5 Things to do in Sydney… without Alcohol!

Summer is just around the corner here in Sydney. Every week the weather is just a little bit more amazing, my sunglasses are now a permanent fixture in my wardrobe choice. There are so many things to do in Sydney in Summer that it is almost overwhelming. I love it.

Sydneysider’s love to have a cool beer in the sun. For good reason – what could be better than enjoying the delicious sunshine, beer in hand looking out at the always stunning Sydney harbour or beaches. Seriously, it’s a little moment of heaven.

Heaven, it may be – good for the waistline and budget, it isn’t! Part of the problem is that alcohol is such a huge part of the Australian socialising culture that our default catch up is; the pub, or BBQ with beers, or beach with beers… basically, we can find any excuse to add a beer into whatever our activity is. Australian’s aren’t alone in doing this in Sydney, the giant ex-pat and backpacker communities are usually sitting right next to us with a beer in hand at any communal place. What is it about Sydney that just screams “let’s have a beer”?

In my bid to lose the weight that I have put on through stress, emotional eating and just general laziness, I am trying find amazing social things to do in Sydney that don’t involve alcohol. In winter I put together a list of cultural things to do in Sydney when it rains… which quite frankly, happens a lot during the winter months. Now I am doing the same for the summer months.

The criteria is fairly simple – I want the core activity to be alcohol free. If my friends want to have a drink after, before or during the activity – that’s up to them – but I don’t want the point of our outing to be alcohol. After all in a city that is as beautiful and as active as Sydney surely there are plenty of things we can do without having a drink? Right?!?

Travel - The Lite Backpacker5 Things to do in Sydney During the Summer without Alcohol

Stand up Paddle Boarding or Kayaking

SUP is one of my favourite activities for avoiding alcohol. It has numerous advantages. Firstly, its best to SUP early in the morning to beat the crowds and the wind that picks up with the heat of the day. It is also a great way to be in the heart of Sydney harbour looking at the amazing scenery.

If SUP isn’t your thing then I also recommend kayaking. Sydney is dotted with hidden beaches and islands that are best seen from a kayak. It’s easy to find places that rent both SUPs and Kayaks… do a quick google to find your closest one. My personal favourite is Rose Bay as the views are great, it’s in a sheltered bay and it’s a little off the beaten backpacker track so you get to see a different side of Sydney.

things-to-do-in-sydney-3Walks – there are SO many

There are so many walks to do in Sydney that it is actually absurd. They are all beautiful, usually along a portion of the harbour and are easy to get to with public transport. Here are a few of my favourites:

  • Coogee to Bondi – it’s the most well-known walk in all of Sydney. If you do it on a Saturday morning you can end the walk at the Bondi farmers market for brunch.
  • Spit Bridge to Manly – make sure you pack your sunscreen as there are long patches in the sunshine
  • Circular Quay to Luna Park – walking across the harbour bridge is quite spectacular, wandering around Luna Park is also a great place for people watching
  • Palm Beach to Berranjoey Lighthouse – not only do you get great views of the iconic beach where Home and Away is filmed, but you also get great views into Pittwater, the National Parks that surround and of course – out to sea. The lighthouse has pretty much all of the views you could want!
Beach exploration

In Sydney it is so easy to just head to either your local beach or the biggest and easiest beach to get to. Which is why beaches like Bondi, Manly and Coogee are always packed in summer. But there are so many other beautiful and stunning beaches dotted around Sydney that don’t have the crowds. Chat to some locals about some of their favourite go to places. In the Eastern Suburbs I like to trek down to Maroubra – the walk down is just as beautiful as it is along the rest of the coast walk in the other direction, and the beach is much larger and less crowded than its Eastern cousins. When I am on the northern beaches I tend to head towards Freshwater, primarily because I like the shape of the waves there, it’s a great splashing around beach. Pack a picnic and your swim suit and go in search of some new waves to frolic in.

things-to-do-in-sydney-1Snorkelling and Diving

After beaches there are loads of little coves and inlets which are great for snorkelling and diving. Sydney has spent the last 20 years changing the rules and regulations in the harbour in order to clean up the water and bring back the marine life, and it’s working. There are plenty of diving clubs around the area if that is your sort of thing, and there are even a few ship wrecks that are a must see if you are into wreck diving. If staying closer to the surface is more your style, grab a snorkel and head to places like Gordon’s Bay and Manly for a day with stingrays, Grouper fish and the odd penguin.


Nearly every area in Sydney has a market on over the weekend. I have mention the Bondi farmers market on Saturdays, but my overall favourite one is the Marrickville markets. It’s designed more for the local market so it is a lot cheaper, the food options are amazing and there is also a giant trash and tressure shed where I have picked up some great books to read on the beach. Do a quick google for what markets are on in the area you are staying in, before you arrive in Sydney so that you can add it into your itinerary.

things-to-do-in-sydney-2With so many great things to do in Sydney I think that I am going to find it relatively easy to avoid alcohol over the summer. I just have to find a way to convince my friends to come and meet me for some fun activities in the sun… shouldn’t be too hard.


  1. Pingback: Kayaking through Lane Cove National Park in Sydney - The Lite Backpacker

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