According to a recent study, you should expect to spend around $109 on an average date in New South Wales. That is more expensive than the estimates for all the other states in Australia. So, it is understandable that travellers on a budget would want to avoid such expenditure. However, there is a way for travellers to have their lamington and eat it too (FYI: A Lamington is a famous Australian sponge cake and popular Australian food).

For travellers in couples looking to see more of Sydney and for solo travellers wishing to entice a new love interest, I've rounded up the best Sydney hotspots for a modest budget.

So, without further ado...

Best budget date ideas in Sydney

1. Go for a stroll

A coastal walk of Sydney is a breathtaking and free way to explore the shores of Sydney. Two of the most renowned walks in Sydney are the Bondi to Coogee walk and the Spit to Manly walk. The Bondi to Coogee walk also holds an exhibition, which is worth checking out. It’s called Sculptures by the Sea, and is normally on from late October to early November.

2. Catch a flick

Ideal for warmer weather, Sydney offers a range of outdoor cinema options, including – the luxurious St George OpenAir Cinema, the relaxed Bondi OpenAir, the dynamic Luna Park Rooftop Cinema and the tranquil Moonlight Cinema. If you prefer a more conventional and affordable film experience, Tuesdays at the cinema are cheaper than any other night and various cinemas have discount offers on their Facebook pages or through corporate partners. (For example, if you or a friend are with Optus you can get discounted tickets from Hoyts cinemas).

3. See some nature

Sydney offers whale watching experiences throughout the year. A breathtaking and humbling opportunity, humpback whales are mainly migrating through Sydney’s waters from May to August and through Summer.

4. Plan a date night

Get a taste of Australia from Harry’s Café de Wheels in Potts Point, costing roughly between $5 to $10 for an Australian pie. This budget meal option is affordable and a cultural delight. For a sweet treat after such a savoury dinner, take a stroll to Circular Quay and select you and your date’s favourite flavour of gelato or ice cream to have by the waterside.

5. Experience the lights during Vivid Sydney

During May / June, Australia’s largest event is on in Sydney. With almost all the exhibitions and events free, this annual festival of lights and music is one not to be missed. There is also the Light Market out of the city in Chatswood, where you can admire the lights and grab a bite to eat. Vivid Sydney is the perfect opportunity to fall in love under twinkling lights.

Vivid Sydney


6. Have a picnic

Take advantage of the flowers in bloom, especially during spring and summer at Sydney’s Botanic Gardens. With free entry, it is the ideal spot for a lover’s picnic. Just take a blanket during autumn or winter!

7. Enjoy the markets

With markets operating all over Sydney, it is not difficult to find an arts & crafts or farmers market to explore. We recommend the Rocks markets, which is ideal for tourists as they are situated in the historic laneways where the European settlement began. The market has 200 stalls operating on Fridays from 9am to 3pm, and Saturdays & Sundays from 10am to 5pm.

8. Explore the city

For an exciting and affordable way to explore the streets of Sydney, why not join Sydney’s Free Walking Tours? With three tours operating every day, you can see the sights and learn about Sydney’s history and culture. It is free, but at the end of the tour there is an option to tip the guide, if you so choose. Another creative way to explore the city is by signing up for a self-guided scavenger hunt. Urban Hunt offers a series of interactive scavenger hunts which operate through Facebook Messenger. It costs between $20-$30 to sign up, depending on which hunt you select.

9. Leave the city

If you’ve explored Sydney a little already, you would know the value of Sydney’s public transport card, Opal. What you might not be aware of is that on Sundays there is a fare cap, with the adult fare cap set at $2.60. This means you could take a two hour train ride to the Blue Mountains and back for $2.60. Or you could catch the ferry to Manly and back. You’ll get spectacular views of the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge for, that’s right – a measly $2.60!

Whether your sweetheart prefers to explore the city or become one with nature, these options have something for everyone. So, regardless of what’s in your wallet, never sacrifice on romance and adventure.

Need Accommodation? Stay at Nomads Sydney

Need more ideas for things to do in Sydney?
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Author: Jessica is an avid traveler, having explored over 25 countries and counting. As a local Sydneysider, she has acted as a tour guide for her boyfriend, who is originally from the UK. Professionally, Jessica specializes in creating unique and engaging content with an SEO focus. She has written articles covering a range of topics from finance to dating.

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