not available on the Sydney Explorer Pass.

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium

Head over to Darling Harbour and dive into an underwater world at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium.

Australia’s oceans are full of sea creatures that are unique to the Land Down Under. At SEA LIFE, you’ll be able to come face-to-face with sharks, fish and dugongs that you’ve never seen before!

Walk through a fish tank tunnel as sharks swim over head, hear about the folklore of the ellusive dugongs, and experience a day in the life of a penguin. And of course, visit the Great Barrier Reef Oceanarium for a quick trip to the largest and most famous coral reef in the world.

SEA LIFE’s immersive and hands-on exhibits combine a day of learning with a day of one-of-a-kind experiences.

Getting in: SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium tickets are included on Sydney Explorer Pass.

Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus Sydney and Bondi: 1-Day Classic Tour

See all of Sydney with ease. A Hop On Hop Off Big Bus Sydney tour will take you to every stop on your bucket list.

Aboard the open-air, double decker bus you’ll have the perfect view of all the iconic Sydney landmarks. Your tour guide will narrate the trip with a historical background of the city, its most notable sightseeing spots and plenty of fun facts.

The best part? You can hop on or off at any stop!

Disembark at Darling Harbour and explore the shops and restaurants. Hop off at the Sydney Opera House to explore the famous performance hall or stroll through the Royal Botanic Gardens. Since the tour will take you past all of the best Sydney spots, like the Sydney Tower Eye and Bondi Beach, it’s the perfect way to get everything on your must-see list done.

Getting in: Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus Sydney and Bondi: 1-Day Classic Tour tickets are included on Sydney Explorer Pass.

Sydney Opera House Tour

Tour the Sydney Opera House

Speaking of famous landmarks, this might be of the most famous figures in the world. A trip to Sydney is not complete without visiting the Sydney Opera House!

Aside from being a beautiful structure to look at, the Opera House is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a huge part of Sydney’s history. On this behind-the-scenes tour, you’ll learn all about the secrets of its 14-year creation, history and importance.

Your expert tour guide will bring you to gorgeous foyers, theaters and performance halls that host over 1,600 shows a year. Take a seat in the plush theater chairs, see the famous shell tile design up close and if you’re lucky, get a peak of a live rehearsal.

There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to the Sydney Opera House, which is something you’ll surely discover as you explore off-limits and little known areas of the complex.

Getting in: Sydney Opera House Tour tickets are included on Sydney Explorer Pass.

WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo

From ‘roos to wallabies, the WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo is full of a diverse range of Australian animals.

The ten distinctive habitat zones showcase some of Australia’s finest: kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, Tasmanian devils, pythons and a myriad of colorful birds and butterflies call the zoo home. Throughout the day, zookeepers put on animal feedings, shows and talks that provide more information about these unique species.

The best part about WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo is Koala Rooftop, where you can get up close and cuddly with the mascot of the Land Down Under. Have your picture taken as you cradle these furry little creatures.

Getting in: WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo tickets are included with Sydney Explorer Pass. Animal encounters and interaction may come at an additional fee.

The Sydney Tower Eye with 4D Cinema Experience

Recognizable by its gold façade, at 269-meters above ground, Sydney Tower offers spectacular views from the city’s highest point (and the second highest observation tower in the Southern Hemisphere).

A climb to the top of Sydney Tower Eye will provide you with views of the Harbour Bridge, Syndey Opera House and beyond. As you explore the glass-encased, 360-degree observation deck, make sure to check out the exhibits that detail the history of the building and Sydney’s Central Business District as a whole.

The tower also features a 4D movie experience that will take you on all-encompassing flight past Sydney’s famous landmarks.

Getting in: Sydney Tower Eye with 4D Cinema Experience tickets are included on Sydney Explorer Pass.

Magistic Cruisemart 2-Hour Harbour Sightseeing Cruise

Magistic Sydney Harbour Cruise complimentary beverage

This Sydney Harbour Cruise is perfect for couples looking to spend a peaceful and romantic night together.

This two hour cruise will take you past all the major sites, including the Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge, and multi-million dollar waterfront homes. Sip on complimentary champagne and take in sweeping views of the skyline as you sail out into the harbor.

Getting inMagistic Cruisemart 2-Hour Harbour Sightseeing Cruise tickets are included on Sydney Explorer Pass.

Sydney Jet

Now this harbor ride is a bit different from the serenity of a Magistic Cruise. The Sydney Jet is perfect for the thrill-seeker in all of us.

Prepare to make a splash as you board this bright red vessel! The Sydney Jet will take you around the harbor at top speed, complete with 270-degree tailspins, fish tails, and power braking. Of course you’re bound to get wet, but not to worry – you’ll suit up in a water repellent poncho before the ride.

The Sydney Jet is the perfect way to see the harbor and have the most fun doing it. It’ll get your adrenaline pumping and will cool you down on a day under the hot Australian sun.

Getting in: Sydney Jet – Thrill Ride tickets are included on Sydney Explorer Pass.

Blue Mountains Explorer Bus

Tour the Blue Mountains on the Hop Off Hop On Bus

Australia is known for its range of outdoor activities. From some of the tallest mountain ranges, to tropical rainforests, to massive national parks and quarries, it’s a paradise for active nature lovers.

The Greater Blue Mountain Area, a World Heritage Site and popular hiking destination, is located about an hour outside of Sydney. The Blue Mountains are home to an abundance of Australian wildlife and include a mix of trails, river, lakes and valleys.

With the Blue Mountains Explorer Bus, you’ll have three full days to enjoy a narrated, hop-on hop-off tour to and from the mountains. You’ll be able to get on or off at 30 different stops, including Katoomba Falls, Scneic World, Echo Point, and the Three Sisters mountain range.

If you have an adventurous spirit, a trip up to the mountains is a must. It’s a great way to connect with the nature and wildlife of Australia.

Getting in: Blue Mountains Explorer Bus: Hop-On Hop-Off Tour tickets are included on Sydney Explorer Pass.

BlueBananas Electric Bike Tours

See parts of Sydney that you wouldn’t see on foot, bus, or car. With a BlueBananas Electric Bike Tour over the Harbour Bridge, explore more of Sydney than you thought imaginable.

This 1.5 hour tour covers 8 miles of Sydney’s landscape at a leisurely pace. You’ll start by biking over the bridge and heading to the other side of the city. Follow your guide to picturesque parks, beaches, and shops that the locals love.

Getting in: BlueBananas Electric Bike Tour tickets are included on Sydney Explorer Pass.

Bondi Surf: 2-Hour Surfboard & Wetsuit Rental

Surfer at Bondi Beach renting a surf board

Another quintessential Sydney spot is Bondi Beach. This pristine beach is consistently rated among the top beaches in the world, so there’s no way you can visit Sydney without spending a day here.

Bondi Beach is an Aussie favorite because it is well-known for its superior surf conditions, so do as the locals do and rent a board! Whether you’re an expert or an amateur, you’ll love the chance to catch some waves and get in on the Aussie way of life.

In addition to awesome surf and gorgeous beaches, Bondi is also home to many different shops and restaurants. You can really make a whole day of your trip here.

Getting in: Bondi Surf: 2-Hour Surfboard & Wetsuit Rental tickets are included on Sydney Explorer Pass.

Madame Tussauds Sydney

Take a trip to Hollywood right in Darling Harbour!

At Madame Tussauds Sydney, you’ll come face-to-face with your favorite celebrities of the past and present.

Take a selfie with former President Obama, sing with Michael Jackson, or spend some time with Katy Perry. The realities are endless when you’re surrounded by hundreds of celebrity look alikes.

Getting in: Madame Tussauds Sydney tickets are included on Sydney Explorer Pass.

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

December 26th, 2018

For the past 70 years, the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race has been a summer staple.

Watch as sailboats, yachts, catamarans and fishing boats race the 628 nautical miles between Nielsen Park in Sydney Harbour to Derwent River in Hobart.

Getting in: watch the race from anywhere on the harbor – it’s free!

Sydney Festival

January 9 – 27, 2019

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The world’s best and brightest performers and artists come together to create the eclectic Sydney Festival. From jaw-dropping contemporary ballet shows to epic art installations, the Sydney Festival is an art-lovers dream.

The festival spans from the Central Business District to Parramatta and includes a Festival Village in Hyde Park. In the village, you’ll find food booths, local-owned shops, great souvenir gifts and unique masterpieces of all kinds.

Famous spots around town like Sydney Town Hall and Sydney Opera House open their doors to festival-goers as well, with special events and performances throughout the month.

Getting in: certain Sydney Festival events are separately ticketed. Festival Village in Hyde Park is open to the public.

Australia Day 2019

January 26, 2019

Photo via

On January 26th every year, Australian’s come together to celebrate themselves and their country on Australia Day.

Similar to America’s Fourth of July celebrations, Australia day is a time to appreciate the history of the country and commemorate the arrival of the First Fleet from Great Britain. All day long, Sydney will be abuzz with different activities and special events.

Enjoy boat races in the harbor, street performances in the Central Business District, an air jet show and more.

Getting in: most Australia Day events are free to attend. Some may be separately ticketed.

Let’s Recap

So there you have it. Our picks for some of the top things to do in Sydney in the summer.

While we’ve briefed you with a pretty extensive list, there are many more Sydney attractions and popular events in the summer months.

Please note, the summer events taking place at some of these attractions may be separately ticketed and not included with the Sydney Explorer Pass.

Plan to visit some of these top attractions during your trip. Whether you are traveling with your family or a couple of friends, we’re sure you will have a great time.

The information contained in this post, to the best of the author's knowledge, was accurate at time of publishing. We do our best to ensure and maintain the accuracy of this information.