Looking for some free things to do in Sydney?
You’ve come to the right article as we run group tours in Sydney and consider ourselves experts about everything to do with the city, including free things to do in Sydney.
Travelling around Australia can be pretty expensive and small costs can quickly add up. Even eating and drinking in Sydney can easily throw you off your budget so it can be quite hard to find things that are enjoyable but won’t break the bank.
While it’s nice to splash out on life-changing experiences, filling some trip days with shorter and cheaper attractions is a great way to pass the time and save money.
Sydney has plenty of free attractions and sights to see that you can easily spend days on end exploring. And we’re about to run through all of the top free things to do in Sydney to ensure that you never get bored!
Free Things To Do in Sydney
Thankfully, Sydney is a city that is filled with affordable things to do. From the beautiful beaches in the area to experiencing a bit of Australian culture, you aren’t short of cheap and free things to do in Sydney, that’s for sure. So here are some of our favourites…
1. Go to the Beach
Sydney is bursting at the seams with great beaches to explore. Whether you love to lie in the sand and work on your tan or take on the waves on a surfboard, there are beaches to suit every traveller.
While Bondi Beach is by far the most popular and one of the biggest pulls of tourists, make sure to find your own favourite! But still pay Bondi Beach a visit, it’s so worth it.
Lots of Sydney’s beaches are easily accessible by public transport with buses running past many of the Eastern Beaches. Many of the Sydney beaches are also connected by walkways, allowing you to walk huge expanses of coastline stopping at each of the highlights.
2. Take a Walk Around the Sydney Opera House
It’d be silly to visit Sydney and not get up close to the infamous face of the city, and arguably Australia, which is the Opera House. It’s on every postcard of the city so you need to see it for yourself!
You’ll see many tour options online to have a guided tour inside the building, unfortunately, the outside will have to suffice if you want to stick to free activities.
However, the outside of the Sydney Opera House is so impressive and you can get some stunning pictures of it. For some, the outside is more impressive than the inside, and we kind of agree!
But if you want to have a glimpse of the interior, you can walk through the main entrance hall or visit a cafe inside the opera house.
3. Enjoy the Views from Sydney Harbour Bridge
While climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge is quite an expensive experience, simply taking a walk across the wonderful structure doesn’t cost a cent.
Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of Australia’s most iconic pieces of architecture and offers some truly stunning views of the harbour.
Walking across the bridge from north to south offers the best views as you are walking towards the city rather than away from it. It’s one of the best things to do in Sydney, full stop, let alone just free things.
It will take you around 15-30 minutes to walk the length of the bridge depending on your pace and how often you stop for photos. And we recommend stopping quite a lot, just take a look…
4. Visit the Royal Botanic Gardens
Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens are very inviting and showcase some of Australia’s finest greenery. The gardens host hundreds of species of trees and plants, many native to Australia. One of the best parts about Australia is seeing things which you can only see in Australia, right?
They are free to visit and enjoy and open every day of the year with a few exceptions for special events which may require tickets.
Having a picnic in the gardens is very popular among locals and the peaceful atmosphere makes it easy to see why. It’s a really relaxing place to go for a walk and feel “at one” with nature.
5. Walk Between Bondi and Coogee
While Sydney’s beaches are perfect for relaxation, travellers who like to exercise and take in coastal views will love the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk.
The walk is pretty easy on the legs as the entire stretch is paved and is around 6 km long, and the views are spectacular along the way.
It takes most people around two to three hours to walk between the two beaches in one go, but you could easily spend much longer, stopping at many points for photos or rests in the sunshine.
And if you ask us, it’s worth having a few stops along the route to swim and enjoy a bit of time on the beaches themself. Why not dedicate a full day to walking the trail and enjoying the beaches?
6. Admire the Art in the Art Gallery of New South Wales
Entrance to the Art Gallery of New South Wales is completely free to all, no matter what age you are or what country you live in.
The museum is an opportunity that culture lovers should take when visiting the city. The gallery hosts paintings, sculptures and a range of other art pieces, while also housing libraries and archives.
The art gallery is actually made up of multiple buildings which you could divide over multiple days and there are changing exhibitions so you never know what you might stumble across on your trip.
Even if you’re not a huge fan of art, it’s still worth checking out. As a budget traveller, you try new things from time to time just because they’re free, and we recommend trying the gallery.
7. The Rocks Markets
The Rocks Markets are the most popular weekend markets in Sydney and there are some wonderful stalls to have a look at.
The markets have a wonderful vibe and many locals often wander through with no intention of purchasing anything, just to be nosey and enjoy the atmosphere. As the saying “when in Rome…” goes, you too can just walk through the markets without buying anything/
However, should you be looking for a new tasty treat, some one-off art pieces or some award-winning high fashion clothes, then you’re sure to find it at The Rocks Markets.
8. Wander through Sydney Harbour National Park
Sydney Harbour National Park is a beautifully peaceful area of New South Wales and is well worth the visit if you find yourself in Sydney.
The park overlooks some of Sydney’s most beautiful areas including the harbour with some nice views, and has some great walking trails, suitable for all abilities. The phrase “escape the hustle and bustle of city life” could not be more true about the park.
Sydney Habour National Park is responsible for protecting lots of Sydney’s offshore islands and ensuring the biodiversity thrives so there are some park entry fees.
But…if you are entering on foot, you don’t need to pay. It’s only for vehicles, and if you’re visiting Sydney on a budget, it’s unlikely you’ll have a car, right?
9. Explore Sydney’s Street Art
Sydney has a great street art scene and you could spend several hours hunting down your favourite pieces as a way of saving money but having an enjoyable experience.
Newtown and Surry Hills are two of the most popular areas of the city where you can find some magnificent murals to admire.
You’ll find street art everywhere in the city; on walls, sides of buildings and even on the roads, but if you’re looking for free things to do in Sydney, why not go on a hunt for some of the best pieces?
10. Visit Bicentennial Park
Bicentennial Park is a 40-hectare parkland located close to Sydney’s city centre. The park was opened for the Sydney Olympic Games and has been maintained since, and it is stunning.
Open all year from sunrise to sunset, Bicentennial Park is a lovely area to walk through and enjoy a coffee on a relaxed afternoon. And trust us, Australians love their coffee!
You’ll find playgrounds, picnic and BBQ facilities in the park along with plenty of other facilities making it the perfect place to spend some time no matter what you plan on doing.
11. Complete Cahill’s Walk
Stretching from the Royal Botanic Gardens to the Sydney Opera House is Cahill’s Walk and it is the perfect activity to bridge your itinerary of the two sights.
The walk passes over the infamous Sydney Habour Bridge and gives some beautiful views of Circular Quay, ticking off many of the other best free things to do in Sydney. So pretty much, this walk is the key to a good time in Sydney.
We recommend doing this walk at night to experience the city lights and get some wonderful evening photos of the harbour.
12. Window Shop at Glebe Markets
While you won’t be able to window shop in the literal sense at Glebe Markets, you can do it even better and have a look at what’s on offer without windows!
Glebe Markets is best known as the perfect location for picking up second-hand clothes and other items. With over 200 stalls located on the grounds of Glebe Public School every Saturday morning, you’re bound to find a perfect souvenir to take home with you.
Plus, as a budget traveller, you’ll never say no to a cheap deal, right?
Fashion is the best category at Glebe Markets with plenty of good deals to find. But there are also plenty of stalls selling eccentric pieces, handmade jewellery, vintage accessories and more.
13. Step Back in Time on a Tour of the General Post Office
The General Post Office is one of Sydney’s most renowned buildings and the tour is very popular with tourists (especially since it’s free!).
The post office is now a hotel but the history of the building is made clear by a resident tour guide and there’s a lot more to the building than you might expect..
You can book your free ticket on the website of the hotel, you simply need to reserve your spot.
Some tours are exclusive to hotel guests but if you book early then you’ll definitely find a spot on one of the public tours.
14. Admire the Grandeur of St Mary’s Cathedral
St. Mary’s Cathedral is a work of art in its construction and decoration. The cathedral is home to some beautiful stained glass windows and historic statues.
Australia isn’t exactly known for its beautiful churches, but St. Mary’s is an exception and you should definitely take a look for yourself.
While the cathedral is open to the public to walk around at their leisure, donations are appreciated to go towards its upkeep, but this isn’t mandatory.
You can also take a free guided tour of the cathedral on a Sunday at 2 pm for a more in-depth history of the building.
As with most cathedrals, it is expected that you are respectful and dressed appropriately (knees and shoulders covered).
15. Explore The Rocks Discovery Museum
The Rocks Discovery Museum is definitely one of Sydney’s hidden gem museums, and if you weren’t looking for free things to do in Sydney, you probably would have never heard about it.
The museum is in an 1850s sandstone warehouse and it is home to plenty of photographs and artefacts which chart the history of “The Rocks” suburb in Sydney.
We know, doesn’t exactly sound appealing…but trust us. It makes for a really interesting couple of hours. If nothing else, it’s free, and even if you don’t like it, at least you’ve not spent any more.
The free museum has plenty of interactive exhibits with both audio and visual activities available to make the history come to life in front of you and help to give a more enjoyable experience.
16. Cycle across Sydney
Syndey has some wonderful cycleways along its coastline and through beautiful parks. Hopping on a bike in Sydney is a great way to spend the day and you’re sure to discover some fabulous photo spots.
Whether you prefer challenging mountain bike trials or want to have a leisurely cycle across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, you’ll find the perfect location to explore on two wheels.
Of course, this activity is only free if you own a bike, but don’t worry if you don’t have the luxury – you can rent bikes in Sydney for around $25 AUD per day.
17. Take a Free Walking Tour
One of the best ways to explore any city when you first arrive is by taking a free walking tour which operates on a tips basis.
Walking tours give a great insight into a city’s history and allow you to get your bearings in a new place.
Tour guides can offer lots of helpful tips and recommendations for the rest of your trip and they’re the perfect people to ask any burning questions that the internet can’t answer.
Taking a free walking tour is also a great way to meet new people from all across the world who share a passion for travelling like you!
18. Stroll through the Queen Victoria Building
The Queen Victoria Building is home to over 150 retail outlets and restaurants so it is the perfect place to do some window shopping, which is one of the best free things to do in Sydney. But the building shouldn’t be visited for shopping alone!
The Queen Victoria Building is one of the most elegant buildings in Sydney and the design and craftsmanship that has gone into it is second to none.
The QVB was constructed in the 19th century and has a stunning central dome and beautiful stained glass windows. It really is the perfect home for the high-end boutiques that frequent its walls.
19. Walk through Hyde Park
This list may seem a bit park-heavy but that’s for good reason! Sydney has a huge range of parks that are perfect for visiting when sticking to a tight budget.
And no, this isn’t the Hyde Park in London…
The lush greenery showcased in Hyde Park makes for a wonderful stroll, and it’s certainly big enough to spend an entire day in.
Hyde Park is located right in the heart of Sydney, accessed easily by public transport and is surrounded by other free attractions like St Mary’s Cathedral, making it easy to extend your walk.
20. Have a Picnic on Observatory Hill
Observatory Hill is one of Sydney’s most romantic spots to relax with a loved one, or just friends too
It’s perched on the top of one of Sydney’s highest natural points, you get some beautiful views of the Opera House and Darling Harbour beneath you.
Visiting at sunset with a bottle of wine and some snacks is the perfect recipe for falling in love with your partner all over again!
Or if you simply want to fall further in love with sunsets, then it’s the perfect place too. Australians are known for loving their sunsets, and this is one of the best spots to catch one in Sydney.
21. Hike the North Head Walking Track
The North Head Walking Track is definitely a trail you should make time for on your trip to Sydney.
It’s a track which consists of many different walkways of up to 10 km and there are some fabulous lookout spots along the route.
Make sure to pack a good camera because the North Head Walking Track gives some of the best lookouts towards the Sydney Harbour that the region has to offer.
You can also discover the history behind the area by entering the visitor’s centre on-site, which is also free to enter.
22. Immerse Yourself in Indigenous History at the Australian Museum
The Australian Museum is a must-visit attraction while in Sydney, and not only because it’s free. The museum offers some food-for-thought insights into the foundation of Australia and offers visitors an in-depth history of the First Nation people.
Australia is a pretty fascinating country to learn about. Its history is very unique- after all, how many countries can say they have gone to war with emus?
The Australian Museum is the oldest museum in the city and has many exhibits on everything from nature and science to culture and history.
It offers a glance back in time to many countries and continents, along with the artefacts which reflect the creation of Australia.
23. Try Snorkelling at One of Australia’s Best Snorkel Spots
Snorkelling is a fun pastime for all ages, but finding a good spot that is safe can be difficult, especially right by a city.
Thankfully, Cabbage Tree Bay is just a short walk from Manly and is one of the best spots on the entire coast of Sydney.
The area is an official protected marine reserve so you can expect to find many different species here including the blue groper and small Port Jackson sharks.
It has crystal clear waters that allow you to see for many metres ahead of you and you can get some great underwater photos. It’s an unbelievable experience, and all you need is a snorkel and mask.
24. Climb the Overseas Passenger Terminal Observation Deck
Located at the end of the Circular Quay is an observation deck which you can climb for some stunning views across the harbour.
Why not do a bit of ferry-watching and count how many you can see come and go?
The observation deck is the perfect place to take some photos of Sydney’s most iconic structures and is a great way to pass a bit of time.
You can take an elevator to the second floor of the tower and then it is just one short flight of stairs to the top deck for the best views. Thankfully it’s not quite as difficult to get a panoramic view as it is in Europe where you have to climb 20 flights of stairs!
25. Check Out the Contemporary Art at White Rabbit Gallery
Last but by no means least on our list of free things to do in Sydney is the White Rabbit Gallery. The White Rabbit Gallery promises the best Chinese contemporary art available.
The gallery focuses on post-2000 pieces which are updated regularly to allow visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in the unique artistic style.
So if you’re not really into art, still check it out. It’s very modern and the art is quite in line with a backpacker’s mentality.
Free Things To Do in Sydney: FAQ
Below are some questions related to free things to do in Sydney along with our answers to each question.
There are lots of free things to do in Sydney such as walking along the Sydney Harbour Bridge and taking in the views of the city, or spending a day on Bondi Beach relaxing and soaking in the sun.
The Australian Museum is the most popular museum in Sydney which is free. Australia has a fascinating history and learning about the indigenous culture and the history of the country is no better done so than at the museum.
Yes, you have to pay for tickets to go to Sydney Tower. The prices fluctuate throughout the year depending on supply and demand. It can be anywhere from $26 to $40 for an adult ticket depending on when you intend to visit.
Yes, entry to the Sydney Biennale is free. There are some exhibits and attractions which require an exclusive ticket, but entry to the festival itself is free of charge.
Final Thoughts: Free Things To Do in Sydney
And there you have it, a complete list of our favourite free things to do in Sydney.
Sydney has a huge range of free attractions and things to see for free, and there is something that everyone can enjoy!
You can easily fill entire days or even weeks with completely free activities while in Sydney, proving that you don’t need to break the bank to have a good time.
Whether you like the outdoors or would rather explore a museum or two, you won’t be bored in Sydney, even if you’ve set yourself a tight budget.
And if you want to have some incredible experiences without spending a fortune, consider joining us on a group tour too.
Whether you’re looking to travel solo or bring a friend along for the ride, our group tours in South East Asia & Australia are the perfect balance of culture, adventure, chill time & nightlife. You’ll arrive as strangers and leave as the best of friends.