Yes that is the Aussie fiver pictured above (source). Why do they get pretty colourful plastic money and we crinkly old dirty coloured cash? Anyways, I thought I would do some budget backpacker life posts, mainly focusing on cheap and free things to do in cities. I thought I would start with Sydney…
Sydney was the last city we backpacked to, therefore the poorest point of our trip, I think we literally had $120 in cash for our six day trip. Despite such little money, I can’t remember being bored or stuck for things to do in Sydney. So I thought I’d share some tips on what you can do in Sydney on a Budget:
Check out the Sydney Opera House (source) Whilst you will pay a lot to go and see a show or have a tour at the Opera house, admiring it’s beauty and enormity from the outside won’t cost you a dollar. Turning the corner of Macquarie Street and seeing the masterpiece in real life was one of the most exciting moments of my time in Australia. Visiting this landmark brings a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘The Best Things in Life are free’. And you can still go inside if you really want to; I popped in to use the loo and got to admire the wonderful architecture that was the lobby and of course the ladies toilet. I know, so glam, right?
Fish and Chips at Bondi Beach After a huge three hour walk following the Bondi Beach trail, taking in the gorgeous views, frolicking on the sand and catching some rays (which was all free by the way) we popped over to a Fish & Chip restaurant that overlooked Bondi beach. Here we indulged in a $16 Seafood bundle for two, including fish cocktails, calamari, crab, muscles, seafood sticks and of course chips. It was delicious. There are loads of cafes and restaurants here, including more upmarket places with fish platters that cost upto $70. But if like us you’re on a budget, there are loads of cheap cafes like the one we chose. Or you could take your own picnic and enjoy a good old fashioned day of swimming and sunbathing at the beach. Find a spot and set up camp for the day. Just watch out for the sharks ;)
Bondi Iceburgs (source) Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to do this properly, we sort of stumbled across it unexpected (like many of our hotspots in Sydney) on a day that we didn’t have our trunks with us. But Bondi Icebergs is just your average outdoor sporty-looking swimming pool, only this one has the huge waves of the Bondi sea crashing into the pool. Located on the edge of a low cliff, right where the waves crash onto the rocks, they spill over into the swimming pool, giving the effect you’re in the ocean, but without the risk of Shark bites and sharp rocks. It looked really fun and is only $5.50 admission.
Fireworks at Darling Harbour We wandered a long here one night and saw a beautiful firework display and enjoyed some amazing street performances. Sydney tends to have a lot of firework displays going on so it’s worth Googling ahead to see if there are any upcoming shows. We happened to stumble along to Darling Harbour on the eve of Valentine’s Day so there was of course a romantic firework display on. If you get peckish there are restaurants, or if your just thirsty there are some nice swanky bars for cocktailing. However if you’re counting your pennies, don’t worry you won’t go hungry, there is a little mall on Darling Harbour with a fantastic food court inside with food from around the world (at realistic prices). And you may be inside but you can still see the beautiful night time views of the harbour and the skyline.
Enjoy a Picnic in Sydney’s Botanical Gardens Just down from the Opera House are Sydney’s Botanical gardens. I’m not sure why, but in Australia we made a point of visiting each cities Botanical Gardens. It’s not something I’d be that bothered about here in England, but we loved them in Australia. Maybe it’s to do with the more interesting wildlife you can spot? Anyways, we had a wander through the Botanical Gardens, followed by a picnic we had packed, which we enjoyed on the grass overlooking Sydney Harbour.
Walk on the Sydney Harbour Bridge (source)Our final morning in Australia was spent enjoying the actual harbour, where you will find huge ships, street performances, cafes, live music and the option to head up to the bridge. I would definitely take this opportunity. You have to pay to go to the very top of the bridge, the tower bit (which we only found out after we climbed up all the steps so we had to go all the way back down) but it’s absolutely free to walk on the actual bridge itself. Depending which way you’re coming from it can be a little confusing finding the steps to get up to the bridge, but it’s worth it for the view! Back down on the harbour we watched on as an aborigine played his didgeridoo to hardcore drums and bass. It was awesome.
Grab (A HUGE) bite to eat in Kings Cross Kings Cross is a bit of a red light district, so prepare yourself for Strip Clubs and half naked ladies. But it is also full of amazing cheap places to eat, hot dog vendors, pizza stalls. Imagine Camden but with lots of neon signs and flashing lights. We had $5 pizzas one night followed by a cracking lunch the next day in which The Beard ordered ‘The Ultimate Burger’ for just $8. We got to watch buskers whilst we dined, not to mention do some very interesting people watching.
Night-time wildlife at Archibald Fountains As long as you’re not too scared of small animals, wander along to Archibald Fountains when it gets dark. During the day this fountain and park area is a hot spot to sit and have a coffee, read a book, and it’s a popular meeting point for friends as it leads to a busy shopping area. However late at night it is dark, eery and empty of humans! We were staying around the corner from here, and on our first night we thought it looked like a nice spot for a romantic stroll, yet it ended up being a bit of a spooky wildlife experience. With no-one else around we found ourselves alone with possums and mice and goodness knows what else. The possums were running around in little tribes, whilst the mice ran around under our bench. Although a little scary, it was really fun, but when I heard rustling in the bushes right behind us it was time to leave! Free, fun and a thrill-seeker, I advise finding the time to do this, just remember not to touch, tease or harm the animals. Go in peace.
I hope this was helpful to anyone headed over that way whose traveling on a shoestring budget.
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