We can all agree that Sydney is one of the most breath-taking cities in the world. With its stunning harbour, exquisite restaurants and thrilling festivals. However did you know that you can experience Sydney on a budget? That's right, there's actually plenty to do so you can head home with change in your pocket. Here's our guide to the best cheap and free things to do in Sydney.
Sydney is made for outdoor exploring. Hiking, picnicking, walking around the sparkling harbour are some of the best things you can do. If staying active isn't quite up your alley, lazing by harbourside pools and local beaches are another way to enjoy what this magnificent city offers when spending time outdoors.
Popular walks in Sydney
The Bondi to Coogee Walk is one of Sydney’s most popular, winding along the coast past famous beaches and rockpools, and always busy with locals and tourists soaking up some sun and topping up their step count. Other favourite Sydney walks include the Spit Bridge to Manly Walk (take the bus to the Spit for $4 and get the ferry back from Manly for $8) and the 6.5km walk from Taronga Zoo to Balmoral Beach (ferry from Circular Quay: $8).
Enjoy free festivals and live music
Sydney’s premier light, ideas and music festival, Vivid Sydney, is held each year and bathes the city’s iconic buildings in light shows and projections every night. Follow the Vivid Light Walk eight kilometres from the Sydney Opera House to Central station and enjoy free projections, installations and live music, and check out all the fun installations and interactive light shows at Darling Harbour. Read everything you need to know about visiting Vivid Sydney 2022 here.
Spend the day at a Sydney beach or harbour pool
A day at a Sydney beach is a cheap way to enjoy the sun, sand and surf – just remember to swim between the flags and wear your sunscreen – and all it will cost you is transport to the beach. Iconic Bondi Beach is a tourist favourite, while Clovelly and Bronte are often less crowded and boast gorgeous ocean pools too. Jump on the train south to Cronulla for a taste of the suburbs and the four beautiful beaches of Bate Bay, all with ocean pools, and grab a beer at Cronulla RSL ($5.50 and a counter meal for $15) before you head back.
Sydney’s Harbour Beaches and swimming pools are as popular as the ocean. Take a picnic to Nielsen Park in Vaucluse or Wylie Baths at Coogee and enjoy the beautiful bush and park-lined shores. If you’re more of a swimming pool person, make your way to the Andrew ‘Boy” Charlton Pool (abcpool.org), a heated salt-water pool on the shore of Woolloomooloo Bay at the Domain. This iconic spot overlooks the naval base and entry is $8. Perch on the concrete steps or swim laps and enjoy the sunshine.