Freelance travel writer, Kirsty Stuart, shares some of the best things to do in Sydney without spending a penny. And best of all, our Australia Flight Sale has just begun! We have flights to Sydney from £625 and you could save up to £650 per couple.
Sydney has long been climbing the list of the most expensive cities in the world, with a recent survey ranking it in at number three – behind only Japan’s Tokyo and Osaka. But what does this mean for the UK holiday-maker hoping to take in the very best this great Australian city has to offer without breaking the bank? Well believe it or not, whether you’re travelling alone or taking the whole family, there are some great ways to enjoy Sydney even if you leave your wallet back in the hotel room…
Do the Bondi to Coogee Walk
Hitting Sydney’s world famous beaches is one of the most obvious freebies that the city has to offer, but if you find yourself bored of lazing around(!) and want to get a bit more active then the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk is perfect. With stunning cliff-top views of all the eastern beaches, not to mention rock-pools to explore and picnic areas complete with electric barbeques along the way, this coastal walk is one of the most scenic ways to enjoy the laid back, natural side of Sydney for free.
The entire walk from Coogee to Bondi is six kilometres and takes around two hours at a leisurely pace, but if you don’t fancy walking the whole thing you can stop at any one of the smaller beaches along the way and call it a day. Tamarama Beach and Mackenzie’s Point are great for kicking back and watching the surfers, Clovelly Beach is a good spot for snorkelling, while laid back Bronte tends to be most popular among families.
Hang out at Darling Harbour
With so many bars, cafes and tourist attractions in and around Darling Harbour it would be oh so easy to blow a pretty healthy chunk of your holiday budget just by hanging around this area, but here’s how you can spend a whole afternoon and evening without spending a single dollar:
Make like a Sydneysider by taking a packed lunch and finding a nice water-front spot to watch the world (and boats) go by. After lunch, take a stroll around the harbour to see if you can catch any of the free entertainment on offer. Come nightfall though be sure to get a good waterside view for when the spectacular fireworks display begins (see the Harbourside fireworks calendar for more details). And take it from someone who has been in Sydney on New Year’s Eve – this city knows how to do fireworks!
Visit the Royal Botanic Gardens
Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens are situated right next to Circular Quay, under the watchful eye of the Opera House and not far from the majesty of the Harbour Bridge. The gardens attract over 3 million visitors each year and not without reason too. Spread out over 74 acres, the Botanic Gardens are a hub of tranquillity, wildlife and natural beauty.
There are a number of free things to keep you busy here but just strolling through the different gardens, visiting the Government House and sight-seeing over the Harbour from the vantage point of ‘Mrs Macquarie’s Chair’ could take up the best part of a day. Show up at 10:30am or 1pm and you can explore the history and nature of the gardens on a free guided tour.
Meander around The Rocks
The Rocks is an area not to be missed on any visit to Sydney and is unique in that it’s unlike any other part of the city. The area’s history is evident everywhere – from the narrow, cobblestone streets and sandstone steps to its 19th century buildings.
Despite the shopping, eating and drinking opportunities now available here, there are still free activities to enjoy and your best bet is to get started at the Sydney Visitor Centre in The Rocks Centre. One of the best attractions for visitors to the area is The Rocks Discovery Museum, which is interactive, informative and fun – and best of all completely free.
Walk across Sydney Harbour Bridge
Although climbing Sydney Harbour Bridge is an amazing experience it’s also an expensive one. If you’re a family of four then you’re already looking at the best part of £600 for all of you to experience it. If you’d prefer your Sydney Harbour Bridge based activities to be a little bit more on the ‘free’ side then walking across it is a great option that doesn’t shirk on spectacular views either.
It takes around twenty minutes to cross the Harbour Bridge on foot and many opt to walk one way and then catch a train or ferry back. The entrance to the walkway is near Milsons Point on the north side of the harbour, and Observatory Hill in the south (access from Cumberland Street in The Rocks area). Get your camera ready to take some amazing shots across the Harbour and beyond.
I hope the above proves that despite Sydney being an expensive city to visit, it is entirely possible to have fun on a budget by enjoying what the city has to offer for free. If you have anything to add to these, feel free to share them in the comments below.
Kirsty Stuart left full time employment last year in a perilous bid to write more and travel more. Her plan worked and these days she enjoys doing just that while also helping other writers and free-spirited entrepreneurs do the same via her website: Freelance Writers Online.