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An Alternative Cultural Guide to Sydney

6 great places for a less ordinary holiday in Australia's top city

Do you ever get bored of the usual sightseeing holidays? So often we visit a world-famous attraction, only to feel like we’ve already seen it a thousand times – in countless pictures and videos. Or even worse, sometimes sites don’t even live up to the hype: how is it possible that Mona Lisa is so small? And why is Rome so dirty? A lot of the times, these places are so crowded, you can barely even see the attraction, and there are so many people around you that the only thing you can think about is that you can feel someone’s elbow in your back, and what if there’s a pickpocket in the crowd?

Sunset walk at Sydney's Maroubra beach
Located in Maroubra Bay, Maroubra beach is part of Australia's National Surfing Reserve
and one of the most popular surfing locations in Sydney. (Image by Pixabay)

Sometimes it’s best to just mix it up: instead of going to see the places in every single guide book, why not make up your own list of alternative sites to see. Sydney is a city full of cultural events, fun festivals, and fascinating locations. Here are our top choices for a less ordinary holiday in Australia’s busiest city.

The Sculptures by the Sea Festival

Sculptures by the Sea at Bondi
Featuring over 100 artists from Australia and the world, Sculptures by the Sea is a popular coastal exhibition held annually in October and November. (Flickr - Travischauphotography)

If you asked people to name the five most famous beaches in the world, chances are Bondi would be somewhere around the top for most people. But Bondi is not just a glorious stretch of golden sand and crystal clear water. It is also the place where you can enjoy the work of some of the most famous sculptors in the world, every spring. The beautiful landscape transforms into a magnificent yet surreal outdoor gallery. It is definitely a sight to behold.

Body Art Museum

Tattoos are an alternative body art
Whether temporary or permanent, tattoos or body art have become a new, alternative way
for people to adorn their bodies and express themselves. (Image by Flickr - Eyeliam)

Nowadays, most people – especially younger generations, have at least one tattoo and a few body piercings. It might strike us as a modern way to express ourselves, but the truth of the matter is that body art is probably as old as mankind. This incredible museum chronicles different permanent and temporary body modifications from both the ancient days and the modern era. And if you wish to add some new ink to your own collection (or maybe get your very first one), check out the best Japanese tattoos in Sydney at the Tattoo Movement.

Get in touch with nature in Bundeena National Park

Bundeena National Park in Sydney
As part of the NSW Coast Track, Bundeena's scenic walk offer great beach views, for an unforgettable hiking experience at Royal National Park. (Image by Flickr - Cheek)

Nature lovers might feel cut off from their life force in the bustling metropolis that is Sydney. But head out just a little bit to the outskirts, and you will find Bundeena. One of the most beautiful national parks on the continent, Bundeena is a heaven of serene beaches and ancient rainforests, with a picturesque village where you can grab lunch.

Vivid Bridge Climb

Sydney's Harbour Bridge climb
For an awesome experience and amazing views, take Sydney Harbour Bridge climb
for fantastic views of the city and its famous Opera House. (Image: Flickr - Granteaton)

Those who enjoy a bit of adrenalin coursing through their veins should catch the annual lights and ideas event called Vivid Festival. This is the unique time when you can gather your mates and climb to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, illuminated in colorful lights. And when you reach the top, you can enjoy a ‘70s dance party on a makeshift dance podium. It sounds crazy, but somehow it just makes sense, you know?

Historic Cockatoo Island

Cockatoo Island art
Located in the middle of beautiful Sydney Harbour, Cockatoo Island has had a checkered
history, but it's now a UNESCO-listed world heritage island. (Image by Flickr - Mrtruffle)

The Harbour located island has had a strange history – to put it lightly. It was probably first used for fishing by the Aborigines, and some 150 years ago, it served as a prison. Today, the darkness has been extinguished by art. Even the grim architecture got a makeover from street artists. The new, colorful exterior goes hand in hand with the numerous art and music festivals held there every year.

The defiant Surry Hills graffiti

Street graffiti art in central Sydney
One of Sydney's inner suburbs, Surry Hills is a thriving hub for alternative galleries, studios, theatres and vintage and retro fashion boutiques. (Image by Flickr - Macca)

Surry Hills, the affluent area south of the CBD is a graffiti lover’s idea of heaven. From elaborate and exquisitely detailed murals, to the less artistic endeavors – Surry Hills has it all. It’s one giant canvas for all the free spirits with some spray cans.

No matter the season, Sydney, with its perfect weather, always hosts a number of exciting events. Just check out the calendar, and create your own personal bucket list of things to see and do in Sydney.

Nicole Noel - Twitter

Author bio:

Nicole is an avid traveler passionate about yoga and healthy living. She always seeks new adventures and enjoys sharing her experiences with others. You can find her on Twitter and FB.

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