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When we travel we’re always very budget conscious. It’s become quite an addiction to find free and fun things to do everywhere we go. Every penny saved is welcome. We’ve collected a list of free and fun things to do in Sydney to help you get the most out of your visit to Sydney.
Sydney is the capital of New South Wales. It has a population of 5.2 million people. The most famous view that everybody knows is the Opera House. But there is more to Sydney than that. Bondi Beach is a nice escape from the city vibes.
Public transport is easily accessible, which is always an added benefit for a city trip. If you’re too tired to walk back, just hop on a bus or train.
St. Andrew’s Cathedral
St. Andrew’s Cathedral was founded in 1819 and inaugurated in 1868. This makes it the oldest cathedral in Australia. Between 1999 and 2000 it was drastically renovated. The inside is what you would expect from a Catholic church, but the stained glass is beautiful. The decorations around are also very nice to see.
We get a booklet from someone with some information about the church. The most striking are two tiles on the wall, on the side. These are two stones donated by England. We also see beautiful decorations and an organ on the ground floor.
St. Andrew’s Cathdredal has limited opening hours to the public, so make sure to check their website if you’re able to go inside.
Hyde Park is an urban park of 16.2 hectares in the heart of Sydney. It is the oldest public parkland in Australia. There are several memorials including the Archibald Fountain, commemorating Australia’s contribution to the First World War, the ANZAC War Memorial, also a monument to the victims of the First World War, but now for Australian victims of other wars. In front of the ANZAC War Memorial is the Reflection Pool. We don’t really see a reflection, but the idea is there.
In addition to the monuments, we see many people in the park enjoying the peace and quiet as well as the sun. If the weather is nice, people eat their lunch in the park. People are working out or playing a game. It’s fun just to stroll around and visit the monuments or just hang out.
St. Maria Cathedral
St. Maria Cathedral is Sydney’s most famous cathedral and is definitely worth a visit. The outside alone is beautiful to see and the cathedral towers above everything you see as you walk through Hyde Park.
A little bit of history: Sydney once started as a prisoner city to separate prisoners from society. This was in 1788. It was not until 1820 that two priests came to Sydney. One of the two went on to Tasmania. The second stayed in Sydney with a vision of a huge church. The foundation of this immense building was laid in 1821. In 1865 the building was destroyed by fire and was immediately rebuilt into what we can admire today.
The cathedral is open to the public every day between 6.30 am and 6.30 pm (sometimes 7 pm). Every Sunday at 2 pm there is a free guided tour through the cathedral. You’re not allowed to take pictures inside during mass or other celebrations.
Royal Botanic Gardens
The Royal Botanic Garden is a 30-hectare botanical garden. Established in 1816, the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney is the oldest botanic garden and scientific institution in Australia. They have a selection of Australian and international plants, flowers, and trees.
If you’re headed to the Sydney Opera House going through the Botanic Gardens will give you a stunning view of both the Opera House and the Harbor. Access to the Royal Botanic Gardens is free. They host tours as well, check their website for times.
Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House is one of the must-sees if you go to Sydney. The design of this building was conceived by Jørn Utzon in 1955. He has taken the inspiration for its unusual design from his hobby: sailing. In addition, the buildings resemble shells. Utzon would have designed the building in one go, without a ruler or calculator.
When you stand in front of the building the design is amazing. We haven’t seen anything like it yet. But it is a bit of a combination between expectation and reality. On TV it looks so white and big! In reality, it’s a bit grey. There are several separate buildings. The biggest is where the performances etc. take place. A smaller one serves as a (closed) restaurant.
There are tours you can take that take you through all facets of the building. We take a look inside, where the toilets are and a souvenir shop. You can buy tickets for a performance inside as well.
Bondi Beach is one of Australia’s most famous beaches. Although the beach is not very large, it is visited annually by beach lovers, surfers, and sun worshippers. This is also the beach where the series Bondi Rescue was filmed. In this series, you can see the different situations that the lifeguards have to deal with.
Bondi means ‘branding’ in the Aboriginal language. On a sunny day, there are an average of 30,000 visitors on the beach. A boulevard with restaurants, shops, and bars runs along the beach where you can have a drink.
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The main beach area is in front of the Bondi Pavilion, where there are changing rooms, a gallery, and a theatre. Professional lifesavers patrol the beach all year and you should always swim between the red and yellow flags. A 50-meter ocean pool and a children’s pool are at the southern end.
Bondi to Coogee Beach Walk
Along the coast of Sydney is a walk between the different beaches. The start or end point of the walk is Bondi Beach. We would recommend heading to Bondi Beach so you can relax a little when you’re done. The entire route runs from Coogee Beach to Bondi Beach, a 6 km walk. If you think this is too far, you can start in Clovelly Beach or Bronte Beach.
The beauty of this walk is that you really walk along the coast, from cliff to cliff. Here you have a beautiful view of the ocean and the coast. It reminds us of the Great Ocean Road, where you also have these views. Only this time we walk instead of hopping in the car. It is a popular walking route and we meet many other visitors. Yet you don’t really get in each other’s way, because everyone walks at their own pace.
What are your favorite fun and free things to do in Sydney?
A day in Sydney can be very beautiful and fun, especially if the weather is good. This list of fun and free things to do in Sydney is not all there is to see and do, but it’s a great start. We loved the diversity of Syndey. One minute you’re standing in a beautiful cathedral and the next minute you’re out and about enjoying the parks.
Please share your favorite fun and free things to do in Sydney in the comments below and let us know what we need to visit next time we’re in Sydney. Let’s enjoy as many fun and free things as we can so we can travel long-term and budget-friendly!
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