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Published June 27th 2019
Entertain yourself without spending a cent
Sydney is best known for its spectacular harbour, waterside life and iconic landmarks and the list below features top activities and attractions to do, see and experience in Sydney without spending a cent!
For a List of 17 Free Things to do In Sydney, click here.
For a List of 20 Free Attractions in Sydney, click here.
For a List of 15 Free Museums in Sydney, click here.
1. Explore Sydney's harbour-side gardens The Royal Botanic Garden is 74 acres (30 hectares) of carefully kept parkland and it is home to postcard-worth views, beautiful garden displays, endless green lawns and Mrs Macquaries Chair. Artist Wendy Whiteley's self-cultivated public garden (Wendy's Secret Garden) is a hidden gem on the very edge of North Sydney's Lavender Bay. It is a small lush oasis with spectacular harbourside views of the Harbour Bridge and Sydney's harbour.
Barangaroo is home to fine-dining restaurants and bars, but you do not need to worry if this is not your scene. With expansive green lawns, a picnic on the grounds will certainly not break the bank! There is an impressive 75,000 native plants and trees that live among the waterfront locality, as well as around 10,000 Sydney sandstone blocks stacked dramatically up to the water's edge.
4. Sydney Harbour Bridge It might set you back around $174-$388 per person to climb, however, without spending a cent you can walk across this famous landmark and be in awe with one of the best breathtaking city and harbour views. It takes around 15 minutes to traverse the almost 1km walkway on the bridge's eastern side.Click here for the website.
5. Discover hidden Sydney beaches Bondi might get all the glory, but if you prefer to stay away from the tourist crowds, there are more than 20 swimmable beaches hidden amongst Sydney Harbour's edge including Vaulcuse's Milk Beach, Little Manly Beach and Mosman's Chinaman's Beach- these are just some beaches that will make you feel like you are nowhere near a city!
6. Hike to Barrenjoey Lighthouse There are a few routes to the summit of Barrenjoey Headland's Barrenjoey Lighthouse which is perched 91 metres above sea level. Whichever path you choose, there is no doubt that the view will be equally stunning: the peak overlooks Sydney's Northern Beaches, coves and inlets of New South Wales's lower Central Coast. It is around 1km to the top with steep climbs.
If you are a snorkelling enthusiast, but on a budget or wanting to save some dollars before you head to the World Heritage-Listed spectacular Great Barrier Reef, Shelly Beach at Manly, Clovelly Beach (home to the legendary fish Bluey-whether it is still alive is up for debate), Gordons Bay's 500-metre-long Underwater Nature Trail (leading you around the hidden cove) will certainly not cost a cent!
8. Browse Sydney's bustling marketplaces It doesn't cost a cent to soak up the bustling atmosphere at some of Sydney's lively marketplaces: the historic The Rocks gathers trawlers from all over the world with its souvenir-heavy stalls, foodie lovers head to Carriageworks Farmers Market with its array of fresh delicious food. Kirribilli Market is a fashionista's dream, while the coastal setting of Bondi Markets is the perfect spot to relax and browse the quirky stalls.
9. Appreciate the Art Immerse yourself with culture by visiting Sydney's array of art galleries where contemporary to ancient disciplines are housed. The free entry galleries include The Art Gallery of NSW, Circular Quay's Museum of Contemporary Art and smaller galleries like contemporary Chinese-focused White Rabbit in Chippendale or the ever-evolving Artspace in Woolloomooloo.
Image Courtesy from Museum of Contemporary Art Australia Facebook
Don't want to fork out the big dollars to see a music concert, but still want to enjoy the sounds of live music? Tap your toes and shake those hips for free with live gigs throughout the city event night of the week. Marble Bar on George Street showcases live bands and DJs on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. For relaxed tunes with killer views try Opera Bar every Saturday and Sunday afternoons and for something different try Golden Age Cinema & Bar in Surry Hills every Thursday nights.
11. Take a dip in a Rock Pool
If the wild waves put you off getting in the water, try one of Sydney's free rock pools, which capture the beachside atmosphere with calmer waters. If you want to avoid the crowds try Mona Vale which has one stationed on a small peninsula jutting into the sea, Bronte's curved pool is one of the oldest incarnations and Coogee's Giles Beach takes its edge from exposed rock only.
12. Explore the History for free
The North Head Quarantine Station (aka Q Station) was put out of use in the 1980s and is filled with history. There are exhibitions and displays that reveal a fascinating slice of Australia's past, including ales of what living in quarantine for 40 days was like for patients.
14. Free Cultural Walk Tour
Discover something new about the city. Whether you are interested in Sydney's colonial history, sculpture, public art, indigenous past or architecture, the Sydney Culture Walks App will guide you on a self-guided tour of your interest.
15. Chasing Waterfalls
Discover waterfalls at some of the beaches at National Parks that surround Sydney's CBD. Collins Flat Beach Waterfall is fizzing spray off shelf-like rocks, while the falls and lagoon at Wattamolla in the Royal National Park are worth checking out (there is a National Park entry fee).