Sydney on a shoestring

Sunset in Sydney

For some reason I’ve found myself in Sydney, thrice in the last 18 months. Of course the fact that a very dear friend of mine lives there, and the awesome weather that the city is blessed with for several months of the year, are the key motivations. Not to forget the food and the wonderful coffee!

What I sometimes don’t like about the city though is how expensive it is. You’d think that living in HK would make me immune to that, but the prices in Sydney (especially with the way the Aussie dollar was moving till a couple of months back) really take it to a whole new level.

So I thought I’d put together a list of some of my favorite low-budget ways for exploring and soaking in this gorgeous city.

1) Picnic in the Royal Botanic Gardens: This one tops the list! The weather is pretty amenable to it even in the winter season. There are some great spots in the gardens that overlook the Sydney Harbor, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. Soaking in the view and the glorious sunshine, accompanied by a takeaway lunch, a good book and great company… absolute perfection.

Picnic spot in Royal Botanic Gardens

Picnic spot in Royal Botanic Gardens

2) Browse at the Rocks market: This charming market is open from 10-5 on weekends. Enjoy some yummy food at the street stalls and shop for clothes, trinkets and artwork – a great way to spend an afternoon. In December the market is open at night too and you could enjoy a free zumba lesson or a silent disco!

 

3) Walk from Bondi to Bronte beach: This 45 minute walk over coastal cliffs really treats you to some spectacular views of the South Pacific. Be warned, you may just come across someone who’s been dared into streaking across the beach while you relax there at the end of your walk 😉

Bondi to Bronte Coastwalk

Bondi to Bronte Coastwalk

 

4) Take a ride on the ferry to Manly: A half an hour picturesque ferry ride gets you from Circular Quay to Manly. The beach at Manly is really nice, and you can also enjoy a scenic walk along the Manly harbour, or other longer hikes if you are so inclined.

Scenic walk in Manly

Scenic walk in Manly

 

5) Walk across Sydney Harbour Bridge: You could spend $200-300 doing the Bridge Climb, or (better & free) just walk across the bridge, and take in some equally fabulous views.

View from the Sydney Habour Bridge

View from the Sydney Habour Bridge

 

6) Join up an I’m Free Walking Tours of Sydney: This 3-hour tour takes you walking in downtown Sydney, covering the major landmarks and providing interesting tidbits of information on their history, peppered with lots of humor. They also provide a pamphlet of really useful budget traveler tips for local travel and dining… at the end of it all you tip your tour guide, as much as you’d like and are able to. Fun and informative!

A temporary street installation turned permanent

A temporary street installation turned permanent

This online resource, has some more ideas on free things to do in Sydney.

Do leave a comment and let me know what your favorite budget tips for Sydney are!

P.S. I will at some point also do a post on living the high life in Sydney. After all, you’ve got to do something with all the money you saved 🙂