Top 10 Things to Do on a Rainy Day in Sydney

Apr 5, 2017 8:30:00 AM / by Julie Ritz

CAPAStudyAbroad_Sydney_Spring2017 - Profile.jpgColin Gilbert is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2017, sharing his story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A marketing and supply chain management major at the University of Pittsburgh, he is studying abroad in Sydney this semester.

In this week's post, Colin tells us the top 10 things to do in Sydney on a rainy day, from visiting museums to mundane chores.


Autumn in Upstate New York is one of my favorite times to return to my hometown. Munching on juicy apples as I pick them off the tree, searching for the perfect pumpkin to take home straight off the vine, and feeling the crisp, cool autumn wind whipping across my face as I sip on freshly mulled cider taking in the foliage.

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Autumn in Australia, however, is a much different story. It’s warm, but not hot. It’s rainy, but not pouring. It’s, in general, just a touch too humid and much too unpredictable to make any reliable outdoor plans. As of late, we’ve been experiencing quite a bit of rain which has made checking things off our ever-expanding list of things to do before we leave a bit difficult. Nevertheless, we refuse to let a bit of precipitation rain on our parade (literally) so I’ve come up with a list of the top 10 things to do on a rainy day in Sydney.

1. Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

This museum is conveniently located right in Circular Quay, so you can take in the gorgeous views of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge even if the skies are gray. The exhibits inside are anything but dreary, as exhibits play with bright colors and a variety of different media. An added bonus, admission to the museum is free for all.

2. Tour the Opera House 

The iconic building is more recognizable than Sydney, Australia itself. If you’re going to be spending an extended period of time in its home city, you might as well get to know it better! I opted for the one-hour tour and came away knowing more than I ever thought—including why the off-white tiled exterior (which I thought just needed to be cleaned) was purposely discolored!

3. Visit Paddy’s Markets

If you’re always on the hunt for a good bargain, Paddy’s Market is sure to please. Located in Chinatown, the vast area dedicated to haggling and filled wall to wall with clothing, souvenirs, and impressive collections of knock-off bags. I like to go with a friend to help navigate the never-ending rows of merchants.

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4. Take in a Movie

Hoyt’s Cinema located in the Broadway Shopping Center is just a five-minute stroll from Urbanest and plays all the blockbusters you’d expect to see in America. If that isn’t your scene, Sydney features tons of smaller independent cinemas showing a variety of genres in more a more intimate atmosphere. I wouldn’tve thought I’d be going to theatres while abroad, but I couldn’t just not see the new Beauty and the Beast!

5. Powerhouse Museum

Nerd out a bit at this branch of the Museum of Arts & Applied Sciences right in Ultimo. Featuring exhbits such as the oldest operational steam engine in the world and a model of the Strasbourg Astronomical Clock, you’ll be feeling like a scientific whiz in no time.  

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6. Go Grocery Shopping

Boring? Yes. Necessary? Also yes. I like to take advantage of the less than ideal weather and get caught up on all the errands I have to run. Plus, seeing the piles of fresh, vibrant fruit at Harris Farm Markets always tends to put me in a better mood than the saturated clouds outside.

7. Cruise on a Ferry

As I previously posted about, Sydney’s public transit system is spectacular. With your Opal card provided by CAPA, hop a random ferry and cruise around the Harbour, taking in the sights as you lounge under cover. If the skies break up, you’re able to hop right off an explore a new area of the city!

8. SEA LIFE Aquarium

Swim alongside the wondrous creatures of the ocean without a trip to the beach! This Darling Harbour attraction is sectioned into zones of Australia’s marine life, ranging from Sydney’s very own Harbour to the Great Barrier Reef. And yes, you’re bound to find Nemo.

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9. Shop the Queen Victoria Building

A stunning nineteenth century building turned modern shopping center will make you feel beyond sophisticated as you nab your next deal. The perfect place to swing by should you find yourself caught in the rain in the CBD, stop by the Tea Room to spend an afternoon enjoying a cup of Earl Grey and petit fours served on Royal Prince Albert China.

10. Literally A N Y T H I N G

Let’s be real, you’re still in Australia’s largest and most metropolitan city! You shouldn’t let a little bit of liquid sunshine keep you cooped up inside, even if the beach may be out of the question. Pull out the umbrella, zip up your rain jacket, and keep your original plans—it’s still in the 70’s and it’s better than snow!

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As they say, life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to suck it up and seize another awesome day in Sydney!

I think that’s how the quote goes, at least.


Thanks Colin!

Colin's journey continues every Wednesday so stay tuned!

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Topics: Sydney, Australia, Activities Abroad