Things to do in Sydney
Tips to save money and the best things to do
Tips to save money and the best things to do in Sydney
First things first, welcome to Sydney! The city that’s home to beaches, brunches and hidden gems. From picturesque coastal walks to secret bars, trust me you’ll never get bored. I’ve been lucky enough to call this place home for over a year and I still find new things to do every weekend.
Being new to a city can be daunting and it takes you a while to get your head around. So, whether you’ll be calling Sydney home or just here for a holiday, I thought I would give you some of my favourite inside tips. As you might know Sydney can be quite expensive, depending on where you read it has ranked in the top 10 most expensive cities in the world this year. Nonetheless, with a little bit of research you’ll find there’s plenty of free or cheap things you can do around Sydney.
These are the top classic tourist attractions that you can’t leave Sydney without seeing or experiencing at least once:
Sydney Opera House
The Harbour Bridge
Revolving sky bar
Wendy’s Secret Garden
Coogee to Bondi coastal walk
Now for some tips that you won’t easily find when you’re new to Sydney:
Sunday site seeing
Explore the city on Sundays and embrace the $2.50 unlimited rides travel cap. This means buses and trains wherever you go will cost you a maximum of $2.50. This also includes the ferries so it’s the prime time to head to manly and do the Spit to Manly coastal walk.
These hidden gems are some of my favourite bars in Sydney, some might be swanky but there’s no bookings and don’t worry anyone can attend. Grass Hopper bar is one not to be missed, you’ll find it tucked away down an alleyway and has a speak easy vibe. Then there’s the swanky Baxter’s Inn, a whisky bar that’s hidden in an old loading dock, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Close by there’s a quirky gin bar hidden behind a fully functioning barber shop, avidly named The Barber Shop. Most of them are located around the city, you’ll also find Palmer and Co, Grandma’s Bar, The Wild Rover, The Rook, Ramblin Rascals and Shady Pines. Just beware that some can be expensive, however it’s worth experiencing at least once.
Cheap Theatre Tickets
If like me you like the theatre but aren’t a die-hard fan, then you won’t want to pay over the odds for a ticket. Every Thursday at 9am suncorp twenties sell a limited amount of $25 theatre tickets for shows the following week. Tickets are usually anything from $80 so it’s a massive saving, you must be fast though and keep refreshing the page. The Opera House is an amazing building and it’s a wonderful experience so don’t miss the chance to see a show while you’re here.
Sushi- Sydney is renowned for it’s love of Sushi and you can find it cheap in the Westfield shopping centres. You can also get good quality sushi from the supermarkets which is perfect for food on the go.
About Life- This is an organic supermarket that have a fresh self-serve food bar section everyday where you can pay for a box and fill it to the top. They have everything from curry, chilli, pasta and salads, so if you need something on the go or are too lazy to cook this is a healthy option. Ssshhh but after 7.30pm every day the boxes are half price, so the food doesn’t go to waste. Couldn’t make it cheaper at home if you tried!
If you’re on a budget or just being thrifty then you can eat cheaply every night of the week. Below are some options which would mean you get to explore different areas in Sydney without breaking the bank.
- Monday – $10 steak at The Forresters in Surry Hills. If, however, like me you’re all about meat free Mondays then go to Lentil as Anything in Newtown. They are a vegan non-profit organisation where you pay what you feel the food was worth.
- Tuesday - Dollar dogs at Soda Factory. $1 gourmet hotdogs from 5pm with live music and cheap drinks.
- Wednesday - $3 Tacos at The Workers Balmain. Meat and veggie options available.
- Thursday - $7.50 Roti served with 2 curry dips and sauce (this is every day of the week) at Mamak Haymarket, it’s suitable for veggie’s too.
- Friday – Cheap chicken wings. So, chicken wings seem to be the way to go on a Friday, ideal for sharing with friends. It’s either 1 kilo for $10 at The Abercrombie, Chippendale. Or, 50 cent wings at The Toxteth Hotel, Glebe.
- Saturday- $4 pizza at the Newtown Hotel. 12-4pm and 7-10pm. Great excuse to go out in Newtown after. Meat and veggie options available.
- Sunday- Meat feast for $9.90 at Pontoon Bar, Darling Harbour. Chicken sandwich, beef burger, B.L.A.T or sausage sandwich all for $9.90 each. Then enjoy the views of the harbour on a chilled Sunday arvo.
** Arvo meaning afternoon, not to be confused with avo, meaning avacado! Get use to the Aussie slang.
Most of the above are for the carnivores amongst us but some are available for veggie’s too. I don’t want the herbivores to feel left out and I know in Sydney there are quite a lot. So, although I can’t guarantee they’re cheap these are some more restaurants I would recommend for you. Daily Eats in Surry Hills, Laurie’s Vegetarian in Bondi, Bad Hombres in Surry Hills, Gigi Pizzeria Newtown, Bodhi Yum Cha garden in the city and Mother Chu's Vegetarian Kitchen in the city.
Sydney is renowned for it’s café and food culture and it didn’t disappoint me. Pretty much every time you go for coffee or food you know you will be on to a winner. Needless to say, there’s an abundance of coffee shops in Sydney. This list will keep you going for a week, guaranteed you’ll discover heaps of other places as you go along.
One of my local hangouts and favourites is Sappho bookstore in Glebe. To me it’s the definition of a hidden gem. Café and bookstore by day, bar and live music or poetry venue by night. It has a cute garden at the back with fairy lights and if you’re lucky the friendly possum will come out on the roof to say hello. If you need a place to work, study or chill then this is the place. It’s actually where I wrote this blog 😊 Coffee and cake before 6pm, wine and Tapas after. What more could you want?
These are also some places to check out to get that caffeine fix:
Surry Hills - Paramount Coffee Project or Organism
Glebe- Sappho Books, of course!
Newtown- Brewtown Newtown or Corellis (which is open late)
Alexandria - The grounds of Alexandria (they do amazing food too)
Bondi- Lox, stock & barrel
Marickville- Double Roasters
City- Cabrito coffee traders or Playfair café on the Rocks
Paddington- Ampersand cafe & bookstore
But of course, the best things in life are free
The coastal walks here are second to none and apart from the transport to the start they are free. It’s also a great idea to take a picnic and stop along the way to admire the views.
Try the classic Bondi to Coogee, or Coogee to Bondi. This can get quite busy at weekends and you might want to avoid it in the baking hot sun. Set off in the morning or later in the afternoon, or just stop off along the way at the different beaches for a break. If you end in Bondi, there’s lots of cafes and bars to finish the day off nicely.
Malabar headland walk in Maroubra, this is a new walk so it’s slightly less touristy.
Spit to Manly, I’d suggest getting the bus to Spit and then walk to Manly. This way you have restaurants and cafes when you finish the walk, trust me there’s not much going on in Spit. After that you can get the ferry back from Manly to Circular Quay.
Rose Bay to Watsons Bay. Get the ferry from Circular Quay to Rose Bay then walk to Watson’s Bay, I’d suggest using google maps. If you don’t have data download the map so you can use it offline as it’s tricky in some places to know the route. You can always finish up with a well-deserved drink at Watson’s Bay hotel or get fish and chips at Doyle’s.
These are just a few of our Sydney tips and I hope they help to save you money or just keep you busy. Don’t forget to check out the outdoor cinemas if you’re here in summer or the many art galleries around the city. I hope you love Sydney as much as I do!
Let us know if you've found our tips useful or if you need anymore inspiration in Sydney, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org