Wherever you’re flying from to get to Sydney, chances are when you step off the plane you’re going to be jet lagged. It can take a few days to adjust to the time difference, even for the most seasoned travellers. We know every second counts when you’re in Australia so rather than counting sheep in your hotel room when the sun goes down, we’ve put together a list of unusual activities worth staying up late for.
Discover our guide to the hidden gems of Sydney’s nightlife…
Sleepover at Taronga Zoo
Ideal for families with kids aged 5 or above and all animal lovers alike, ‘Roar and Snore’ at Taronga Zoo is a spectacular way to spend an evening getting up close and personal with Sydney’s wildlife. The evening starts at 6.15pm where guests will be greeted by their host and taken for a buffet-style dinner before embarking on the late-night zoo experience. Expect to see elephants, lions, tigers and even bears.
The tour takes about 90 minutes and once the animals have gone to sleep you’ll return to your campsite full of luxury safari-style tents where you can rest your head until the following morning. If this doesn’t already sound like one of the best things to do in Sydney, guests will also wake up to a continental breakfast, the option to choose two zookeeper experiences and full access to the zoo for the rest of the day.
Have a midnight snack under the stars
If you’re wondering what to do in Sydney at night, we have a suggestion you may not have considered before. Why not pack a picnic basket and head to Observatory Hill Park? It’s a simple activity made special by the unusual time of day. Whether you decide to make your own treats or pick some up from the various restaurants along the way, you’ll be munching on your favourite sandwiches and light snacks right next to an unbeatable panoramic view of Sydney Harbour and Harbour Bridge.
If you see a shooting star be sure to make a wish.
Red Route, Stop: Barangaroo
Work up a sweat with some late-night cardio
Putting on trainers and heading for a hike may be the last thing you want to do if you’ve spent all day relaxing by the beach, but hear us out, because climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge is an exhilarating activity like no other. And the end result is a breath-taking view of Sydney you won’t get anywhere else in the city.
If you are tempted to give this a go, there are three routes to choose from: The BridgeClimb will have you scaling 1332 stairs, whilst the BridgeClimb Express has fewer steps at 1002 in total. There’s even a 556 step BridgeClimb Sampler for those who only want to climb halfway. Whichever you choose, you’ll be guided by a Climb Leader who will share interesting facts and information about Sydney’s vibrant history as you begin your ascent.
Red Route, Stop: The Rocks
Watch a movie at an outdoor cinema
Moonlight Cinema is arguably one of the best outdoor cinemas in Sydney, showing cult classics alongside new releases all through the summer months of December – April. During the colder months of the year the venue does close so it’s worth booking in advance if you want to spend an evening at one most fun pop-ups in Sydney.
If you do manage to get a ticket to the movie of your choice, you’ll be watching it in an iconic open-air amphitheatre with a food truck and bar nearby, perfect for stocking up on snacks whilst the trailers are playing.
Blue Route, Stop: Centennial Parklands
Fall in love with a colony of Penguins
Coming to nest every night between July and February at Manly Wharf, the Fairy Penguins are the only mainland breeding colony left anywhere in New South Wales. Commonly known as Little Penguins, they’ve been nicknamed Fairies because of their size. Growing to an average of 13 inches, they are the smallest (and cutest) species of penguin.
The safety of the colony is the number one concern and Volunteer Penguin Wardens are on hand along the wharf to protect the penguins as they breed. Although you won’t be able to touch them, you can ask for a brief history of the seabirds from the Wardens who are always happy to educate the public about the Little Penguins. Drawing in crowds from all over Australia, this is a must-see Sydney phenomenon.
Thrill seek at Luna Park
Top of the list of places to visit in Sydney, Luna Park is an amusement park not to be confused by the theme park of the same name on Coney Island, New York City. Walk through the mouth of the park’s iconic clown face entrance for rollercoasters, Ferris wheels and ghost houses. Built in the 1930s, Luna Park still contains traditional rides and midway games alongside more modern amusements offering the perfect balance of old and new.
The park is open until 10pm on Friday and Saturday, where savvy thrill seekers can buy a Twilight Saver ticket that allows unlimited rides from 6pm until the venue closes. Entry to the park is completely free so if you’d rather walk around and take photos than join the adrenaline junkies, that’s an option too.
Red Route, Stop: Sydney Harbour Bridge
From the secret spots only the locals know about, to free things to do and the activities to book in advance, let this be your guide to the top places to go in Sydney after dark. And once you’re done exploring the city by night we know where to get the Best Breakfast in Sydney…