Sydney is a vibrant, laid-back beach city with an incredible array of free and affordable activities. From coastal walks and galleries, to festivals and iconic attractions, when you visit Sydney, you'll never be left without something to do or somewhere new to explore. We have compiled a number of travel tips focusing on the best of what Sydney has to offer for those interesting in adhering to a more conservative budget.
Get an Opal card
An Opal Card is the tap pass you can use to pay for public transit in Sydney. From Monday to Friday there is a $15.00 cap on how much you can spend in a day. On Sunday the cap is $2.50 and you can save a further 30% on your fares by traveling at off-peak times. Get the full details here.
Free walking tours
There is no better way to explore a new place than with a local tour guide. I'm Free Walking Tours runs a daily tour of the city center and The Rocks, Sydney's original settlement. Additionally, you can use Sydney Greeters, which is a free service that connects you with locals who will share their love for the city with you. You can also visit the Government House for a free guided tour.
Explore free museums
Australia has many free museums. Some worth considering are the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Art Gallery of NSW, the Rocks Discovery Museum and The White Rabbit Gallery. Learn more
Tips on visiting the Sydney icons - Opera House and Harbour Bridge
Tickets to the opera in Sydney start at just $44. A great price by Opera standards. But there is so much more that goes on at the Opera House from small lectures (starting at $8.50 a ticket) to comedians. Check out the schedule for the time you will be there.
No trip to Sydney would be complete without taking the Sydney Harbour Bridge walk. One way to get onto the actual Harbour Bridge is by taking the pedestrian walkway on the eastern side of the Sydney Harbour Bridge roadway from The Rocks at the southern end of the bridge to Milsons Point at the northern end. Alternatively, you can start at Milsons Point and cross over the bridge to The Rocks.
Sydney boasts an abundance of free public walks in and around the city's many bays, beaches, inlets and rivers. These offer the perfect way to explore the stunning natural environment at your own pace. Feel the sand between your toes at Manly Beach, Balmoral Beach and the famous home of Australian surf culture - Bondi Beach.
Staying connected is just as important when you are travelling as it is at home - if not more so! From arrival at Sydney Airport, you will have access to a growing number of free wireless hotspots. Many of these are conveniently located just where you need them, while exploring the harbour city.
Eat on a budget
Sydney's culinary scene is abundant with all sorts of flavors and cuisines. From five-star restaurants to vintage street-stalls, Sydney's eateries are just bursting with flavor and welcome all foodies to come and enjoy. Luckily, Sydney also has the best deals for food enthusiasts to grab hold of.
The sushi trains around the city offer a filling meal for $10-20, the noodle and dumpling shops in Chinatown offer tasty and authentic meals for less than $10, and Lentil as Anything (a vegetarian restaurant in Newtown) offers meals on a "pay as you feel" system. Another affordable option is to eat at the food court in the MLC Centre, a big office building in the heart of the business district and popular among office workers. From Mexican food, to sushi, to salads and sandwiches, you can find big-portion meals for $10 or less.
Seafood is a must in Sydney. Go to the Sydney Fish Market and see the mongers selling their wares and enjoy its fabulous selection of fresh seafood.
Stay on a budget
Sydney is home to over 100 hostels and affordable accommodation sites. Each has its own style and character where you can enjoy the benefits of a communal environment, such as making new friends day and night, and get tips for where to go and what to see from first hand research. The daily savings of a hostel, B&B stay or Airbnb over a hotel can make the difference when it comes to assigning your budget for attractions and eating out. Check what Airbnb has to offer you.