Everyone knows that Australia is not the cheapest place to visit. In order to help stay under budget, you’ll want to load up your itinerary with as many free activities as possible. Big cities like Sydney are great places to visit if you want to find lots of things to do and see that won’t break the bank. Here are 15 of the best free things to do in Sydney:
Walk across the Harbour Bridge
Yes, you’ll have to pay if you want to do the walk that goes up and over the top of the bridge. However, there is no fee to use the pedestrian walk across the bridge. For the best views, my suggestion is to get on the bridge at Milson’s Point and walk into the city.
One of my personal favorites, Paddy’s Market is a giant market area with dozens of stands selling all sorts of goods. You can find all of your Australia souvenirs here for super cheap, along with clothing, jewelry, sunglasses, and other wares. Even if you don’t want to buy anything, Paddy’s is a fun place to just experience the madness.
Royal Botanical Gardens
The gardens are a great way to spend some time in the city. Right next to the Sydney Opera House, the Royal Botanical Gardens can’t be beat. Keep your eye in the sky to spot cockatoos and flying foxes!
Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair
While you’re in the Botanical Gardens, make your way out to Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair. This bit of rock carved into the shape of a bench gives one of the best views of Sydney Harbour.
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Art Gallery of NSW
Located south of the Botanic Gardens, the Art Gallery of New South Wales is a great place to go if you need a little indoor time. There are several different collections of art, which can take a good amount of time to see. Admission may be charged for special exhibits.
Museum of Contemporary Art
This is another good option if you need to escape the outdoors for a bit. With a focus mainly on collections of international contemporary visual art, this museum will have a different feel than the Art Gallery of NSW. Free guided tours are also available.
St Mary’s Cathedral
Even if you are not Catholic, this is a beautiful place to visit. The incredible sandstone architecture and the stained glass windows make a great stop. Free tours are given Sundays after mass, and you can find an exhibit on the First Australian Catholics in the Cathedral’s crypt.
Opera House Bathrooms
It does cost money to take a tour and see the interior of the Opera House. However, the lobby area is free to enter. Inside is a small gift shop with expensive souvenirs, but the real gem here is the bathrooms. The sinks are pretty cool.
Sticky Candy Demonstration
In The Rocks, locate the Sydney Visitor’s Centre. In this same building is a shop that hand-makes its own candy. Sticky has live candy making demonstrations every day that you cannot miss. It is fascinating to watch them get all those details into teeny bits of candy. Plus they give free samples!
Bondi to Coogee Walk
If you want more of an outdoorsy thing to do, check out the Bondi to Coogee walk. This walkway follows the coastline for 6 kilometres and offers some gorgeous views of beaches, cliffs, parks, and more. Make sure to lather on the sunblock!
Sydney Olympic Park
The Sydney Olympic Park was constructed for the 2000 Summer Olympics. Since then, it has become a place of entertainment. There are several trails to explore, as well as public artwork installations, playgrounds, and athletic parks. Admission to the park is free, but there may be charges for certain events and facilities.
Cockatoo Island is a fun and educational place to visit within Sydney. Just a short ferry ride away, you can learn all about the many roles the island has played in Australian history. If you’re feeling ultra adventurous, try camping on the Island!
It doesn’t cost a single dollar to lay on the sand and soak up that warm Australian sun. Check out Manly Beach for an easy-to-reach beach location. You can take a ferry from the city.
Free Walking Tours
Walking around is one of the best ways to orient yourself to the city of Sydney. There are several different companies in Sydney that offer free walking tours of the city. Depending on your interests, you can choose from several different routes. Just remember it is polite to tip your guide at the end of the tour.
Queen Victoria Building
This exquisite building was built in 1898, as a concert hall. Over the years, the hall became a library, and office space. Today, you’ll find it filled with high-end shops and restaurants. Even if you don’t plan on shopping, you have to at least walk through the QVB and take in all its architectural glory. It’s seriously gorgeous.
Looking for more to do in Sydney? Check out How to do Sydney in One Day. Or, try taking a day trip out to the Blue Mountains!