Christmas Gift Guide: Best Experience Gifts in Sydney

Who would have guessed that this year would result in lockdown restrictions and border closures? This Christmas is definitely the best opportunity to give your friends, family or partner, an invaluable experience Christmas gift so that they can start the new year on a high. 

Since Will and I both live in Sydney, we thought we’d share a Christmas Gift Guide of some of our favourite Sydney experiences. These gifts helped us rediscover our hometown and make memories to last a lifetime (basically the gift that keeps on giving ❤️)

Sydney Harbour Seaplanes Flight

  • Experience Rating: 9/10
  • Price: $230 per person
  • Gift type: Fun, Adventurous
  • Suitable for: Adults 14+

A flight overlooking the Harbour Bridge and Opera House may sound a bit touristy to Sydney locals, but this experience actually left an impression on us!

We booked an 11 am flight using RedBalloon and checked-in for our flight at the Empire Lounge, Rose Bay. Right before our safety briefing, the pilot walked a group of 6 of us down the wharf to take a photo with our seaplane before take-off (so I guess a selfie with the plane is the bonus gift 😉)

If you want the best Sydney Seaplanes experience, we recommend taking up the pilot’s offer to sit in the co-pilot seat at the front of the seaplane for the best views.

Otherwise, if you’d like to sit next to your partner (like us… we’re clingy like that), just make sure you don’t sit right by the wings because it can obstruct your view if you plan to take photos or videos. Here’s what it looked like from the back of the plane instead:

Our pilot flew our plane from Rose Bay to the iconic Bondi Beach where we saw beautiful coastlines from a view we’ve never seen before. We also spotted surfers riding the waves and rock climbers making their way down the cliffsides which were really cool to see.

The pilot then took the plane to the Harbour Bridge and Opera House before circling back so that both sides of the plane had the same opportunity to see the beautiful Sydney views.

You can see from our pictures that the day that we did the flight, we had some overcast weather. It was the beginning of Spring so the weather was a bit unpredictable. But if you purchase the Scenic Sydney Seaplanes Flight as an experience gift for someone this Christmas, they’ll be able to redeem their voucher during the more predictable Aussie summer so there will be even more sunshine and things to see!

However, if the weather suddenly changes and the flight can’t take off that day, the flight can simply be rescheduled so it’s also a flexible gift. In total, our flight was 15 minutes and if you want to enjoy the Empire Lounge you can also book this experience with the RedBalloon 3 course lunch package too.

Hunter Valley Hot Air Balloon Ride

  • Experience Rating: 10/10
  • Price: $558 for 2 people
  • Gift type: Romantic, Relaxing
  • Suitable for: Adults and Children 7+

If you’re struggling to think of the best gift to give to your partner, this Hot Air Balloon Ride over Hunter Valley is going to sweep them off their feet …like.. literally… off the ground and into the air 🤣

On our first trip to Hunter Valley, Will and I booked a Hot Air Balloon experience with RedBalloon. For the $558 price, it includes a 1 hour hot air balloon flight as well as an a la carte breakfast and sparkling wine for each of us at a local winery, so it’s definitely the ‘full package’ experience gift.

The night before our flight we had to call the hot air balloon operator to check-in and the next morning, we met at around 4am in the morning (45 minutes before our sunrise flight) at a meeting point where we could watch the hot air balloons inflate.

And before we knew it, we were whisked into the basket and floating in serenity over the Hunter Valley plains. Our flight in total lasted for about an hour.

Since it was a cool morning, right before our landing we saw so many kangaroos which is a really fond memory for us. We’ve been to the Hunter Valley so many times before but this was a completely different experience that we highly recommend as the ultimate Christmas Gift for your partner.

Jenolan Caves Tour

  • Experience Rating: 10/10
  • Price: $185 per person
  • Gift type: Family-friendly, adventurous
  • Suitable for: Adults and Children 2+

If you have family or friends that enjoy the outdoors and seeing natural wonders of the world, then the Jenolan Caves Tour is an excellent and unique gift.

We chose the full-day tour on RedBalloon which departs from the Sydney CBD at 8am and returns around 6:15pm (so pack yourself lunch, snacks and water)

The tour takes you through the highlights of the Blue Mountains including the Three Sisters, Jamison Valley and of course the sparkling limestone Jenolan Caves.

The tour is an easy walk, there are some stairs involved but it’s not strenuous and the tour guide will pace the walks if you need to take your time.

There are actually 5 caves on-site and your guide will take you through either the Lucas, Imperial, or Chifley Caves. From our experience, we enjoyed the Chifley Cave as it had big chambers compared to the others (for those that may be claustrophobic) but each cave offers its own wonders so we’re sure the recipient of this experience gift is going to have a great time.

Overall, this gift has the convenience of a driver that takes you on a round trip back to the CBD when you’re done, so it’s a great gift idea for families or friends with little ones. 

We hope you enjoyed our Christmas Gift Guide of experiences to enjoy around Sydney. The reason why we’ve recommended experiences from RedBalloon as Christmas gifts this year is because they have an endless list of meaningful gift ideas beyond just giving someone something they might end up throwing away.

These experiences are also great last-minute gift options for those that are stuck with a fussy gift recipient or just want to avoid things like shipping delays.

Let us know if you have any other experiences you recommend as Christmas gifts this year!

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