10 Hidden Gems In Sydney And Beyond That You Probably Don't Know About


Farah Fazanna •  Feb 13, 2023

Ah, New South Wales. This beautiful state in Australia is known for many things. Its iconic Sydney Opera House, the bustling cafe scene, wildlife and the great outdoors. Yet, there are well-kept secrets among the locals that you may not know ? Well, that’s why we’re here. We’ve uncovered 10 hidden gems in Sydney and beyond that should be on your list for your next trip!

1. Blue Mountains lookout points


Credit: Destination NSW

Known as Sydney’s ‘backyard wilderness’, see the forested valleys of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains National Park unfolding under the famous blue haze (created by eucalyptus oils in the atmosphere!) ? Take in the beautiful view of the famous Three Sisters from a number of scenic lookouts: Echo Point, Honeymoon Bridge, Pulpit Rock and Elysian Rock. 

2. Manns Point Park

Sydney is a city made for photographers. Find yourself a beautiful vantage point anywhere around the harbour and you can take some great photos of this famous city. There are quite literally dozens of parks around Sydney that offer enviable city views, and they all make a great spot for watching the New Year's Eve fireworks as well. Manns Point Park in the suburb of Greenwich is one such location!

The views of the city make a nice backdrop for a picnic, and you can either spread out on a patch of grass or use the picnic benches and seats supplied. A short walking trail through the bush connects the lower and upper levels of the park where you’ll be rewarded with

the best views ?

Admission: Free

Address: Prospect St, Greenwich NSW 2065, Australia

Opening hours: 24 hours

3. Wendy’s Secret Garden


Credit: Photo by Daphne Misbrener on Unsplash

Everyone needs a secret garden in their life and you’re invited to visit Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden, a public garden and much-loved oasis in the heart of Sydney. When Wendy Whiteley lost her husband, Australian artist Brett Whiteley, in 1992, she funnelled her love and grief into transforming the garden as it is today. 

Wendy’s Secret Garden – which is at the foothill of her private home in Lavender Bay – has been nurtured by Whiteley and two gardeners over the past 25 years. They’ve planted natives, exotics, plants and herbs and landscaped the space with winding paths supported by raw bush timber balustrades, benches to sit on, cobbled stairs and retaining walls and paths.

Located a short walk over the Sydney Harbour Bridge or a 10-minute walk closer stroll from Milsons Point and North Sydney train stations, the Secret Garden is a haven where you can explore meandering pathways and discover sculptures as you go. Enjoy a picnic basket or read a book at one of the tables or benches beneath the garden’s canopy, or you can simply enjoy the nature and serenity of your beautiful surroundings. Be sure to get your camera ready for that Insta-worthy shot of a spectacular city view! You may even stumble across a hidden fairy house ?

Admission: Free

Address: Lavender St, Lavender Bay NSW 2060, Australia

Opening hours: 24 hours

While you’re in the area, be sure to check out the Insta-worthy Lavender Bay Wharf. Located between Milsons Point and McMahons Point, the spot has expansive views of central Sydney Harbour. This wharf is centrally located, so you can take a quick boat ride to many places around the harbour too!

4. Sydney Harbour Bridge Pylon Lookout

There are many ways to get up close and personal with Sydney’s famous bridge, but perhaps the best way is by visiting the Harbour Bridge Pylon Lookout. This less well-known Sydney tourist attraction not only offers fantastic harbour and city views, but it is also home to a fun and educational museum! With amazing views of the city skyline and the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge Pylon Lookout is one of the best lookouts in Sydney ?

How to get there: The lookout is located in the pylon on the southeastern side of the Harbour Bridge. Simply follow the pedestrian walkway on the bridge and look out for the entrance sign and door.

Admission: AUD$19 (adult), AUD$9.50 (children). AUD$15 (concession). Free entrance for children under 3 years old

Address: Sydney Harbour Bridge, The Rocks NSW 2000, Australia

Opening hours: 10am - 4pm (Daily. Last entry at 3.45pm) 


5. Southern Highlands


Credit: Destination NSW

Take a 90-minute drive out of Sydney to Southern Highlands for an epic road trip. If you’re not driving, you can easily catch the direct train from Sydney to Bowral, one of the charming towns in Southern Highlands. The train ride takes about two hours. Check out the Transport NSW website for more schedule and tickets. Home to beautifully preserved colonial architecture, colourful gardens and manicured estates, Bowral is famed for elegant boutiques, acclaimed restaurants and the colourful Tulip Time Festival. It’s the ideal getaway to rewind, refresh and rejuvenate! ?

Remember the children’s favourite movie, Babe? It was filmed right here in the Burrawang Village Hotel near Robertson! If you’re looking for some outdoor activities, drive to beautiful Kangaroo Valley, 40 minutes from Bowral, and camp under the stars or paddle in a kayak on the river. While you’re here, visit the stunning Fitzroy Falls in Morton National Park, where water plunges over 80m to the valley below.


Credit: Destination NSW

There are plenty of things to see and do here all year round. In spring, there’s a tulip festival, and in autumn you can marvel at the beautiful autumn foliage. Be sure to check out the book barn Bendooley Estate too!

If you’re in Bowral on the second Saturday of the month, make your way to the Bowral Market. This market has a range of clothes, toys, plants, sculptures and handmade goodies that make excellent souvenirs. With lots of food on offer too, you can fill up your belly with a croissant and delicious coffee in the sun. If you’re visiting on a weekend, be sure to check out the local markets where you can purchase local honey, butter, fresh produce and many more! No matter when you visit, the Southern Highlands is perfect for an exciting getaway from Sydney ?

Address: Bowral Market, Bowral Bowling Club, 40 Shepherd St, Bowral NSW 2576

Opening hours: 8am - 1pm (every second Saturday of the month)

6. Queenscliff Tunnel


Credit: Destination NSW

Affectionately known as the ‘Manly Wormhole’, it was in fact industrious fishermen – and not natural erosion – that chiselled this 40-metre channel through the rock of Queenscliff Head more than a century ago! While it may be a bit of a challenge scrambling over the rocks of the headland north of Manly Beach to find it, your efforts are soon rewarded with a close encounter with Sydney’s rich history and a view of Freshwater Beach that’s hard to beat, especially if you time your visit to coincide with sunset ? 

Getting there: Upon arriving at Manly Beach, walk over to the far left of the shore and from a distance, you will see what appears to be a dark spot. That is the Wormhole. Walk past the rock pool and climb the cliff. From there, walk towards the tunnel with a big pink heart graffiti painted on top. Do note that you should only visit the Manly Wormhole during low tide!

7. Eveleigh Treehouses


Credit: Mirvac

Eveleigh Treehouse is conceived as a site of belonging for adults and children alike, a retreat from the bustle of daily life. Built from steel and recycled hardwood, the two drop-like forms of the Treehouse are whimsical ? Your kids would certainly enjoy climbing and running through the Treehouse. It makes the perfect backdrop for that family photo too! Located outside the Community Building at South Eveleigh, the Treehouse is open 24 hours so you don’t have to worry about closing time! 

Address: 39A Henderson Rd, Eveleigh NSW 2015, Australia

Opening hours: Open 24 hours

8. Jervis Bay


Credit: Jordan Robins

What’s a trip to Sydney without spotting some dolphins and whales, right? Jervis Bay is where the goods things are at. Enjoy a dolphin-watching cruise where you’re guaranteed to see these magnificent sea mammals and if you’re lucky, you can spot seals, penguins and sea birds too! During the annual whale migration season, from May to November, you can see whales as well! That’s not all you can do here. You can enjoy the spectacular White Sands Walk from Greenfield Beach to Hyams Beach or enjoy scuba diving, snorkelling and swimming in the crystal-clear water!

9. Snap photos of the colourful flowers in Sydney and NSW


Credit: Destination NSW

If you’re visiting Sydney andNSW in spring, then you’ll get to view the purple jacarandas, daisy fields and cherry blossoms. Here we’ve compiled a list of flowers and where you can find them!

Jacarandas: From around late October to November, the city of Sydney is peppered with these pretty purple trees. The jacarandas are bright purple so you won’t miss them! Some of the best spots in the city to catch these mauve blooms include Circular Quay, Kirribilli, Royal Botanic Gardens and Lavender Bay.

Cherry blossoms: The Cherry Blossom Festival is held annually in the Japanese Garden of the Auburn Botanic Gardens ? Be sure to take a selfie in front of the pretty pink arch of delicate blossoms! During the two-week festival, be sure to check out the other range of fun attractions and activities. Experience Sydney’s finest food trucks and Japanese food stalls while enjoying the beautiful blossoms ?

Tulips: Visit Bowral in the Southern Highlands in September for the iconic Tulip Time festival ? where a vast garden of 75,000 tulips makes for a colourful display. During the festival, you can also visit the garden during Tulips After Dark, which will take place every Friday and Saturday evening from 6pm to 9pm. You can enjoy daily entertainment featuring bands, dancers, choirs and fun family activities, and browse a large range of handcrafted wares, local produce and refreshments.


Credit: Destination NSW

Canola fields: The golden fields of canola flowers can be found on country roads between Young, Boorowa and Harden in the Riverina. The yellow flowers shine from September to November.

Paper daisies: Be sure to check out the paper daisy display at the Australian Botanic Garden in Mount Annan where it’s an Insta-worthy moment with fields of pink, white and yellow native daisies covering more than 2,000 square metres in September.

Sunflowers:Farm & Co Kingscliff on the north coast of NSW has some of the most glorious sunflower fields ? Dress in your spring best and get a photograph among the tall, yellow sunflowers. It’s a $5 entry fee and Kingscliff is a great stop on the way to Byron Bay. The sunflowers also bloom all year round!

10. Maccallum Seawater Pool


This hidden gem may even rival the popular Bondi Icebergs pool ? Take a dip in the 1920s-style pool and enjoy the iconic view of Sydney Harbour. Picture this: You swimming in the refreshing water while ferries glide by, yachts bob on the horizon and the sun shines. Sounds like the perfect vacation, amirite? It’s also a nice spot to bring the kiddos out to play in the water!

Address: Milson Rd, Cremorne Point NSW 2090, Australia

Opening hours: Open 24 hours

With so many hidden gems waiting to be discovered, it’s easy to understand what lies within Sydney and New South Wales’s allure. It’s what makes people keep returning because it’s simply gorgeous every season ? So will you be making Sydney your travel destination soon? We know we are!

This article is brought to you by Destination NSW.