A local's guide to the best Sydney sunrise and sunset spots

We love watching the sun rise and set and try to get out to different view points as often as we can. Wherever we go, we are always looking for the perfect photography spots with the chance to capture that beautiful golden light

You're spoilt for choice in Sydney but some spots are definitely better than others. Here are a few of our favourites.

The Best Sydney Sunrise Spots

1. Palm Beach

It doesn't get much better than catching a sunrise at Palm beach and then heading for breakfast at the Boathouse nearby. The whole area is a glimpse of just how great the aussie lifestyle is. It's beautiful at any time of day, but you'll have it all to yourself at sunrise.

You can also get some great shots from the lighthouse looking back to the two beaches below. It is also one of Sydney's most instagrammable spots. 



2. Curl Curl Beach

Curl Curl beach is one of the northern beaches and is a great place to be at the start of the day.

It's likely that you'll have the whole place to yourself as it's a less popular spot than the eastern beaches.

There is a great cliff and ocean bath not shown in the shot above which also make for interesting photography options.

Best Sydney Sunrise Spots: Curl Curl Sunrise

There's a small path to the top of the cliff which also offers some great views. It is definitely one of our favourite beaches in Sydney. 


Read next: Where to stay in Sydney - all the best hotels in every suburb

3. Mona Vale Beach

Getting to Mona Vale requires a bit of effort if you're staying in the city centre, but it's worth it for a great sunrise.

Situated on the northern beaches, it has its own rockpool in the centre of the beach which is a great focal point for sunrise.

It's also a droner's favourite spot as it looks even better from above.

Best Sydney Sunrise Spots: Mona Vale Beach

4. Hickson Road Reserve

For the iconic sunrise shot, head to Hickson Road Reserve in The Rocks.

This little park offers an incredible view across the harbour to the opera house and the sun will rise behind it.

In the Summer, you'll be lucky enough to have it rise directly behind the opera house, creating a very cool effect (although you'll need to be there at 5.30am!).



5. Bondi Beach

Bondi beach is great at any time of day, but at sunrise it becomes even better.

There are fewer people here (although you'll still find a couple of surfers, runners and dog walkers) and you'll be in prime position to see the sun come up over the ocean.

After you've watched the sunrise why not check out one of the best walks in the city, the 5.5km trail between Bondi and Coogee? For details and other ideas for what to do in the city, check out our 48 hour Sydney itinerary. 


The Best Sydney Sunset Spots

1. Manly Cove

Manly Cove is no secret, but there are few better places to be on a summer evening. It's an amazing place to grab some fish and chips and watch the sunset.

The water here is as still as a millpond and you can spend hours watching the paddle boarders and ferries drift by.


2. Mrs Macquarie's Chair - Botanic Gardens

If you only have time for one sunset in the whole of Sydney, this is probably the one you should do.

It's not necessarily our favourite, but you can't visit Sydney without shooting this view.

Tucked away on the coast path at the botanic gardens, you'll get the opportunity to see the sunset behind both the harbour bridge and opera house.

If you're a fan of long exposures, there are many rocks in the foreground to create that dreamy effect.


3. Jeffrey St Wharf - Kirribilli

Jeffrey St Wharf has been a favourite of ours, as it's a stones throw from where we live, but it genuinely is one of the best views in Sydney. 

You get a magnificent view of the harbour bridge and the opera house across the water and it's a great place to sit and watch all the harbour action.

There's a spot which always has a puddle, so you can get creative and get a cool harbour bridge reflection shot.


4. Balls Head Reserve - Waverton

Another local favourite of ours, Ball's Head offers something that most of Sydney doesn't - height.

The drawcard for this viewpoint is that you get a stellar view of the city and bridge from high up.

You don't look directly into the setting sun, but you do get some pretty amazing light at sunset. It's also quiet, meaning you won't need to jostle for position.


5. Dudley Page Reserve - Vaucluse

Dudley Page Reserve has only recently appeared on our radar, but it is a superb place to have a picnic and watch the sunset over the city.

It's pretty close to Bondi and is nice and high up, giving you a glorious view of the harbour and the city below.


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Are you a sunrise or sunset person? Would you force yourself through the 4.30am alarm for a sunrise? Let us know in the comments below.

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