Planning a trip to Australia? Be ready to open your pocketbook and spend some cash. Traveling to Australia can get expensive fast. It doesn’t come as a huge surprise – after all, flying to the opposite side of the world can’t be cheap, and Australia isn’t exactly known to be a budget-friendly vacation spot.
A great way to keep costs down? Consider adding some cheap or free things to do to your Sydney, Australia itinerary. While many of the city’s most well-known attractions do charge admission, there are plenty of things you can take advantage of that don’t cost much – or, in some cases, anything at all.
If you’re looking to keep your trip to Sydney affordable, here are some of the best cheap or free things you can do in Sydney, Australia:
CHECK OUT A LOCAL MARKET. Sydney is well-known for the variety of weekly markets that pop up across the city. You can find markets selling everything from flowers, fresh produce, and ready-to-eat food to trinkets, antiques, and clothing. Some, like the Paddington Markets, are open weekly on Saturdays, while others, like the Sydney Vegan Market, only come around once each month. Plan to explore at least one while you’re in town!
STOP BY ST MARY’S CATHEDRAL. Unlike a trip to Europe, you won’t find many old cathedrals or churches to explore in Sydney, but anyone who appreciates architecture will want to stop at St Mary’s Cathedral. This sandstone cathedral is free to visit and open to the public. Inside, you’ll find incredible stained glass windows, incredible columns and arches, and an impressive pipe organ.
LET LITTLE ONES HAVE SOME FUN AT A PLAYGROUND. If you’re traveling with kids, they aren’t going to want to spend each and every day exploring art museums and snapping photos of the Opera House. Fortunately, Sydney is a very kid-friendly city, and you’ll find plenty of playgrounds to let them run around and burn off some energy.
The Darling Quarter Playground in Darling Harbour is arguably one of the best in the city, equipped with everything from balance ropes and climbing nets to a water play area, making it perfect for cooling off on scorching summer days. Regardless of where you are in Sydney, though, a kid-friendly park shouldn’t be too far away!
VISIT THE MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART. The Museum of Contemporary Art is one of the most visited cultural attractions in Sydney, and it’s easy to see why. This Art Deco masterpiece houses thousands of works of art, both from Australian artists and others around the world, as well as a series of rotating exhibitions. The best part? The museum doesn’t charge admission, so you’ll get to enjoy this attraction at no cost.
TAKE A WALK OR TWO! One of the best ways to have fun on vacation without spending money? Explore your destination on foot. Sydney is no exception to this rule, with lots of great places to stroll and explore. One of the best options for touring Sydney on foot? Take a stroll across the Sydney Harbour Bridge. While you’ll pay to climb to the top of the bridge, it costs nothing to cross on foot, and you’ll get the chance to stop wherever you’d like to admire the view and take photographs of some of Sydney’s most iconic buildings and attractions.
Another walk worth taking is the Bondi to Coogee (or Coogee to Bondi) walk. You’ll pass by stunning cliffs, scenic rock pools, beautiful beaches, and other impressive views as you navigate this path, which takes most people around two and a half hours to complete. If you get tired, you can take a break at any of the beaches, cafes, or parks you encounter along the way.
VISIT SYDNEY OLYMPIC PARK. Now home to playgrounds, bike paths, bird-watching opportunities, and excellent restaurants and cafes, this park hosted the 2000 Olympic Games. While many countries struggle to put their Olympic facilities to use after the Games conclude, Sydney has managed to transform the park into a valuable addition to the city – and a great spot for tourists and locals to visit when the weather is nice.
EXPLORE THE ROYAL BOTANIC GARDEN. One of the most gorgeous spots in all of Sydney is surprisingly free to the public. The Royal Botanic Garden offers a breathtaking array of plants and trees and is the perfect spot to slow down for a picnic lunch. Stroll through the grounds on your own or take a free guided tour to learn a thing or two about the Garden’s history and the plants that call it home. As a bonus, you’ll find some great views of the opera house across the water here.
TOUR THE GOVERNMENT HOUSE. After you explore the Botanic Garden, plan a visit to the nearby Government House. Built in the 1800s, this building is the vice-regal residence of the Governor of New South Wales. You can visit the gardens any day of the week, but they offer free tours of the house itself on holidays and weekends, where you can learn about Australia’s government and history as you explore one of the oldest buildings in the country.
ENJOY THE BEACH! Spending a few hours at the beach is an easy way to have fun without spending a ton of money. The easiest beach to visit is Bondi Beach, arguably one of the most famous beaches in the world. There, you can surf, sunbathe, and soak up the sun – as long as you can find a spot! Thanks to its popularity, this beach is often crowded.
For a quieter, more laid back beach experience, head over to nearby Manly Beach. You’ll need to pay a small fare to take the ferry, but you’ll be treated to smaller crowds, stunning shores, and great photo ops.
As you can see, there are quite a few ways to have a great time experiencing Sydney without spending much cash – or, in many cases, any money at all! By adding a few of these exciting opportunities to your itinerary, you’ll cut down on your overall trip budget and still have a ton of fun.