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20 Ways to Experience Sydney for Less Than $50

In 2015, Sydney was named one of the most expensive cities in the world. For travelers, this means that prices for activities, accommodation and food are often quite high compared to other destinations. Yet it's quite possible to experience Sydney cheaply.
08/17/2015 03:01pm ET | Updated December 6, 2017
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The beautiful Bondi to Coogee coastal walk

In 2015, Sydney was named one of the most expensive cities in the world. For travelers, this means that prices for activities, accommodation and food are often quite high compared to other destinations. Yet it's quite possible to experience Sydney cheaply. Save some cash for big-ticket items like climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge or taking a day trip to the Hunter Valley by trying some of the suggestions below.

  1. Pack a picnic lunch and spend the day hiking: Sydney has some of the world's most beautiful scenery, and it isn't just limited to the harbor skyline. The Bondi to Coogee walk is particularly stunning.

  • Visit the Art Gallery of NSW: The main collections are free, which means you can easily spend a few hours wandering through everything from Indigenous to Asian art.
  • Head to Luna Park: While entry is free to Luna Park, rides will set you back a little. With an unlimited rides pass coming in just under $50 though, it's still a relatively inexpensive day out.
  • Browse the Rocks Market: Catch a train to Circular Quay on the weekend and spend an hour or two browsing souvenirs, handicrafts and more at the local market.
  • Spend time in Hyde Park marveling at the architecture: Both St James' and St. Mary's churches sit adjacent to Hyde Park, displaying some of Sydney's most beautiful architecture.
  • Go kayaking on Sydney Harbour: It's possible to rent a kayak for two for under $50 at many places along the harbor.
  • Try rock climbing at Climb Fit: It's Sydney's largest indoor climbing facility, and you can climb for under $26.
  • Take a swim at the Prince Alfred Park Pool: Entry is under $10.
  • Head to the Royal National Park: For the price of a train ticket (to Waterfall), you can hike in the park and feel a world away from the city.
  • Hire a bike at Centennial Park: Bike hire at Centennial Park only costs $20 for an hour of cycling on the extensive cycle ways in the park.
  • Listen to a live gig at the Oxford Art Factory: Hear some of Sydney's best upcoming artists.

  • Visit the Rocks Discovery Museum: Situated in Sydney's oldest neighborhood, the museum details the history of the area and the local Aboriginal heritage
  • Have a picnic in the Royal Botanic Gardens: You'll get harbor views, and there are free tours if you're interested.
  • Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art: Like the Art Galley of NSW, the MCA is free for general entry.
  • Walk across the Harbour Bridge: Sure, it's not climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, but the view is impressive nonetheless.
  • Stroll from the Spit Bridge to Manly: This is best spread out over the course of a day, leaving yourself plenty of time to take a dip in the hidden beaches along the way.
  • Spend the day at Shelly Beach: Manly and Bondi get all the hype, but Shelly is one of Sydney's most beautiful, and less populated, beaches. Plus it has excellent snorkelling.
  • Watch for whales at North Head Lookout: There are sweeping views of the city and out to sea, plus a very good chance of spotting whales during migration season.
  • Head to the drive-in: The last remaining drive-in in Sydney has just been refurbished and shows the latest blockbusters for under $20.
  • Have a drink at Opera Bar: It's a Sydney institution, with the best views and free live music. Best of all, it'll only be as expensive as you make it.
  • For more inspiration, check out our list of 10 completely free things to do in Sydney.

    -- Contributed by Lindsey Hodder for Viator