Forgo the touristy sites for these unique activities in Australia’s iconic Harbour City
Find peace and quiet in Kanimbla Valley
You’ve probably heard of Sydney‘s Blue Mountains, but wander just a little off the beaten path and you’ll find yourself in the nearby Kanimbla Valley. In the past, this relatively remote area was known to the local Aborigines as one of the few routes across the Blue Mountains. Today, a handful of lodges can be found in the vicinity, so set up camp here to enjoy a calming retreat.
Dive with sharks off Maroubra Beach
A short 30-minute boat ride from Manly is the beautiful dive site known as Magic Point. Located just off Maroubra Beach, this spot is home to the critically endangered grey nurse shark, as well as the weedy seadragon, which is endemic to the waters of Australia. To get up close and personal with these intriguing creatures, contact Dive Centre Manly.
Let it all hang loose at Watsons Bay
Two words: nudist beach. Lady Jane (or Lady Bay) Beach at Watsons Bay is one of Australia’s oldest clothing-optional beaches. After baring it all and getting lots of sun, take a walk around and check out the bay for its history – it was the nation’s first fishing village, after all.
Learn to make cocktails at Blu Bar on 36
Visiting Sydney with your posse? All you need is a minimum of six people to play bartender for the evening at Blu Bar on 36 (36/F Shangri-La Hotel, 176 Cumberland St; +61 2 9250 6000). During the two-hour crash course, you’ll learn everything you need to know about cocktails – from the ingredients and equipment you’ll need, to tips and tricks for hosting your very own cocktail party at home.
Walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge
Maybe you don’t want to fork out 200 dollars to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge (like everyone else does), or maybe you’re just terrified of heights – either way, you don’t have to miss out. What you can do is simply walk across the famous landmark via the pedestrian walkway; it’s free of charge, and you can still drink in the beautiful sights of the harbour.
Enjoy an affordable rubdown at the NSW School of Massage Student Clinic
If you don’t mind being a bit of a guinea pig, go ahead and book a slot at the NSW School of Massage Student Clinic (1/F 225 Clarence St; www.schoolofmassage.com.au). From AU$25 onwards, you can experience a range of hour-long treatments, from a traditional Swedish rubdown to an invigorating sports massage.
Go ghost hunting at The Rocks
Always been fascinated by the paranormal and all things spooky? Ghost Tours organises nightly walkabouts at The Rocks for anyone who’s up for some gruesome history lessons. Explore cobblestone lanes and hidden alleys while being regaled with chilling stories of hauntings, murder, and suicides. Sign up if you dare!