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Water Under the Bridge: An Agent's Guide to Sydney's Coastal Character

For all of Sydney's land-based fun, there's an equally exciting world of water-based activities and experiences that your clients will absolutely love.

For all of Sydney’s land-based fun, there’s an equally exciting world of water-based activities and experiences that your clients will absolutely love.

What makes cosmopolitan Sydney special is its relationship with water. Built upon the world’s largest natural harbour, Sydney is a unique mix of coastal chill and urban city vibes, making it a magnet for both Aussie and international travellers – in normal times, anyway…

These days, it’s THE best spot for a domestic holiday, the perfect “Holiday at Home” destination, with so much to offer – whatever you’re into. Even Sydney-siders and NSW residents will find something unique and special to do in their own backyard, with the region becoming an ever-popular staycation destination.

Here’s just a slice of what you and your clients can experience in stunning Sydney.

Coastal Walks and Whales

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There are several awe-inspiring coastal walks in Sydney for your clients to tackle. Bondi to Coogee is an absolute gem, approximately 6km long and rated easy in difficulty and high in its ability to take your breath away. The walk begins at the popular (and oh-so-Insta-worthy) Bondi Icebergs swimming club, which overlooks the world-famous Bondi Beach.

For something more challenging (but equally as stunning), the Bondi to Manly Walk is an 80km one-way, four to seven-day jaunt through stunning coastal scenery and natural beauty. If that doesn’t squelch your energy reserves, pick up the pace with Sydney Running Tours and Bonza Bike Tours – both are great ways to experience the foreshore at a different pace…

Another great walk is the South Head Heritage Trail along Watson’s Bay. This trail is particularly well-suited for hikers looking for a shorter stroll (up and back, the trail is easily done in under an hour) and anyone keen on a little whale watching… That’s right agents, from mid-May through to December, thousands of migrating whales are visible from this trail in search of warmer water!

To get closer to the action, book an exhilarating whale watching excursion with Sydney Princess Cruises. A long lunch and good times included!

Beach Culture and Waves

The best way to explore Sydney’s unique beach culture and lifestyle is to walk around one of the city’s trendy beach suburbs, such as Bondi and Manly. These famous beaches and their communities aren’t just home to world-class surf opportunities and smoothies: they’re beacons for Sydney’s (and the world’s) cosmopolitan crowd, drawing them in like quirky iron filings to a nut-milk-with-a-splash-of-soy latte magnet! To truly appreciate the Bondi or Manly beach vibes, grab a gelato (or an iced-latte), turn off your phone and just look, listen and chillax, bro…

But don’t just sit on the sidelines. Get in there! You can’t leave Sydney (or coastal NSW) without swimming in one of the city’s unique ocean pools and outdoor swimming pools, such as Bondi Baths or Fairy Bower Pool in Manly.* Or go surfing with Let’s Go Surfing SUP/Surf, a professional and fully-qualified surfing outfit that will have you standing up and riding the wave of your life at dreamy Bondi Beach.

*Other popular outdoor swimming pools include McIver’s Ladies Baths in Coogee, Palm Beach Rockpool and Dawn Fraser Baths in Balmain.

Dinner With a View

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If the salt on your lips from your swim (or surf) has stimulated your appetite and you’re on the hunt for a feed, you needn’t get your bow out. Because Sydney is a culinary mecca with something extra up its sleeves: a world-class view!

Surrounded by sea, Sydney is THE place to dine on local seafood in some of the world’s great restaurants led by some of the greatest chefs on the planet. Dine on modern Australia or Italian or Japanese or whatever (all international cuisines are finely represented in Sydney) whilst gorging on stunning views of iconic Sydney landmarks, such as the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, as well as heritage buildings, working marinas, sandy beaches and sleepy bays.

Recommendations? Located in Campbell’s Cove in The Rocks, 6Head is a premium waterfront restaurant and a city favourite, as is Pilu at Freshwater which perfectly captures the essence of Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

And the new on-water pub concept Captain Cook Harbour Bar & Restaurant is set to become the new foodie and drinks hub in Sydney – you’ll definitely want to check this one out… Other top spots are Icebergs Dining Room and Bar in Bondi and Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel.

Fancy your meal with a rolling view? Then booking an evening Magistic Cruises dinner sail (restarting on 2 Oct and running on Fridays and Saturdays) on Sydney Harbour is your best bet. Enjoy a gourmet dinner as you cruise around Sydney Harbour – the world’s largest natural harbour – taking in the Opera House, the skyline and the iconic bridge.

Aussie Icons and Adventure

For a slightly different experience of the harbour, don your life vest and stretch your triceps before easing into a kayak for an adventurous kayaking session with Go Sea Kayak Sydney Harbour. Spectacular views included.

For an equally unique experience of the iconic Sydney skyline, check out Watsons Bay Stand Up Paddling for upright paddling with a view. Or turn the adrenaline up to 11 on a Harbour Jet ride with Sydney’s original jet boat adventure experience.

Admittedly less extreme, you could just explore the harbour’s little-visited coves, lesser-known bays and national parks on a small-group excursion with Sydney Harbour Boat Tours. They go where no other operators go, and if you’re not an adrenaline junkie, you’ll actually love this option.

Getting in the water

There are literally over 100 beaches in Sydney, all flanking the harbour. So there’s pretty much a beach with your name on it!

Many of the beaches in Sydney are protected with tidal swimming enclosures, and all promise a day of relaxing swimming. Check out the gorgeous Camp Cove and Shark Beach in Vaucluse and nearby Milk Beach which has postcard-worthy views of Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Narrabeen, Dee Why and Avalon Beach are some of the best swimming spots up in the Northern Beaches. (Check out Eco TreasuresLocal Eyes or AEA Luxury if you prefer exploring the best of Sydney’s northern beaches with an expert guide.)

For a slightly different view of Sydney’s geographical splendour, book your clients on a dazzling sightseeing flight over the famous Harbour, Eastern Beaches, Northern Beaches and the beautiful Hawkesbury River with Sydney Seaplanes. Taking in the surrounding city from above is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Then, back on the ground, hop onboard the iconic Manly Ferry. It’s a Sydney institution, and the best way to wrap up your Sydney vacay!

Where to stay?

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Waterside at the InterContinental Double Bay

Sydney boasts a plethora of accommodation options that will look after your clients and give them a holiday they’ll love. There are tons of hotels to suit all budgets, all tastes, and in all parts of the city, especially waterside.

Some of our favourites include:

  • Park Hyatt Sydney
  • Pier One Sydney Harbour
  • Shangri-La Hotel
  • Four Seasons Hotel Sydney
  • Pullman Quay Grand
  • Q Station
  • Novotel Manly Pacific
  • Adina Bondi
  • Ovolo Woolloomooloo
  • Crown Plaza Coogee
  • InterContinental Double Bay
  • Vibe Rushcutters Bay
  • The Langham

For an extra splash of luxe by the water, check out Luxico which offers a water-facing luxury home experience with personal concierge.

Ready to start inspiring your clients?

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Click here to check out the Travel Trade Toolkit which will give you all the information and tools you need to sell Sydney and NSW like an absolute rock-star.

Remember, your clients still have a whole world of premier tourism experiences to discover once they’re back on land. There’s hiking and wildlife spotting in lush national parks, wine tasting at some of the best wineries in the world, and, of course, the legendary locals just waiting to tell you their stories and make your holiday one to remember.

If you need a little visual inspiration before you start planning, open up your social media feeds and search for hashtags #LoveNSW and #ILoveSydney. You’re welcome! And don’t forget to tag your own Sydney and NSW exploits to share the love whilst you’re there…

For more information (and inspiration) on Sydney and NSW adventures, check out and We can’t wait to see you there!

READ: 5 Fantastic NSW Getaways And Stays To Reboot Your Wanderlust

READ: Six Of The Best: An Agent’s Guide To NSW’s Food And Wine Regions

READ: Wild At Heart: An Agent’s Guide To The Wonders Of Outback NSW

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