One of the things I loved most about the city, was just how many cheap things to do in Sydney there are. If you’re on a budget in Sydney, then you really don’t need to miss out.
There are so many things to do in Sydney year round for free. Once you’ve saved your money, booked your flight and organised your Sydney visa, you’re good to go.
In my research I wanted to find as many things to do in Sydney for less than $10 as possible. I was on a budget, but I wanted to do as much as I could in the city too. So, here’s what I got up to on my 5 days in Sydney, in May (winter for them), to help you plan your budget for your trip.
Cheap Things to Do in Sydney
1. Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach is one of the most popular places to visit in Sydney – and provided you don’t go in the shops and restaurants, it’s totally free to visit!
It’s a stunning beach, used in Home and Away, and you can hire a surf board for a few dollars and hit the waves, or just relax and enjoy the sun and sand. It was May time when I was there in the video and there was a bit of a chill so I didn’t stick around, I did see some people filming though!
2. Swim at Bondi Icebergs
LOVED Bondi Icebergs – in fact, it was the most impressive swimming pool I’ve ever been in!
There’s a restaurant here as well which you can use for the view, but I’d definitely recommend you fork out the $8 to swim lanes in this incredible location. An absolute bargain!
3. Do the Bondi and Coogee walk
After you’ve checked out Bondi Beach and the Bondi Icebergs, the next logical cheap spot in Sydney is to do the Bondi to Coogee Walk.
Absolutely, totally free. Woohoo!
It’s easy to walk the coastal path from Bondi to Coogee just get going and the path will lead your way, and all the other people. You’ll walk the clifftops from beach to beach, passing amazing views as you go. The whole route will take you about an hour, although with all the photo stops it definitely took me longer.
Organise your visa for Australia
As I found out at the airport before I left, you now need a tourist visa for Australia. I’d strongly recommend you sort this out as soon as you can, just to be sure. You can apply for an Australia visa here.
4. Visit Sydney Botanical Gardens
There’s a paid version of Sydney Botanical Gardens, or you can just stay in the restricted areas for free – which is what I did.
I went straight there from my hostel after arriving and just had a nap on the grass. So lovely in the sun.
I picked up a coffee from the Calyx Experience in the centre of the park, and just enjoyed a bit of people watching to gather my strength. Once rejuvenated, you can wander the park and see the koala bushes, the birds and the beautifully pruned gardens.
5. See the outside of the Opera House
It’s costs quite a bit to go inside the Opera House, but you can just soak up the general ambience by sitting on the steps outside. Also, you’ll get the best ‘I’m in Sydney!’ selfies here.
When I was in Sydney the VIVID Sydney Festival was on, and so I could admire the lights and projections around here as I enjoyed the view. It really was amazing to be around one of the most iconic buildings in the world. You can get some great Australia souvenirs from here.
6. Manly Beach
I’ve written more about getting to Manly Beach on the ferry below, but it’s so cheap on a Sunday!
And, once you’re over on Manly Beach it’s free to wander around and explore. It was the Manly Food and Drink Festival when I was there so I got to try some of the local goodies, as well as enjoying an amazing beach.
You can hire a kayak here and paddle around in the sun.
Cost: $2.60 on a Sunday
7. Walk through Hyde Park
You’ll find St Mary’s Cathedral in Hyde Park. It’s the longest church in Australia.
You can also go to the Anzac Memorial building, where the sacrifices made for Anzac Day are remembered. There’s a beautiful building dedicated to the soldiers, and a pretty pond too. This is a really nice area for a picnic, or just to relax from the craziness of the city.
8. Hang out at Circular Quay
There are loads of restaurants and bars at Circular Quay where you can spend some serious cash, but essentially just hanging out there is totally free. It’s a great spot for people watching!
9. Walk over the bridge
It took 1400 men eight years to build the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and cost $4.2 million. There are 53’000 tonnes of steel in the bridge, and you can admire it all for free by wandering across at your own pace.
Of course the Sydney Bridge Climb is a big deal for Sydney tourists but it didn’t really appeal to me to be honest, especially not for that price tag!
Instead, I went swimming in the pool nearby, and walked across after a hearty breakfast. It was great!
10. Go up to Observatory Hill
I loved Observatory Hill. And it’s another great free thing to do in Sydney.
Observatory Hill is a romantic spot to enjoy the sweeping panoramic views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Darling Harbour. It’s a grassy park with public artwork, a rotunda, tennis court and toilets.
I went into the Observatory, for free, to learn more about how it helped create the city, and then just sat and enjoyed the view. Noticing a theme here? So much of Sydney is free – you really don’t have to spend much here to have a good time.
Paddy’s Markets are one of Sydney’s most popular markets where you can find unique souvenirs, some great clothes or some food to treat your taste buds. It makes for a great morning out on a weekend.
As with most markets, it’s free unless you get sucked in to buy something!
The Rocks Markets are a great place to walk around, buy some goodies or have a coffee and take it all in. When I was there, there were some great food stands, so many craft stalls I wanted to buy from, and a great communal vibe too.
13. Admire the view from the Shangri-La hotel
This one only just makes our list of the best things to do in Sydney for less than $10, and you’ll need to just stick with a beer.
Promise you it’ll be one of the most scenic beers you’ve ever had though.
The Shangri-La is one of the fanciest hotels in Sydney, and with 36 floors it’s also one of the highest. Go up in the lift the bar and enjoy watching Sydney unfold before you. Look at those views!
Getting around Sydney for cheap
Get an Opal card when you arrive in Sydney. You’ll need to pay $35 for your first top up and then you can travel as much as you like, just top up when it’s needed. Make the most of a Sunday – you can travel anywhere in Sydney for just $2.60.
I went all the way to Manly on the ferry and back on a Sunday for just $2.60, as well as all over the city.
Unfortunately I did get two extra charges for forgetting to tap off the bus – remember to tap in AND out, or you’ll be charged.
Where I stayed in Sydney
Obviously with just four days in Sydney of course I wanted to be in a good spot, but, I was on a budget.
I decided to stay at The Village Surry Hills. It’s a hostel and I stayed in a private room with shared facilities. It was $149 AUD, so around £84.
I’d totally recommend the hostel for the location and the price. It wasn’t the nicest, or the friendliest – but it was totally acceptable. It was just a few minutes walk from the Central Train Station which made it easy for getting round the city. My room was basic but comfortable and I didn’t have to talk to anyone in the hostel – just what I wanted!
Planning your trip to Sydney
Once you’ve made the decision to go to Sydney, it doesn’t really take long to get ready to go. Save up, sort your visa, book your flights, watch my video above, read this article, and you, are READY!
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