Quiet places to relax in Sydney

September 7, 2017
sydney, harbour bridge, australia, bridge

This is a sponsored post

I’m a born and bred Brisbane girl but I’ve had a sister living in Sydney and have been fortunate enough to have had many visits there over recent years and boy have I fallen for the place.  It’s a beautiful city offering something for everyone.

Sydney is such an interesting city to visit, with iconic landmarks and tourist attractions, amazing dining and nightlife, along with a beautiful setting on the harbour. Sydney is, however, a big city, and like all big cities, the busy traffic, noise and crowds of people can be a bit much at times. It is good to be able to find a nice quiet spot to just relax for a few moments, to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and be with your own thoughts. If you’re visiting, a luxurious Sydney hotel can be a good place to go and relax, but there are also lots of wonderful quiet places to relax around the city, from parks to beaches and quiet buildings. Here are some quiet places to relax in Sydney.

Royal Botanic Gardens

Visiting one of Sydney’s picturesque greenspaces is a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. The Royal Botanic Gardens is one of Sydney’s oldest parklands and the oldest botanic garden in Australia. It stretches from the harbour, southeast of the Sydney Opera House, to connect with The Domain, next to St Mary’s Cathedral. The Royal Botanic Gardens is a haven for a diverse range of flora from all over the world, with a focus on plants from Australia and the South Pacific, all displayed in perfectly manicured gardens. There are many interesting parts to the garden and you are sure to find the perfect spot to relax, whether it is sitting on a quiet bench, taking a nap on one of the green lawns or watching the boats go by along the harbour. You can also relax with stunning views of the city, the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.

sydney, harbour bridge, australia, bridgePhoto credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sydneysnapshots/8079400669/     

Hyde Park

The inner-city greenspace of Hyde Park is the perfect place to go to get a quick break from the busy city. You will always find people here on a warm sunny day taking an afternoon nap or relaxing on the grass with a book. The park is filled with beautiful gardens and monuments, including the ANZAC Memorial, where you can sit and remember the fallen war heroes. Hyde Park is also surrounded by some of Sydney’s most stunning historic buildings, including St Mary’s Cathedral and the Australian Museum.

Tamarama Beach

Bondi Beach is a great spot to visit, but being the most popular and well-known beach in Australia, it can get so crowded and busy at times that you will hardly feel like you have left the city. South of Bondi you can enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Bondi to Bronte coastal walk. Between Bondi and Bronte, you will come across the tiny, picturesque Tamarama Beach, located in a little sheltered cove and surrounded by spectacular rocky headlands at each end. This little beach is a great place to relax on the sand, far away from the crowds of its busy northerly neighbour.

beach, sydney, tamarama beach

Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tiborbkovacs/27591767726/

Shelly Beach

Another of Sydney’s most popular beaches is Manly Beach. If you follow the coastal path south from Manly, you will find another quiet little hidden gem – Shelly Beach. This little cove of sand and clear water feels a world away from the city and the busy beach to the north. The tiny cove here keeps the water nice and calm and sheltered, making it perfect for swimming, and the clear water and abundance of marine life makes it a great spot for snorkelling.

Chinese Garden of Friendship

Located in Darling Harbour, near Chinatown, the Chinese Garden of Friendship is the perfect place to go to get away from the city for an hour or two. This Chinese inspired garden is developed specifically to provide a peaceful place for the visitor, with beautiful architecture, plants, lakes and waterfalls. You will be hard pressed not to feel relaxed just by walking through this beautiful garden on your way to the darling harbour hotels. There is also an excellent teahouse here where you can relax with a cup of tea, some dim sum or something sweet.

chinese garden of friendship, sydney, garden

Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wyncliffe/14076729710/

Observatory Hill

Another popular inner-city spot to get a quick escape from the hustle and bustle is Observatory Hill at Millers Point. Home to the Sydney Observatory, this natural high point is a nice quiet spot with parklands to sit and enjoy the amazing views of Sydney Harbour. From this vantage point you can get a unique view of the Harbour Bridge and west across Darling Harbour. This is the perfect spot to grab a takeaway lunch and escape the city for a moment.

Art Gallery of New South Wales

If you’re an art lover, escaping to a good art gallery can be a nice relaxing experience and a good way to escape the city. The Art Gallery of New South Wales is located within the picturesque parkland known as The Domain, just south of the Royal Botanic Gardens, and is one of the biggest art galleries in Australia. The gallery has an excellent collection of artworks by Australian and international artists, and often hosts special exhibits.

art gallery, art gallery of nsw, nsw, sydney, australia, art, gallery

Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/superciliousness/239147174/

Nielson Park

Located in the harbour side suburb of Vaucluse, Nielson Park is a beautiful spot to relax right on the harbour. The park provides stunning harbour views westwards to the CBD, and there are large areas of grass to relax on with a book or a picnic lunch. There is a sandy beach here known as Shark Beach to paddle around in. For an even quieter beach, walk a couple of minutes south along the water from Nielson Park to the tiny Milk Beach – a lovely little secluded spot which is perfect for watching the sunset over the city.

Camp Cove & South Head

Watsons Bay is another nice harbour side suburb to visit in Sydney. Camp Cove is a lovely sandy beach perfect for swimming and paddling around in the harbour water. You can reach the beach by walking north from the ferry terminal in Watsons Bay. For a relaxing walk, take the path north to South Head, where the Hornby Lighthouse watches out over the point where Sydney Harbour meets the Pacific Ocean. This is a wonderful spot to sit and watch the waves roll in against the cliffs.

camp cove, sydney, beach

Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/brontelockwood/26683403886/

State Library of New South Wales

Sometimes the best way to relax is by escaping to a quiet place with a good book to read. The State Library of New South Wales, located just south of the Botanic Gardens, is a beautiful old historic building with an incredibly diverse library of books. Find a quiet nook and get lost in a good book for a few hours. 

Visiting one of these quiet and relaxing spots can be a great way to break up your busy tour of Sydney. Even if you just need a quick lunchtime escape, you won’t have any trouble finding a quiet spot to relax in Sydney.

Ciao for now,


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  • Reply Jo Tracey September 7, 2017 at 7:50 am

    The art gallery & Botanical Gardens used to be my fave spots to get away to. Cockatoo Island is another – and there’s nothing like the Manly Ferry for clearing out the cobwebs. #TeamLovinLife

    • Reply Min September 7, 2017 at 1:57 pm

      I’ve been on the Manly ferry many times Jo because my sister used to live at Balgowlah. I always loved the Ferry ride home from Circular Quay – so relaxing and so much gorgeousness to look at! 🙂

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee September 7, 2017 at 8:24 am

    What lovely pictures. I live here and love all those places!!

    • Reply Min September 7, 2017 at 1:58 pm

      You’re lucky to have all these places at your fingertips Lydia!

  • Reply Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond September 7, 2017 at 9:01 am

    I loved your post Min because I was born and lived in Sydney for over 30 years. It brought back such lovely memories and also I need to organise a trip back there! I agree that a trip to Sydney has to include a ride on the Manly Ferry and also a visit to Taronga Zoo.

    • Reply Min September 7, 2017 at 1:59 pm

      Thanks so much Sue! I didn’t realise you were born and lived in Sydney. You know what – I haven’t actually been to Taronga Zoo. I must do that next time I visit Sydney!

  • Reply Sydney Shop Girl September 7, 2017 at 9:09 am

    I love this list, Min. Perfect combination of nature and culture. Will be exploring these options now that the weather is looking so good here.

    SSG xxx

    • Reply Min September 7, 2017 at 2:00 pm

      Nature and culture – two of my most favourite things! Thanks SSG – good to hear you’re enjoying good weather there! xo

  • Reply Deborah September 7, 2017 at 9:42 am

    I’ve not spent much time in Sydney so don’t know it well at all. I remember going with friends in the 1990s sometime though and going to the beach and found it very different (for some reason) to our Qld beaches.

    I’d like to spend some time there but it all seems a little overwhelming in terms of the touristy thing and traffic etc. Perhaps staying by the beach somewhere would be nice.

    • Reply Min September 7, 2017 at 2:02 pm

      You need to get yourself to Sydney for a visit Deb! There are soooo many gorgeous beachside suburbs in Sydney that are well worth a visit and not at all overwhelming. There’s a fab shuttle bus service from the airport to these places too, or stay around Circular Quay and catch ferry’s and explore. So much fun! 🙂

  • Reply Ingrid September 7, 2017 at 10:21 am

    I love Shelley Beach! Another place near there that I find relaxing is North Head. Plus the view from there is amazing!


    • Reply Min September 7, 2017 at 2:02 pm

      I love Shelley Beach too! I’ve eaten at that lovely little restaurant there too – lovely spot and easy walk from Manly. 🙂

  • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au September 7, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    We discovered the Chinese Friendship Gardens when we visited Sydney and absolutely loved them – just beautiful and so serene – and I loved that a few people were wandering around in costumes – gorgeous.

    • Reply Min September 7, 2017 at 2:03 pm

      I love green spaces close to the city that you can escape to. It’s a must in city planning I think! 🙂

  • Reply JODIE FILOGOMO September 7, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    What a fabulous run down of places, Min!!

    • Reply Min September 7, 2017 at 2:03 pm

      Thanks Jodie. Maybe one day you’ll get out here and be able to experience some of them for yourself! 🙂 xo

  • Reply Jenni @ Unclutter Your Universe September 7, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    Thanks for the wonderful trip down memory lane. I lived in Sydney for a few years in the early 90’s and loved it. I loved the hype of the big city, which also had so many beautiful relaxing spots. One day I would love to get back there and visit the old favourites and explore the new.

    • Reply Min September 8, 2017 at 2:24 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post Jenni. Hope you get back there one day soon!

  • Reply Lyndall @ SeizeTheDayProject September 7, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    A great rundown of places to relax in Sydney Min. I lived in beautiful Sydney for several years, and Neilsen Park was one of my favourite places to visit. I miss lots of things about Sydney. Must be time for another visit! 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

    • Reply Min September 8, 2017 at 2:26 pm

      So many people that used to live in Sydney Lyndall! I’m going to miss visiting my sister there. She moved back to Brisbane just before Christmas last year. Still hope to visit Sydney again one day in the not too distant future! 🙂

  • Reply Estelle Anderson September 7, 2017 at 11:51 pm

    Thank you Min for a walk down memory lane, with a reminder of so many lovely places to visit in Sydney. While I’m not from Sydney, I am from NSW. Currently I am in Perth and I haven’t been to Sydney since January. It’s interesting how we are creatures of habit. I usually visit the same places in Sydney. So, when I next visit Sydney I should check out Shelly Beach, Observatory Hill (can’t believe I haven’t been there) and Neilson Park. 🙂

    • Reply Min September 8, 2017 at 2:29 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the post Estelle! I was last in Sydney in June 2016 so over a year ago now. Perth is a long way from Sydney! I’m actually going to be visiting Perth for the first time ever in October! So looking forward to it! I know what you mean about being creatures of habit. Sometimes we don’t know what it right under our nose! I hope you get to visit Shelly Beach, Observatory Hill and Neilson Park next time you visit Sydney!

  • Reply Janet Camilleri aka Middle Aged Mama September 8, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    The Chinese Garden of Friendship is indeed a delight, I wandered through when I was in Sydney earlier this year for the copywriter’s conference. But I don’t think I’ve been to any of these other places you’ve mentioned – I look forward to exploring at least some of them next time I’m in town!

    • Reply Min September 8, 2017 at 2:31 pm

      Hope you get to explore some more of the places listed Janet. They’re all beautiful! If you go to Shelley Beach – book in to the restaurant on the beach there for lunch. It’s an easy walk from Manly and a fabulous spot! 🙂

  • Reply Natalie September 9, 2017 at 1:27 am

    Great post, Min. I’ll refer to this post when I visit Sydney, hopefully in late 2018-early 2019. It’s a long way for me to travel from Canada to Australia so when I do plan the trip, I really want to make the most of my time there.

    • Reply Min September 10, 2017 at 4:53 pm

      Thanks Natalie! You’ve got plenty of time to plan your trip. I’m so glad this post will be of help! 🙂

  • Reply Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit September 11, 2017 at 5:15 am

    I recently discovered the Royal Botanic Gardens. Wrote about it in my scenic walk series. One of my new fave spots in Sydney!

    • Reply Min September 14, 2017 at 12:36 pm

      I love botanic gardens – fantastic for my photography! 🙂

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