06 December 2007

Free and cheap things to do around Sydney

I was asked to suggest some free/ cheap stuff to do around Sydney for Lao students about to study there. Here's my response.

My top 5 favourite free things to do in

1. Walking across the harbour bridge

Start at the south end, at the Rocks or at the north end, near Milson’s Point station. It is free to go in to Luna Park and walk around which is at the north end of the bridge as something else to do.

2. Walking along the botanical gardens foreshore

The best views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, in my opinion.

3. Bondi to Coogee walk

Walk south from Bondi beach to Coogee beach, or even further to Maroubra beach if you would like an extra long walk. Great ocean views along the way, a bowling club, a cemetery and you can go snorkeling at Clovelly or Gordon’s Bay if you wish.

4. King Street Newtown

Walk the length of this street from the city end. Lots of uni students and young people live here so the people are more colourful than average. There is good cheap Thai food, nice cafes and pubs, window shopping also. My favourite ice- cream in Sydney is there too- Gelatomassimo.

5. The Blue Mountains

It does cost a bit of money to get there on the train, but once you’re there it’s free. If you have a weekly train/ transport ticket ask for an ‘extension’ on your ticket to get you there, that is, the distance beyond the coverage of your transport pass.

The outdoors

Maps of free walks around Sydney accessible by ferry


Take some self- guided tour around Sydney

Australian Conservation Volunteers


This is a cheap way to see ‘the real’ Australia! You get taken to some beautiful spots a week at a time to do some conservation work. For a student is only $15 a day for travel, food and accommodation. You will meet people from overseas. They have some free volunteering opportunities also.

Paddington markets


Young designers try to start their businesses here

National Parks and Wildlife Service

http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/ - click on the ‘NPWS guided walks’ icon down the bottom

Cheap, guided walks around Sydney by volunteers run by the government and are very helpful with getting you to the walk and back home. I recommend starting with the Sydney Harbour National Park walks. Lots of information about this website here including about the Blue Mountains.

National Parks Association

http://www.npansw.org.au/web/ - click on ‘latest bushwalk program’ icon down the bottom

Cheap, guided walks around Sydney by people that get together to enjoy the outdoors. I haven’t done a walk with this group but a friend went and said she met many sweet older people that were really excited that a younger person came to join them!

The indoors

The Art Gallery of NSW


It’s free. On Wednesday it closes late at 9pm and has free talks, concerts and films on.

Customs House Library, Circular Quay


The interior decoration of this library is awesome. You can relax and read the newspapers and magazines and books for free. If you’re in the city for the day and want to sit down and relax, this is good place to do it.

Museum of Contemporary Art


There is always something unusual there and it’s free!

Sydney University


The grounds are nice to walk around in. There are a few free museums inside including a history museum, art, and biological science.


Go volunteer


Volunteering guarantees that you meet a range of Aussies and usually like-minded people also. I would recommend volunteering at a big event- they are lots of fun!

Getting around

Getting around Sydney


This website will help you get anywhere in NSW by public transport



The train website

More information

The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper


Buy the Saturday edition of this newspaper. In the Spectrum section on Saturday this newspaper will have a column of free events that are on in Sydney during the week including festivals and events that are on.

City of Sydney Council


Visitor information including more maps here.