Budget Friendly Travel Guide to Sydney

It’s very easy to burn through your budget when visiting Sydney. It has so many great attractions, available activities, bars, restaurants and shops that it is quite hard to keep your money in your wallet. Additionally, all those things are not what you would normally call cheap. In simple words – Sydney will cost you a pretty penny if you’re not a careful tourist. However, there are always ways to find your way around this and save up some money here and there without compromising on the quality. Here are some great ideas on how to do it.

The Most Budget Friendly Sightseeing Tours

There are several free or very affordable tours that you can take. Every day, at 10.30 am and 2.30 pm, you can go to the Town Hall Square where you will meet your guide who will show you all the great things along the George Street. Guides know every little rock of the downtown and they are happy to share it with you. When it comes to rocks, the same I’m Free Tours organizes the tour of the Rocks at 6.00 pm, starting from the Cadmans Cottage. The tours are free and guides work for tips. You can easily take the famous Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk on your own. It’s entirely free and it will show you the splendor of the coastline along the way. You can even enjoy the Sculptures by the Sea. The name of this artistic project is self-explanatory and you can enjoy it for free. Another free attraction is the Royal Botanic Garden, as well as a day wandering around the Darling Harbor.

Getting Around Using Public Transportation

Your best option ever is to buy the OPAL Card. You need to top it up and start using its benefits. Some of them include all rides except the Airport Shuttle for 2.5 AUD during weekends. You can save all the long distance travels for the weekend and save up a ton only in transportation costs. Moreover, if you have 8 rides during the week, with an hour between the end of one ride and the beginning of another, the rest of your rides are for free.

Great Places to Stay That Don’t Break the Bank

There are several ways to save up on the accommodation. One of those is to stay in hostels in the center that have rooms with many beds. The great example is the Nomad’s Westend which has a dorm with 32 beds. Also, that is the place of all the parties, so keep that in mind when picking it for your stay. Another option is to go for Couch Surfing and stay with those that offer a place to sleep for free. Also, you can save a ton if you find other travelers that are willing to share accommodation with you. It can be a great opportunity to make friends and companions on your travels.

Getting the Taste of Sydney on a Budget

If you’re not the one to prepare sandwiches or healthy snacks for your walks, you have to be prepared to spend some money. It’s obvious that there’s a big Asian influence on the Australian cuisine, so you will easily find some cool, affordable places or street vendors. On the other hand, you should not miss out on the pub food, that can be quite filling and very tasty. Don’t miss out on the traditional Aussie BBQ. Try it at least once while there.

Iconic Festivals and Sights You Shouldn’t Miss Out On

It is not hard to find a list of places that you should visit in Sydney. However, if you really want to see those places in a little bit of different light, try and visit them during one of the festivals. Festival of the Winds is when people gather to show off their breath-taking kites. Sydney Festival is one of the most wonderful artistic events there. There’s always something going on in Sydney, so check out the festival calendar before planning your trip.

Besides the wonderful and famous beaches, you definitely should not miss out on wandering around the coast and discovering the secluded, little bays away from the crowd. Those hidden gems can have wonderful views on some of the greatest landmarks in Sydney. You just need to search for them, which is a great adventure on its own.

Sydney has so much to offer. You can visit historical sights: The Rocks, George Street, Cadmans Cottage. If you want to relax and enjoy the nature in the urban heart of Sydney make sure to visit Royal Botanic Garden and Chinese Garden of Friendship. Or you can always spend a great day at the beach and enjoy the local festivals, like Festival of the Winds or Sculpture by the Sea.




This is a guest post by Nicole Noel

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41 thoughts on “Budget Friendly Travel Guide to Sydney

  1. Budget friendly and Sydney is almost an oxymoron, being our most expensive city here in Australia!

    If you’re very happy to enjoy Australian hospitality, for cheap/free beds I’d try couchsurfing, and self catering is easily the cheapest way to eat!

    Most backpackers/travellers I’ve met have found the cheapest way to deal with Sydney is to leave it until last, or simply to leave it as soon as possible 😉

  2. When I think of Australia, I think of Bugs and Snakes. This Blog is really eye opening to all that he does have to offer! I’m adding it to my must see before I die lost 😃

  3. Some good tips as Australia and particularly Sydney is expensive to visit, even for locals. When I have visited Sydney, I’ve tried to walk a lot as you can see a lot in the centre of the city, even though it is a huge, sprawling city. Still, where there’s a will there’s a way.

  4. Thanks for all the tips. Like any big city it’s going to be expensive. I look for free things to do but I like to try local cuisine so I don’t skimp to much there. I love visiting gardens too and those are usually inexpensive.

  5. When I visited Sydney I was a backpacker, I wish I had this blog back then 🙂 I did the Spit to Manly coastal walk, that was stunning but then again, there are many amazing beaches to choose from and hang out! I plan to return so will use this guide then! Thanks for sharing this information.

  6. Thanks for all your tips, Nicole! Australia has been on my list of places I want to visit for a long time, but I’ve yet to visit… and one of the reasons why I haven’t been yet is the cost. Flights are pretty expensive too, so these tips will definitely come in handy. 😀

    The OPAL card sounds pretty much the same as our Oyster card here in the UK (it’s the same concept, you get a plastic card and top it up with a certain amount of money). And I love pub food here, so would love to try it in Oz too!

  7. Some useful tips there – especially the coastal walk which you should definitely do from Coogee to Bondi rather than the other way around. Taking a ferry to Manly is not too expensive and is a fantastic way to get to one of Sydney’s loveliest beaches. The free tour is a great way of learning about the city!

  8. Sydney can be so expensive…Ive bookmarked this so I have all the insider hints and tips for next time I head over! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Great tips! Agree with Travel Lexx the ferry to Manly isn’t expensive and brilliant for taking those classic photographs of the bridge and opera house together.

  10. I’m an Aussie and have been to Sydney quite a few times. I agree it can be quite expensive, particularly if you’re also paying for accommodation. Thanks for your tips!

  11. It’s difficult to stay within budget when you’re travelling especially if it’s your first time in the place and you’re excited to maximize your stay there! I think these are awesome tips for people who are planning to go to Sydney.

  12. It was lovely reading your blog about sydney. Its one of those places that you just cannot miss in your lifetime, especially the opera house. with relatives living in Sydney I would really love to make a trip there in the future. i had no idea about the Kite Festival in Sydney, thats news for me and I would love to attend that too considering I have grown up flying kites in India. 🙂

  13. You’d be surprised at how many budget options for dining in Sydney. Being a big city, there’s a lot of competition among restaurants. Accommodation can be pretty expensive though.

  14. A visit to Sydney is always very easy to enjoy, I really love the extensive food selection. When the weather is good its very pleasant to just walk around enjoying the sights.

  15. Being Australian (I’m from Brisbane) I think it is quite an expensive place to visit as a tourist but these are some great tips. I’m heading to Sydney in December again actually.

  16. There are some really useful tips for anyone planning a visit to Sydney. For me the cost of the airfare is prohibitive before I even get there! But one day I will make it 🙂 I love the sound of the Festival of the Winds. The kites in the pic are so colourful and I do love a good kite festival. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Absolutely agree – there are so many free museums, and sights throughout Sydney and it’s pretty easy to stick to a budget here. Re festivals, I highly recommend VIVID Live for anyone traveling during winter 🙂

  18. Living in NYC has sort of inoculated me against other expensive cities — there’s always cheap food and free entertainment if you look for it. Hopefully Sydney has better hostels than NYC!

  19. I’ve had the pleasure to visit Sydney twice. I love how easy it is to get around without the need for a rental car. I’d love to go back, but there are so many other places in Australia that I’d like to visit first. Thanks for the great guide.

  20. As someone who lives in Sydney I absolutely agree with you that there are loads of great things to do for free or minimal cost. There are so many stunning harbour and coastal walks you would find it hard to do them all no matter how long your visit. A couple of the things you say are not quite correct, however. The 8 free trips on the Opal Card has just been changed. You don’t get the extra trips for free anymore. I think you might get them for half price but I’m not sure. You have recommended Sculpture by the Sea as a free event. It is, but it is only on for a couple of weeks a year so you would have to be here at the right time.

  21. I would love to visit Sydney someday! The place looks super spectacular and the food looks amazing. I just have to be brave enough to be able to travel longer than 3 hours on a plain lol.

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