Flying to Sydney? Ask for a window seat. You’ll want to get a good look at the harbor on your descent. The view is just as breathtaking upon your first visit as it is after a hundred landings, and it’s one of the main reasons I love calling this place my home. There are few cities on the planet more beautifully placed than Sydney, which sits right on the edge of a meandering, 12-mile long waterway that serves as a playground for anyone who lives here. And then, of course, there’s the vast ocean. From Manly to Bondi to Cronulla and everywhere in between, the beautiful waters of the Tasman Sea are a natural choice for visitors who want to get active in and on the surf. Try one of these water-based activities for an adrenaline rush while you’re in town. They’re not only a good way to stay in shape; they’re also a whole heap of fun.
Snorkel Safari has four “stores” in Sydney, and you can book a lesson at any one of them. Once you’ve sorted out which activity you want to try, the trained instructors will take you out on the water for snorkelling, scuba diving, or—if you’re feeling really adventurous—a lesson in freediving.
Manly Surf School
If you’ve ever wanted to jump on a longboard but had no idea how to even start, the instructors at MSS will have you sorted in no time. They specialize in training for adults and kids, or if you’re not quite ready to ride a giant wave, you can opt to learn all about the stand-up paddle.
Rose Bay Aquatic Hire
You can order kayaks, paddle boards, and motor boats from this spot on the water in pretty Rose Bay, but you don’t need to be an expert to do so. They offer lessons for novices who just want to get out on the water and try a new sport. My suggestion? Go paddle boarding. It’s fun, it’s relaxing, and you’ll discover a few new muscles you may not have known existed.
Hop on board one of the famous red Ozjet shark boats—painted to look like, well, fearsome sharks—for their 30-minute thrill ride. It takes off from Circular Quay and takes you on an adventure that features slides, fish-tails, power-break stops, and plenty of twists and turns. Be sure to wear a swim suit—you will get wet.
Wet ‘n’ Wild
The December 2013 opening of this 62-acre, $80 million campus located in the western suburbs of Sydney was a game-changer for the city. You can easily make a day of it here—Wet ‘n’ Wild boasts four gigantic, multi-tentacled towers from which slides of varying degrees of thrill emerge. Not scary enough? The Sydney SkyCoaster puts daredevils nearly 250 feet in the open air before dropping them in freefall. Too scary? Take a dip in the wave pool, which holds a whopping 1.8 million gallons of water.