Sydney: Instagrammable Places That Doesn’t Cost Anything

There is no doubt that Sydney can easily be mistaken as Australia’s capital due to its vibrancy and iconic attractions. From the distinguished Opera House to famous Bondi Beach to postcard-perfect city’s skyline and breathtaking national parks, Sydney can be overwhelming to do everything for a few days trip.

Unfortunately, Sydney is said to be a notoriously expensive city to visit.

Luckily for you, it doesn’t have to be! This guide will show you the gorgeous places I’ve visited, and best of all, they are mostly free!

Getting in/out of Sydney Airport

The fastest and most hassle-free way of travelling from the airport to Sydney central is by taking the metro. The trains run approximately every 10-minutes and only takes 13-minutes for the train to reach the city. Tickets are AU$14.80 for an adult and AU$13.30 for concession.

If you are on a tight budget and not burdened by luggage, the cheapest option is to take a 20-minutes pleasant walk to Wolli Creek Station. From here, you can take a train to city without paying access fee. This option should cost no more than AU$5 if you’re travelling within 20-kilometres radius.

Alternative, you may take a local bus #400 towards Bondi Junction. Get off at the 3rd stop which is only 300-metres from the Mascot rail station. This option will cost about AU$3.30 for bus and no more than AU$4 on train.

Getting around Sydney

Opal is your best friend to travel in and around Sydney. It is a smart-card ticketing system used to pay for travel on public transport which helps saving money than buying one-trip tickets. With the Opal Card, there is a cap on how much you pay: AU$16.10 a day, AU$50 a week, and AU$2.80 on Sundays.

  • Metro/Trains – With most inner city metro running till around midnight, and extensive train network to get you around the CBD linking up with north, south, east and west lines to the surrounding suburbs, you basically can get anywhere from Sydney.
  • Buses – Sydney has a comprehensive bus network. Many buses are able to reach all the major tourist attractions in the city including Bondi Beach, The Rocks and Sydney Opera House, and even beyond to the suburbs and regional areas. There are regional bus services that travel to the Blue Mountains, and along the coast to other Australian towns and cities, departing from Eddy Avenue in front of Central Station. Operators include Greyhound, Murrays and Priors Scenic Express.
  • Ferry – With its renowned harbour, Sydney was made for ferry travel. Ferry services operate around Sydney Harbour from Circular Quay to eight main destinations
  • By Foot – Nothing beats catching the city views than walking around on foot. Take a walk around the CBD, the harbor area and some of the fantastic Sydney Suburbs and see what gems you find. Or you can always join a free walking tour and learn more about the city.

Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk

The 6-kilometres Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk is one of the most iconic coastal trails in the region. If for some reason you can’t make it to Coogee in a day, at least make it to Bronte. The landscape and viewpoints are so gorgeous that you probably keep snapping photos in every 10-meters or so!

Getting to Bondi Beach: Catch a train to Bondi Junction Station, then take a 15-minute bus ride to Bondi Beach.

The Rocks

The Rocks District is the oldest suburb in Sydney located on the south end of Harbour Bridge. This area was originally home to a colony of outcast British convicts and today, it is a fun neighborhood with 100-years old historic buildings, charming cafes and cobblestone streets. Spend some time wandering around the boutique shops, stroll through the markets and pick up souvenirs. Don’t miss Friday Foodie Market from 9am to 3pm and Farmers’ Markets on Saturdays & Sundays!

Nearest Metro Station: Circular Quay

Harbour Bridge

Did you know the locals gave this iconic bridge the nickname of the ‘coat-hanger’? It’s kinda a love-hate thing but the shape of the bridge leads it to its name. There are a couple of ways to explore Sydney Harbour Bridge depending on your budget and height tolerance, but you definitely can’t miss the chance to walk over the Harbour Bridge to see the city from a different perspective.

  • Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb (starting at AU$200) For many adrenaline-seekers, climbing the Harbour Bridge is top of their bucket list as it is one of the world-famous views. If you have the cash to splash, this is absolutely worth doing.
  • Pylon Lookout (AU$19) – This is the best option for those on a budget and still want to get a panoramic views of the city. Besides, there is a museum with a short film and history of the bridge. However, do prepare to climb 200-steps to the top of the tower.
  • Pedestrian Walkway (Free) – The Pedestrian Walkway takes around 1-hour from one end to the other, with multiple stops for photos along the way. You can access from either Milsons Point Steps or via The Bridge Stairs. The best time to do it is during sunset.

Nearest Metro Station: Circular Quay

Sydney Opera House

Visiting one of the most iconic landmarks of modern Australia, the Sydney Opera House, is probably the number one bucket list in Sydney. Seeing this Danish-designed structure up close is really quite awe-inspiring; photographs clearly can’t do justice to its grand size and scale. If your Sydney itinerary falls over a weekend, there is also free light show from sunset onwards.

Tip: Walk slightly further away from Opera House where the restaurants are, and you will be able to capture a beautiful photo of both Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.

Nearest Metro Station: Circular Quay

Royal Botanical Gardens

The Royal Botanic Gardens are the oldest public gardens in the southern hemisphere, offering harbour views and endless space to enjoy. Located on the waterfront adjacent to the Sydney Opera House, the gardens become an oasis from the hustle and bustle of city life. At over 74-acres, you can easily spend half-day of your Sydney’s itinerary here all without spending a penny – exactly what you need when visiting Sydney on a budget!

Nearest Metro Station: Martin Place

State Library of New South Wales

Located next to Royal Botanical Gardens, the State Library of New South Wales is the oldest library in Australia with a large reference and research collections open to the public. The library provided free Wi-Fi access and a great spot to escape from Summer’s heat for awhile.

Nearest Metro Station: Martin Place

Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair

Following the Royal Botanical Gardens round, stroll through to Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair for one of the best sunset lookouts in Sydney!

Nearest Metro Station: Circular Quay

Darling Harbour

This harbour area is right next to the city centre with loads of restaurants offering decent lunch menu deals if you’re looking for an affordable bite to eat. Every Saturday night, Darling Harbour displays a free and impressive fireworks show at 9pm. Be there early to find a good seat for this spectacular show.

Nearest Metro Station: Town Hall

St Mary Cathedral

Built in the late nineteenth century, the Gothic-styled sandstone cathedral is the longest church in Australia and probably the most beautiful church in Sydney. A lovely contrast to the surrounding modern buildings, head over to admire the beautiful architecture both inside and out.

Nearest Metro Station: St James

Hyde Park

Standing right opposite of the charming St Mary Cathedral lies the beautiful 40-acre Hyde Park in the heart of Sydney. During lunch time, you will see many Sydneysiders with packed lunch boxes or sandwiches sitting under shady trees to take a break from their offices. Make a stop at the Anzac memorial adorned with monumental figurative reliefs and sculptures.

Nearest Metro Station: St James

Queen Victoria Building

The Queen Victoria Building has been described as “the most beautiful shopping centre in the world”, is truly glamorous, from its architecture to its intricate interior details. The main attraction in the building is the two great clocks: the Royal Clock and Great Australian Clock. Walk around the whole building to find your favorite spot for a photo! The classic shots are the balcony overlook and the stained glass windows.

Nearest Metro Station: Town Hall

Angel Place

If you are exploring downtown, make sure to stop at an alleyway between George St and Pitt St in Angel Place. The birdcage art installation is called “Forgotten Songs”, in memory of the birds once heard in central Sydney before they were gradually forced out by European settlement. As you stand underneath the birdcages, you can hear the song of the birds drifting down through the empty bird cages.

Nearest Metro Station: Wynyard

Watsons Bay

Watsons Bay is heart of the swanky suburbs of Sydney home to several secluded beaches and offers great views back towards the harbour. Take some time to enjoy the picturesque views of Sydney’s Harbour, the expansive Pacific Ocean, and the distinctive red-white striped Horny Lighthouse.

Getting to Watsons Bay: Take a 25-minutes ferry from Circular Quay, Wharf 2, Side B to Watsons Bay Wharf that departs every 30-minutes. Go on a Sunday so the ferry ride only cost you AU$2.80.

Blue Mountains National Park

This is another perfect day-trip for those visiting Sydney on a budget! Located just a couple of hours from Sydney, the Blue Mountains National Park is an absolute must! With incredible walks and stunning waterfalls, there is something to be discovered at every turn. Get ready your best walking shoes, a bottle of water and your fully charged camera.

Getting to Blue Mountains: Simply hop on a train to the Blue Mountains and alight on Katoomba Station which is the main hub and home to its landmark, Three Sisters. It is probably cheapest to visit the Blue Mountains on a Sunday when public transport is capped at AU$2.80.

Lastly, if you want to keep a track of all my photos and travels, remember to follow @wanderrsaurus on Instagram!

Can’t wait to snap pretty photos in Sydney? Pin this post for later!

Aloha! I'm Bunzy, a curious dreamer who is passionate about roaming around the world getting lost, experiencing new cultures and meeting the locals. My superpower is to be able to sleep anywhere, anyhow!

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