Sydney on a Shoestring Budget
If you’re lucky enough to visit Sydney, you’re in for a real treat. The city is rich with culture, attractions, and natural beauty – much of which is free. Here we will walk you through some of the best ways to get the most out of Sydney without Sydney getting the most from your wallet.
There are multiple tours throughout the day to guide you through the city, teaching you the history of Sydney while taking you to the most popular sites. Some of the many highlights include the Sydney Opera House, St. Mary’s Cathedral, the Parliament House, Sydney’s oldest cemetery, and much more. If this tour isn’t in depth enough for you, you can also join the Rocks walking tour. This one delves deeper into the history of The Rocks and Sydney’s early settlement, including stories about historical buildings, murders, and mysteries. The best thing about these tours is they cost you nothing.
A visit to Sydney’s most popular icons is an absolute must; you simply cannot leave the city without exploring the Sydney Opera House, the Royal Botanic Gardens, and Harbour Bridge. While here you can also experience some of the cafes, bars and restaurants that offer the most spectacular views of the harbour, not to mention best food at places like Café Sydney and The Dining Room at the Park Hyatt hotel.
Royal Botanic Gardens
This spectacular collection of breathtaking beauty spans 30 hectares and contains some of the most rare and threatened plant species from around the world. There are themed areas of the gardens featuring a romantic rose garden and a display called “First Encounters”, honouring Sydney’s first inhabitants. Guided tours depart daily and are free.
Chinatown & Haymarket
The colourful bustle of an Asian marketplace always provides a buffet for the senses, and this combination of restaurants, noodle bars and shops is no exception. Known far and wide for its hole-in-the-wall restaurants, here you’ll find a wide variety of dining establishments. You can grab a quick bite or have a full course meal, sample dumplings at Marigold Restaurant or try Sichuan cuisine at Spicy Sichuan. Get a taste of Thai at Chat Thai Haymarket or chow down on some mouth-watering Japanese fare at Wagaya. You’ll find no lack of shopping either at Paddy’s Markets, where you’re sure to fall in love with unique décor to take home with you. Don’t want to spend the money? You can still enjoy window shopping and lots of photo opportunities.
Manly and Bondi Beaches
Sydney’s sandy shores provide surfing, scenery, sea life, shopping and so much more. Manly provides a nice combination of the laid-back beach lifestyle with a touch of sophistication, making it a great destination for families. From hiking and biking to surfing, snorkeling, and fine wine, there truly is something for everyone. You can even take the family for a bit of schooling at the SEA LIFE Sanctuary; get up close and personal with marine life while learning about animal conservation. SEA LIFE even has its own colony of little penguins you can visit. Feeling a bit more daring? Go diving with sharks, stingrays, and turtles at Shark Dive Xtreme – no experience necessary!
With perfectly golden sands and stunning blue waters, Bondi Beach provides a heavenly getaway. The waves are perfect for surfing but there is much more to Bondi than boards. With diverse shopping markets, fine dining and never-ending nightlife, you’ll be worn out before you can explore it all! Furthermore, this beautiful beach begs to be walked so grab some coffee and cruise the Bondi to Coogee coastline. Make it a leisurely walk and stop along the way to refuel at Sean’s Panaroma, a Bondi landmark that makes you feel like family. Later, stop at Iceberg’s Dining Room and Bar for a dessert with a view.
Sydney Harbour YHA
One of the most important ways you can stretch your wallet is to stay at one of Sydney’s many hostels. The Sydney Harbour YHA is the only budget hostel in the historic district on the harbour side and had a litany of rave reviews. Not only does it have some of the best views of the harbour, bridge, and Opera House, but it also has state-of-the-art facilities and has won more than 30 awards. Now that is impressive! It features free Wi-Fi, a grocery store, coffee bar, and tons more. You can also share a room to cut back on your expenditures even more. Win-win!
So there you have just some highlights of how to stay in Sydney without breaking the bank. There are many more free and low-cost attractions including parks, workshops, fireworks displays – the list just goes on and on! (And did we mention the shopping markets?) The key is to plan ahead. Do your research and highlight the things you really want to check out so you can budget the money you are willing to spend.
Above all: Have fun!