Sydney: 13 tips for an exciting and cheap trip
Sydney is also cheap: All tips including must-sees & restaurant recommendations
Arrival to Sydney
Overnight stay in Sydney – our hotel tip
When is the best time to travel to Sydney?
In my experience this is in the low season, so October/November and February/March/April. Simply because the Christmas and New Year’s tourist masses are no longer, or not yet, gaining the upper hand and the accommodation prices are therefore significantly cheaper.
The easiest and fastest way to get from A to B is by train or bus. There are no subways here. The best way to do this is to get a so-called OPAL card, which you can then top up with any amount of travel credit (available in every 7-Eleven or kiosk).
Tips : 1. The price of each ride varies depending on how often you ride. The more often, the cheaper. 2. On Sundays you ride all day for only $2.50!
8 things you shouldn’t miss
The trick to making your Sydney stay reasonably priced perfect is knowing what to save on and what not to miss. Some of the best experiences have cost me less than $12 or nothing at all. Here some examples:
1. Pylon Lookout
Instead of a Harbor Bridge Climb for $200 or more, just climb the Pylon Lookout in one of the bridge’s piers and be rewarded with a fantastic view of the Opera House and the skyline. All for just $12.
Bonus : The Pylon Lookout doubles as a museum where you can learn all about the bridge and how it was built.
2. Sydney North Olympic Swimming Pool
Walk across the Harbor Bridge to the Sydney North Olympic Swimming Pool. For only $7 you can enjoy a special kind of cooling off with a fantastic view.
3. Coastal Walks
Hike one of the many great coastal walks and keep an eye out for whales and dolphins! My absolute favorites were the Bondi to Coogee Walk , the South Head Heritage Trail with the old lighthouse, and the Beach Cliff Walk through Malabar Headland National Park.
Skip the expensive harbor cruise ticket and take the ferry across to Manly. Here you will be driven directly between Harbor Bridge and the Opera House . Manly is known for its laid-back Beach Town vibe, making it a welcome break from busy city life.
5. Darling Harbour
Every Saturday night during the summer season there is a fireworks display at Darling Harbor that will leave you in awe. The good thing is that you can marvel at the spectacle completely free of charge.
Tip : Before you go, check the Darling Harbor website to make sure it’s actually happening.
6. Sunset at Milk Beach
For a spectacular sunset, pack a picnic and head to Milk Beach . From there you have a perfect view of the then golden skyline of the city!
7. Ocean Pools
Swim in one of the many ocean pools, such as the famous Bondi Icebergs or at Bronte or Bilgola Beach.
8. Taronga Zoo
Slightly more expensive experiences, but definitely worth the money, include Taronga Zoo and Westfield Tower , where you can also buy tickets online beforehand. Here is a detailed list of things to do in Sydney for free and worth the money .
Tips for restaurants, cafes and bars
From crazy milkshakes, the so-called freak shakes, to super healthy smoothie bowls – in Sydney you can find pretty much everything your heart desires. And since in my opinion there is nothing better than food, I have tried my way through a proud amount of cafes and restaurants for you. So here are a few of my absolute favourites:
1. Acai Brothers Bondi : Whether you’re already in love with acai or have never tried it, these acai bowls are just… beyond words!
2. Speedos Cafe : Decorated with flowers and fresh fruit, the pancakes and smoothie bowls are almost too pretty to eat.
3. Bare Grill Burgers : Here you can not only get the aforementioned freak shakes, but also the burger of your dreams!
4. Coogee Pavilion : Enjoy the view while waving in the fresh sea breeze and sipping on a cocktail? Or watch your pizza sizzling in an old-fashioned stone oven? You can do all this in the super cozy and very popular Coogee Pavilion.
Tip : If you would like to eat there at the weekend, I advise you to reserve a table in advance!
5. El Topo : The lovingly designed rooftop area of this wonderful Mexican restaurant gives you the feeling of diving into another world. The colorful tables, super delicious cocktails and heavenly tacos will definitely make this restaurant one of your favorites.
Tip : All Gourmet Tacos are 50% off on Taco Tuesdays, meaning you can feast as much as you like for just $3 a piece.
Day trips from Sydney
Sydney’s hinterland has a lot to offer and is definitely worth exploring. Don’t miss out on this natural spectacle.
1. Blue Mountains National Park
Marvel at original cave paintings, let yourself be enchanted by beautiful forest hiking trails and vantage points or bathe in refreshing waterfalls. The 2,690 km² Blue Mountains National Park has been a World Heritage Site since 2000 and is a true hiker’s paradise. Approximately two hours drive from Sydney.
Tip : If you’re not traveling with a tour , stop by the Three Sisters first and get some tips from the Visitor Information Center.
2. Royal National Park
This coastal national park is best known for its beautiful cliff walks and unique swimming beaches, such as Wattamolla Beach and the Figure8 Pools .
If you are planning a visit, however, you should avoid the weekends, as Wattamolla Beach may close its gates due to capacity reasons. Otherwise, I advise you to be there on time. About an hour’s drive from Sydney.
Attention : The Figure8 pools can be very dangerous and should not be underestimated. Check the Visitor Center for detailed information on the current conditions before you start hiking!
3.Featherdale Wildlife Sanctuary
This is a wonderful place to get up close and personal with Australian wildlife. Feed little wallabies or snap a souvenir photo with a snuggly koala or kangaroo at Featherdale Wildlife Sanctuary .
4. Mermaid Pools
A destination that is particularly popular with backpackers, as cliff jumping is very important here. The beautiful rock formations are also ideal for sunbathing and the fresh water of the Bargo River is a welcome refreshment.
And at the very end
Sydney is famous for its beautiful and lifeguard patrolled beaches. Nevertheless, there are more bathing accidents than necessary every year, as happy tourists repeatedly underestimate the lower currents. So I can’t recommend enough to always swim between the flags! For two of my friends, a relaxing afternoon at the beach was almost their last.