Sydney on a budget

While Sydney has a reputation for being an expensive place to visit, there are plenty of ways to experience some of the city’s most iconic sights without blowing out your holiday budget.  If you’re looking to get out and about but want to hang on to your hard-earned cash, check out some  of these budget-friendly options.

Walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Lace up your walking shoes and experience one of Australia’s most recognisable icons on foot. Take in breathtaking views of Sydney Harbour and the Sydney Opera House while traversing the bridge  on the pedestrian walkway, which is free to access. Entry from the CBD is via Cumberland Street, The Rocks.

Ride the Manly Ferry

A ride on the iconic Manly Ferry showcases the stunning scenery of Sydney Harbour to perfection. Relax as you take in the sites; there’s the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Taronga Zoo, the Sydney Opera House and harbourside beaches like Camp Cove Beach, Shark Beach and Obelisk Beach to name a few. If you have some time to spare, it’s well worth jumping off the ferry at Manly and heading out on the Manly to Spit Bridge Coastal Walk. Taking approximately 3-4 hours to complete, highlights of the walk include spectacular views from the Arabanoo lookout at Dobroyd Head, exploring the trails through Sydney National Park, stopping in at secluded beaches like Castle Rock Beach and visiting the working Grotto Point Lighthouse.

Explore the Royal Botanic Garden

Pack some morning tea or a picnic lunch and hit up the Royal Botanic Gardens. Home to stunning gardens and primely positioned easy stroll from the Opera House on the edge of Sydney Harbour, the gardens are free to enter and enjoy.

Check-in to Bondi

Bondi Beach is Sydney’s most iconic beach and home to a plethora of sights and activities. There are walks aplenty; head out on the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk, or the lesser known but equally picturesque Federation Clifftop Walk from Bondi to Watson’s Bay. Bondi’s reliable breaks make it a surfing lover’s paradise, while swimmers often head for the Bondi Icebergs ocean pools.  Bondi is also home to an eclectic range of cafes, shops and restaurants.

Picnic in Wendy’s Secret Garden

Head to Milsons Point by train, bus or on foot for a picnic lunch in Wendy’s Secret Garden. Located at the foothill of the famous Whiteley residence in Lavender Bay, the once unused railway yard was transformed by Wendy Whitely in 1992 following the death of her former husband and famed Australian artist, Brett Whitely.  In addition to glorious views of Sydney Harbour, the garden is a wonderland of winding, cobbled paths, a spectacular array of native and exotic plants, trees and herbs, and art works donated by local artists such as sculptures, wooden carvings and busts.

Visit Cockatoo Island

Cockatoo Island sits in Sydney Harbour just a short ferry ride from the CBD and is named  for the X cockatoos that  call the island home. Visitors can learn about the island’s fascinating convict and shipbuilding history with either an audio or self-guided tour, enjoy a bite to eat Societé Overboard cafe and enjoy spectacular harbour views. If you’re feeling adventurous, camping is available at the island’s harbourside campsite.

Words by Rebecca Walker. Image courtesy of Pixabay - Published 5 July 2019
Quick Facts 
Population Approx 4.3 million
Area 4,000 km²
Time Zone GMT +10
Languages English (official)
Currency Australian Dollar (AUD)
Electricity 220 - 240v 50Hz
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