For the uninitiated, Sydney can be a daunting place if you’re on a budget. Luckily, there are plenty of things to do in Sydney for free if you know where to look. Here are some options to make the most of your trip in Sydney without burning a hole in your wallet.
Arts and entertainment
Sydney’s most famous art galleries are located within a short, pleasant walk of one another. The State Gallery of NSW, which offers free entry for its permanent collection, is an aesthetic experience and a history lesson rolled into one. This historic building in the Royal Botanic Gardens is a sight to see in itself. Furthermore, the gallery frequently has free film screenings, often tied to the theme of current exhibitions.
Just a stroll to The Rocks is the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. Also free to enter, this huge gallery is full of more challenging modern pieces from paintings to installations to sculptures. Free films and lectures occasionally occur here too.
The Sydney Conservatorium of Music hosts free lunchtime concerts on Wednesdays (and occasionally free lectures in the evening), showcasing the prodigious talent of its students.
Speaking of families, there are plenty of free activities for the little ones. One of these is the Kids in the Park program organised by Sydney Olympic Park at Homebush. During school holidays, there is a wide array of workshops and demonstrations for children to enjoy, covering arts, sport and science. Many are free or cheap to attend.
Another activity that’s sure to delight the kids is a dip in one of Sydney’s many ocean pools (saltwater pools situated next to many beaches). These pools are perfect for parents who prefer to swim laps, for toddlers or for those who just want to relax away from the surf. The most popular ones are at Bondi, Coogee, Maroubra, Freshwater and Clovelly.
On the overall spectrum of things to do in Sydney for free, there are few things more spectacular than snorkelling at Gordons Bay. Situated near Clovelly on the famous Bondi to Coogee coastal walk, Gordons Bay is full of colourful fish, sponges and urchins. If you’re lucky, you may even see a Port Jackson shark.
If you’re happy to make the trip away from the central suburbs, another fantastic free option is a visit to Lane Cove National Park. There are a variety of walking tracks to enjoy through lush bushland and abundant wildlife. Swimming holes and picnic areas make this is a good family option.
Travel secret: Soak in the culture of Sydney for free with a trip to the laneways and backstreets of Sydney’s Inner West. You can enjoy a stunning range of street art – Mays Lane in St Peters, for example, is famous for its huge graffiti murals that exhibit the technical ability required for this polarising art form, which on this street is officially curated.