A visual medley of pristine beaches, glorious harbors and stunning cityscapes await you in Sydney. The most populous city in Australia, Sydney frequently finds a place in the most liveable cities in the world and for good reason. The metropolitan city boasts both a concrete jungle and a natural one. The latter is apparent with the national parks that surround the city and penetrate into its heart.
It's not all natural beauty and stunning landscapes in Sydney. The harbor city also boasts an urbane lifestyle with tons of chic restaurants and a thriving nightlife. All these varied experiences in a single city make Sydney a tourist haven; it is amongst the top fifteen most-visited cities in the world. Here’s why you should plan a trip to Sydney in May.
What makes Sydney in May Special?
Sydney is a remarkable city throughout the year, with plenty to explore. May is the perfect time for sightseeing in Sydney since the weather is neither too warm nor too cold. It rains occasionally during the month. Moreover, in May, crowds are less in the city; this means lower hotel rates and lesser waiting time at popular attractions like the Sydney Opera House. Sydney in May also hosts some vibrant festivals and events, including the Sydney Comedy Festival, Biennale of Sydney and more.
Sydney in May: Weather
Sydney experiences humid, subtropical climate throughout the year. The temperature shifts from mild and cool during the winter, to warm and hot in the summer. The average high temperature in Sydney in May is 19.5 degrees Celsius while the average low falls to about 11 degrees Celsius. Sydney experiences 117.4 mm average rainfall during May with 8.6 average rainy days. The weather changes quite a bit in May so always be prepared for everything between sunny days, rainy evenings and cold nights.
Sydney in May: Top Experiences
Sydney Opera House
Arguably one of Australia's most iconic landmarks, the Sydney Opera House attracts over eight million visitors annually. The legendary performance venue is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site . The best way to explore the Sydney Opera House is through a guided tour. Follow a knowledgeable, English-speaking guide as they take you on an exciting journey through all the significant sections of the building, including the famous white sails.
Monday to Friday - 9 AM - 5 PM
Taronga Zoo, one of Australia's largest zoos, is the perfect place to discover the continent's remarkable natural diversity. The 100-year-old zoo is home to over 4000 animals from 350 different species. It is divided into eight geographical regions, each showcasing a particular theme. At the Taronga Zoo, you'll also get the precious opportunity to click pictures with native Australian animals, including kangaroos, wombats, echidnas, wallabies and more.
Every day – 09:30 AM to 05:00 PM
Bradleys Head Rd, Mosman NSW 2088,
Getting There ›
Sydney Harbour Cruise
Your trip to Sydney is incomplete without a fabulous cruise on the Sydney harbor. The Harbor is one of the most famous parts of the city and a cruise gives you the chance to iconic Sydney sights, including the Opera House, Royal Botanical Gardens, Harbor Bridge, Garden Island Naval base, Taronga Zoo, Government House and more. You can also opt for a dinner cruise to enjoy the beautifully illuminated city of Sydney with a scrumptious meal.
Depends on the cruise package you choose.
Circular Quay Wharf No.6, Sydney Harbour, Sydney
Getting There ›
Sydney Bridge Climb
A must-do for thrill seekers when in Sydney, the Sydney Harbor Bridge climb is an exciting experience that ends with a breathtaking view of the entire city. The 3.5-hour climb up the majestic steel bridge is quite an athletic activity but there are enough breaks and stops in between to make the experience fun. So, you can go for the experience whenever you wish to without being restricted by set timings.
You can hop on the BridgeClimb at Dawn, Daytime, Twilight and Night. According to your convenience, you can pick the time of the day you want to go.
3 Cumberland St, The Rocks NSW 2000,
Getting There ›
Sydney Opera House Show
There's no better way to end your day than by watching a wonderful performance at the Sydney Opera House. There are multiple productions running on a particular day, giving you the option to choose a performance that suits your taste. Presently, some performances include La Boheme, Carmen, Bran Nue Dae, La Traviata, Don Giovanni, Roberto Devereux and Eugene Onegin, among others.
Depends on chosen show
The 13th global museum, Madame Tussauds Sydney is another highlight in this vibrant city. Containing eight individual themed sections like Film and TV, Marvel, History and World Leaders, the wax museum houses life-like wax figures of celebrities and fictional characters. Some popular figurines include those of celebrities like Kylie Minogue, Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Chan, Mel Gibson, Barack Obama, the British Royal family, Angelina Jolie and Don Bradman among others.
10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
1-5 Wheat Rd, Sydney NSW 2000,
Getting There ›
Hop on Hop off Tours
One of the best ways to explore a new city is through a hop-on hop-off tour. These tours allow you the convenience of getting off at any designated stop on the tour, exploring the attraction and then taking the next bus along your desired route. These buses are comfortable, equipped with WiFi and come with a multilingual audio guide that takes you through the history and culture of each attraction. In Sydney, there are multiple hop-on hop-off tour options to choose from, including a 1-day sightseeing tour, Blue Mountains explorer tour, a 2-day sightseeing tour and many others.
Depends on the tour you choose
Getting There ›
Day Tours From Sydney
If you're in Sydney for more than a day, opt for Sydney To Blue Mountain to attractions in and around the city. Some one-day tour options to choose from include Sydney and Bondi Beach Sydney and Bondi tour with Sydney Opera House tour, Hunter Valley Gardens food and wine lovers experience and Port Stephens Dolphin Watcher among others.
Depends on chosen tour.
Getting There ›
Sydney in May: Events to Look Out For
Sydney Comedy Festival
24 April – 21 May, 2023
One of the biggest comedy platforms in the city, the Sydney Comedy Festival brings together hundreds of the world’s funniest comedians. This four-week-long gala event features everyone from emerging Australian talent to the biggest international names.
Sydney Writers’ Festival
22 May - 28 May, 2023
The Sydney Writers' Festival is a week-long event that hosts over 300 events about books and ideas. This year, the festival will happen at the University of New South Whales and the program will feature 262 Australian Speakers and 18 international speakers.
Sydney in May: Essentials
Weather in Sydney in May
Sydney weather in May is the transition period between spring and winter with the temperature gradually changing from warm to cool. The average temperature is approximately 16.5 degrees Celsius and the average rainfall is 117 mm. The weather is mostly pleasant and since winter is just starting, you can step out and explore Sydney without fearing the cold.
Where to Stay in Sydney in May
Sydney is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and sees millions of visitors annually. To accommodate all these tourists, the city is equipped with hotels, hostels and guest houses across all budget types. Here are a few options to choose from:
- Luxury: Shangri-La Hotel Sydney, InterContinental Sydney, Sheraton Grand Sydney Hyde Park, Sir Stamford At Circular Quay
- Moderate: Meriton Suites Chatswood, Rendezvous Hotel Sydney The Rocks, Ibis Sydney World Square, The Ultimo
- Budget: Shakespeare Hotel, Song Hotel, Maze Backpackers, Great Southern Hotel Sydney
What to Pack for Sydney in May
Like previously discussed, the weather in Sydney in May is mostly unpredictable. There are warm, sunny days and cold rainy ones too. When packing for your trip, pack a good mix of summer and winter clothes. Bring along t-shirts, shorts, jeans and a waterproof jacket. Also, bring an umbrella because on average it rains for about 8.6 days in May. As always, do pack in a pair of comfortable walking shoes if you're planning on sightseeing.
Getting Around in Sydney in May
Given Sydney's cosmopolitan roots, the city has a robust and well-connected public transport system. The network includes metros, buses, ferries, light rail and on-demand services. The train network connects most of the major attractions in the city with the main train station being Central Station. If you're planning on visiting Sydney during a weekday, be mindful of the peak traffic during office hours, 07:00 AM to 09:00 AM. The best part is that using the Opal card you can access all public transport and avoid the hassle of buying individual tickets each time you take the bus or the metro.
Sydney in May: Seasonal Delicacies
Believe it or not, Emu is amongst the most popular meat in Australia. Having double the iron content of beef, Emu is virtually fat-free and low in cholesterol. Emu is served as a pizza topping and even pie fillings. Have it at Bovine & Swine Barbecue Co.
A pub staple and an Australian favorite! Salt and pepper calamari is often served as a snack with a side salad and is just pure deep-fried goodness that is a must-have when in Sydney. Have it at Pho 236.
While the parmigiana has Italian origins, it has become a pub classic in Australia. Topped with tomato sauce and melted cheese, this chicken dish is perfect for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Have it at Pyrmont Point Hotel.
Your trip to Sydney is incomplete without indulging in these small, flaky pockets of meaty goodness. You can choose from a variety of artisanal flavors, including vegan and vegetarian options. Have it at Harry's Cafe de Wheels.
Often labeled the 'National Cake of Australia’, lamingtons are the continent's favorite dessert. A sponge cake with a layer of chocolate icing and desiccated coconut, this bite-sized cake is the perfect tea-time snack. Have it at My Little Cupcakes.
Tips for Visiting Sydney in May
- One of the best ways to explore any city is through its public transport and that stands true for Sydney as well. The city's public transport is easily accessible thanks to the Opal card. This handy card can be used on trains, ferries, buses and the light rail.
- If public transport isn't your thing, you'll be pleased to know that Sydney is easily walkable. The city center (Central Business District) and the beautiful surrounding suburbs can all be covered on foot. You can even cross the iconic Sydney Harbor Bridge on foot.
- If you're planning a day trip from Sydney, check out these must visit places on the east coast of Australia.
- Like most metropolitan cities, try and avoid scheduling timed activities and instructions during rush hour. If it cannot be avoided, make sure to leave in advance.
- There's a decent amount of rainfall in Sydney in May. Stay prepared for unwarranted showers by carrying a small umbrella at all times.
- Sydney is a city of early risers and it's not unheard of for restaurants to close their kitchens by 09:00 PM. If you're planning a late dinner on a particular day, check to see which restaurants are open before you leave.
- Sydney is mostly smoke-free with smoking being prohibited anywhere food is served, on public transport, close to playgrounds and any building entrance. Be mindful of where you are smoking because you can get into trouble with the authorities if caught.
FAQ for Visiting Sydney in May
Can I travel to Australia?
At the moment, Australia Borders are closed for nationals of all countries. Find out all about the COVID travel restrictions to Australia before planning on your next visit.
What are the travel restrictions in Sydney?
While traveling to Sydney may be possible, there are a few guidelines you should keep in mind before visiting the city. Here is everything you need to know about the latest Sydney travel restrictions.
What are the attractions open in Sydney?
In light of COVID-19, a few attractions in Sydney have been temporarily suspended until further notice. Find out the live stauts for all experiences through Headout's Global Travel Reopening Tracker.
What is Sydney famous for?
Sydney is famous for its harbour, landmarks like the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge and dozens of sun-bathed beaches.
Is Sydney safe for tourists?
Sydney is like any other major city, it's not crime free, but it is relatively safe, particularly in the main tourist areas.
Is Sydney, Australia expensive?
Unfortunately, Sydney is generally more expensive than you might expect, especially when the currency is strong.
What is the best beach in Sydney?
In popular opinion, Bondi beach is amongst the best beaches in Sydney.
Is a visa needed to go to Australia?
Yes, a valid U.S. passport and a visa is required to enter Australia.
Is it difficult to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge?
It's not hard and you are trained on how to climb the steps. There’s also an express option for people who don’t want to climb to the top of the bridge.
What is the best month to visit Sydney Australia?
The best time to visit Sydney is October, November, late February and March.
How many days do you need in Sydney?
While you can find enough to see and do in Sydney for 5 days, you could also see the main sights there in 3 days.