Free Sydney is a list of 40 things to see and do that, unlike most things in Sydney, won’t break the bank. This list is about experiencing Sydney in various ways and forms. There should be something for everybody on this list.
If you have got visitors coming to Sydney this list of Free Sydney is especially for you. Here is the list of great free activities and sights I’ve spent some serious time researching. If you live here, you may even find one or two things that you are yet to do.
I am not affiliated with anything on this list, this is not a sponsored post so this list is completely of my own free thought. If you have something you love that isn’t on this list, be sure to to add a comment below or post it on the AllThingsMomSydney Facebook Page.
1. Climb the Opera House Stairs
You have to climb up the Opera House Stairs! Go look closely at those beautiful tiles that make up that glistening roof. If the thought of climbing those stairs is too much you can just walk around the Opera House.
2. Cockatoo Island
Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour is one of the best places to spend a day if you like history or great views from across the waters of Sydney Harbour. It’s the largest Island in the harbour and is where all the convicts built the ships. You do have to pay for the Ferry Ride over but it’s well worth it. You can spend a whole day exploring, just remember to take a picnic so you don’t get hungry. You can read the full review here.
Spend a day in Manly. First do the Manly to Shelly Beach walk, then have a swim and finally stop for a bite to eat (the last will cost you as that doesn’t come free).
For more information on the Manly to Shelly Walk just click on the picture below. You can swim at either end of the walk.
4. Royal Botanic Garden
The Royal Botanic Garden is one of my favourite places in the City. There is so much to see and it’s so relaxing to be in all that open, beautiful space. Walk along the water from the Opera house to Mrs Macquaries Chair or wind down from the Art Gallery entrance to the water and then back up past the herb garden.
If you’re with kids, make sure to take the Choo Choo around the garden. This isn’t strictly on this list as its not Free.
5. Meander through Chinatown
Chinatown is located in Haymarket between Central Station and Darling Harbour. Chinatown markets are held every Friday from 4pm to 11pm on Dixon Street, Haymarket, Sydney.
6. Try spot the characters of Home and Away in Palm Beach.
7. Sydney Observatory
You can visit the Sydney Observatory for free during the day. You do have to pay to take a tour, whether you visit at day or at night. The Sydney Observatory is in walking distance from The Rocks and can be found at 1003 Upper Fort Street, Millers Point.
8. Meet the pelicans at Fisherman’s Beach in Collaroy.
Getting to Collaroy isn’t the easiest thing to do as the Northern Beaches are hard to get to but if you’re in the area then you should go see Fishermans Beach. It is also great for walks and snorkelling. For swimming head over to Dee Why or Collaroy Beach rather.
All the information you need is in the Fishermans Beach Review.
9. Do the Bondi to Coggee Walk
If you’re up for the distance, its 6 kms all in all. You can start the walk on the Bondi side at Notts Avenue past Bondi Icebergs. No “Free Sydney” list would be complete without the addition of this walk.
10. For or a shorter walk try Fairfax around North Head.
For all information you need head over to the Sydney Coastal Walks: Fairfax article.
11. St Mary’s Cathedral
St Mary’s Cathedral in the City stands on the site of the first Catholic Chapel in Australia It is one of the most beautiful churches in Sydney. You can find St Mary’s Cathedral on St Mary’s Road, Sydney, 2000.
12. See and be seen at Bondi Beach.
13. NSW Art Gallery
The Gallery is mostly free to the public except for some of the exhibits. It has a combination of European Art, Indeginous Art and Modern Art. You can find the NSW Art Gallery at Art Gallery Road, Sydney NSW 2000.
14. Ride bikes or take a stroll through one of the great parks.
Sydney is a cycle friendly City but even then there are some parks that are just perfect for riding around. Great places include Centennial Park (Fearnley Grounds) or along Lake Belvedere in Sydney Olympic Park. For more details you can click on our review of Fearnley Grounds or Lake Belvedere.
15. Swim in the ocean pools on the Northern Beaches.
Nearly every beach has its own ocean pool. Some of the best are South Curl Curl and Dee Why
16. Watch the Dragon Boat Racing.
You can watch the Dragon Boats Racing in Pyrmont on Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Tuesdays, 6.15pm to 8pm, Saturdays, 8.45am to 10am, Sundays, 8.45pm to 10am.
I think you can even join in if you’re interested at 2 Bank St, Pyrmont with the Sydney Tsunami Dragon Boat Club.
17. Get lost in the laneways by taking a walk around The Rocks.
If you visit on a Sunday you’ll come across the Rocks weekly market. Aside from the markets The Rocks is packed with history and culture at every turn.
There are plenty of magnificent spots. Some of the best are off Silver Beach in Kurnell or Bare Island there are a few great spots filled with giant cuttlefish, eels and fish.
19. Visit the Japanese Gardens in Auburn
The Gardens are stunning and completely free to enter. You can find all the information on our review of the Japanese Gardens by clicking on the picture below.
20. Birdlife Discovery Center
It’s free to visit and their is a free guided Bird Walk on the last Sunday of every month from 10am-11am run by BirdLife Southern NSW. You can find it at Newington Armoury – Sydney Olympic Park, 133, 1 Jamieson Street, Sydney Olympic Park, 2127.
21. Spot the Wallabies at Kuringai Wild Flower Garden in St Ives.
This is quite a way out of the City and not easily accessible for everyone but if you’re in the area, it is something to go wander through. If you visit in the afternoon you may catch sight of the Wallabies. At any other time of day you should see Kookaburras and lizards aplenty.
For more on the Kuringai Wild Flower Garden read the full review here.
22. Walk across the Harbour Bridge.
I must warn you that it can be loud and it can be windy. Start from The Rocks and wander over to Milsons Point to enjoy sweeping views of the city and Sydney Harbour on the way. The walk across the bridge is approximately 1 kilometre and a nice easy (if a little windy) stroll. Don’t worry if you’re worn out once you reach the other side, you can grab a ferry from Milsons Point back to Circular Quay.
23. If the weather is not great venture indoors through Sydney Town Hall or the QVB.
If you’re at QVB then you have to head up to the very top and check out the massive clock and the usual shops on the top floor. You can find the Sydney Town Hall at 483 George Street, Sydney 2000. The QVB is located at 455 George Street, Sydney, 2000.
24. Vivid in Winter
If you’re lucky enough to be visiting in Winter you have got to walk the City between St Mary’s and The Rocks via Circular Quay to see the City light up for Vivd. Vivid is just magic.
25. Listen to a Free Concert from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
You can find out about their concerts on their website (http://music.sydney.edu.au).
26. Take in the whole of the City from Watson’s Bay and then do the Heritage Walk.
26. Outdoor Movies are a must in Summer: Night Owls at Darling Quarter
Running in January this is such a special free activity, there is an earlier screening for the young ones and then a later screening for the older group. It does get a little crowded so get there early to get a good spot.
The kids movie on Friday, 5 January 2018 is Despicable Me 3. If you are there you’ll probably see us!
27. Feel like a little kid at Luna Park.
It’s free to walk through but the rides will cost you. If you go remember to take a picture at the entrance and share it with us! You can find Luna Park at 1 Olympic Drive, Milsons Point, NSW 2061.
28. Swim at Gordon’s Bay is a hidden Gem in Sydney.
I didn’t even know it exist until recently but it does get quite busy on weekends. You can find it north of Coogee Beach, South of Closely. It is accessible from the Coastal Walkway. If you’d like more information before visiting, check out Randwick counsel website .
29. Paddington Reservoir Gardens
These unexpected gardens are hidden in Oxford Street, Paddington. The structure is over 100 years old but the gardens are not even 10 years old.
30. Special Art Galleries
For the Art Enthuisiasts head over the Museum of Contempory Art or the White Rabbit Gallery in Chippendale. The latter is home to an extensive collection of Chinese Art and can be found at 30 Balfour Street, Chippendale, NSW, 2008. The Museum of Contemporary Art is at 140 George Street, The Rocks, NSW, 2000.
31. A free wildlife Exhibit
Check out the wildlife at Central Gardens Reserve, Merrylands. The wildlife exhibit is free. You can find the Reserve at Corner Merrylands Road and Cumberland Highway, Merrylands West, NSW, 2160.
32. Visit the Hawkesbury River.
Picnic or fish along the Hawkesbury River. There are a few great spots but our favorites are Brooklyn or Wiseman’s Ferry.
33. Climb a light house house.
Barrenjoey Lighthouse is open for guided tours every Sunday from 11am to 3pm except if the Sunday falls on Christmas Eve, New Years Eve and during extreme weather. You can find Barrenjoey Lighthouse at 1199D Barrenjoey Road, Palm Beach, NSW, 2108.
34. Get inside Government House.
It’s open and free Friday – Sunday 10.30am-3.00pm and on public holidays, with viewing by guided tour only. It’s located in the Domain and overlooking the Royal Botanical Gardens.
35. A freshwater swim in Sydney?
Have you had a freshwater swim in Sydney yet? Lake Parramatta is great for this, it has an enclosed swimming area set within the reserve. Lifeguards are on duty from October through to April. Just don’t swim within 3 days of heavy rains. You can find the right spot aim for 28 Bourke Street, North Parramatta.
36. Look up for the “birds”.
Angel Place in the City is home to the art installation called “Forgotten Songs”. It is made up of 50 hanging cages that play the sounds of the birds that have been lost to the City as it has been built up. You can find Angel place at Angel Place, Sydney, NSW 2000.
37. Take a Free Tour
There are free tours on offer from various companies and in various locations around the City.
38. Pay Homage to the ANZACs
Visit the ANZAC Memorial in Hyde Park, Sydney and pay homage to those who lost their lives. You can find loads of info on the ANZAC Memorial Website.
39. Visit Paddy’s Markets.
There are plenty of local markets in Sydney and almost every area has its own but Paddys is the original. It is also probably the biggest. Its been running for ver 150 years and has over 1000 stalls. You can find it at 9 – 13 Hay Street, Haymarket, NSW, 2000.
40. Picnic in the E.G Waterhouse National Camellia Gardens
These special Gardens are at 104 President Avenue, Caringbah South. Guided tours are on offer between June and August which is main flowering season. In the summer months the garden is home to roses.
If you’re travelling to Sydney with kids, head over to the article about the 5 best activities for kids in Sydney
Outside of this Free Sydney list and In terms of playgrounds, beaches and tourist spots you should be able to find plenty on the website.