Sydney is one of the world’s fifth most expensive city, but that doesn’t mean that you have to take out a loan before you visit. Follow these simple tips and enjoy Sydney’s best deals and free activities on your next trip to the New South Wales capital!
Take the 555 shuttle bus.
There are plenty of guided tour buses to choose from, if that’s your groove. But if you don’t want to shell out $40, or you don’t want to listen to a tour guide drone on and on, or if you want the flexibility to get off when and where you want, then a tour bus isn’t your best option. Better to hop on the 555, a free shuttle bus that runs a loop around the main Central Business District (CBD). You’ll pass the Opera House, the Rocks, the Circular Quay, Hyde Park, Chinatown, the Australian Museum, and more.
Get some exercise and great photos along a coastal walk.
Sydney is home to some of the world’s most famous beaches: Bondi, Manly, Coogee, and so on. If the thought of sitting on a crowded beach all day doesn’t appeal greatly to you, try getting a little exercise by walking from beach to beach along the coastal walks. The Bondi-Coogee walk is just 6km (3.7 miles) and offers picturesque views the entire way. You’ll also discover some lesser-known beaches that are just as beautiful and less crowded, such as Tamarama Beach, Bronte Beach, and Clovelly Beach. There are plenty of places to stop and rest, swim, and eat along the way.
If a longer walk is in order, try the 10km (6 mile) walk from Spit Bridge to Manly Beach. You’ll see gorgeous coastal cliffs, excellent views of the Middle Harbour and Pacific Ocean, Aboriginal rock engravings, and some beautiful secluded beaches. There are plenty of bathrooms, cafes, and other facilities along the way, so all you need to bring are your swimsuits! The walks are free and always open. They’re a great activity in the summer or in the cooler months, when you might not be so keen to swim at the beach.
Walk across the Harbour Bridge.
Climbing to the top of Sydney’s famous bridge will cost you the big bucks, but you can still get a good view of the city just by walking across the bridge. For $11 you can also visit Pylon Lookout, which will give you a stellar view of the city and access to three levels of exhibits about the Bridge’s history and construction.
Have a picnic in the Royal Botanical Gardens.
Beside the famous Sydney Opera House are the grounds of the Botanical Gardens, a beautiful assortment of native and foreign plant species. The gardens were opened in 1816, making them the oldest scientific institution in Australia. If you’re lucky, you may even see some local Australian wildlife, including kookaburras, owls, lizards, flying foxes, and orb-weaver spiders. The gardens are open and free every day, and offer a lovely view of the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. This is a great place to take a walk and have an afternoon picnic under the shade of a large tree.
Dine in Sydney’s top-notch food courts.
Food courts are often overlooked in the search for good grub, especially if you want to try new dishes without worrying about the price tag. Australia has some truly excellent food courts, so take advantage of them! Food courts are a great place to find a wide variety of inexpensive and delicious food. Chinatown’s food court is the best place to find Asian fare like pho, ramen, laksa, sushi, and more. Australia Square’s food court has outdoor seating, making it perfect for a meal on a beautiful day. Food courts like Hunter Connection and Wintergarden are popular with the vegetarian crowd. Gluten-free options are also on the rise. No matter what you’re in the mood for, food courts are bound to please everyone.