Adventure | Beach | City | Family 27 March 2024

11 of the best things to do in Sydney this autumn 

Say goodbye to long summer days, because autumn is finally coming to Sydney – and the city is ready to turn it on for visitors.

Sydney is widely considered the most iconic city in Australia, so you know there’s plenty on the agenda from March through May. Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly Easter holiday, a romantic couples getaway, or a girls-only vacay, it’s the perfect time to experience Sydney your way.

Plus, with Oaks and Menulog's new partnership, you can enjoy your favourite comfort foods delivered and unwind after taking in the city sights.

1. Nights in, nights out

After a long day of exploring, sometimes kicking your feet up and enjoying takeout is just what the doctor ordered. But what’s on the menu? With Oaks Hotels and Menulog, it’s whatever you’re craving – pick from the best local takeaway options on Menulog and it’ll be delivered right to your door. Room service just got a serious upgrade.

Once you’ve taken advantage of the in-room experience, get back out there and keep enjoying everything Sydney has to offer. Soak up the sunset at the Opera Bar for waterfront dining with unfiltered views of the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Or visit Bondi Beach for an experience to remember – head to Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, known for its regional Italian menu and bird’s eye views of the surf below.

Oaks Sydney Castlereagh Suites in the Sydney CBD is your home away from home.

Local tip: All Sydney Oaks properties offer Menulog in-room – just order your favourites online and they’ll add it to your bill at checkout. Deliciously simple. 

2. All of the lights

Just scraping its way into autumn before extending into the winter months, you’ll find the annual Vivid Festival, running from 24 May to 15 June.

Crowned as the largest arts festival in the Southern Hemisphere and renowned for stunning displays that light up the most prominent landmarks of the city, it’s a full-on feast for the senses.

It’s not just about the light shows either. For 23 days and nights, Vivid transforms Sydney into a hub of art, innovation and technology, with some of the world’s most boundary-pushing artists, thinkers, musicians and culinary talents all in one place.

It’s going to be lit. Literally.

Looking for somewhere to stay? Oaks Sydney Hyde Park Suites is centrally located in the Sydney’s CBD, right at the heart of the action.

Local tip: The main attractions are free for all to enjoy, but there are a number of ticketed events on the program you’ll need to register for. Keep an eye on the website for the 2024 event line-up. 

3. Taste your way through the Hunter Valley

If it’s autumn in the Hunter Valley, then it’s time for the turning of the leaves – a vibrant backdrop for the wine and cheese tastings the region is best known for.

Take a stroll through the picture-perfect vines to see the leaves turn from varying shades of yellow and orange all the way through to a brilliant red. It’s like watching a 4K TV in real life.

Then, enjoy a brilliant red of a different sort at one of the region’s many world-class wineries.

To get even more out of the trip, why not extend it to an overnight stay? Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort is at the heart of it all.

Local tip: Let an experienced guide take the wheel and lead you to the best wineries. Book a tour through Experience Oz.

4. It’s the climb

Now that the humidity of summer has shown itself the door, this is a prime time to explore the world-famous Blue Mountains.

Whether you’re a nature lover or you simply appreciate a damn good view when you see one, you’ll love the region’s unique natural beauty and sweeping panoramic vistas. And better yet, the main tourist destinations of Leura and Katoomba – home to the Scenic Railway, the steepest railway in the world – are only 90 kilometres away from the city.

Expect to be dropping more ‘wows’ than Owen Wilson as you take in the tall peaks, deep valleys, high cliffs and sparkling waterfalls of the Blue Mountains. And if there’s one thing that should definitely be on your itinerary, make it the spectacular Three Sisters, one of the most instantly recognisable rock formations in Australia – if not the world.

Local tip: To guarantee you’ll see all the sights, book a tour through Experience Oz

5. Quiet on set

Technically part of the Blue Mountains, but special enough to get their own spot on this list, are the 45 hectares that make up the Breenhold Gardens. Only open to the public from 10am to 4pm in spring and autumn, the Breenhold Gardens make visiting Sydney in the pre-winter months just that extra bit special.

Unfurl your picnic blanket and place it on the carpet of red maple leaves that have fallen from the trees above. You’ll feel like you’re on the set of a movie – and that’s because you are. Breenhold has been a filming location for many movies, documentaries, TV series and commercials, including Baz Luhrmann and Leo DiCaprio’s take on The Great Gatsby.

Now you can add your Insta Story to the list of great Breenhold Gardens productions.

Local tip: If you’re planning a picnic, let Oaks Hotels and Menulog do the hard work for you. Place an order for a selection of picnic treats that will be delivered straight to your door before you head off for the day.

6. Life’s a beach

Australian summers can be extra toasty, which is why we reckon autumn is a much more pleasant time to visit one of Sydney’s many beaches.

The water is still surprisingly warm, and the sand isn’t unbearably hot – the perfect conditions for setting yourself up beach-side for the day. Just don’t forget you’ll still need to slip, slop, slap on some sunscreen.

Bondi Beach – surely the best-known beach in Australia – is a must for any visitor, including Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker. But if you want to avoid the crowds and the beautiful celebrities, then Bronte, Manly and Gordon’s Bay are all superb.

7. Join the zoo crew 

Taronga Zoo is a playground like no other for the 5,000+ animals that call it home – and you’re invited to monkey around with them.

Not sure where to start with this iconic destination? How about with its newest immersive experience, Nura Diya Australia. Across four unique landscapes, you’ll be offered the opportunity to get to know 23 unique and rare Australian species, as well as the fascinating habitats they call home.

Looking for more than just a standard trip to the zoo? Why not add in an unforgettable animal encounter, volunteer yourself to be a zoo keeper for a day, or see Sydney from new heights with the high ropes courses at the adjoining Wild Ropes Treetops Adventure?

Nestled into the cliffs of Mosman, your gaze will be torn between the incredible animals and the striking views on offer.

Local tip: If you book online through Taronga Zoo, you can save up to 20 per cent on your entry fee – and if it’s your birthday, you’ll only have to pay a $1 entry fee. ExperienceOz also offers package deals including entry to the Zoo. 

8. Find your hoppy place

The Sydney Royal Easter Show might just be the event of the season, with 12 days of non-stop entertainment.

Officially, the Show celebrates regional excellence in agriculture, but it’s evolved into much more than that – think carnival rides, live music, games and a showbag sugar high.

This year’s event will take place from 22 March to 2 April, and is a guaranteed hit with the big and little kids in your life.

Local tip: Don’t queue up for nothing – entry tickets must be booked online, which you can do here.

9. Have a full tilt at a half marathon

There’s something magical about this one. For a few amazing hours on 5 May 2024, the streets of one of the world’s great cities will be cleared, and Sydney will be all yours to enjoy for the running of the Hoka Sydney Runaway Half Marathon.

Autumn offers the ideal running conditions – not too hot, not too cold, just right – and the event also comes with on-course entertainment and spectator zones to keep you motivated and having fun.

Don’t forget to limber up.

Local tip: Make sure to fuel up pre- and post-event. Oaks Hotels and Menulog will keep your hard-working muscles well-rested by bringing your favourites straight to your doorstep.

10. The all-seeing Eye

Hope you like heights (or have access to some strong acrophobia meds). When you visit Sydney Tower Eye, located 250 metres above street level, you’ll become part of the Sydney skyline, and enjoy unrivalled 360-degree views of the city and beyond.

Want to take it up a notch? Join a 60-minute Skywalk tour, and if you’re brave enough, look down at the Sydney CBD directly beneath your feet. This is the highest outdoor viewpoint (268 metres) in the city – so what better way to enjoy that autumn air?

Local tip: Book your tickets in advance and save with ExperienceOz.

11. A rollercoaster of emotions 

Luna Park Sydney isn’t just a theme park – it’s a genuine piece of Aussie history. In fact, it’s one of only two amusement parks in the entire world that are protected by government legislation. (Finally, something both sides of the aisle can agree on.)

Known for its signature – and, let’s be honest, slightly unnerving – entrance face, which has been welcoming guests with a smile since 1935. Luna Park is home to thrilling rides, fun sideshow games and unbeatable views of Sydney Harbour.

Local tip: Park entry is free, but if you want to go on rides and access the attractions, you’ll need to buy a ticket. Book online to secure your preferred date and receive a discount.

Ready to make Sydney your home away from home this autumn? Stay at one of the many Oaks Hotels in the city centre, or nearby in Glenelg