Enjoy Time in Sydney: How to Explore Sydney While on a Budget

Looking to get the max out of your time in Sydney? We’ve come up with a complete traveling guide to show you how to explore Sydney while on a budget!

Ask someone what they know about Australia, and they will probably mention something about kangaroos, koalas, or giant spiders.

However, there is more to Australia than the silly stereotypes it’s known for.

If you are planning a trip to the land down under, there’s a good chance you’ll spend time in Sydney. It’s an expensive city, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself while you’re there.

Check out the guide below for tips and info on how to explore Sydney on a budget.

Enjoy Your Time in Sydney for Free

There is no need to drop big bucks to enjoy the beautiful city of Sydney. There are plenty of destinations and activities that you can do for free.

Museums

Of course, museums deserve a spot on any budget travelers list. Museums are the best place to spend an afternoon, admiring beautiful art or learning more about a place’s history. Sydney has plenty to offer in both departments.

The Museum of Contemporary Art is a free museum that offers a collection of modern art by Australian artists, including works by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.

If you’re a history buff, you may enjoy the Nicholson Museum. The museum is home to the largest collection of antiquities in the Southern Hemisphere. Founded in 1860 by Sir Charles Nicholson, the collection has pieces from Greece, Italy, the Middle East, and more.

The Rocks Discovery Museum is another museum to check out if you’re a history fan. The museum focuses on the local history of The Rocks area, from its pre-European days to the present. The museum has a lot of interactive areas within its exhibits, so if you’re traveling with kids, it’s a nice free museum to stop by.

Check out another wide collection of art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. The museum features Australian, European, and Asian art. The art is not specific to one period, so you’ll be taking a trip through art history.

Natural Sites

Sydney is bursting with natural beauty. One of the best places to start is Centennial Park. In 1888 the park was declared a public space for Sydney’s people by Sir Henry Parkes. Throughout the park, you will also find various heritage buildings, such as the Federation Pavilion and the Centennial Park Weather Station.

Another park to check out is Hyde Park, which is a 40-acre field in the central business district of Sydney. It’s also the oldest public park in the city and Australia.

One last park to check out is Observatory Hill Park. You will find tennis courts, the Sydney Observatory, and public artwork all in one place. Many people come here though for the breathtaking view from the top of the hill. It offers a view of the bridge and the harbor and is the highest hill overlooking Sydney.

While many people tend to head to Bondi to get their beach fix, a less crowded option is Manly Beach. Manly Beach is lined with a boardwalk and sports lots of cafes, restaurants, and galleries.

While you can spend an excessive amount of money to climb the Sydney Harbor Bridge, you can get a similar experience and see the same panoramic views by taking a free stroll across the bridge.

While you’re down by the harbor, check out the Royal Botanical Gardens. They provide free guided walks, or you can be your own guide. Various gardens span 74 acres, from the Palace Rose Garden to the Australian Rainforest Garden to the sunken Pioneer Memorial Garden.

Spend a Little to Experience a Lot

While there are plenty of free activities in Sydney, you may have to spend a tiny bit to discover everything that the city has to offer.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to go completely overboard. There are still plenty of locations, eateries, and events that you can attend that won’t break the bank.

Eateries

Needless to say, you will have to take some breaks to fill your belly while you’re exploring Sydney. The cheapest way to do this is to prepare your food or pack lunches, but that’s not always easy to accomplish while you’re traveling. Plus, you will probably want to get a taste for the local cuisine at Sydney’s restaurants.

One of the cheaper restaurants you can check out is South Dowling, a family-run sandwich shop in Easy Sydney. They offer massive sandwiches that tend to fall between $9 to $12.

Friggitoria is an Italian restaurant, with apps and entrees ranging between $8 and $12. If Italian street food and authentic pasta are right up your alley, get a table at this cozy and casual little eatery in Kings Cross.

For a modern Australian themed restaurant, check out Top’s Kitchen in the Surry Hills neighborhood, which offers everything from battered fish to lamb kebabs to handmade dumplings. Most of their menu items fall under $10.

Additional Bucket List Locations

There are a few more places in Sydney that you might want to tick off your bucket list while you’re visiting. You can still accomplish many of these, even if you’re traveling on a budget.

If you do head over to Observatory Hill Park, take a tour inside the Sydney Observatory. It’s free to enter, and tours only cost $10 during the day.

If you’ll be in Sydney on a Friday night, head over to Chinatown. Every Friday, Dixon St. is transformed into a night market in Sydney’s Chinatown. You will find yourself poring over handmade trinkets, jewelry, and delicious food. It’s an unforgettable experience even if you don’t spend a dime.

Of course, no trip to Sydney would be complete without a stop at the Sydney Opera House. Recline on the steps or take a guided tour inside the opera house. The tours can run a bit more on the expensive side, so be mindful of that when you visit. The harbor is right behind the opera house, so consider indulging in a boat hire as well.

Create Your Itinerary

Once you’ve decided what you most want to do, create an agenda for your own Sydney trip.

No matter what you do, you’ll find that there are plenty of ways to save money and still explore the city during your time in Sydney.

Victoria Brewood
victoria@pommietravels.com

Hi I'm Victoria, a British girl from Manchester. After graduating from university I decided there was more to life than the hours between 9 and 5, so I packed my journalism degree into my suitcase to travel the world and find a way to make money at the same time. I now call London home, although I still travel whenever I can. I hope to inspire you to be your own boss, live life and see the world.

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