Sydney, Australia’s largest and perhaps most vibrant city, has been blessed with beautiful beaches, green hillsides crisscrossed with numerous hiking trails and glorious sunsets over the harbor. To indulge in all the natural wonder doesn’t cost a cent, and there are the museums, parks and gardens that are free as well. Here is a list of the some of the best things to do in Sydney for free that the whole family can enjoy.
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This is for all nature lovers and anyone who enjoys a hike. There are some beautiful trails in the hills that surround the city. One of the most popular ones is the Manly Scenic Walk that goes right through the Sydney Harbor National Park. This path offers some magnificent views. For a couple of hours, it’s a great way to spend the outdoors, with a few packed sandwiches. Another great walk is the Great North Walk, starting at Berowra Valley Regional Park. This particular walk is long and has been divided into many do-able sections. The Wildwalks website provides wonderful information on all trails in and around Sydney.
It is very easy to spend an entire day in the areas around Sydney Harbor. The iconic Sydney Opera House does not have any free tours inside the edifice, but it doesn’t cost anything to walk around the structure and enjoy the views and the happenings in the many bars around. The Rocks is a historically significant place in the city and a great place for a stroll.
During weekends, the Market at The Rocks makes the place come alive with color and people. The Rocks Discovery Museum on Kendall Lane may also be worth considering for a visit. Along Circular Quay are the metal plaques that commemorate the many writers who either lived in Sydney or visited. Known as the Writers Walk, this is a lesson in history that can appeal to the children as well. The Museum of Contemporary Art on Circular Quay West usually does have exhibits that are free to the public all year round.
Royal Botanical Gardens
Australia’s first vegetable garden, the Royal Botanical Gardens are a great place to spend a quiet day with the family. It’s perfect for a packed picnic lunch or just a stroll. There is a rose garden, a patch for herbs and tropical plants. There are cockatoos and other beautiful bird life to watch. It is also a wonderful place to carry a book to and read through the day, stretched out on a bench. A walk along to the waters edge to Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair is well worth the effort for the spectacular views of the Opera House, the Harbor Bridge and the harbor. The Government House, formerly the resident of the governors of the colony, is a treasure trove of art and history, some dating to the birth of the colony. The Royal Botanical Gardens have free tours everyday.
Sydney Olympic Park
This place offers a variety of activities. A walk through the complex is a history lesson on the Olympics. There are wetlands with a host of birds and also great cycle tracks for active. These biking tracks go past the major venues for the 2000 Sydney Olympics as well as through some of the largest urban parklands in Australia. Most of the guided tours within the Park cost money, but there is no charge for anyone who wants to explore for themselves, though there will be some areas out of bounds without a fee. For more information on the happenings Sydney Olympic Park take a look at their website.
Beaches in Sydney
The many beaches in Sydney are perfect family getaways for a day all year round. Bondi beach is the most popular, although there is a choice of lesser beaches. The Manly beach is a wonderful place to spend a few hours with its proximity to The Corso, the main shopping street in Manly. There is also the up-market Palm Beach in the north and Cronulla in the south. Tucked away from the main public are smaller beaches that are accessible only through some of the hiking trails along the coast.
It’s free to walk along the Harbor Bridge to see the magnificent sights of the harbor and the islands of the Sydney Harbor National Park with the yachts bobbing in the water. Moreover in winter, the City of Sydney hosts the Biennale of Sydney every year and the fun and vibrant Vivid Sydney. Both these events are free and there is plenty to see and do for a few days at least.
Fellow Aussie here, who’s been traveling all over the world. SouthEast Asia, Middle East, Europe and South America. Haven’t been to the U.S. I’ve also been living in Medellin Colombia for 8 years, so my Spanish is fluent.