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Free Things to Do in Sydney

21 July 2017 | Olivia Jones

1. Hike Along Sydney's Coast: From Bondi to Coogee

Hiking from Bondi to Coogee is an amazing coastline walk. It gives you a unique opportunity to get to know the much-loved Aussie beach culture. See the ocean and mighty waves crashing the rocky, cliffed coast. Get some sun at one of Australia’s most famous beaches, Bondi, or even try your skills at surfing. The walking distance is some 6 km which you should comfortably finish in 3 hours. You’ll get a chance to see the diverse Sydney’s coastline. The in-between Clovelly Beach, Bronte Beach, and Tamarama Beach are all equally stunning.

While on Tamarama, head to Mark’s Park to marvel at 2000-year-old Aboriginal traditional art in the form of rock carvings. If you’re visiting during spring, don’t miss the unique, free-to-public Sculpture by the Sea exhibition. When it’s scorching hot outside, cool off at many amazing spots like Giles Baths, (women only) McIvers Baths, Wylie Baths or scenic and secluded Gordon’s Bay. For the end of the amazing day, visit the Waverley Cemetery (the resting place of the writer Henry Lawson) and enjoy the panoramic view of the ocean.

2. Go Whale Watching in Sydney

From May to November, you’ll get a lifetime opportunity to go whale watching in Sydney when these amazing creatures are cruising along the New South Wales coastline. And when we say a lifetime opportunity, we mean that for as many as 45 species of whales and dolphins call Australia their home for shorter or longer periods.

Cape Solander in Kamay Botany Bay National Park (Captain Cook’s ship Endeavour first landed here!) is the best panoramic point and offers a public viewing platform. Clovelly Beach and Federation Cliff walk are also great vantage points. Don’t miss to see peculiar toothed whales and baleen whales. There’s even a whale watching app to help you, with a real-time map and interesting facts.

3. Explore Royal National Park

Royal National Park

It’s called royal for a reason. Royal National Park is one of the oldest national parks in the world which covers 16,000 hectares of breathtaking bushland, waterways and coastline. Bungoona path and Marley Walk offer scenic views of the Hacking River. Governor Game lookout is another great vantage spot to go whale watching in Sydney or spot many of the local bird species, like sea eagles and silver gulls.

If you think you’re fit enough and want to go on one of those self-exploring walks in nature, the number one thing to do is the 26-kilometres-long Coast Track, connecting Bundeena to Otford. This is a multi-day track with many picnic sites and camping grounds. Royal National Park is simply breathtaking. But don’t just take our word for it; go see for yourself.

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4. Discover Sydney's Chambers of Wonder

The history of Sydney and New South Wales is rich and enchanting. Learn about its colonial past and astonishing indigenous tradition and culture. Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) situated at Circular Quay should definitely be on your list of free things to do in Sydney. It hosts exhibitions and special events of contemporary art from Australia and around the world. When you’re ready to dive into the past, visit The Rocks Discovery Museum, which is free, interactive and family-friendly. Don’t miss to make a stop at the inspiring Art Gallery of NSW, which is also free with bonus events on Wednesdays.

Speaking of chambers, accommodation in a megapolis such as Sydney can be pretty expensive, so it is wise to explore some alternative housing opportunities. For example, check out if there are any free house sitting deals in Sydney (you must be a paid member to house sit, but the Happy House Sitters have a guarantee of a $30 refund if you can't find a place in a year.

5. Picnic in Sydney's Royal Botanic Garden

This expansive garden is located in the heart of Sydney and is a favorite spot for picnics and jogging. Sydney's Royal Botanic Garden was opened in 1816 and belongs to one of the oldest scientific institutions in Australia. The entrance is, of course, free. A big plus is a free 1.5-hour guided walk tour, scheduled daily at 10.30 am and 1 pm during the weekend. Catch sight of the beautiful greenery, over 100 bird species, and an occasional possum and diamond python (not venomous).

6. Stroll Around the Sites of Sydney

Luna Park free things to do in Sydney

While it is ambitious to name all of the visit-worthy spots of this amazing metropolis, here are some parts of Sydney that are a treat for your eyes, and light on your pocket, too. Darling Harbour and Circular Quay attract tourists and locals with their amazing scenery, many landmarks and, of course, a lot of street entertainment. Another great event for which you don’t have to spend a lot of money is the Sydfest, a large summer festival located around city hotspots like Hyde Park, Parramatta Park and the Domain.

While you’re exploring the exhilarating harborside, make a stop at an old-fashioned amusement park, Luna Park. A two-ride pass will cost you $20, but the entrance to the park is free. To enjoy some more of those breathtaking views, go to North Head Lookout. Bring your binoculars for bird- and whale-watching, and enjoy the very best view of New Year´s fireworks from here. Other to-dos on your Sydney bucket list should be Paddington Markets, the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Happy Sydneying!

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