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11 things to do between semesters

14 June 2018

Sydney in winter is a playground for students enjoying newfound freedom in the break between semesters. Adventure and respite await you after making it through exams – here are our top picks of the season.

1. Warm your belly

If you’re seeking a delicious way to warm up on a chilly night, then the Bastille Festival is a must. Running over the Bastille Day weekend (Thursday 11 to Sunday 14 July) in Circular Quay and The Rocks, the festival offers up a huge selection of specialty foods from France and other parts of Europe.

If you’re looking for a new winter local to escape the frost, browse through this list of Sydney’s best pubs with fireplaces.

2. Catch a match of footy (of any code)

July is a great chance to catch some of the sporting fervour Australia is famous for. AFL is renowned for its stadium atmosphere so get behind our local team, the Sydney Swans. There are three home games for Swans fans to look forward to over the semester break – take your pick on Saturday 29 June, Saturday 13 July or Saturday 28 July.

Meanwhile in rugby league it’s State of Origin time, with Game II to be played in Perth on Sunday 23 June. Will the Maroons win the title back from the Blues? Join supporters at a local pub (especially if it has a fireplace) to watch the game. The final round will be at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on Wednesday 10 July – get your tickets

3. Skate up a storm

Snow may be a rare sight in Sydney but that doesn’t mean you can’t go ice-skating! During winter a number of pop-up rinks appear across Sydney to help us to pretend we’re in a magical wonderland. Strap on some skates at Bondi Winter Magic or Cathedral Square between Friday 28 June and Sunday 21 July. There’s also Winterlight Parramatta from Friday 5 July to Sunday 21 July for ice-skating, vintage rides and European winter fare.

4. Get filming

Why not use your free time to get started on your entry for the Who is Sydney?  film competition in Semester 2? With $15,000 in prize money up for grabs, what better way could there be to spend the winter break. Read the entry requirements, find your teammates and channel your inner Scorsese. Need some inspiration? Grab some popcorn and watch our winning films from Semester 1.

5. Get amongst the greenery

Put some colour back into your Instagram at the Royal Botanic Garden’s fascinating (and free) display Plants with Bite at The Calyx, showcasing carnivorous plants that thrive in inhospitable environments by luring, trapping, killing and digesting insects.

The gardens are spectacular all year round, boasting stunning views of Sydney Harbour, so why not pack a picnic rug, tea thermos and snacks and settle in for the afternoon. 

6. To market, to market

Now that your weekends aren’t filled with study, you can make the most of Sydney’s copious number of local markets. There’s one in nearly every suburb, so you’re bound to find one a stone’s throw away from your favourite brunch spot. Popular picks include Glebe, Rozelle, Bondi, Pyrmont and the Rocks. 

7.  Explore the arts scene

Sydney has a huge arts scene with galleries and theatres scattered throughout the city. Check out what's on at Sydney theatres this July.

Also check out Bondi Feast, a fringe-style winter festival from Tuesday 9 July to Saturday 20 July. With more than 40 different shows over 10 nights, there's something for everyone.

8. Escape the city

There’s no better time to visit the Blue Mountains than in July. The cooler temperatures make bushwalking easier (with fewer bugs!) and the villages are lined with cosy little teashops and cafes with famed winter menus. It only takes about two hours to get from campus to Katoomba, either by car or train, so make a day of it.  

9. Movies, with a twist

The dinner and movie combo is time-honoured but let’s face it, it’s pretty unimaginative. Luckily Sydney is full of places taking this traditional pairing to new heights for those cold rainy winter days. Try out the Drive-Ins at Blacktown, or get super comfy at Govinda’s with their day-bed style lounges. The Golden Age Cinema is also perfect if you want to travel back in time and catch some theatre classics. 

10. Relive your youth

Why should kids have all the fun? Get airborne with some bounce-ercise at a trampoline park or use up all your gold coins playing Pac-Man and Street Fighter at one of Sydney’s arcade pubs.

If you're feeling a bit more sporty, challenge your friends to a round of mini-golf at Holey Moley or a game of ten pin bowling at The Standard Bowl. While you’re there, enjoy the in-house dumpling restaurant and live music. 

11. Feed the brain

Evoke your curiosity with a Sydney Ideas talk presented by leading academics across a range of disciplines – attend live if you're in Sydney or listen to podcasts from past events. Topics covered throughout July include food security and sexual harassment in the military. 

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