10 Ways to Experience Sydney Like a Local

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Buyers at Sydney Fish Markets
(Courtesy Sydney Fish Markets)
Buy at Sydney Fish Market

Lovers of everything seafood will fall for the Sydney Fish Market. The largest market of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, the site hosts six wet fish retailers and boasts Australia’s biggest variety of fresh seafood. There’s also various restaurants and cafés on site to satiate your hunger. While the Sydney Fish Market is something to behold visually, your nostrils will get the ride of their life too. 

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Swim at North Sydney Olympic Pool
(©Destination NSW)
Swim at North Sydney Olympic Pool

North Sydney Olympic Pool offers patrons the ability to swim right alongside Sydney Harbour, Sydney’s Luna Park and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The jaw-dropping view from the pool is worth the price of admission alone, with the Sydney Harbour Bridge reaching right across the harbour. If you decide to hop in for a quick swim, we recommend backstroke so that you can absorb every second of the view. 

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Bar at the Fortune of War Hotel
(Courtesy of Fortune of War Hotel)
Drink at the Fortune of War Hotel

The Fortune of War is old. Very old. So old that it’s Sydney’s first pub. They must be doing something right as the pub opened its doors in 1828, almost 200 years ago. They offer classic pub grub (food) alongside a selection of delicate craft, and timeless beers on-tap. Pop in to have a chat to a local, a drink and a bite to eat and you’re sure to get a taste of real Australiana. 

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(©Destination NSW)
Watch a Game of Cricket at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG)

The most Australian sport that exists is cricket. It’s easy to watch for those who are uninitiated and engrossing for those that are. Nothing beats the roar of the Sydney Cricket Ground as the batter hits a six right over the crowd. We recommend catching a Twenty20 (T20) game. These take place over a few hours just like other popular sports and have each team racing to get as many runs as possible. Each team bowls hard, hits hard and runs hard.  

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Sydney by Kayak Tours
(©Ptan Photo)
Kayak across Sydney Harbour

Explore Sydney Harbour’s iconic waterways and see the famous sites from a fresh perspective. Sydney by Kayak offers guided tours at a variety of different times to suit your needs. We recommend booking in for a Sunrise Kayak. Early in the morning the water is glassy, so you’ll glide through it. And nothing beats watching the sky transform as the sun reaches over the horizon and warms the city in a blaze of orange. 

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Aerial Photography of Cockatoo Island
(©Ethan Rohloff/Destintion NSW)
Explore Cockatoo Island

The historical Cockatoo Island sits smack-bang in the centre of Sydney Harbour. The island is a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site and has a rich history engrained in its soil and buildings. Cockatoo Island serves as one of the best surviving reminders of the convict transportation and forced labour used to fuel European expansion. The island offers many tours as well as places to eat, drink and stay. 

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LeadBelly Newtown
(©James Horan/Destination NSW)
Explore Newtown

Newtown is the centre of Sydney’s counter-culture, filled with hipsters, craft breweries, pubs, cocktail bars, music venues and so much more. Take a stroll down King Street and pop in anywhere that takes your fancy. We recommend checking out the Courthouse Hotel for easy garden vibes, the intimate, music establishment LeadBelly (pictured) for a delicious meal alongside a music performance and intimate cocktail hotspot, Jacoby's Tiki Bar for the most stylish cocktails around.


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Barangaroo Reserve
(Courtesy Barangaroo Reserve)
Picnic in Barangaroo Reserve

Barangaroo Reserve is Sydney’s newest foreshore park. After being completely transformed from one of Sydney’s oldest industrial sites the park offers new views of Sydney Harbour. Picnic on the grass and watch the dazzling lights of Sydney’s Luna Park while ferries cruise back and forth. Those who are looking for a hands-free food experience can pre-order an entire picnic with Pop Up Picnic. They’ll bring a hamper to your desired spot with all the picnic equipment should you need. 

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Shoppers at Paddington Markets
(©Pierre Toussaint/Tourism NSW)
Shop at Sydney’s Best Markets

Sydney hosts some of the best markets around. Held on the second and fourth Sundays of the month, the Kirribilli Markets offer everything from artisan goods to second-hand clothes. Paddington Markets hosts 150 unique stalls with items not found anywhere else and is on every Saturday regardless of the weather. Surry Hill Markets are held on the first Saturday of every month and promise vintage fashion, antiques and books. 

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The Manly Ferry Arriving in Manly
©Andrew Gregory/Destination NSW
Catch the Manly Ferry to Manly

At only $15 for a round trip ($2.70 on Sunday), you can catch one of Sydney’s iconic green and gold ferries to the world-famous beach, Manly. On the trip, you cruise alongside the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. We recommend sitting outside so you have an unobstructed view of the sites, fresh access to the salty smell of the ocean and the chance of getting wet on a wavy day. 

By Zac Lewis on 11/06/2018

Sydney has some of the best tourist attractions in the world, you’ll see them everywhere you look. But maybe you want to experience Sydney like a local, maybe you’ve visited Sydney before, or maybe you have a yearning for exploring off the beaten trail. We're here to guide you through some of Sydney’s lesser-known and more intimate experiences from drinking in Sydney’s suburbs to snatching up a bargain at the markets.