So, you want to visit one of the most beautiful cities in the world – that also happens to be one of the most expensive as well. Fear not! I managed to explore Sydney without breaking my budget.
After spending three months living in Brisbane, Australia I had a few days left on my visa before I had to go home, so I decided to head off and explore Australia’s iconic city of Sydney, despite my thin wallet.
First off, I assure you, having the full Sydney experience on a budget is not going to be a problem. Just make sure you have your walking shoes on and you’re good to go. I trekked all around the city for the two days I was there, and I thought I would share with you the ideal walking tour for someone who’s avoiding spending!
Start: Circular Quay
Circular Quay is the centre of the Sydney Harbour area, and the perfect mark for us to start our walking tour. Whether you’re coming straight from downtown, or a nearby suburb, this is easily accessible train station and ferry stop, close to all the great landmarks.
From where you’re standing, facing the sea, you’ll see the Opera house on your right it’s rather hard to miss 😉 And the Harbour Bridge to your left, with the ferry terminal in front of you. We’ll stop here in between attractions quite often!
Let’s get started!
Sydney Opera House
Let’s get the most exciting thing to see checked off first! As I said, just head to your right towards the Opera House and explore a little. I enjoyed walking around, peeking in the epic windows, and just marveling at the landmark I’d seen so many photos of suddenly in front of me. Strangely enough, I was surprised that the surface of the arcs isn’t smooth, but rather noticeably tiled and grouted. It looked much different in photos, or even from a distance.
Royal Botanic Gardens
Once you’ve had your fill, facing the sea again, head towards the right of the Sydney Opera House, and around the bend to the Royal Botanic Gardens.
Though not filled with bustling city life or attractions, the gardens is a beautiful area to walk through, and you can enjoy both the quiet and nature within the gardens, and also a full view of the Harbour and Sydney’s skyline around the bend.
Let’s return back to Circular Quay to catch a quick ferry and visit one of Sydney’s most famous beaches, Manly Beach.
Fares aren’t too ludicrous, however you can use an Opal card for all public transport (trains, ferries, etc…) which will make the fare less than it would be if you were purchasing a single ticket.
Beaches are always a great place to get the full Australia experience, while also getting some much-needed rest by laying on the soft sand and watching some pro-surfers.
Oh, but make sure you pick up some heavy-duty sunscreen, and hide your fish and chips from the seagulls!
After your beach fun, you’ll once again board the ferry and return back at Circular Quay to visit The Rocks, which is nestled between Circular Quay, and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
The Rocks is the historic area of Sydney, and it is amazing to walk around in. Quaint shops and homes built during Sydney’s early settlement can be found throughout which makes for some beautiful photos.
There’s a street market that runs most days in that area if you’re looking for some fun souvenirs to bring back home that aren’t tacky or expensive.
Also, there’s plenty of placards that explain the history and significance of the place, so you can become your own personal tour guide, and get lost in the winding streets and vintage alleyways.
Sydney Harbour Bridge
Just near the Rocks, is the infamous Sydney Harbour Bridge. Head towards the base of the bridge, and there’s a staircase for pedestrians that allows you to climb on up and walk over to the other end. (Serious thigh work out, be warned 😉 )
You get an amazing birds-eye view of the city that makes for some breathtaking photos of the harbour.
If you have some leftover Aussie cash on your last day, you can take the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb, in which you can pay to climb up the arches of the bridge with a guide for a better view. Personally, I didn’t think it looked like it’s worth the money, but if you’re looking for a thrill, and maybe even some bragging rights, go for it!
Once you’re on the other side of the bridge, enjoy the view and relax in Bradfield Park, or even check out the amusement park, Luna Park!
That concludes the grand walking tour of Sydney, Australia while on a budget. Keep in mind, you may want to spread this over the course of a few days like I did, so you have plenty of time to explore and give your feet a rest when needed!
Have you been to Sydney before? What are some other must-sees along this route? We would love to hear your tips and stories in the comments below!