Sydney, the huge metropolis of Australia, one of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest cities and known to be pretty expensive. Yet thousands of backpackers head here every year to take in the sights and sounds of this landmark filled state capital and they do so on a budget! As one of the many working tourist visa travellers we wanted to take in the sights of the big city without blowing our budget. Here is what to do in Sydney!
What to do in Sydney:
Head over to the landmark Sydney Opera House and make a dream come true!
Of course you can’t come to Sydney without ticking the Opera house off your bucket list! This iconic landmark is one of the most recognisable symbols of Australia and know around the world. Luckily exploring around the harbour is completely free and there are numerous incredible vantage point you can take it in from. In fact you could spend an entire day exploring either side of the harbour from Luna park to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair and beyond. What to do in Sydney? Head to the Opera house first!
Climb up the leg of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and walk across the historic span
Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge is an amazing thing to do but it is also quite expensive. If your budget doesn’t quite stretch that far then you can still take in incredible views and step foot onto this icon on a backpacker budget. Going up to the Pylon lookout costs only $15 for an adult but the view will blow you away! If you are still not done with the bridge after taking in the 360 degree vista from the 200 step climb then be sure to walk over the historic span itself along the footpath and take in the views from across the harbour. When you’re figuring out what to do in Sydney make sure to put this to the top of your list!
Take in the spectacular views from the Manly Ferry
One of the most amazing and also cost effective ways to also take in the harbour area is to jump on the Manly ferry and one of the most wonderful and cost effective on our list of what to do in Sydney. The trip over to Manly is worthwhile not only for the incredible water level views of the harbour and opera house but the beautiful beach, seaside town and coastal walk at the other end . The ferry itself costs between $7.80 and $8.70 depending on the time of day and if you use a travel card and takes you right in front of the opera house, probably one of the best public ferries in the world alongside the Star ferry in Hong Kong!
Step back in time and explore “The Rocks” area of the city
Sydney’s oldest neighbourhood is right near the harbour and the red brick rows of terraces tell the story of this magnificent city. Here you can step back and see the way people used to live before the city became what we know and love today. In many ways this area reminds me very much of home and the old industrial towns we grew up in around Manchester. There is also a museum of the area that is free to enter which tells in depth the history of this area.
Take in the magnificent history of one of Australia’s oldest cities
Despite being a relatively new country Australia has some amazing historical buildings in the major cities and Sydney has it’s fair share. At times it reminded me of walking around Manchester back at home as the style of architecture and the mixture of old and new is quite similar. Many of the buildings are ornate Georgian constructions built during the colonial era for the ever expanding and successful city. Some of the most impressive and important buildings to check out are: Elizabeth Bay House, Customs House, Government House, State Theatre, St Mary’s Cathedral, Queen Victoria Building and the Sydney Town Hall. When you think of what to do in Sydney wandering around the streets might not seem obvious but its the best way to discover the history of the city.
Have some thrills and spills at Luna Park
Opened in 1935 Luna Park is an old time amusement park with that creepy but cool Victorian-esque aesthetic. Right from the moment you walk through the grinning moon face entrance you are transported back in time to a by-gone era of bearded ladies and freak shows! There is a fascinating nostalgia and historical side to the park that was more interesting to me than the rides themselves!
Head over to one of the amazing nearby beaches
Australia is not only famous for the Opera House but its thousands of stunning beaches, luckily if you find yourself in Sydney you can enjoy both the metropolis, beautiful beaches and awesome coastal walks too. Manly and Bondi are the most well known and easily accessible via public transport from the CBD, the Manly ferry itself as we mentioned above is one of the most amazing things to do in the city! Both these areas offer lively but incredible white sand beaches with world renowned surfing. Head off on the Bondi to Coogee walk or the Manly to Spit hike for some truly incredible landscapes that traverse cliffs, inlets, secluded beaches, seaside towns and bushland.
Get out of the city and into the Australian mountains
If you want to escape the city even further then you can take a 2 hour train up to Katoomba in the amazing Blue Mountains where you can truly get away from the hustle and bustle of Sydney. Out here you can do some serious bushwalking and hiking through some incredible landscapes and see such natural beauties such as the Three Sisters and Wentworth Falls along the teetering walk of the National Pass, carved into the cliffside over 100 years ago. What to do in Sydney? Get out of the city of course! If you have longer than One day in Sydney, you should try and get out and see this amazing place.
What are your favourite places in Sydney?
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