5 Things to do in Sydney on a Rainy Weekend

Sydney is an incredible city with dozens of things to do, but it is a primarily outdoor city, complete with beaches and boardwalks and the Harbour Bridge. Find out the top things to do in Sydney on a rainy weekend to keep yourself dry but without sacrificing the fun.

Sydney is such a cool city with so much to do, but since a lot of it is outdoors it leaves some people stumped when it rains. If you’re looking for things to do in Sydney on a rainy weekend then you’re in luck – I traveled to Sydney three times and it rained twice!

One of the times I tried to tough it out and ended up damp and cold (this was winter) and it was a poor life decision. Not only is that uncomfortable but I looked like a wet, sad dog. That’s why I want to save you from the same soggy-shoe fate. These things to do in Sydney on a rainy weekend will be sure to keep you dry and thoroughly entertained.

Sea Life Sydney Aquarium

The first time we went to Sydney, it was purely to go to the Sea Life Aquarium because we’d bought tickets using points we’d earned from our Flybuys card. If you don’t use points, it’s still worth the visit, but it is a little on the pricey side. Tickets are cheaper if you buy online and vary depending on the date and time you book for your visit, starting at $33.60.

The highlight of the entire experience are funny little creatures called dugongs. I’ll be honest, I’d never even heard of a dugong before I looked up the Sea Life Aquarium and now I’m a convert. I’m a dugong lover for life.

Dugong in the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium

Dugong swimming overhead in the Sydney Sea Life Aquarium

There are only four dugongs in captivity in the world and the Sea Life Aquarium has two of them – Pig and Wuru. Pig was found off the coast of Queensland after he become separated from his mother when he was still very young. He was taken in, rehabilitated and released back into the wild, but when he was found washed up on shore with injuries, specialists decided not to return him. Wuru on the other hand, is a female and also was orphaned at a young age and unable to be returned the wild and here she ended up!

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Dugongs are total vegetarians and while they may look like a manatee – they are not! If you’re ever in doubt, check out the tail fin. A manatee’s tail fin is a horizontal paddle shape, whereas a dugong’s looks more like a shark or a dolphin.

These creatures alone will absolutely make your visit to the Sea Life Center, but that’s not all you’ll find there.

Corridor under water at the Sydney Sea Life Aquarium

You’ll also get to see penguins, sharks of all kinds, hundreds of unique and gorgeous fish, starfish, sting rays and more.

Stingray soaring in the water at the Sydney Sea Life Aquarium

This is my top thing to do in Sydney on a rainy weekend because it’s so much fun, you’ll learn a lot and you can easily spend the better part of a day here. Whether you’re a native Australian or otherwise, you’ll certainly still see species you’ve never even heard of and experiencing this, knowing you’d never see them in the wild, is pretty remarkable.

Sydney Tower Eye

The second thing that should be on your list if you find yourself with a rainy day is head to the Sydney Tower Eye, that tall needle-looking thing smack dab in the middle of the city.

Sydney City skyline out on the water

Although ticket prices can be a bit steep ($28 for an adult), the views from there are incredible. You can see over the entire city, spot the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and see for miles. It’s easily one of the best views in the city and there’s also a little cafe up there so you can take your time and enjoy the view.

The best time to go is at sunset, but unfortunately we ended up in a bit of a line and only just caught the last rays. Since you can just hang out up there, if you want to catch the sunset I would suggest getting there well before that to give yourself plenty of time to see the city in daylight, sunset and at night.

Sydney city skyline from the Tower Eye looking down on the buildings and Harbour Bridge

The only thing I would mention with this is if it’s raining, make sure it’s not too foggy because otherwise you probably won’t be able to see too much and you wouldn’t want to spend that money if you can’t get the experience.

Australian National Maritime Museum

Rain is yucky so you’re probably thinking why I would put a maritime museum on the list, which surely will be outside. You’d be right on the one hand – there is an outdoor portion, but even better, there’s an inside portion and it’s FREE. I won’t lie. It’s the sole reason we went here at all but honestly it was so worth it.

Sydney on the harbour in the rain

Now, I’m not a boat person. I don’t know much about boats and I’m totally uneducated about the role of the Australian navy in… well, anything really. I found this museum fascinating and a lot of fun. It was very interactive with some excellent exhibits about the Australian navy in WWI and photographs documenting life on ships during this time period.

Located next to the Sea Life Aquarium, it’s a perfect second pit stop on one day of your rainy weekend.

Shop

It’s no secret that Sydney is great for shopping and what better way to spend a rainy weekend than floating through the many shopping malls in the city? The shopping scene in Sydney is so extensive I’m not even talking about shopping for clothing or furniture (snore), but cute boutique stores and independent shops with cool trinkets.

I don’t like purchasing tchotchkes, but sometimes looking through these stores you might find something that speaks to you and can be a great souvenir for your trip. Some of the top places to shop in the city are Westfield (the mall attached to the Tower Eye), The Strand Arcade, Pitt Street Mall and Market City Centre.

Opera House Tour

Sydney Opera House on the harbour with sunset light on it

I’ve been saving the best for last. The iconic Sydney Opera House. Now, the Opera House is stunning from the outside, so if you find yourself in Sydney on a rainy weekend you can snap a few shots as you rush inside and then take a tour!

Tickets for the tour are $37, but you’ll learn all about the architecture and building process of the Opera House, as well as some fun facts about the acoustics and more. I’m going to be real with you: until I saw the Opera House in person, I had NO IDEA that it was three different buildings.

Sydney Opera House front on showing the three distinctly different sails

I had always seen it from the side so I had no clue it was three separate sails, not just one large structure. Learn something new every day I suppose.

These five indoor activities in Sydney will take you to the end of your rainy weekend. What are some of your favorite things to do in Sydney in the rain?

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