Travel doesn’t have to be as expensive as you think, and even some of the most expensive destinations in the world have some amazing free sites and activities to keep even the tightest of budgets happy.
Of all the traditional banana pancake trail that backpackers head off on every single year, Australia is generally always the single most expensive part of that trip. This is why many backpackers traditionally get a working holiday visa and jump into the strawberry picking or bar work jobs just to stretch out their budgets a little bit.
Sydney is perhaps one of the first and biggest stops for most travellers when they are backpacking through Australia, and is quite often the one city that takes up the largest part of the budget, but don’t worry there are plenty of ways to stretch your budget when travelling and there are a ton of free things to do while you are in Sydney too, just to help that budget go a little further.
So here are the top free things to do in Sydney, Australia.
5. Go on a free walking tour.
Walking tours are one of the best ways to get to know a city quickly if you don’t have much time, and Sydney has a whole variety of them to cater to pretty much every interest and taste, no matter how niche.
You can find a ton of these with a quick Google search or by going on the Sydney tourism board’s official site. There is no cost to join but you can always leave a tip at the end if you wish.
4. Enjoy the fresh air at the Royal Botanical Gardens.
Sydney is a very built up, metropolitan city, but it does have a lot of green spaces as well which speaks volumes to the high level of wellbeing in the city, but none are as grand or as stunning as the Royal Botanical Gardens, and it is well worth wasting an afternoon or two just strolling around the grounds.
Located near the Sydney Opera House you can get some of the best views of this iconic monument as well as the harbour and the city itself from these manicured gardens, and if you want to find out more about the plants themselves the visitor center is excellent.
(Bonus option: Hyde Park).
If you can’t get your fill of manicured gardens and parks at the Royal Botanical Gardens, then head to Hyde Park. This is a gorgeous 40 acre parkland right in the middle of the central business district and has a ton of free tourist attractions in it’s grounds as well, including Archibald fountain and St Mary’s Church. It is a perfect place to come with a picnic and enjoy the sunshine.
3. The Coogee to Bondi Hike.
Being Australia it is hardly surprising that some of the best things to do in any city is to go outside and enjoy some adventure activities, and Sydney is no exception. There are countless hiking trails all around Sydney, too many for even a separate list on their own, but one of the most famous and most popular is the Coogee to Bondi hike.
Ignore the daft names, this is Australia after all, but the Coogee to Bondi trail follows the coastline for 6 KM between the two iconic locations and takes in some of Sydney’s most famous and picturesque beaches, and it has a ton of parks, coves and stretches of sand to stop off, explore and swim in, not to mention a smattering of hipster cafes and places to stay along the way too.
2. Circular Quay.
This popular Sydney spot hold the dubious honour of being Sydney’s – and probably Australia’s – most Instagrammed spot. This harbourside location is where you can get those iconic picture postcard viewpoints of the Harbour bridge and Sydney Opera House, but it is also a location in and of itself with cafe’s, restaurants, buskers, artists and musicians all spread out across a picturesque and pleasant area to hang out. You can’t beat hanging out with a coffee, enjoying the views of the Opera House and listening to the buskers playing a Didgeridoo. You can’t get much more Australian than that!
1. Wander round the Sydney Opera House.
One of the most famous performance halls in the world and one of Australia’s most iconic buildings, the Sydney Opera House is also free to explore! Located at the end of Circular Quay the iconic building is easy to walk around and enjoy, and there are a range of tours you can join if you are interested in seeing what it looks like from the inside.
So whilst Australia may be the most expensive part of the banana pancake trail, and Sydney one of the most expensive stopovers in it, there are still ways backpackers can stick to a budget in this amazing city, and there is no excuse not to be able to enjoy at least some of it without spending a penny.
I hope you are enjoying this ‘free things to do in …’ series and find it useful, if you have any specific requests then please let me know in the comments section below. If I have been there then I’ll add it to the list!
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This article was written in partnership with Intro Travel. The views and opinions expressed are entirely the authors own based on personal experiences when travelling and are honest and factual without any bias.