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Sydney is one of the most amazing cities in the world, but it can also be one of the most expensive.

From a morning cup of coffee to a bunk in a hostel, the cost of visiting Sydney often catches travelers off guard, and might be a little bit higher than you were expecting.

However, you don’t have to let a trip to Sydney break the bank! Here are our top tips and tricks for saving money while visiting this incredible city.

Pro Tip: If you’d prefer to experience Sydney with an awesome group of new friends why not join an Intro Travel group tour that will show you the best of Sydney for a low price.

Budget Travel Hacks: 9 Ways to Save Money While Visiting Sydney

Walk Everywhere

Budget travel Syndey Australia

Taking an Uber or public transport in the city can drain your hard-earned cash faster than you think. If something is in a walkable distance, walk it.

The city is absolutely beautiful, and you never know what exciting things you’ll discover on foot, plus it might well be a faster way to travel than getting stuck in city traffic!

In terms of a route for a self guided walking tour, start at the Harbor bridge at Circular Quay. Stroll through the historic Rocks District towards the Opera House, walk through Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens, enter Sydney’s city centre, and finish your day in Darling Harbor.

Save Long Trips for Sunday

Public transportation can get pricey and busy during the week, but on Sundays all travel is capped at just $2.70 no matter where you visit! That’s on all trains, buses, ferries and light rail.

If you have a long trip planned, why not wait to do it on a Sunday? Consider checking out the stunning Blue Mountains or the beachside town of Port Stephens, both just a couple of hours out of the city.

There are tons of cool activities in Port Stephens, such as sand boarding huge dunes, that make for a perfect one day get-away from the city.

Take Advantage of the Beaches

Sydney is home to some of the most famous and stunning beaches in the world, and the best part is that they’re free!

Enjoy the beauty Bondi Beach has to offer by laying out to tan, going for a swim, or even playing some beach volleyball. Though do keep in mind that Bondi is jam packed with tourists at the best of times, and Sydney has many other fabulous beaches with far fewer crowds.

The Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk is a great way to take in some of the most breathtaking views that Sydney has to offer. There are endless restaurants & cafes along the way to stop and get a snack in, and you’ll knock out your workout for the day while having a blast.

Make sure to stop in and do some snorkeling in some of the hidden coves along the way. Access to the coast is free for everyone.

Take the Ferry

If you still want more time on the sand, check out Manly Beach for a change of scenery.

You can take the ferry over for just $7 and see some jaw-dropping views of the opera house and the harbour bridge on the way.

It rivals the views of a harbour cruise but is a much more affordable option.

Hostels

Hostel bed RF

Even if it’s something out of your comfort zone, you should absolutely consider staying in a hostel over a hotel room.

Hostels are by far the cheapest way to stay in Sydney, and the most fun! It’s a great way to make some new friends to discover the city with, since you’ll be living with like-minded travellers during your stay.

Australian hostels are typically of a high standard in terms of cleanliness and safety. Things to keep in mind when booking a hostel are whether or not towels and linens are provided. In many of the nicer hostels, they are. In lesser hostels, they are not.

Also make sure you choose a hostel that is near your desired sightseeing attractions, as it will cut down on your transport costs if you’re centrally located and can walk everywhere.

Visit the Opera House

Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House is the most iconic point in Sydney, and it is totally free to see.

You can wander around the steps and take some fabulous pictures while you’re at it! It is also a great spot to catch a beautiful view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the distance.

In terms of getting great shots of the Opera House itself (photography is a hobby that is totally free), Kirribilli is on the outskirts of the Sydney CBD, and offers great views of the Opera House at anytime of the day or night.

The best time to head here is for sunrise and sunset. If you pack a wide-angle lens you can get both the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House into the frame.

Pro Tip: Kirribilli is easily accessible via public transport; there is a train station closeby, or you can catch a water taxi or ferry and get off at Jeffery St Wharf. 

Walk the Bridge, Don’t Climb It

Sydney Habor Bridge at Sunset

Now that you’ve seen the bridge from afar, you’ll be itching to experience this towering marvel.

Instead of paying hundreds of dollars to climb it, take a stroll across the Harbour Bridge on a sunny day. You’ll see identical views for a fraction of the price!

Less than halfway across the bridge you will reach Pylon Lookout. A highly underrated attraction, spend $13 and climb to the observation area 87 meters above sea level. Here you will find the best views of Sydney.

This is a great, cheaper alternative to the Harbour Bridge Climb.

Research Nightclubs Prior To Going

Blogging Sydney Blog Computer Laptop

Some clubs and bars in Sydney may have a pricey cover charge for entry, while drinks can be even more expensive!

The secret to enjoying a night out and seeing some of Sydney’s coolest clubs without worrying about your bank balance is simple! Make a plan before heading out.

Every club offers free or cheaper entry during certain times, and many of them offer discounted drink specials as well. You don’t have to go broke to experience Sydney nightlife if you do your research!

Consider Doing a Group Tour

If all this sounds great, but the planning part of it is keeping you from going, then consider doing a group tour instead.

Intro Travel has phenomenal group tours that help you experience all the best parts of Sydney and do all the planning for you.  All you have to do is sign up and make memories that will last a lifetime.

OUR FAVORITE AUSTRALIA TRAVEL GUIDES: CLICK TO LOOK INSIDE ↓

Australia travel guide Amazon book

Lonely Planet Australia Travel Guide

Australia travel guide Amazon book

Lonely Planet Australia’s Best Trips

Australia travel guide Amazon book

30 Best Tips For Your Trip To Australia

SPREAD THE WORD! PIN THIS TO YOUR TRAVEL PINTEREST BOARDS ↓

Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 50+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.

    

    40 Comments

  1. Walking everywhere is such a smart way to save chedda and to stay in shape Meg. We only laid over by the airport in Sydney – twice – but found just walking around the area saved us scratch and helped us to grab a bite to eat from different areas. I imagine how fun it’d be to walk around the down town area.

    Ryan

    • Absolutely Ryan, and I find when you’re really interested in the scenery you don’t even mentally clock the exercise 😀 Definitely if you have the chance to visit Sydney again on a longer layover, the downtown area is a lot of fun to walk around 🙂

    • You’re welcome, hope it helps!

  2. Looks majestic

    • Majestic is a good way to describe Sydney!

  3. I love Sydney. One of my favorite cities… Beautiful and so friendly 🙂

    • So glad you had a fabulous time! One of our favorites too 🙂

  4. I’ve been in Sydney three days already. I could have used this advice four or five days ago!

    • Better late than never right 😀 Hope you’re having a fabulous time!

    • I just left and am en route to Alice Springs and the Outback. Had a wonderful time in Sydney! So much I didn’t get a chance to do!

    • Always good leaving on a high note like that though because means you’ll return at some stage for a second trip 😀

  5. I’m retired, so I don’t have to worry about income, so I live at the south end of Australia’s Gold Coast, and it is Heaven. Warm all year round, not too much traffic, beautiful beaches, and wonderful Hinterland……Sydney, whilst worth visiting, is just one giant traffic stream…….

    • The Gold Coast is such a fabulous place to retire, I love visiting Sydney for my city fix but yes in terms of actual living, you have to love the city chaos! 🙂

  6. I moved to Sydney Australia from NYC and absolutely love it!

    • So glad to hear you’re having a fabulous time!

  7. Forget Sydney go to Byron Bay.

    • Byron is still on my list 🙂

  8. These tips are fantastic, between public transport (didn’t know that about Sunday rates btw, thanks for the tip) and walking (it really is mostly a walkable city), there’s no reason to pay crazy taxi rates. Thanks for the budget Sydney tips.

    • Glad the post was helpful for you Susan. Have a great time in Sydney! Taxi’s cost an arm and a leg these days too, there really is no reason to let those expenses rack up 🙂

  9. I had no idea you could walk the bridge for free. Awesome! I was looking at climbing it but wow it’s expensive 🙁 Maybe another day.

    • Absolutely 🙂 If you do the walk on this trip, then you have a reason to return at some point and can splurge on the actual climb maybe on another trip 🙂

  10. Re budget meals, pubs generally offer good deals – plenty to choose frm in the CBD and a main meal can be had for AUD10 for so.

    The big food court under Myer clears out around 4pm or so, possibility of getting discounted food there.

    The food courts in China Town (Dixon St, Paddys Market) offer meals at very reasonable prices.

    • Thanks for sharing your budget food tips Chan, I love eating in Chinatown, one of my favorite places for great Sydney eats 🙂

  11. I would buy an “Entertainment Book” for Sydney city area. Just google and purchase through a charity and have it posted to you.

    There is hundreds of pages of buy one get one free or 25% off meal vouchers in there. The book also has pages of discount for attractions and shopping in Sydney.

    • I love Entertainment books! I remember we used to buy them for our family all the time, I haven’t seen them around for a while though, will have to have a look. Thanks for the tip Sheila 🙂

  12. Another tip: Check out sites like Groupon for deals to theme parks and attractions.

    • Absolutely, Groupon is a fabulous tip, I think people often overlook it when they’re traveling, but it’s a great resource if you’re on a budget. Thanks for sharing Lizzy 🙂

  13. In terms of food you could be spending anywhere from as little as:

    $0 for breakfast (if your hotel offers it)

    $2 for breakfast (if you get things from a supermarket)

    $8 for breakfast (if you eat at a cafe)

    $5 for lunch

    $20 for dinner

    So that’s at least $25 for food.

    I like to over budget and say an average $100 a day for all expenses (tourist attractions, food, alcohol, transport, shopping). Some days it’ll be $30 and others it’ll be $170. It evens out.

    This way, I’m always happy when I return from my holidays with money left in the bank!

    • I would say $100 a day is probably pretty spot on for Sydney on a budget if you’re including food, accommodation, transport and other expenses. That said, less if you’re hacking your way on things like couchsurfing, and sticking to free attractions. it really can come in as cheap or expensive as you want. Great idea to overbudget though, I do the same!

  14. Regarding breakfast, also ask when you check-in if you can prepay for breakfast. A lot of hotels offer a significant discount if you pre-pay compared to deciding each morning whether to eat or not. Hotel buffet breakfasts, while not exactly cheap, can offer good value in the sense that you can eat a large meal and therefore don’t need much for lunch.

    • Yes to this, great tip. I used to work reception at a hotel in Canberra and you’re spot on – we would offer a $22 buffet for $15 if you prepaid the night before. I often do the same as you, eat a late breakfast at the buffet, but eat a really large meal (and usually pocket some fruit as I’m heading out and that’s much lunch! :D)

  15. There are lots of ways to save $$$ when on holidays here. You have good tips.

    • Absolutely Jennifer, glad you enjoyed the post 🙂

  16. There are heaps of free/cheap activities: walking, including beautiful bushwalks in the national parks or along sydney harbour (the Macullum pool is beautiful), picnics in the botanic gardens, swimming, catch a train to the Blue Mountains to see the three sisters – the trains are pretty cheap. If you catch a ferry to Milson’s point, keep walking through Luna Park around the harbor to Wendy Whitely’s garden (also free).

    • Absolutely Amanda, this is a great list – as a nature fan myself I love the Blue Mountains, and you’re right that the trains make it a pretty cheap day trip. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  17. Rates must have gone up – it was $2.50 all day Sundays when I was last in Syndey!

    • Gotta love inflation 😀

    • Thanks for the heads up Paula 🙂

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