10 Things to do in Sydney on a budget

If you’re coming to Sydney, Australia you’ll soon realise it’s an expensive place! But it doesn’t have to burn a hole through your wallet quicker than you can say ‘Woolloomoolloo‘.

I’ve made it my mission to find a whole bunch of things to do in Sydney on a tight budget. Things that are either really cheap or in some cases FREE!

Yes you’d be surprised what awesome things there are to do in Sydney when you visit. Be sure to tick these off your list when you visit! Where will you go first?

Harbour Bridge Pylon

While the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb is very expensive there is another way to get a fantastic view of Sydney from high up on the bridge. For just $9 you can ascend one of the South pylons and learn some history about the bridge at the same time. The inside of the Pylon contains a museum featuring photos and accounts from the hard working men that built it. A the top is a viewing area with spectacular views of the Sydney Opera House and the harbour. Well worth $9.

Sydney walking trails

If you’ve got a Lonely Planet Guide check out their walking trails for Sydney Harbour. There’s some great walks along the coast that we occupy an afternoon and reward you with spectacular views. You can easily start at Pots Point and follow the coast along to the Harbour Bridge and beyond. There’s also a stunning walk from Balmoral to Manly on the North side of the Harbour.

Get the ferry to manly

A great way to view the centre of Sydney is by boat. Most excursions are relatively expensive but the commuter ferry from Circular Quay is fairly cheap and great value for money. Take the ferry over in the afternoon. Enjoy a cheap snack on Manly beach watching the surfers get dunked. Then catch the ferry back after dark to view Sydney’s iconic skyline at night with both the bridge and Opera house lit up. If you’re hear during June you’ll get a special treat thanks to the Vivid Sydney festival. A return ticket is around $23.

Sydney Opera House Tour. Book online!

For most backpackers checking out a performance at the world famous Sydney Opera House is breaking the budget. But you can still get a glimpse of the stunning concert hall by taking the walking tour. Booking online gives you a surprisingly large discount and being early birds gives you even more. The tour is fantastic, very informative and takes you into numerous areas of the complex you wouldn’t normally get to see. Tickets are $29 online instead of $35. Check out sydneyoperahouse.com.au

Cheap Tuesdays!

If you’re in town on a Tuesday you’re in luck! Tuesdays in Sydney are discount days. Many restaurants, cinemas, theatres and clubs are often cheaper on Tuesdays. Make the most of your Tuesdays in Sydney! Venture further out of Sydney on a bus and have dinner at ‘The Spot” or head to the coast for a night on the town!

Festivals in Sydney worth checking out.

Sydney is a city of festivals. There’s always something on often in the parks of the CBD. Check out Sydney’s Festival guide. Ask at the reception of your hotel or hostel too. Festivals often have discounts and 2 for 1 offers on ticket. Most of the festivals in Sydney have at least one free event. If you’re here during February you can enjoy free events every night at the Sydney Festival. Vivid Sydney is also worth checking out if you’re here in May or June.

Sydney Botanical Garden Guided Tour

The botanical gardens in central Sydney is a beautiful place to take a stroll. Why not make it an education too by joining the free guided tour. The tour runs twice daily at 10am and 1:15pm from the gift shop. It’s a great way to learn about Australia’s flora and fauna as well as a chance to see the famous flying squirrel bats that have taken up residence in the trees

Free shuttle bus

Sydney has a great free bus service in the city centre. It can take you in a loop from Central station down to circular quay and back again via the Town Hall. It’s the perfect way to see all the urban landmarks of Sydney. You can hop on and off any time and there’s multiple buses in the service. They are conveniently painted green unlike the other bus services. Look out for the number 555 bus and check out the Sydney buses website for details and a map of the bus route.

Coogee to Bondi beach walk

A number of big hostels in the centre of Sydney offer a guided walk from Coogee beach to Bondi beach. The service is free and picks you up from outside your hostel in an old bus. Coogee is about 7km east of the CBD an the walk takes around 2 hours at a very leisurely pace. The guides are very friendly and the views along the coast are stunning. The walk way right up against ye coastline has been recently developed and is easily accessible for all. The bus meets you in Bondi after a fish and chips lunch and will take you back to your hostel. Not bad for free!! Ask at your hostel’s reception. Better still find yourself a cheap hotel in Coogee and enjoy the beach views every day like we did!

AFL match at the SCG

If you get to the Sydney Cricket Ground you can grab yourself cheap tickets to an Aussie Rules football match. This peculiar sport is adored by many Aussies and is much like rugby. The game is 2 hours long with 3 breaks where it’s customary to grab yourself a beer and a good old Aussie meat pie! If you want a real slice of Aussie life check out the AFL and make sure you support the Sydney Swans!

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