Whether it’s the dramatic Bhutan Mountains or eerie Alaskan ice caves – having a beautiful outlook lifts our spirits. And if that panorama happens to be world class sculpture at Sydney’s Sculpture by the Sea Festival, we’re heading straight down under.

Sculpture by the Sea
Image by Gareth Carr.

Stretching along the two kilometre Bondi to Tamarama Coastal Walk, there are over 100 incredible sculptures from the 22nd October to 8th November 2015. It is the world’s largest annual free outdoor sculpture exhibition, with the works attracting a staggering 500,000 visitors over the 18 day show.

Now in its 19th year, Sculpture by the Sea has become a Sydney summer institution, and with these innovative sculptures we can see why the locals love it.

Sculpture by the Sea
Image by Gareth Carr

The artwork displayed comes from all over the world, as well as Australia, with over 30 international artist exhibiting from as far afield as Japan, USA and Slovakia. Previous festivals have featured work from famous Czech sculptor David Černý whose iconic babies crawled along Marks Park, Tamarama in 2014. This year the names of the artists remain unknown and the only clue revealed is a map of all their home locations. Place your bets now.

Sculpture by the Sea
Image by Gareth Carr

As the pathway gets very packed once the festival begins it’s best to visit from dawn to 10am, earlier on in the week from Monday to Wednesday or on Melbourne Cup day. We’ll be setting out as the sun rises as this is one view worth getting up for. As the morning light hits the spectacular coastline you’ll be able to see the sun shining on the unusual and crazy sculptures lined along the hike.

sculpture by the sea
Image by Gareth Carr

On the unlikely chance that it’s raining when you decide to visit, you can always head into Sculpture Inside. Coinciding with the festival, this temporary exhibition shows work by the selected and invited artists, and if you feeling flush you can splash the cash and purchase your own original work of art.

For the more affordable souvenirs there’s the marquee in Marks Park where prices start at around £94, and even if you leave with your wallet intact it’s always fun to window shop.

Image by Meredith Schofield
Image by J Seng
Image via Francisco Martins from Flickr.
Image via Brent Pearson from Flickr.

For the third year in a row, there’s a pretty substantial prize up for grabs. Awarding $60,000, the Macquarie Group Sculpture Prize, is the most generous annual sculpture prize in the country and alongside the money there’s another great reward. The award winning art work will be gifted for permanent public display on the beautiful Headland Park overlooking Sydney Harbour.

Sculpture by the Sea
Image by Gareth Carr

Every weekend throughout the festival there will be free artist talks in Marks Park and Tamarama. It’s a fabulous way to learn more about the artwork from the sculptures themselves, and it’s pretty handy that bean bags are provided to ensure you’ve got a comfy seat. Only lasting ten to 20 minutes, we’re pretty sure we’re not going to fall asleep in this lecture.

If Sydney isn’t in your backyard all is not lost. Rather than splurging on a airfare, Sculpture by the Sea also takes place in Western Australia at Cottesloe Beach, Perth and Aarhus, Denmark so make your plans for 2016.

Founder, David Handley, set up Sculpture by the Sea to rebuke the idea that Australia was only known to foreigners for its sporting prowess and the “bridge, the rock, reef, beaches, kangaroos and opera house”. Now firmly established in the global art landscape, this thrilling walk certainly delivers on that promise.

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