Sydney Gay Guide 2018

Sydney, a city blessed with good looks, hot guys and stunning harbour! It is also the gay capital of the Southern Hemisphere. The scene has gone through some dramatic changes over the past few years, however the gay lure of the city remains! With it’s breathtaking beaches, surfer boys and glittering festival, it is one of our top 10 most visited destinations across all our guides! So get ready to go down under!

Gay Sydney new years eve

Sydney is one of the top destinations for New Years Eve celebrations, taking place a the height of the Summer Season.

Sydney Gay Beaches

Ah, beaches, boys and Bondi…what’s not to love. Sydney has several gay beaches just a short journey from the Central Business district.

Our Insiders Guide to Gay Sydney!

In this land of didgeridoo, boomerang, koala bear, wombat and kangaroo, Sydney is to Australia what New York is to the US — a vibrant multicultural city with a charge that’s electric, and a tingle that lingers long after. Renowned for its frolic, it is what locals call “the blow in place”, a reference to the folks who simply waft into town. Celebrated beaches, breath-taking views, and a spellbinding nightlife contribute to its allure.

Since 1978, Sydneysiders have enjoyed the world swooping down upon them for their annual Mardi Gras Festival. Sophisticated, laid-back and fun, Sydney also boasts a spectacular harbour location and balmy climate almost all year round. It has the best restaurants, most varied museums, finest array of beaches, greatest energy and hottest nightlife of any city in Australia. Understandably, it’s been named the world’s greatest city by the world’s most respected travel magazines.

The most iconic image of Sydney is the famous Sydney Opera House with its distinctive shell-shaped halls rising gracefully along the harbour. But it’s just one of many unique features of Australia’s largest and most sophisticated and picturesque city.

Sydney and the surrounding harbour has the weather of Southern California, the relaxed maritime life of Seattle, and the beautiful coastal hills of San Francisco. Mix with that the European/British flavour of the heart of the city, along with the hustle and bustle of one of the most historic, beautiful and lively downtowns in the world, and you have what can only be defined as paradise!

Sydney is also the gay and lesbian capital of the Southern Hemisphere and one of the world’s leading gay destinations. In their summer (winter in Europe), the climate’s not completely tropical, but it’s close, with clear sunny days occasionally interrupted by thunderstorms that can roll in for a few hours. The scenery is a lush green, with wild parrots and cockatoos flying overhead. It’s hard to envisage a city that’s gayer than Sydney.

This city wears its queer heart on its sleeve. Going nuts every year over the New Year fireworks is pretty gay in itself, but to go the whole hog by dangling a giant mirror ball from the top of the Harbour Bridge, well, that’s positively fruity.

Gay Sydney Guide

Sydney, despite it size, is a beach town at heart! Bronze bodies are everywhere and the atmosphere is remarkably laid back and welcoming.

Gay Villages… yes there’s more than one!

Roaming the town, Sydney`s heart is well laid out, with Hyde Park in the centre and various museums, shopping, botanical parks and gardens, cathedrals, hotels and ferry transportation all within walking distance. You can spend an afternoon having lunch in the park (where lots of hot men sunbathe during the day), stroll through downtown and explore Darling Harbour (IMAX Theatre and a wonderful Aquarium), Chinatown, the St. Mary’s Cathedral and so much more. Many cities only muster one gay village. Sydney has plenty. This is a big town, so focus. Sydney’s fashion and design crowd hang mostly in the eastern suburbs, from world-famous Bondi Beach to Darlinghurst and neighbouring Surry Hills, with its concentration of cool restaurants, bars, and village-like atmosphere. The inner western suburbs, such as Newtown and Erskineville, are more alternative and diverse, with a greater lesbian and student presence. Either way, it’s one big homo corridor.

Darlinghurst / Oxford Street 

Yes, the traditional centre of queer life has been Oxford Street in Darlinghurst, but it has become more mixed in the last ten years. Some say it’s in decline, others say it’s just gay people becoming more mainstream with little need for just one gay place. However, it is still one of the most popular strips at night for partying.

Potts Point

Nearby Potts Point and Elizabeth Bay have become the home to the smart party set. They both enjoy a stunning harbour setting and close proximity to the nightlife hub of Kings Cross. Further up Oxford Street you get to Paddington. Once a bit of a dive, its rich network of Victorian terraces has long since been gentrified and it’s home to a lot of chi-chi metrogays.

North Bondi Beach

Then there’s the beach. North Bondi is the current plage du jour while Tamarama (Glamarama) is home to some very well-to-do gay Sydneysiders. Head inland a bit and you come to Newtown, a big rival for Darlinghurst’s mantle.

Up and coming districts

Next door, Erskinville has a very villagey feel and is being gentrified by an army of gay nesters. Then there is Redfern. It has long been one of the less salubrious parts of the city, but is coming up fast.

Gay Nightlife in Sydney

Nightlife ignites on Friday, when the after-work crowd fills the bars along Oxford Street, and simmers on Saturday with numerous gay parties. But things really explode on Sunday, when the Green Park and Bank hotels are filled with boys engaged in afternoon debauchery. The city’s gay scene has undergone significant changes with the introduction of laws that were brought in to prevent drink fueled incidents late at night. This has forced many venues to close while encouraging other venues to be more creative to attract visitors earlier in the evening. Out of town venues and afternoon events have sprung up as alternative places to party.

The bars tend to get busy after 11pm.. “lockout” rules mean you won’t be able to enter a bar after 1:30am, and sales of alcohol are restricted between 3am and 5am (these rules only apply in certain districts). The nature of going out in Sydney has changed. Many parties have shifted from night time to day parties; Apart from ARQ, clubs are no longer the go-to venues for gigs and DJs; and alternatives – pubs, warehouses, beaches, galleries – are being used.

If the bars and beaches aren’t your thing, don’t despair. Sydney has a thriving culture of indoor and outdoor sex-on-premise venues. There are saunas and sex clubs sprinkled all over the city. There’s the Kingsteam on Oxford Street and Bodyline in Taylor Square. For a wilder time, there is Signal Men’s Sex Club and Headquarters, both promising a good time.

There are numerous clothing stores, bookstores and adult merchandise (Tool Shed) shops. There is also some nice patio dining on street-side cafes, as well as very warm and cosy small restaurants all along Oxford St, which stay busy until late at night.

The European feel extends to the club hours – don’t be surprised to see folks still partying at 8am on Sunday morning, as you cruise along looking for a bite to eat. There’s a stereotype that Aussie men are just the most masculine men on the planet. But in fact, there’s a great cross-section in Sydney, including many European and British folks mixed in with a potpourri of Asians from Hong Kong, Singapore and more. There’s bound to be someone for everyone.

  • When to visit?

    One of Sydney’s big draws is the near-perfect weather. For an impressive five months of the year — November to March — the city’s beaches and pools are filled with hot gay men. Bondi Beach is the most popular, but there are plenty of other spots for sun and fun. Summer is also when the New Year and Mardi Gras festivals take place.

  • From the Airport!

    Sydney Airport sits about five miles south of the city. Getting to your hotel is easy, with taxis ($45 to $55), and Airport Link ($18.50 each way) providing fast and convenient trains from the International Airport Station to the center of Sydney approximately every 10 minutes — a trip of 15-30 minutes. The international and domestic terminal rail stations link directly to the City Circle.

  • Getting around!

    Sydney’s public transportation system is extensive, but somewhat complex. The website Transport NSW has information for Sydney Trains and Sydney Bus, the two main systems, and all other varieties of local public transit. Short distances are best covered by foot, and taxis might be the most rapid option for getting to where you’re going.

  • Where to Stay?

    The gay district of Oxford Street and Darlinghurst are all located within the CBD (Central Business District). This is the most convenient district, but hotel prices are higher and rooms fill up early, especially for key events. Book as early in advance as possible.

Booking.com

Sydney Gay Scene HIGHLIGHTS

Much of Sydney’s gay nightlife takes place on Oxford Street, despite the changes to drinking laws or “Lockout” rules. Afternoon parties and one off events tend to take place out of town or in iconic venues such as Daywash the IVY or The Beresford Sundays.

Arq Sydney

Arq is still the biggest gay club in town and has stood the test of time!

Oxford Hotel

Gingers on the first floor of the Oxford Hotel is popular with LGBT visitors

Daywash at the IVY

The IVY hosts regular pool parties and gay themed events.

Beresford-Sundays

The Beresford Hotel in Surry Hills, is the place to see and be seen.

Where to stay in SYDNEY?

Sydney has several gay districts, however the Central Business District offers the most convenient places to stay, close to the bars, clubs and tourists attractions of the city. Sydney city centre (comprising Pyrmont, Circular Quay, The Rocks and the Central Business District) is relatively compact and can be explored on foot or by public transport, ride sharing and taxi.

Hotel Stellar

Apartment Style

Located just steps away from Hyde Park and a few minutes’ walk from all the gay bars & clubs on Oxford Street. The hotel offers spacious, air-conditioned 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom apartments, each of which has a kitchenette, flat screen TV and free WiFi Check Rates Now.

Bounce Sydney

Great Value

High quality, modern dorms & private rooms, located just a short walk to Chinatown and the gay bars on Oxford Street. Buses to the gay-popular Bondi Beach depart from just outside the hostel.With a fully equipped (shared) kitchen and 3 communal lounge areas. Check Rates

Hyde Park Inn Hotel

Great Location

Located in the heart of Sydney overlooking Hyde Park, the Hyde Park Inn offers comfortable rooms, studios and apartments. Each room has LCD cable TV, air conditioning and kitchenette. Free WiFi available. A light Continental breakfast is provided daily to the room. Check Rates

What to See & Do in SYDNEY

A whistle stop tour of Sydney will deliver you to the city centre and the hip hotspots of Darlinghurst and Surry Hills. But venture out and you’ll discover the flavour changes according to which direction you head in. No matter where you visit, make sure you check out our TOP 4 things to do!

Bronte Beach

Take a hike. Starting at Bronte Beach, a beautiful walking trail winds along the coastal cliffs to Bondi Beach. Take a dip in the pools!

BridgeClimb. Sydney

Getting high. The loftiest way to experience the city is from atop the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge. For a pricey but memorable half-day experience, scale it with the company BridgeClimb.

Royal Botanic Gardens

Flower power. Between Hyde Park and Circular Quay, the Royal Botanic Gardens is one of the world’s most beautiful public parks.

Taronga Zoo

What’s new at the zoo. Every great city has a zoo, but Taronga Zoo is particularly special. Located on the harbor with great views, it’s an incredible setting for up-close views of koalas, kangaroos and emus.

Sights worth seeing!

SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE

Experience the wonder of the World Heritage-listed Sydney Opera House on a guided tour. You’ll explore the famous building and its ingenious shape, and you can also savour delicious food and enjoy world-class performances. Discover the stories behind the building and its Danish architect Jørn Utzon on the multimedia Sydney Opera House Tour.

BRIDGECLIMB SYDNEY

Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge for exhilaration and view one of the best panoramas of the beautiful city and beyond, including the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. You’ll scale the bridge with BridgeClimb Sydney in The Rocks. There are a range of climbs, including the 3.5 hour tour and a shorter 90 minute tour. Climbs are available at dawn, during the day, at twilight or in the evening.

SKYWALK AT SYDNEY TOWER EYE

You’ll be walking on air 268 metres above stunning Sydney, with the city streets directly beneath your feet at Skywalk. Look down through the glass floor viewing platform for a bird’s-eye perspective of the bustling city below, as part of a 45 minute guided tour around the outside of the iconic golden turret of Sydney Tower.

BONDI BEACH

Get up early for a stroll along the famous beach or go for an invigorating morning swim before breakfast at one of the cafés on Campbell Parade. You’ll find public showers on the beach to wash off the salt after a swim in the ocean. Enjoy the views along the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk. Play nine holes at Bondi Golf Club.

In October and November, join the crowds at Sculpture by the Sea, an outdoor exhibition of artworks along a 2 km coastal walk. Buy takeaway fish and chips on Campbell Parade and enjoy them at the beach. Sip cocktails at Icebergs as the Sun sets over the ocean.

ZOOS AND WILDLIFE

Enjoy the views of Sydney Harbour on ferries to Taronga Zoo and Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary. After shopping in the city centre, walk to Darling Harbour for an encounter with Princess, a southern cassowary, at WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo. Meet Brian, a leopard shark, at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium and feed four different species of shark on a glass-bottom boat ride.

In whale-watching season, cruises depart Sydney Harbour and towns on the South Coast, Central Coast and North Coast. Check the Wild About Whales website for top locations. The Australian Reptile Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is an hour’s drive north of Sydney, near Gosford. Featherdale Wildlife Park is in Sydney’s west.

Taronga Zoo, about 12 minutes by ferry from Circular Quay, has a spectacular view across the harbour to the city. Among the many things to do at the zoo, youngsters will enjoy the bird and seal shows. Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary is home to sharks, penguins and lots more marine life, and is about 30 minutes by ferry from Circular Quay to Manly.

Shopping & Dining in SYDNEY

Sneakerboy Sydney

Sneakerboy Sydney for the most luxurious sneakers!

Claire's Kitchen

Claire’s Kitchen a traditional French Brasserie menu with a few modern twists.

Denham Sydney

Denham offering bespoke denim, the perfect fit!

Li'L Darling, Sydney

Li’L Darling offers delicious tapas to authentic Italian pizza, and inventive cocktails.

Where to Shop?

Head for The Rocks, near the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge, to buy art, souvenirs and gifts, and browse weekend markets. Other must-see shopping destinations are the elegant Queen Victoria Building and Strand Arcade.

East along Oxford Street, heading towards Bondi Beach, are more funky boutiques and the Paddington Markets, where many fashion designers got their start.

In the city centre, Westfield Sydney sets the pace for sensational shopping with four floors of fashion favourites. Nearby you’ll also find Australia’s two largest department stores, Myer and David Jones, which stock many top brands and offer personal shopper and stylist services.

Where to Eat?

Dine at one of Sydney’s top-rated restaurants – best to book your table in advance. Sample Australian wines at delightful bars. Enjoy lunch in a pub beside Sydney Harbour. Picnic in the Royal Botanic Garden, next to the Sydney Opera House, or on the beach at Bondi or Manly.

Some of the best “eat streets” are to be found in Sydney’s vibrant inner city neighbourhoods, such as Potts Point, Chippendale, Surry Hills and Newtown, where there are numerous exciting cafés and restaurants offering creative menus. Check out the restaurant section for our top pics!

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