Sydney doesn’t get the traditional white Christmas and Santa is more likely to come on a surf board than a snow sled. Instead of a warm roast dinner, family and friends gather outdoors and chat over an ice-cold beer. In fact, Christmas in Sydney can be a completely new experience filled with great outdoor experiences and fantastic summer activities. Here are 5 ways to enjoy the Sydney summer outdoors in December.

route-div-1

Christmas At The Beach

This is truly an iconic Sydney experience. Instead of carol singing and Christmas tree decorating, hang out with the locals and spend Christmas at the beach. Sydney has around 100 of all shapes and sizes – from north to south, there are plenty of choices. Enjoy the celebratory atmosphere at the iconic Bondi and Manly or explore one of the city’s other fantastic beaches. Whichever one you choose though, remember to always swim between the flags.

CC 2.0 / hopeless128

route-div-2

Walking Sydney’s Harbour

manly-coastal-walk

The harbour is the pride and joy of a Sydney-sider’s lifestyle and many of the city’s residents spend their summer in the parklands and public spaces surrounding it, hovering over a barbecue. Many harbourfronts are lined with walking tracks, so locals and visitors alike can enjoy the natural beauty of Sydney’s environment and trace some of the history of Sydney through the ages.

One of the most popular walks is the Manly to Spit Bridge walk. This 10 kilometre trail spans from the bustling Manly, through some of the quieter beach neighbourhoods and parklands, dotted with panoramic scenery of the inner harbour and important Aboriginal sites.

sydney-coastalwalk

Another walk that is just as spectacular is the six kilometre Bondi to Coogee coastal walk. This well paved walk stretches across five beaches: Bondi, Tamarama, Bronte, Clovelly and finally Coogee. You can stop at some to rest and have a swim before continuing the journey. Parts of the walk are along the tops of cliffs and lucky walkers may even spot a whale during the season, between April and December.

sydney-coastwalk-manly

route-div-3

Sydney’s Summer Festivals

Summer is an exciting time to be in Sydney because the city loves outdoor festivals. Starting with Sydney Christmas in December where outdoor light installations and Christmas trees add to the festive atmosphere in Sydney’s CBD, and Christmas concerts in many parts of the Sydney entertain adults and children alike.

Circular-Quay-31608

In January, the annual Sydney Festival features concerts, dances, theatre and art in venues throughout the city. Pack a picnic and join the crowds at the Domain for symphony and opera concerts or visit Carriageworks and check out the exciting performances and art exhibitions.

For list of what’s on, check out the Sydney Festivals website.

route-div-4

Enjoy A Bike Ride Around The Park

For some leisurely activity head to Sydney Olympic Park and Bicentennial Park, and hire a bicycle for the day. You can explore the stadiums and grounds where Sydney hosted the Olympics in 2000, as well as follow the extensive bike trail at the Bicentennial Park and visit the bushlands and wetlands that are home to more than 180 bird species.

You can also visit the Botanical gardens for a stroll after visiting the Sydney Opera House.

Royal-Botanic-Gardens-31585 Royal-Botanic-Gardens-31596

After a day on the bike, settle down and enjoy an outdoor movie by the Olympic cauldron or attend a performance at the stadium. There are numerous designated barbecue and picnic areas throughout the parks, as well as cafes and restaurants that make the Sydney Olympic Park and the Bicentennial Park a great day out for all.

route-div-5

Kayak Sydney’s Waterways

kayak-royal-national-parkCC 2.0 / Doug Beckers

For those who are not keen for the surf, but would still like to get on the water, kayaking is the best way to explore some of the hidden gems of Sydney’s inner waterways. Paddle past small and inaccessible beaches that are surrounded by lush green bushland, and explore creeks that are home to vibrant avian and marine life rarely seen closer to the city.

The best kayaking spots are in the inner harbour, away from the busy beach areas. These include from Lane Cove River to Nepean River; from the lagoon of Narrabeen to Bundeena, and the bays and basins of the Royal National Park. These are the best places to see the beauty of Sydney beyond its beaches.