Where are the best sunrise spots in Sydney? If you’re wondering where to watch the sunrise in Sydney, there are many great vantage points around the city where you can see the sun come up and enjoy beautiful views at the start of the day.
Located on the east coast of Australia, Sydney is a harbourside city that has views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the iconic Opera House that are superb at sunrise. Sydney is also blessed with some lovely east-facing beaches and other, lesser-known viewpoints around the city with a perfect easterly aspect for watching the sunrise.
I’ve lived in Sydney for most of my life and I’ve compiled this list of my favourite places to watch the sunrise. I’ve also included some secret sunrise spots in Sydney that are just as beautiful as the more popular viewpoints.
This article is for early risers, but if you like to sleep in, there are lots of places where you can enjoy a Sydney Sunset instead.
Here’s my selection of the best 15 sunrise spots in Sydney.
Best Sunrise Spots in Sydney
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Find the Best Places to Stay in Sydney, be up early and be ready to enjoy the sunrise.
1. Dawes Point – The Rocks
With uninterrupted views across the harbour to the iconic Sydney Opera House, the Dawes Point Reserve at The Rocks is one of the best sunrise spots in Sydney. The Dawes Point Reserve is underneath the Harbour Bridge pylon on the south side of the harbour and it’s the perfect place to watch the sun come up behind the Opera House.
Sailing boats and ferries pass by on the water and early morning joggers enjoy the gorgeous coastal pathway that follows Sydney’s stunning coastline. It’s a peaceful start to the day before the city fills with people and traffic.
To get there, drive to Dawes Point and park on Hickson Road where there’s plenty of metred parking. Alternatively, catch a ferry or bus to Circular Quay and from there, it’s a scenic 10-minute walk around to Dawes Point.
TIP: After sunrise take a self-guided historical walk around The Rocks area of Sydney.
2. Blues Point Reserve
Another great spot to watch a Sydney sunrise is the Blues Point Reserve. One of the best sunrise spots in Sydney, Blues Point has a perfect view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge with the Opera House on Bennelong Point nestled beneath the arch of the bridge. Join early-morning photographers, fishermen and kayakers out on the harbour to watch the sun appear behind the steel arch of Australia’s most famous bridge.
To get there, drive to the end of Blues Point Road in North Sydney. There’s a small car park with limited parking at the Reserve. Alternatively, catch a ferry from Circular Quay to McMahon’s Point or a train to Milsons Point. It’s a 10 or 15-minute walk from the train station to Blues Point for Sydney sunrise views that are unrivalled. The sunset views are pretty good too.
3. Observatory Hill
Observatory Hill is another beautiful sunrise spot in Sydney. At the highest point in the Rocks area, Observatory Hill is one of Sydney’s oldest lookout points with an impressive view of Sydney Harbour Bridge across Millers Point, one of Sydney’s oldest suburbs.
It’s a popular place for wedding photos in Sydney and you can enjoy a picnic on the lawn or in the pretty rotunda.
The sweeping views over to the east and west of the city at Observatory Hill were strategically important in Sydney’s colonial days and the remains of a military battlement can be found on the hillside. It was used to protect the early settlement. Observatory Hill is also the site of the Sydney Observatory where star gazing and studying the night sky is a daily event.
To get there, drive to Upper Fort Street, Millers Point and park on the street, or catch a train, bus, or ferry to Circular Quay. Observatory Hill is a 10-minute walk from the station.
4. Bronte Beach
One of the prettiest beaches in the Eastern Suburbs, Bronte Beach has a perfect easterly aspect for watching the sunrise in Sydney. From the beach, you can see the sun emerge behind the waves and enjoy the beautiful sky colours reflected in the surf. Stroll around to the baths at the right of the beach and enjoy an early morning swim or simply enjoy the view. You can watch people exercising and swimming laps in these lovely ocean-filled baths.
Bronte Beach is the perfect place to see the day begin in the Eastern suburbs and there are more lookout points around the point at Farbs Lookout and the Bronte Beach viewpoint.
To get there, drive to Bronte and park on Bronte Road or Calga Place and walk through the park to the beach. Alternatively, catch a bus from Bondi Junction.
5. Larkin Street Lookout – Waverton
The Larkin Street Lookout is on the northern side of Sydney Harbour at the end of suburban Larkin Street in Waverton. The sweeping views across the water and Berry’s Bay to the city are especially lovely at sunrise. Expect to share the lookout point with locals walking or jogging in the early morning and with the odd bird. The lookout faces southeast and, while there’s no direct view of the sunrise, there are spectacular views across the harbour and the reflected light on the city skyscrapers is rather special.
To get there, drive to Larkin Street or catch a train to Waverton on Sydney’s north shore. It takes 10 minutes to walk from the station and there’s plenty of street parking.
6. Bondi Beach
To the east of the city, Bondi Beach is very popular as one of the best sunrise spots in Sydney. You can expect to share this iconic Sydney sunrise with early-morning sightseers, meditators, yogis, surfers, joggers and early risers from the local community. While many choose to sit on the sand and see the sun come up from the beach, one of the best views can be found at the Notts Avenue lookout on the Point.
The Bondi Icebergs Club is also on Notts Avenue, and you can watch swimmers at daybreak in the ocean-filled baths at the club. After sunrise, grab a coffee at the café and head off on the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk and enjoy the beautiful scenery on this famous cliffside trail. Visiting Bondi Beach is one of the most popular things to do in Sydney.
To get to Bondi Beach, drive or catch a bus from Bondi Junction train station. There’s plenty of metred beachside parking at Bondi and some free street parking too.
Find out if Bondi or Manly Beach is better for sunrise & sunset in Sydney
7. Cronulla Beach
In the southern suburbs of Sydney Cronulla has four beautiful beaches that are perfect for watching the sunrise over the surf. Join the early morning swimmers and surfers at daybreak for a spectacular start to the day. North Cronulla Beach has some gorgeous rockpools that fill up at high tide to the right of the beach.
South Cronulla Beach is around the point and the long stretch of sand at North Cronulla has more patrolled swimming areas at Elouera and Wanda Beach. Call in at the Surf Club cafe at North Cronulla for an early morning beachside coffee at one of the best sunrise spots in Sydney.
To get there, drive to Cronulla and park in the beachside parking area or catch a train or a bus and walk from the station. Watch a beautiful Sydney sunrise, then catch the ferry across to the Royal National Park and enjoy exploring some coastal bushwalking trails. VisitingCronulla, Bundeena and the Royal National Park is a fabulous day trip from Sydney.
8. Homebush Bay
To the west of the city, the shipwrecks at Homebush Bay are a lovely place to see the sunrise in Sydney. The Shipwrecks lookout faces east and is an ideal vantage point to watch the sunrise over Homebush Bay, directly behind the shipwrecks. From the lookout, you can see the SS Ayrfield and the SS Mortlake Bank amongst the mangroves and the trees. But there are five shipwrecks in Homebush Bay for those who want to explore further.
The shipwreck lookout is at Wentworth Point and is accessible via Bicentennial Park or Bennelong Parkway. There’s parking in the Archery Centre car park or the Badu Mangroves car Park. From there it’s a short walk through the apartment blocks to the park and the shipwrecks lookout.
9. Hornby Lighthouse – South Head
The heritage-listed Hornby Lighthouse at Sydney Harbour’s South Head is a beautiful Sydney sunrise spot in Watson’s Bay. Follow the South Head Heritage Trail past lovely Camp Cove Beach and escape into the parklands on South Head. As you walk around the point, you’ll pass some old battlements and a pretty sandstone lighthouse keeper’s cottage. And around the corner, the red and white striped Hornby Lighthouse guides ships through the Heads into Sydney Harbour.
Watch the sun rising behind the lighthouse and enjoy the sweeping city views from the headland on the way back. The early morning sunlight bounces off the city skyscrapers and is reflected on the water. On the Heritage trail at first light, you’ll come across joggers, walkers and early-morning swimmers at Camp Cove Beach.
To get there, drive to Watson’s Bay on Old or New South Head Road. There’s free parking in the Camp Cove Beach car park. Head down to the beach, past the kiosk and follow the path around the headland to the lighthouse. On the way back stop at The Gap for more stunning cliff views.
10. The Gap
Watch the sunrise in Sydney from the other side of the south head at The Gap. It’s a famous cliffside viewpoint in Watsons Bay, east of the city with sandstone sea cliffs and ocean waves pounding the rocky ledges below. The Gap is known as a local suicide spot and the area has a well-fenced lookout point with a few different vantage points.
From the top lookout, you can see all the way across Watson’s Bay to the city. Bathed in the early morning light, the view is sensational. Unfortunately, there are high fences but The Gap is still a beautiful place to begin the day at sunrise in Sydney.
To get there, drive to Watson’s Bay on New or Old South Head Road and park in The Gap car park. Alternatively, catch the 380 bus from Bondi or a ferry from Circular Quay to Watsons Bay. After sunrise, continue along the cliffside path up the hill to the Macquarie Lighthouse.
11. Macquarie Lighthouse – Vaucluse
The Macquarie Lighthouse in Vaucluse has a dramatic east-facing location on the cliffs of Sydney’s south head. Another beautiful sunrise spot in Sydney, the Macquarie Lighthouse is just a couple of kilometres from The Gap and Watson’s Bay. Expect to share the ocean views with joggers and early-morning dog walkers.
To get there, take Old South Head Road to Vaucluse and park on the street near the lighthouse. Head towards the cliffs and enjoy the pathway that follows the coastline through the parkland of Signal Hill Reserve. The 380 bus from Bondi stops nearby.
12. Barangaroo Reserve
Downhill from Observatory Hill, Barangaroo Reserve is another exceptional place to watch the sunrise in Sydney. Barangaroo Reserve has a prime harbourside location with beautiful views of the Harbour Bridge. The sun appears behind the arch of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and if the water is calm the first rays of the sun are reflected in the water.
On the other side of Barangaroo Reserve, there are west-facing views that are perfect for watching the sunset in Sydney. You can see across the harbour to the Glebe Point Bridge, one of Sydney’s most attractive bridges. It’s a lovely spot to relax and watch the ferries and boats passing by on the harbour.
To get to Barangaroo Reserve, drive to Millers Point, park on the street and walk past the restored 19th-century worker’s cottages and heritage pubs to the park. Alternatively, take public transport to Circular Quay and enjoy the 15-minute walk through the Argyle Cut in The Rocks past Observatory Hill and the historic Millers Point.
13. Sans Souci
A secret sunrise spot in Sydney, Sans Souci is one of my favourite places to watch the sunrise. The still waters of the Georges River reflect the early morning sun and the view is peaceful and beautiful. Walk along the beachside path and over the Captain Cook Bridge for sweeping 360° water views from Taren Point to Sans Souci, Dolls Point and Botany Bay.
On the other side of the bridge, the views stretch across the water to Kogarah Bay and Sylvania. The Captain Cook Bridge is gorgeous at sunrise but it’s also a wonderful vantage point for a Sydney sunset with spectacular reflected sky colours on the still water on a good day.
Access to the walkway on either side of the bridge is from the park or from the Old Taren Point Road Boat ramp on the Taren Point side of the river. There’s free street parking on Riverside Drive and at the St George Sailing Club in Sans Souci.
For a secret sunrise spot in Sydney head to head to Brighton-le-Sands to watch the sunrise over Botany Bay. Lady Robinson’s Beach has an easterly aspect that’s ideal for watching the first rays of the sun reflected on the still water of the bay.
Stop for an early morning swim in the baths or enjoy a stroll around the bay to Kyeemagh to watch the planes taking off at Sydney Airport. There’s a great view from the beach. Or head off in the other direction towards Ramsgate and Dolls Point. Enjoy the peaceful morning views and stop for a coffee along the way.
There’s plenty of street parking but if you’re taking public transport, catch a train to Rockdale station and a bus down Bay Street to the beach.
15. Dee Why Beach
On Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Dee Why has a lovely surf beach with an easterly aspect that’s perfect for watching a Sydney sunrise. Wander down to the beach, see the sun appear over the surf and enjoy an early morning swim at the beach or the Dee Why Rockpool.
Nearby, the Beach Shed Café is open early and has good coffee with a great view over the beach. Around the point, the coastal track from Dee Why to Curl Curl has more stunning coastal scenery.
To get there, drive to Dee Why Beach and park on Howard Avenue or catch a bus from the city to Dee Why shops. From there it’s a short walk to the beach.
16. La Perouse
La Perouse is a favourite sunrise spot in Sydney’s southeast and offers sweeping views across Botany Bay and the Kamay National Park. The headland is also a perfect place to watch the sunset in Sydney and is very photogenic at any time of the day.
Join the early morning fishermen as the sun rises over the headland. Explore the rocky ledges and stroll across the wooden bridge to Bare Island where a military battlement defends the entrance to Botany Bay. The Bare Island Fort is featured in the Tom Cruise movie, Mission Impossible 2.
La Perouse is the place where Captain Arthur Philip and the first fleet of convict ships first arrived in Australia, before moving on to settle in Sydney Cove. On the point, there’s a heritage-listed Cable Station that’s also a museum where you can learn about the Comte de La Perouse, a French explorer who landed just a week after Captain Arthur Philip in this historic place.
Where is the best place to see the sunrise in Sydney?
The best place to see the sunrise in Sydney is at Dawes Point in The Rocks. It’s the oldest part of town and there are stunning harbourside views across Sydney Harbour to the Sydney Opera House. The Dawes Point Reserve is underneath the Harbour Bridge pylon on the south side of the harbour.
What is the shortest day of the year in Sydney NSW?
The shortest day of the year in Sydney NSW is the 22nd of June at the winter solstice. It gets dark around 5 pm in the evening and there are fewer daylight hours than in the summer months.
Can you see the sunrise from Coogee Beach?
Yes, you can see the sunrise from Coogee Beach. The easterly aspect at Coogee Beach is ideal for watching the sunrise in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs.
Where is the best place to watch the sunrise in Bondi?
The best place to watch the sunrise in Bondi is from the Notts Avenue Lookout. The viewpoint offers sweeping views across Bondi Beach and faces east so it’s ideal for watching the sunrise in Bondi. The lookout is also next to the ocean-filled baths at the Bondi Iceberg Club where there are more superb Sydney sunrise views.
What beach to watch the sunrise in Sydney?
The best beach to watch the sunrise in Sydney is Bronte Beach. Less crowded than popular Bondi Beach, Bronte Beach faces directly east and the sun rises over the surf with lovely reflections of the first rays of the sun on the water. Bronte Beach is a quiet and scenic place to enjoy a Sydney sunrise.
At popular Bondi Beach, the sun rises over the headland, and you’ll be sharing the moment with lots of other tourists, joggers, surfers, dog walkers and early-morning swimmers. Bronte Beach is one of the best sunrise spots in Sydney.
Final Thoughts – The Best Sunrise Spots in Sydney
With an ideal location on the east coast of Australia, Sydney has some of the best sunrise spots in the country. For a perfect sunrise over Sydney Harbour head to one of the many parks and reserves such as Dawes Point and the Blues Point Reserve on the waterfront to watch the sunrise over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House.
For the best beach sunrise, you can’t beat Bronte or Cronulla Beach and for something a bit different why not visit Watsons Bay, Vaucluse or Sans Souci for some unbeatable Sydney sunrise views?