Whale Watching Sydney
Humpback and southern right whales habitually shunt up and down the Sydney
coastline, sometimes venturing into the harbour. Between May and December, WWS runs
two- to four-hour tours (adult/child $85/50) beyond the Heads.
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Natural Wanders runs exhilarating kayak harbour tours, checking out the bridge,
Balmain, Blues Point, Birchgrove and secluded islands and bays. Early-morning
paddles also available.
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Let’s Go Surfing
You can hire gear (board and wetsuit one hour/two hours/day/week $25/30/50/150) or learn to surf with this salty Bondi crew. It caters to practically everyone, with classes for grommets aged seven to 16 (two hours $59), adults (two hours $85 to $95, women-only classes available) and private tuition (1½ hours $175). North Bondi is a great beach for learners.
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Korea comes to Sydney in this marvellous bathhouse, which will
eliminate your toxins and have your circulation firing in no time. Separate men's
and women's facilities have ginseng spas, hot/cold baths and wet/dry saunas. Pay
extra for various massages or be scrubbed to within an inch of your life and emerge
on the mean streets of the Cross as smooth as a baby's bottom. Bookings
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Bonza Bike Tours
These bonza bike boffins run daily 3½-hour Sydney Classic bike tours – a great
introduction to the harbour city, trundling past the Opera House, Hyde Park, Darling
Harbour, Chinatown, Sydney Tower and the Royal Botanic Gardens. Other tours tackle
the Harbour Bridge, Manly and the city highlights.
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Once only painters and daredevils (including your author!) scaled the Harbour
Bridge –now anyone can do it (Bruce Springsteen, Bette Midler, Will Smith…). Make
your way through the departure lounge and the extensive training session, don your
headset, an umbilical safety cord and a dandy grey jumpsuit (Elvis would be so
proud) and up you go. Even if you’re afraid of heights, the scariest part is
crossing over the grates while under the
bridge; on the curved span itself the track is wide enough that you never see
straight down. Tours last 3½ hours – go to the toilet
before you start the climb.
Read more about BridgeClimb
Opera House Guided Tours
One-hour guided tours depart half-hourly (you’ll save a few bucks if you book online). Tours employ archival video footage to help tell the story of the iconic building’s construction. A highlight is the Utzon Room, the only part of the house to have an interior designed by the great man himself. For a more in-depth nosy around, the two-hour early-morning backstage tour includes the Green Room and stars’ dressing rooms.
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Capped by Barrenjoey lighthouse, Palm Beach is a meniscus of bliss. Nudists nude-up to the north, million-dollar real estate booms in the south, and cheesy TV soap Home & Away is filmed somewhere in between.
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Once only painters and daredevils (including your author!) scaled the Harbour Bridge – now anyone can do it (Bruce Springsteen, Bette Midler, Will Smith…). Make your way through the departure lounge and the extensive training session, don your headset, an umbilical safety cord and a dandy grey jumpsuit (Elvis would be so proud) and up you go. Even if you’re afraid of heights, the scariest part is crossing over the grates while under the bridge; on the curved span itself the track is wide enough that you never see straight down. Tours last 3½ hours – go to the toilet before you start the climb.
Read more about BridgeClimb
Definitively Sydney, Bondi is one of the world’s great beaches: ocean and land
collide, the Pacific arrives in great foaming swells and all people are equal, as
democratic as sand. It’s the closest ocean beach to the city centre (8km away), has
consistently good (though crowded) waves, and is great for a rough-and-tumble swim
(the average water temperature is a considerate 21°C). If the sea’s angry, try the
salt-water sea baths at either end of the beach; these are perfect for kids. The two
surf clubs – Bondi and North Bondi – patrol the beach between sets of red and yellow
flags, positioned to avoid the worst rips and holes. Thousands of unfortunates have
to be rescued from the surf each year (enough to make a TV show about it), so don’t
become a statistic – swim between the flags. Surfers carve up sandbar breaks at
either end of the beach; it’s a good place for learners, too. Prefer wheels to fins?
There’s a skate ramp at the beach’s
southern end. If posing in your budgie smugglers (speedos) isn’t having enough
impact, there’s an outdoor work-out
area near the North Bondi Surf Club. Coincidentally (or
perhaps not), this is the part of the beach where the gay guys let it all hang out.
Bondi Pavilion has changing rooms,
lockers and a gelato shop. Ice-cream vendors also strut the sand in summer. At the
beach’s northern end there’s a grassy spot with coin-operated barbecues. Booze is
banned on the beach.
Read more about Bondi Beach