Sydney on a Shoestring

The Sydney Opera House, harbour bridge, Bondi Beach – Sydney has many famous landmarks and attractions and many of them can be experienced for free. Like any major city, Sydney can be expensive and there are plenty of pricey restaurants, bars, hotels and tourist attractions, but with a bit of insider know-how you can make your Aussie dollars stretch further. It’s easy to find cheap Sydney hotels and hostels, inexpensive eateries, and even a whole host of things to do and see that are totally free.

Sydney Harbour – the Sydney icons of harbour bridge and the Sydney Opera House, the skyscraper-packed skyline and the houses of the rich and famous, can all be best appreciated from the water in the harbour itself. There are countless boat tours and companies offering private charters but there is a far less expensive way to sail across the harbour and drink in the sights of Sydney and that is to take one of the ferries that commute the workers to and from the city each day. For just a few dollars the ferry, which has been in operation for over 135 years, will take you past the opera house,  the old penal island of Fort Denison, and the glitzy properties of celebrities, ending up at the charming wharf of Watson’s Bay.

Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge – you can’t visit Sydney without taking a snap of yourself in front of these two globally known landmarks. Think of Australia and you think of the white sails of the Opera House and the coathanger-like bridge spanning the harbour. You can climb the bridge and take a guided tour inside the Opera House but both are best appreciated for free just by looking at them. Visit at dusk to see the Opera House silhouetted against the reddening sky and walk across the bridge in time to see the lights of the city begin to twinkle.

Bondi Beach – beach life is at the core of the Australian sensibility and Bondi Beach is synonymous with laidback Aussie fun. In summer, the beach is packed with bronzed bodies lying out on the sand watching the surfers or playing volleyball, and in the winter people rug up behind cafe windows, sipping coffees as they look out over the surf. For a completely free day out hit the beach with a picnic or hike the 6km along the cliffs from the southern end of Bondi over to Coogee Beach.  End the day with an ice-cold beer and some pub grub at the Bondi Icebergs Club.

Parks and Culture – Sydney has some beautiful, leafy green parks to idle away an afternoon. Stroll through the Botanic Gardens to Mrs Macquaries Chair, a beautiful spot and historic site overlooking the harbour and perfect for a picnic. The nearby Art Gallery of New South Wales has a free permanent exhibition including striking Aboriginal artworks and other pieces by influential Australian artists. Wander through the Domain to gaze at historical Australian buildings and end up in fountain-filled, shady Hyde Park, close to many Sydney hotels.

Author: Dan Collins

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