Sydney is iconic and a top priority on any backpacker’s to do list! Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Bondi Beach & King’s Cross are all accessible by either foot or public transport from the city centre. Base Backpackers is located smack bang in the middle Darling Harbour, Circular Quay, King’s Cross and the central shopping district. The hostel offers free weekly activities: city walks, beach BBQs and more!
Now that you have your ‘Base’ for the week - here’s how to explore Sydney on a shoestring budget...
1. Free Sydney Sights Tour
Operating on a tip basis, Sydney Sights provide a free, daily walking tour of the city – introducing you to the city and its attractions and providing information on activities, how to get around by transport, the best shopping spots and of course, a little bit of history!
Tours depart daily from St Andrews Cathedral on George St at 10:30am & 2:30pm. Just look for your guide in a bright green t – shirt!
Sydney Sights also offer walking tours to The Rocks – the site of Australia’s first European settlement. The tour will explore pubs, laneways and the notorious dark side of Sydney’s history. Tours take 1.5 hours, depart at 6:00pm everyday and depart from the west side of Circular Quay.
2. Circular Quay: Sydney Opera House & Sydney Harbour Bridge
Circular Quay is one of the most visited harbours in the world. Why? This is where you will find the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge – a visit is obligatory for any visitor!
Circular Quay is roughly 1km from Base Backpackers (or Town Hall Station) and 2km from Central Station. Alternatively, you can jump on a train from anywhere in the city centre and get off at Circular Quay station to avoid the walk. The Royal Botanical gardens are worth a walk around and is almost as large as Sydney’s inner city!
The Opera Bar offers free live music and DJs every night of the week – can you imagine a better way to view a sunset?
3. Bondi Beach
Australia’s famous stretch of sand! The cheapest way to get to Bondi Beach is by public transport. Trains depart from Town Hall & Central Station in the CBD and will drop you at Bondi Junction. You can then take a bus from Bondi Junction to Bondi Beach. The journey from the city will take approx 40 minutes.
4. Free Fireworks at Darling Harbour
Darling Harbour is just a 5 minute walk from Base Backpackers or Town Hall Station. Offering plenty of photo opportunities, Darling Harbour boasts many outdoor cafes, cheap eats, bars and is a popular spot for buskers and street performers.
Year round, Darling Harbour host an amazing firework spectacular every Saturday night at 9:00pm.
5. Sydney Tower
What better way to view the city than by 360 degree views of the city from Sydney’s tallest tower! Tickets are about $26 and the tower is only a short walk from Base Backpackers. The first level of the tower features a revolving restaurant!
6. Free city circle bus
Don’t like walking? Bus 555 runs between Circular Quay, George St & Central Station. Buses operate between business hours.
7 Sydney Wild Life World
Located by Darling Harbour – Wild life world allows you to get up close and personal with native Australian animals! Entry costs is about $36.
8. Bicentennial Park
No visit to Australia is complete without a BBQ picnic in the sunshine! Catch a ferry to Parramatta from Sydney CBD to gain some affordable views of the city and its surrounds. Once in Parramatta, you can take a bus to Sydney Olympic Park station where you will find many parks and lakes with BBQ and toilet facilities to choose from. You can also BYO Alcohol.
9. King’s Cross – a cheap night out
Sydney’s notorious 'red light' district is iconic for its buzzing nightlife – from backpacker bars to strip clubs! This vibrant community is home to many happy hours and drink specials for backpackers – definitely worth a night out!
10. Sydney Observatory
This historic building (a tad eerie) can be found in the parklands at The Rocks and offers great views of the city. Take a free tour of the observatory and learn not only about southern hemisphere astrology, but also Sydney’s rich history.
11. Ferry / Snorkel at Manly Beach
Locals boast about northern Sydney's Beaches. Manly Beach is beautiful and is accessible by ferry from Circular Quay. A return ferry ticket will cost you no more than $15 and the journey takes approx 30 minutes. You will find shops, bars, cafes and restaurants lining the beach.
Eco Treasures offer a 1.5 hour Snorkel Tour of Manly’s underwater marine life for roughly $55.
12. Paddy’s Markets
Located on the southern end of George St, Paddy’s Markets are possibly the cheapest place to pick up those souveniours for friends and family back home. Also a must visit if you are looking for any cheap jewellery, accessories, sunglasses or clothing.
13. Sydney Aquarium
Sydney Sea Life Aquarium is located in the Sydney CBD and offers the opportunity to gain an insight in to the Australian Marine Life. Think Great White Sharks, the Great Barrier Reef and more!
14. Cockatoo Island
Sydney Harbour’s largest island is accessible from the city for just $12 return. Explore the island’s rich convict history and relax!
15. Pylon Lookout
With photo opportunities galore, Pylon Lookout is one of Sydney’s best vantage points. The 200 steps to the top of the lookout will introduce you to the history of Sydney’s Harbour Bridge before offering spectacular views of Circular Quay