Winter in Sydney

Despite being well known for our love of sunshine and beaches, Australia has more to offer than a warm climate and spending time playing in the sun, surf and sand. Winter in Australia is not typically a season that people would plan to visit Australia, when the days are shorter and darker. Australians’ behaviour changes in winter and the laid back lifestyle is left behind as irritability and moody, winter blues set in.

WinterinSydney004Image by ~ Waterbaby

Winter in Australia sees many struggle with the bad habits the season brings, like sleeping in and overeating. The inactivity of going to the gym less and staying indoors watching Netflix re-runs results in many caring less about their appearance and gaining weight.

WinterinSydney007Image by ~ Binspired2

But that’s not how it has to be and some places come to life in the cooler months.

Sydney is one such city that lures you outdoors and if you prefer cold to heat the absolute best time to visit is June to August, the Australian winter. Sydney winter is generally not harsh, making it great for setting out on foot in the city or bushwalking in the nearby Blue Mountains. If you google “accommodation Sydney” you can find many hotels to suit your style and budget in the popular Darling Harbour, City Centre, The Rocks or Sydney Harbour areas or the gorgeous Blue Mountains are only 90 minutes.


Image by ~ Michelle Karaman-Jones

The city centre offers a chance to escape the winter rain with a spot of high end shopping in an arcade with grand old, graceful shopfronts that fills an entire city block. At The Queen Victoria Building you can take a tour of this historic, beautiful shopping complex. Shop from the underground Victoria’s Secret or pop up to the top floor that was previously the Grand Ballroom for the epitome of style and quality, high tea. If that is not your style, indulge in some window shopping along with those with discerning tastes, sit and people watch with a cuppa or grab a sweet treat from Adriano Zumbo’s patisserie.


Image by ~ Dan Himbrechts

You might prefer Yum Cha at Chinatown followed by a walk through the Chinese Garden of Friendship, or nearby Paddy’s Market. And if you are looking at getting out the winter rain, there is no better place to while away an afternoon at Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum. We would also recommend you see a show at the Capitol Theatre and be sure to grab a late winter warming night snack from Harry’s Café de Wheel.

Adjacent to the city is Darling Harbour which in July hosts Cool Yule with ice skating, Ferris Wheel, snow pit frozen forest and fireworks. In Sydney you don’t have to wait for big occasions to see fireworks. They are held Saturday evenings in Darling Harbour running from July through to October. Sit back and have dinner at Cockle Bay Wharf while enjoying these free, spectacular fireworks. When in Darling Harbour spend time at IMAX Theatre, Sealife Aquarium and Madam Tussauds. Nearby is the Lyric Theatre, Star Casino and National Maritime Museum. Afterwards take a ride on the beautiful, historical Carousel, with horses carved in 1885 and still going strong. Nearby is Sydney Fish Markets, the largest working fish markets in the southern hemisphere where you can take an early morning, 2 hour tour.

WinterinSydney020Image by ~ Meggan Turner

Another amazing winter spectacle is Vivid, an unique, annual, free event. Sydney comes alive and lights up the harbour with interactive light shows and breathtaking lighting projections on the Sydney Opera House sails. This dazzling light art mesmerises and this event is the largest of its kind in the world.


Image by ~ Peter Haroldson

The biggest bonus of Sydney is the awe inspiring view of Sydney’s iconic harbour, walking across the magnificent Sydney Harbour Bridge and a tour or show at Sydney Opera House. Taking a ferry from Darling Harbour to Manly on the ferry is a treat. The ferry ride passes the city’s brightly lit skyscrapers, Circular Quay, Luna Park at Milson’s Point, Taronga Zoo, Watson’s Bay with an Opal Card or Fast Ferry Smart Card.

Another unique site on the water is whale watching. Throughout winter Humpback Whales migrate from Antarctica to the tropical waters to give birth. They are regularly seen around the Sydney coast, close to shore. Southern Right Whales are less sighted and Minke, Blue and Orca Whales are quite rare sightings.


Image by ~ kkday

Snow is not common in the majority of Australia but can be found in the Australian Alps and Snowy Mountains and the ski slopes Perisher and Thredbo are not too far away. With picture perfect, sunny blue skies bursting with sunshine and light winds the Winter Full Moon Party at Thredbo is another top event.


Image by ~ Thredbo

Bondi hosts a pop-up outdoor ice rink to get you off your winter couch, or head to the Blue Mountains for Christmas in July with Yulefest. The festivities began in 1980 when an Irish visitor saw a little snow flurry and so created the feel of Christmas in the Northern hemisphere. Now a tradition with log fires, Christmas carols, snowmen, roast turkey, plum pudding and maybe a little snow. While in the Blue Mountains don’t miss seeing the famous Three Sisters.

Winter in Australia is arguably one of the most pleasant winters you can experience anywhere in world, but winter in Sydney is a special treat.


Have you been to Sydney? Which part of Sydney would you be most tempted to visit in winter?

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15 Responses

  1. Michelle says:

    On my I’ve never been to Sydney but your photos make me want to go NOW! I did visit Melbourne a couple of years ago and I loved it. It is very hot here in Florida right now and we don’t get much of a break ever. I would love to go ice skating and see the city at night as it looks incredibly beautiful! Thanks for sharing these wonderful photographs.
    Michelle recently posted…Visiting the Magical Greek Island of Santorini Again With New EyesMy Profile

  2. I’ve only been to Sydney during full blown summer weather, so the mild winter sounds like a very nice alternative. I think it’s wonderful that Darling Harbour has weekly fireworks, and I would really enjoy seeing Vivid some day.

  3. It’s almost unfair – it seems like Sydney has so much to do all year long! And a darn pretty setting for doing it all, too! Hope to make it there one day, winter or not. 🙂 #TheWeeklyPostcard
    Rob+Ann @TravelLatte(.net) recently posted…We Experience Full Immersion Tiki at the Mai-KaiMy Profile

  4. Esther says:

    I absolutely loved Sydney, can’t wait to go back sometime.
    Esther recently posted…Go to Rome: 7 travel hacksMy Profile

  5. Love Sydney. Despite the vagaries of the weather, it is a city that keeps on giving. We just returned from skiing and again it is affected by the weather, but still a lot of fun. Maybe we are a little spoiled in Australia though. Our cold days are nothing compared to our northern hemisphere friends.
    Paula McInerney recently posted…11 Best Outdoor Adventures in AsiaMy Profile

  6. Anda says:

    I always liked the seasons. It’s great to have a change in the weather, rather than have only summer or only winter. I’ve never been to Sydney but I’d like to visit it in summer rather than when it’s chilly and rainy.
    Anda recently posted…Dark Secrets of the Corner House – the Headquarters of the KGB in RigaMy Profile

  7. Lolo says:

    What a great post! I’m not one for heat (I know …it’s weird, I’m from California, I should like it) but if its over 72-75*F I just melt! Visiting Australia during this time could be the right time to come visit! And how exciting is it that the Humpback Whales migrate here during the winter! Just another bonus! #TheWeeklyPostcard
    Lolo recently posted…Your Essential Guide to EuropeMy Profile

  8. Donna Janke says:

    It’s the middle of summer in Canada and it feels a little strange to read a post about winter. And, as a Canadian, I do not generally think about winter when I think about Australia. I have visited Sydney. It was March/April as fall was setting in. I loved Sydney and think it would be great to visit at any time of year.

  9. eileen g says:

    This is handy to know since our summer vacation, when we would have the most time to explore Australia is during your winter. i wonder ho many Americans head there realizing it isn’s summer.
    eileen g recently posted…Baltimore Dining To Please Kids and ParentsMy Profile

  10. Vivid Sydney and whale watching are without doubt the best two things about a Sydney winter. Winter here can be elusive though. You have to be quick or you risk missing it. Today, early August, was sunny and warm. If you were thinking of catching winter in Sydney this year you may have already missed it.
    Lyn aka The Travelling Lindfields recently posted…Street Art in Sydney, AustraliaMy Profile

  11. I lived in Sydney for many years before we relocated North. I do miss its character and charm. The Queen Victoria Building is a shopping centre like no other and the harbour is just breathtaking. I love flying into Sydney and enjoying the views over this beautiful city. The Powerhouse Museum is definitely worth a visit in any season.

  12. Cathy says:

    Anytime of year in Australia sounds great to me! We have skiing around the world on our list, the Australian Alps would work nicely:)
    Cathy recently posted…Street Art with a Story in Wynwood MiamiMy Profile

  13. I’ve never been to Sydney, but I did stopover once in Melbourne and it was really chilly, which led my friend from Sydney to comment that in Melbourne you can have four seasons in one day but the weather is much milder in Sydney. That’s definitely a big selling point for me as I’m not a fan of the cold! I’d love to see humpback whales (apparently you can also see them quite regularly during the “winter” season in Fiji). Vivid looks amazing 🙂
    Michelle | michwanderlust recently posted…Fiji: Diving with SharksMy Profile

  14. Lydia C. Lee says:

    Vivid has helped me get over my Winter complaints (we do the ice rink in the Hunter each year so that’s fun too) and we went whale watching for the first time this year – it was awesome – tho not as awesome as your photo. We tend to go away in the April hols as the airfares are cheaper…and can I say your rainy umbrella shots are fantastic!!

  15. Some great photos! I think there is something fun to do in just about any location all year round and a chance to see something different. The light show at the Opera House sounds really interesting and looks very photogenic!
    Jessica @ Independent Travel Cats recently posted…Ceylon Tea Trails in Sri Lanka: Luxury, Tea, and Colonial AmbianceMy Profile

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