Summer staycation in the Inner West

Summer holidays are a time when many of us load up the car and head to the beach or bush to spend a well-earned break. However, given the unique travel restrictions imposed by State and Federal governments to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, this year many of us will be enjoying our downtime at home on a staycation. While it may not seem as exciting as boarding a boat or airplane, there are plenty of ways to make it a holiday to remember.

Those of us living in the Inner West – and, in fact, anywhere around Sydney – are spoilt for choice with things to see, do and experience on our doorstep. So, whether you’re a culture vulture, a beachgoer, a walker or cyclist, here are some ideas to help you have a great vacation at home.

Holiday in your own backyard

As you’ll quickly discover when you click on the following links, the Inner West is a treasure trove of holiday-activity opportunities, from its many historic walks, to its beautiful parks and swimming spots. Head to other articles on our blog, and you’ll find Canada Bay Club has done the work for you when it comes to rounding-up the best of what our vibrant locality has to offer.

Take a walk on the West side

We’re spoiled for choice when it comes to exploring our local area on foot or by bike, and Inner West council has a fantastic walking and cycling route resource with everything you need to know on where to go. Head there for all kinds of interesting itineraries from Balmain’s Tom Uren Trail to an Ashfield Cycling Map and Inner West Public Art Trail.

Further afield

A few hours spent exploring the tranquil Chinese Garden of Friendship in Darling Harbour or the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney is a great way to cool down in lush surrounds on a sticky summer’s day. Or pack your swimmers and a towel and pull on your trainers to go ‘surf and turf’ as you hit the trail on the best of Sydney’s spectacular coastal walks. There are so many to choose from, it’ll take your whole staycation to get through them all!

Image Source: Sydney Coast Walks

Make a splash in the Inner West

Too hot for walking? Pack a picnic and spend the day by the water at one of the Inner West’s many public swimming spots, from Chiswick Baths – a relatively undiscovered harbour pool at the end of Chambers Reserve – to the glorious Cabarita Beach – yes, beach! – on the Parramatta River. You can read our full round-up of the best places to cool off in the Inner West here.

Further afield

Sydney is blessed with some of the finest beaches in the world, from harbour nooks including Nielsen Park and Watsons Bay in the eastern suburbs, to Chinamans Beach and Sirius Cove on the north shore. At the latter, you can even take along your four-legged family member to enjoy the fun, too. While the crowds and traffic heading to Bondi Beach and its neighbouring Bronte and Tamarama can be daunting, there are numerous other coastal havens to explore.

Check out the sheltered swimming and snorkelling spots at Little Bay and historic La Perouse in the south-east, plus Maroubra’s stunning Mahon ocean pool. In the north, Balmoral is a favourite beach for families and the rock pool at North Curl Curl is a fun adventure across the cliff tops.

Image Source: Parramatta River

Enjoy the great indoors

Sometimes, at the height of summer, all you’ll want to do is hide from the heat. While others are heading to the beach, there are plenty of other ways to cool down and chill out over the holidays. If you have kids in tow, this activity hub on the Inner West Council website has a comprehensive listing of child-friendly activities, workshops and events in the Inner West.

Further afield

For adults and children alike who want to escape the sun, it’s the perfect time to catch up on the latest blockbuster exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW, the Museum of Contemporary Art, or any number of other great galleries and museums around town. Any time is a good time to explore the industrial wonders of the Powerhouse Museum, in nearby Ultimo, or the quirky curiosities at the Justice & Police Museum in the heart of the CBD. The Sydney Living Museums site is a treasure trove of information for culture lovers. Remember to check the website of each venue before you visit for up-to-date COVID-19 information.

Image Source: Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Book a sleepover in your own hometown

A staycation doesn’t mean you have to stay at home, so why not make like a tourist and book a night in one of our local hotels or pubs. The boutique Old Clare Hotel, in Chippendale, is right in the heart of Chippendale, and close to the buzz of Newtown and the Inner West. Best of all, it has a rooftop pool (with poolside bar), to get you in the holiday mood.

Further afield

For something truly memorable, Taronga Zoo’s Wildlife Retreat is like being on luxury safari, offering a variety of accommodation plus fine dining, with views of Sydney Harbour and the Zoo’s inhabitants. If you’re more into ‘glamping’, the well-equipped site available with the Roar and Snore package is great for kids and adults alike.

Also on the Harbour, take a day trip to explore the industrial history of Cockatoo Island, then stay over in the island’s wide range of options, from a waterfront campground to heritage holiday houses.

If you’re in the mood for some nostalgia out west, the Atura Blacktown is not only handy for that perennial summer-holiday favourite Wet ‘n’ Wild – now renamed Raging Waters Sydney – but it’s also right next door to the Skyline Drive-in cinema.

Image Source: Taronga Zoo Sydney

Whatever you choose to do, from perusing food and handicrafts at a local market, to enjoying the events at the Sydney Festival through January – there are thousands of reasons to book your staycation. And remember, while you’re enjoying the Inner West, why not celebrate with a family dinner here at Canada Bay Club?

The Brasserie offers family-friendly food in a relaxed atmosphere on the ground floor of the Club – fresh salads, roasts, wood fired pizza and pasta. Kids can enjoy the new playground whilst the adults catch up over a meal. While our new Balcony Bar, open in the evening from Friday to Sunday, is the perfect spot to say cheers as you watch the sunset.

Happy (stay-at-home) holidays!


Canada Bay Club in Sydney's Inner West has been a meeting place for the local community for more than 50 years. Since opening in 1966, the culturally diverse club has grown froma small social sports centre to a club with state-of-the-art function rooms, two restaurants, live entertainment, kids' arcade, and health and fitness classes for its 20,000+ members.


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