Thing to do in Sydney ...on a budget

Sydney is one of the greatest cities in the world. Built around a harbour on the east coast of Australia, it’s naturally scenic. The coat-hanger shaped bridge is an icon, as is the nearby Opera House and its sails. Sydney’s dining, bars, theatres, and galleries make the city a worthy contender for a place on your bucket-list.

Though between fine dining and fancy cocktails, theatre shows and once-in-a-lifetime experiences, Sydney can be an expensive place to visit. But the good news is that in a city like Sydney, there’s always something to do, on any budget… you’ve just got to know where to look.

These are some of the best things to do in Sydney, when you’re on a budget…

Watch the Sunset over Sydney Harbour

Sunset over Sydney Harbour, viewed from Rose Bay.

Sunset over Sydney Harbour, viewed from Rose Bay.

There’s so many incredible places to watch the sunset in Sydney… some of the best are the various vantage points around Sydney Harbour.

Some great spots to watch the sunset over Sydney Harbour from the north side of the bridge include Bradleys Head (get the ferry from Circular Quay to Taronga and follow the walking track), Lavender Bay, and Kirribilli (get yourself an puddle reflection shot).

On the city side of the bridge, Yarranabbe Park just around from Rushcutters is a great spot, and of course Mrs Macquaries Chair for the iconic Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge frame. Another spot worth a mention is up on the hill at Rose Bay, where New South Head Road joins Vaucluse Road there is a little lookout point near a bus stop just before the school.

If you want to switch things up a bit with a Sydney skyline view, Dudley Page Reserve in Dover Heights is a great spot.


Blue Mountains Day Trip

The view across one area of Blue Mountains National Park from Cahill’s Lookout at Katoomba.

The view across one area of Blue Mountains National Park from Cahill’s Lookout at Katoomba.

Get yourself an Opal Card and for $6.20 and two hours of your time you can be transported from Central Sydney to the Blue Mountains for an adventure in the national park.

There’s plenty to do on a budget in the Blue Mountains, from browsing the local shops and markets, to enjoying coffee at one of the many cafes… a great way to spend a few hours is to pack a picnic lunch to enjoy at one of the scenic lookouts, or pull on your trainers and hike one of the popular hiking tracks.


Walk the Bondi to Coogee track

Surfers waiting for waves at Bondi Beach in the morning.

Surfers waiting for waves at Bondi Beach in the morning.

This walk is iconic Sydney — the 6km track along the coast in Sydney’s eastern suburbs is a fantastic walk with endless opportunities to enjoy stops for a swim, to stretch out on the sand and enjoy the sunshine, and to grab coffee or lunch at one of the beachside cafes.

This is a track you can truly do your way… give your active wear a run for its money and jog the track from Bondi and back, or spend hours meandering along the coast, making the most of the beach stops and ocean views. You can catch a bus to Bondi Beach from central Sydney (or get the train to Bondi Junction and switch onto a bus down to the beach). Be sure to bring swimmers, towel, sunscreen, hat, and plenty of water!


Take the ferry from Cronulla to Bundeena, visit Royal National Park

The ferry runs from Cronulla to Bundeena every hour.

The ferry runs from Cronulla to Bundeena every hour.

Royal National Park, south of Sydney.

Royal National Park, south of Sydney.

The ferry from Cronulla to Bundeena departs from the wharf a short walk from Cronulla train station. Tickets are around $7 each way and are purchased on board. The ferry timetable is here. When you arrive in Bundeena you might like to enjoy coffee or lunch at one of the local cafes, or pack a picnic and head through town to Royal National Park.

In Royal National Park you can get on the Coast Track and walk to view the coast from the Balconies, catch a glimpse of the crumbling Wedding Cake Rock, or even head to the beach. Bundeena to Marley Beach return is an enjoyable day walk with sensational coastal views along the way.


Ride the Ferry

View of Sydney Harbour from the ferry to Manly.

View of Sydney Harbour from the ferry to Manly.

Wherever you’re going, you can rest assured, the views will be sensational. Top up your Opal card and take a trip around the harbour from Circular Quay.

Need some ideas for your ferry adventure? Take the ferry to Watsons Bay and enjoy a glass of wine at Watsons Bay Hotel or get takeaway hot chips from Doyles and find yourself a picnic spot on the water’s edge, and then wander around to check out Hornby Lighthouse. Get the ferry over to Taronga Zoo and walk the bush track along the harbour to Bradleys Head and back. Head to Manly on the ferry to visit the beach. Ride the ferry up the river to Parramatta and explore the local foreshore reserve.


Picnic at Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden in Lavender Bay

Wendy’s not-so-secret garden at Lavender Bay.

Wendy’s not-so-secret garden at Lavender Bay.

Some of the art on display in Wendy’s garden.

Some of the art on display in Wendy’s garden.

Wendy Whiteley’s secret garden is tucked away not far from the harbour’s edge at Lavender Bay. It’s a short walk from Milsons Point ferry wharf and train station (you won’t find signs, but Google Maps can help you find your way). The park is a tranquil sanctuary with harbour glimpses as well as plenty of space to enjoy the lush garden surrounds and rest under the shade of a towering Moreton Bay fig tree.

The site was not always the piece of paradise it now is. It was once an unused block, overrun and unkept — Wendy began cultivating the garden as a way of working through her grief in the period after the death of her husband, renowned artist Brett Whiteley.


Explore Sydney’s Galleries, Cinema, State Library, & Architecture

The Sydney Opera House lit up during the annual Vivid festival.

The Sydney Opera House lit up during the annual Vivid festival.

There’s plenty more to explore if the weather is giving you reason to stay indoors. Stop by an exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Art Gallery of NSW. Check out a film at Golden Age cinema in Surry Hills, read in the State Library’s wondrous Mitchell Room, and do some window-shopping while taking in the grand architecture of the Strand Arcade and nearby Queen Victoria Building.