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Tips for Exploring Sydney on a Budget

Sydney is an expensive place to live, but visiting this iconic city doesn’t have to cost the earth. Find out how to explore Sydney on a budget.

If you don’t have a ton of cash to splash during your travels, don’t despair. Sydney is filled with budget-friendly attractions. Forget about fancy restaurants and overpriced admission tickets – save your money and use these tips to discover Sydney without breaking the bank.

Sydney Harbour from Bradleys Head
Peeping views of Sydney Harbour Skyline from Bradleys Head. Image credit: Destination NSW.

Walk Everywhere

Uber rides and public transport fares can add up quickly, leaving you with less money for fun stuff like eating out and buying souvenirs. Avoid blowing your budget by walking to as many destinations as you can. It may take a little longer, but just think of all the cash you’ll save.  
And walking isn’t just a cheaper option. Some parts of the city are actually best explored at a leisurely pace anyway. 
If you’re keen to combine cardio with sightseeing, these are some of the best scenic walks to do in Sydney:
  1. Bondi to Bronte – Traversing 4 kilometres of coastal scenery, the Bondi to Bronte trail is one of Sydney’s easier walks. Passing through Mackenzies Bay, it offers panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean.
    If you are looking for a cool-down along the walking trail, there are plenty of great surfing beaches for you to explore - and possibly catch a wave at. 
  2. Taronga Zoo to Bradley’s Head – This trail runs along the water’s edge into Sydney Harbour National Park. It only takes around 20 minutes to complete, but you can make it longer by stopping in at Bradleys Head Amphitheatre much-loved picnic area or wander out to the old stone jetty for a spot of fishing.
  3. Hermitage Foreshore Walk – Starting at Rose Bay, the Hermitage Foreshore Walk takes in some of the city’s most beautiful scenery, including hidden beaches and Sydney’s iconic skyline. 
  4. The Strand Arcade – Discovering this Victorian-style shopping centre on foot is a great way to get up close to some of the city’s most beautiful architecture. It also has stylish fashion boutiques where you can do a bit of window shopping.

Create a walking tour itinerary by discovering more scenic and historical walking tours in Sydney
Chinatown, Sydney
Chinatown gates Dixon Street, Sydney. Image credit: Destination NSW.

Find Cheap Eats

Sydney’s dining scene has its fair share of overpriced eateries, but it’s not impossible to find cheap food if you know where to look. From perfectly brewed coffee in Surry Hills to Cabramatta’s authentic Vietnamese food, there are hubs of inexpensive dining options all over the city.
To get your hands on affordable seafood, make your way to Manly Beach and feast on budget (but still delicious) fish and chips. You could also go straight to the source and pick up some fresh fillets at the Sydney Fish Markets.  
Discover the city’s multicultural cuisine by paying a visit to any of these Chinatown eateries:
  1. Golden Century Seafood Restaurant – The perfect place to grab a midnight meal, Golden Century is one of Sydney’s premium Chinese eateries. Serving up traditional Cantonese cuisine until as late as 4am, its menu features garlic buttered snow crab, sliced abalone, lobster sashimi and other gourmet delights.
  2. Zilver Restaurant – Experience a contemporary take on the classic Chinese banquet by dining out at this bustling restaurant. Lunchtime Yum Cha is Zilver Restaurant’s main drawcard, but its dinner options are just as delicious. 
  3. Old Town Hong Kong Cuisine – Famous for its pork dumplings and Peking duck, this restaurant offers plenty of traditional Chinese charm in a laidback atmosphere. Low-lit and cosy, the venue’s interior features a combination of old-style décor and exposed brick. 
Taking the time to seek out cheap food around Sydney means you won’t need a fat wallet to treat your taste buds.
Aerial view of Sydney CBD and Hyde Park.
Aerial view of Sydney CBD and Hyde Park. Image credit Ethan Rohloff; Destination NSW.

Make the Most of Free Admission

Why spend all you money on admission when there are plenty of free things to see and do in Sydney? The following attractions won’t cost you a cent: 
  1. Art Gallery of NSW – Together with offering free admission, this prestigious art institution puts on complimentary presentations and films every Wednesday night.  
  2. The Rocks Discovery Museum – The Rocks date back to Sydney’s colonial era, so it’s no surprise this area is brimming with history. The Rocks Discovery Museum tells the story of the city’s fascinating past using historical photographs and archaeological artefacts. 
  3. Hyde Park – Covering over 16 hectares, Hyde Park is an oasis of greenery in the heart of the city. It’s filled with towering trees, memorials and shady walking paths. 
  4. Luna Park – There’s no entry fee to Luna Park, making it a popular choice among budget-conscious travellers. Even if you can’t afford to go on any of the rides (they cost around $10 each) simply stroll around this iconic theme park and soak up the views of Sydney Harbour. 
Check out What’s On (Sydney’s official event guide) to find more free things to do around town. 

Looking for other ways to save money during your trip to Sydney? Accor offers great rates on accommodation. Find a budget hotel in Sydney that suits your travel needs.

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