Sydney delivers a beautiful sunset. Even us locals have to admit it’s hard to resist a little sunset pic when the skies are painted with pink, gold, orange and red. To help you navigate the best vantage points to land an Insta-worthy photo while you’re visiting Sydney, we’ve put together a list of our top 10 favourites (with a few Google probably won’t tell you about).
Pier One, of course! You don’t even have to leave the hotel for one of the best places to watch the sunset in Sydney! There’s nothing quite like it here at Pier One Sydney Harbour. Each golden hour we shake up a special signature sunset cocktail made with gin by local distillers Archie Rose and seasonal ingredients – it changes all the time – plus complimentary canapes (thank you, Gantry!). On Thursdays we offer complimentary bubbles and canapés for in-house guests. Worried about your potentially questionable photo skills? We’ve got that covered too! A vintage 1912 camera is perfectly positioned on the Pier for you to capture a sunset photo using your own phone, you can then print it inside. See you this afternoon!
Hotel Palisade, Henry Deane Rooftop Henry Deane, the rooftop bar at Hotel Palisade, is an excellent bar to visit if you’re feeling a little fancy. It boasts beautiful sky-high views of the harbour, we’re talking 360 degrees, and excellent Negronis and Nogronis (sans alcohol). The best part? It’s under 10 minutes by foot from Pier One.
Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay The Boathouse is a lovely restaurant to dine at for an intimate dinner, or celebration with friends and family. It specialises in local seafood and has beautiful harbour and sunset views from a perspective off the beaten track. Don’t leave without trying the snapper pie, it’s a classic Sydney dish.
Bennelong A spectacular fine-diner if you’re feeling a little extra fancy, an excellent spot for international visitors who are looking for sunset views that are the cream of the crop. Australian produce and wine take centre stage here, courtesy of one of Australia’s best chefs, Rob Cockeril. Great emphasis is placed on provenance and farmers, while desserts are whimsical spins on Australian classics. This stunning hatted restaurant, situated in Sydney’s iconic Opera House is a leisurely 20-minute walk or quick water taxi from the hotel.
Opera Bar While it may be dismissed as “too touristy” on occasion, the view at the Opera Bar is truly breathtaking and special every single day. It’s a great location to take in the sunset as well as the hustle and bustle of activity around the Opera House and Circular Quay. Just watch the seagulls!
Gap Park – free While it may be slightly further from the hotel than say, Henry Deane, the Gap Park in Watsons Bay provides a beautiful vantage point not only for sunset but for a wide panoramic view of north and south Sydney. Unlike other vantage points in Sydney, the view from the Gap Park includes the WHOLE city because it’s the furthest east you can go before you start swimming in the South Pacific. Well worth the drive (or ferry across the harbour to Watsons Bay!), we think.
Nielsen Park – free This pretty park and beach (AKA Shark Beach) is a lovely place to set up for the day. There are a number of picnic areas and tables to utilise, or you could simply find your patch of sand and settle in. Here you’ll find views across to Taronga Zoo and Manly as well as the city. Drop into Nielsen Park on the way to Gap Park, or vice versa, if you’re that way inclined, for a double Insta-snap journey.
Observatory Hill Park – free At under 15 minutes on foot from the hotel, Observatory Hill Park is another great outdoor vantage point for catching the sunset, one that’s slightly closer to home. It has panoramic views of the city and harbour, and has a wonderful in-city feel, while still being surrounded by nature. A great pick if you’re not up for a public transport journey or taxi ride to watch the sunset.
Mrs Macquarie’s Chair/Park – free Mrs Macquarie’s Chair is a great halfway option between the hotel and Sydney’s eastern beaches. The chair is a Sydney landmark, carved out of sandstone rock by convicts in the early 1800s. Its unique, historical location offers uninterrupted views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge from which to watch the sun dip down. Just perfect!
From a Sydney Ferry! – the cost of ferry/water taxi ride Prefer your sunset viewing on the go? Perhaps a ride on one of Sydney’s ferries is the option for you. For between $6 and $12, depending if you’re returning or not, you can catch the sunset on your way back into the city, say from Shelly Beach in Manly (a great beach you can while away the day at, that’s slightly off the beaten track), via boat. Even Sydneysiders take this journey just for the fun of it, the view is truly spectacular. P.S. Pier One boasts a water taxi service from the pontoon, offering a more private way to explore the Harbour.