10 Fun and Free Things to do in Sydney
1. Zen out at the Royal Botanic Gardens
These beautiful gardens are home to nature trails, rare and endangered plants, succulents, herbs, and more. The grounds cover an area of 30 hectares in the heart of the city. Time your visit with one of the free guided tours, which run at 10:30AM daily.
2. Visit an art gallery
The Art Gallery of New South Wales houses five levels of art, rotating exhibits, film, music, and more. Its collections include everything from Aboriginal to Asian art along with modern and contemporary works from around the globe. Admission to the museums is free, as are the hour-long guided tours.
3. Browse Paddington Markets
Spend a lazy Saturday browsing over 200 stalls of Aussie-made goods at Paddington Markets. You’ll find everything from clothing and jewelry to food and even holistic treatments and palm readings. Grab some lunch, catch some live music, and make a day of it.
4. Explore the Sydney Festival
This prestigious arts and culture festival takes place annually in January (right in the middle of the Australian summer) and features loads of free activities including interactive art shows, children’s events, concerts, and more. If you’re willing to shell out some cash, there are even more performances (including dance and circus!) to attend.
5. Walk from Bondi to Coogee
People have been walking from Bondi to Coogee Beach since the 1930s, and it’s easy to understand why. At a little under four miles, it’s a manageable distance for most (although be warned, there’s quite a bit of uphill terrain) and can easily be completed in an afternoon. You’ll pass through some of Sydney’s most beautiful beaches and parks and get a great workout, too!
6. Watch for marine life at Shelly Beach
Skip the aquarium and head for Shelly Beach, where you can see a multitude of sea creatures in their natural habitat, a protected marine reserve. Bring a picnic and a snorkel and spend the day in the sand.
7. Check out some Chinese art.
The White Rabbit Gallery is devoted exclusively to contemporary Chinese art. The Gallery is open from Wednesday to Sunday, as is the street level teahouse which serves dumplings, pastries, and of course, a variety of Chinese and Taiwanese teas.
8. Take a stroll across the Sydney Harbour Bridge
There’s a steep fee (no pun intended) to climb the iconic bridge, but the stroll across the bridge’s pedestrian pathway is the next best thing, and totally free.
9. Get spiritual at St. Mary’s Cathedral
Built in 1821, St. Mary’s was the first Roman Catholic church in Australia. It’s a wonderful example of English Gothic architecture, featuring stained glass windows imported from England. Check out a free guided tour of the cathedral and crypt every Sunday at noon.
10. Grab a drink at Opera Bar
Ok, this one isn’t totally free (you’ll have to indulge in a glass of wine, fresh pizza, or local Sydney oysters) but you’ll be treated to a stunning view of Sydney Harbour along with excellent live music. Who needs the opera?
Featured image by Pilar Expósito, via Flickr CC