Wallet-friendly transportation options
With buses, trams, trains, and ferries – Sydney is truly a well-connected city. Consider getting an OPAL card as it is a savvy, on-the-budget solution that can help you get around much easier. Instead of buying a ticket for each ride separately, you simply add value to your OPAL card and then “tap-on“ in any means of transportation that is part of the OPAL network. You get an unlimited number of rides during the day for just $15 (on Sundays, only $2.5!) or during the week, for $60.
Furthermore, you can use it when traveling outside Sydney, for example to Blue Mountains, Southern Highlands, or Newcastle. There are also affordable hop-on-hop-off bus services that include a guided tour: explore Sydney’s best sightseeing spots or book your place and discover the beautiful Bondi beach. You can purchase a 24-hour ticket ($35 for adults) or 48-hour ($56 for adults): during the mentioned period of time, you can join both tour buses.
Finding a place to stay
Just like most big cities, Sydney offers tons of accommodation options. Scratch the five-star resorts right away: it’s much more reasonable to spend money on the experiences than on a luxurious place where you’ll only crash at night. The price range is pretty wide and you can find decent hotels and hostels for as low as $18 per night.
You can also share accommodation to save money and find cool flatmates in Sydney. By meeting new people from all parts of the world your staying will be more meaningful and locals would certainly be glad to give you some insider tips, so you can have fun the Aussie way.
Sightseeing on a shoestring
Sydney hides a number of beauties but the question is: where to start? It may be the best to join a Free Walking Tour. Two tours are offered: the first focuses on most prominent sights of Sydney and the second on the Rocks District. The first one is really comprehensive as you learn intriguing facts about the Sydney Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, the “Rum“ Hospital, Circular Quay, and many other sites. In the second one, you get a chance to hear an exciting history of the Rocks, including stories of betrayals, murders, and legends.
Besides these tourist spots, make sure you don’t miss the lovely Royal Botanical Garden. It’s entrance-free plus you can enjoy a guided tour at 10.30 am. Bondi beach is the most famous place to relax: go for a coastal walk from it to Coogee or unwind at some of the many beach bars. Darling Harbour is perfect for people-watching.
Packed with funky cafes and restaurants, it’s at walking distance from Chinese Garden of Friendship ($5 entrance fee). As for the cultural offer, there’s always something going on in the city. Enjoy the annual open-air art exhibition called Sculptures by the Sea positioned along the shore, from Bondi to Tamarama Beach. The iconic Vivid Sydney Festival is really something worth experiencing, from light shows to workshops, music and dance performances.
Sydney can really boast with great cuisine, be it locally produced, international, or fast food. Pub food deserves a special mention: forget about sandwiches and simple dishes – Sydney pubs really are at the top of their game when it comes to menus. You can also enjoy vegan restaurants that have designed their dishes in a praise-worthy way.For example, at The Nourishing Quarter – you can enjoy a degustation menu for $45 – a great way to experience various tastes! Superfood Sushi is another place worth visiting: it’s healthy and cheap (some dishes are bellow $10) and you can savor zucchini, mushrooms, salmon, sushi in most amazing combinations.
The absolute hit in Sydney is the Acai bowls: a healthy frozen berry dessert filled with fresh fruit and energy-boosting ingredients. It can be a finger-licking power breakfast for around $8 (small portion) or $11 (big portion). Try places like Girdlers Grind (Northern Beach area) or Sadhana Kitchen (near Bondi Beach).
Lovers of the international cuisine will enjoy the New York Restaurant with over 50 years of tradition: lamb chops and mashed potatoes don’t look so exotic, so they may not be worthy of an Instagram picture but they sure are yummy!
Enjoy a clash of cultures at the Flying Squirrel: Asian cuisine combined with Sydney seafood – there’s hardly anything better. Let’s not forget the Rocks Foodies Market (held on Fridays from 10 am to 4 pm) where you can savor fresh bread, meat pies, kebabs, or grilled meat – for as low as $5.
Traveling can be expensive but not necessarily. With a little bit of effort, you can manage your funds smarter and enjoy discovering a foreign city. Enjoy the taste of Sydney while staying savvy with your budget!