How to See Sydney on the Cheap!

HOW TO SEE SYDNEY ON THE CHEAP

By Matt John Canty

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

You can use lots of words to describe the city of Sydney: lively, beautiful, cultural, coastal, breathtaking, friendly, and of course, expensive!  Sydney is one of the priciest cities in Australia, if not the world, but this should not worry you if you are traveling on a budget, because there are countless things you can do to explore the city’s sights on the cheap.  Just as the saying goes, the best things in life come free, so get out there and experience the cheap attractions Sydney Australia has to offer!  With the money you save you can buy yourself a pet Kangaroo ;)

 

Getting Around

The city centre is pretty walkable; there are numerous interesting sites you can see by just taking a stroll around the Sydney city.  If you need to get to a place where you just can’t walk, avoid taking taxis at all cost.  Taxis are not only an expensive means of transport but are also relatively slow.  Taking the bus or train is more convenient and cheap.  To further save cash, you can get a “My-10 pass” which will enable you take ten bus rides, or five return trips.  The same applies for ferries and trains.  If you opt to purchase a ticket for a single ride, buy a return ticket, because this costs half as much as purchasing them separately.  Avoid using the Sydney water taxi or Monorail because they are not only pricey but also will not take you to as numerous places as the regular buses, trains and ferries.  The train system (SydneyTrains) are quite fast, more affordable, and run more frequently than the ferries or buses.  In addition, many stops within the city centre (Sydney’s CBD) are all within walking distance of all the major attractions.  The average going rate for a trip within the city centre is about A$3.90.  You can also take the train directly to sporting events at ANZ Stadium via Olympic Park sprint service from either Lidcombe or Central Station.

Take the train in Sydney!

Take the train in Sydney!

 

*toot-toot*!

*toot-toot*!

Cheap Eats and Drinks

The multicultural makeup of Sydney is clearly reflected in its food, where you will find various kinds of delicacies from various parts of the globe.  With that said, scouting out the city’s cheap eats and drinks will enable you to enjoy awesome delicacies on a budget.  The best way to scout for cheap eateries is quite simple: just make a friend.  A casual conversation in a local bar, or “hotel” as the marquee outside says, can yield a new friend who can give you a tour around the city or even become an invite to a backyard barbecue or party.  A surefire ice-breaker is to talk about sports.  Bring up a local NRL (rugby league) match, and let the words flow!  Team loyalty varies from neighborhood to neighborhood throughout the city and beyond.  Believe it nor not, Aussies are prone to almost every sport, so don’t hesitate to talk about anything whether it be baseball or cricket.  Do ask about the rules to the English sport, as it makes for a brain-puzzling conversation!  Pubs in Sydney are often also a great place to eat as they offer great deals like: A chicken schnitzel, salad, chips and a beer for A$12.95.  Not a bad price for a full meal like that!  Or, just knock back a few Toohey’s or VB’s with a meat pie, and let the magic unfold!

Toohey's beer

Toohey’s beer

"The drink of choice, down under!"

“The drink of choice, down under!”

"German Schnitzel or Australian Cutlet?"

“German Schnitzel or Australian Cutlet?”

A place you can get affordable eats and drinks is, within and around Sydney is Chinatown which is home to about 70 food courts and restaurants with Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, and Korean delicacies.  Other places you can get affordable eateries include, the shacks in Circular Quay, Marigold Citymark on George Street in Haymarket, and Flying-Fajita Sistas in Glebe, where you can enjoy some cheap Mexican food.

Golden Century Restaurant

Golden Century Restaurant

For a full spread of eats, head to the scenic Harbourside shopping centre on Cockle Bay at Darling Harbour.  Inside the mall, you’ll find a rather modest food court with numerous cheap eats like fast food and quick-service.  On the outside, however, there are many options for even the most discerning palettes.  Enjoy delectable tapas at Toros, yum-cha at Dragon Boat, or piping-hot pasta Crimitis.  Prices here may be a little expensive, but there are plenty of cheap options available for even a quick lunch, featuring a stunning view of downtown Sydney’s skyline.

Welcome to Harbourside

Welcome to Harbourside

 

Tapas at Toros

Tapas at Toros

Accommodation

Sydney city offers a variety of accommodations for all kinds of visitors ranging from luxury accommodations to the backpacker, and numerous other affordable options in between. For those under a tight budget, “serviced apartments,” can be a good option with most having fully equipped kitchens and more than one bedroom making them suitable for families. For those who want to spend less, the city has a number of reliable affordable hostels.  From the CBD, to Bondi, to Manly, hostels are numerous, and can offer plenty for a just a small price.

 

Sightseeing and Culture

During the day there’s never a shortage of affordable things to do or places to visit. A solo walking tour will enable you to see much of Sydney without paying a dime.  The Harbour Bridge, is one of the major attractions in the city; but if you don’t have or not willing to spend $200 to climb the Bridge, you can have a good view of the bridge for less from the Pylon Lookout for only $9.50.  To get up close with this magnificent structure, take the train to Milsons Point station, right on the other side of the bridge near the neighborhood of Kiribilli in North Sydney.  Once you exit the train at the station, there will be two paths across the bridge: one for bikers and one for pedestrians.  You’ll be able to see the bridge, and only spend a little bit of pocket change for the train.

Harbour Bridge Walkway at Milsons Point

Harbour Bridge Walkway at Milsons Point

If you love nature, Hyde Park is the perfect place to visit where you can have a picnic and even take tour to the Anzac Memorial.  You can as well venture out of the CBD and take a ferry ride to Manly and take a scenic walk on the Spit Bridge.  Or, take the longer, but scenic boat ride to Parramatta, Sydney’s shopping capital!

Hyde Park, as seen from the top of Sydney Tower

Hyde Park, as seen from the top of Sydney Tower

The Art lovers will love the Contemporary Art Museum and the Art Gallery of NSW which are absolutely free, though you may pay a little fee to view the exhibits.  You only need to pay $10 at the Powerhouse Museum to view exhibits.

Museum of Contemporary Art

Museum of Contemporary Art

 

Entertainment

Out of town entertainment joints are perfect venues to have a night time out because they offer favorable entertainment discounts.  You can enjoy a show at the Opera House for as low as $35 per ticket.  You can as well enjoy classical music and dance the night away at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music’s Conductors Series, for as little as $15.  Darling Harbour also hosts various forms of free entertainment including outdoor shows and buskers and annual events such as the Australia Day concerts and the Blues and Jazz festival.

Sports fan should take advantage of NRL games.  Rugby league tickets are available at box offices at the team’s venue, and will run anywhere from A$20 to A$60.  Those venues may not totally break your wallet, but the action, atmosphere, and friends will be totally worth it!

 

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Bio-

My name is Matt and i’m a travel loving Australian, currently living in Sydney! I travel the world writing, eating and staying at hotels all the while keeping a my own journal I hope to publish as a book one day. Sydney is what I currently want to focus on in my travel adventures. Check out my new blog here

 

–All text is copyright of Matt John Canty.  All photos are owned by Jared Schnabl of www.travelingwithjared.com

About admin

I am a graduate of Stony Brook University, and I have a degree in History. I am an avid traveler, with an extensive knowledge of geography, a passion for photography, and a knowledge of animals too. I enjoy pop music of the 1980's, fine dining, movies, baseball, basketball, and rugby.
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