Sydney is a laidback, yet vibrant city situated perfectly on the shores of the South Pacific Ocean. Famous for its signature landmarks, which include the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Tower, combine that with an almost perfect climate year-round and you have yourself one pretty remarkable city.
While some may say that the largest Australian city can be quite expensive to visit, with it’s world-class dining and world-famous landmarks, there are many sights to see that won’t put a dent in the bank account and still provide you with a true Australian experience, as well as show off the best parts that Sydney has to reveal.
Here is a Sydneysider’s list of 10 free things to do in this delightful seaside city.
Go on a free walking tour of the city
Get your bearings of Sydney’s CBD and surrounds with Sydney’s Free Walking Tours that run every day rain, hail or shine. Learn about the history of Sydney, visit some of the famous landmarks, and discover the city through the eyes of a local. The tour includes a visit to the iconic Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge, a walk through the majestic Queen Victoria Building and much more. They even show you some trendy hidden bars that you can head to after the tour.
Visit Kamay Botany Bay National Park and learn about Australia’s history
On the other side of town there is a chance to visit the Kamay Botany Bay National Park and learn about the first arrival of Europeans to Australia. Walk to the place where Captain Cook first landed on Australian shores and learn about how the area’s Aboriginal inhabitants lived at the time of his landing in 1770. The visitor’s centre features an art gallery, theatrette, historical exhibition, shop and café and is free entry for all. After your history lesson take a walk around the bay for a chance to spot a variety of native birds like the Cockatoo and the Galah.
Visit the Auburn Botanical Gardens and spot some native wildlife
Located in Sydney’s western suburbs these gorgeous Botanical Gardens tend to get missed off the tourist brochures. The Gardens cover 9.2 hectares of lush parkland and house a number of native birds and animals. Visit the tranquil Japanese gardens full of Cherry Blossoms or take a walk through the Fauna Reserve where you can spot some native Kangaroos and Emus.
Do the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk
One of Sydney’s most iconic coastal walks is the Bondi to Coogee walk. Stretching along 6 kilometres of coast in Sydney’s eastern suburbs the walk provides views of stunning beaches, cliff tops, rock pools and every day Sydney life. This walk is a great way to see Sydney’s famous Bondi beach and add on a scenic walk as well. There are many swimming spots along the way so don’t forget to take your swimmers in the summer, or the winter as well when temperatures can reach the mid twenties during the day. For information and maps visit the Bondi to Coogee walk website.
Visit Sydney’s arts and crafts markets
Sydney has a big arts and crafts scene supporting local and international artisans. Every Saturday and Sunday markets pop up in Sydney’s suburbs selling all types of crafty goods, delicious foods and vintage clothes. Some of the more famous ones include Glebe’s Saturday markets, Marrickville’s Sunday markets, and The Rocks weekend markets, which run from Friday through Sunday in Sydney’s oldest quarter.
Walk through Luna Park for a perfect view of the Harbour Bridge
While Luna Park will charge you to go on the rides there is no charge to take a stroll through the grounds, which also happen to have a perfect view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Harbour. The area is full of fun and colour and you can even grab a photo outside the prominent Luna Park face that sits at the front of the park. Continue walking and you’ll find yourself down at Circular Quay, the gateway to the Sydney Opera House.
Visit the Art Gallery of NSW & the Museum Of Contemporary Art
These two art galleries are a great way to spend your time while in Sydney, and they are both free admission. The Art Gallery of NSW is located in Sydney’s Domain, while the Museum Of Contemporary Art is located down at Circular Quay. Both are within walking distance from each other.
Swim at Sydney’s gorgeous beaches
It doesn’t cost anything to visit what Sydney is most famous for, its beaches. Apart from the well-known Bondi Beach, Sydney has dozens of other beaches and swimming spots where locals flock to each and every day. In the north you have Manly and lesser-known Gordon’s Bay, as well as many others. In the south you have Cronulla Beach and smaller surrounding bays. In the east you have Coogee, Clovelly and little Yarra Bay. The options are plentiful.
Take a walk through Sydney’s trendy Inner West
Sydney’s Inner West holds a kind of hip, eccentric atmosphere like no other Sydney areas do. It’s a place where trendy cafes are popping up on every corner, sustainability and community is at the forefront of thought, and art and expression play vital roles. Stretching from the small inner city suburb of Chippendale to Strathfield in the west, many suburbs in this region are well worth exploring, especially if you love coffee culture. Admire the street art in Teggs Lane, Chippendale; take a walk through up-and-coming Redfern and then venture down Newtown’s King Street where you will find character bars, café’s and all the vintage and op-shops you desire.
Go trekking in the Blue Mountains and visit the legendary three sisters
The story of the three sisters is an aboriginal legend that says that a witchdoctor from the Katoomba tribe turned three sisters into stone to protect them from any harm. The three unique rock formations now paint an iconic image of Sydney’s Blue Mountains, a mountainous range and bushland located on the outskirts of Sydney’s metropolitan area. The area is popular for trekkers and also has some waterfalls that you can swim in. For more information visit the Blue Mountains Australia website.