Fortunately for us we were able to stay with friends during our stay in Sydney, leaving our daily budget as healthy as possible for all those ludicrously expensive schooners! Here are our top picks of things to do in Sydney, suiting those with holiday budgets and shoestring backpack budgets alike.
Get Your Peddle On
First, find 3 friends. Second, head over to Centennial Parklands and hire a four-seater peddle bike. To be honest, you could probably walk the loop round the park quicker but that would be boring! It’s hard work and it’s a little expensive (AUS$20) but it’s hilarious!
One of the best ways to get around the outskirts of the city is by ferry and it is reasonably priced, for Australia. We took the ferry to Watson’s Bay where we had the mandatory fish and chips and sat on the beach looking out to the city skyline ahead.
Bowls of Fun
Bowls is generally considered a game for older generations to play wearing Panama hats and shiny shoes, right? Wrong. Try shoeless lawn bowls at Paddo’s Lawn Bowls where you will find groups of people drinking pitchers of beer in the sun and having barrels of fun, or maybe drinking barrels of beer and having pitchers of fun. Cheeky tip: the platter of wedges are ridiculously expensive ($35!!) but were unmissable in their deliciousness. But don’t take my word for it, I was smashed.
A fantastic day trip from Sydney. Trains leave from Central Station more or less every hour, so it’s an easy journey, although the train itself takes 2 hours. When you get to Katoomba you can walk to the trails and it’s easy to spend an entire day there. You can either walk the many different tracks or you can choose from various cable cars or a terrifying near-vertical mine train (this is called the ‘Scenic Railway’, for some ludicrous reason) to get between the trails more easily. The NSW site has some great info about the day trip: Blue Mountains, NSW.
B’ball, BBQ & Bondi
One for a group of mates. No trip to Sydney is complete without some beach and BBQ time. The most popular beach for visitors to Sydney is Bondi, which is definitely one for the young party backpackers but no fun if you fancy some relaxation or more than a square metre to sit in. There is a lively atmosphere and it’s good fun, but it gets seriously crowded (I think we lasted 40 minutes here before we got sick of it!). You might be better off seeking out a lesser-trodden beach.
Many of the parks and beaches have free BBQs for you to use too, so bring some burgers and a ball and spend the afternoon in the sun.
Sip Champagne at the Opera Bar
Head to the famous Opera House for the classic Sydney experience. We sat at the Opera Bar right next door and, although overpriced, you can’t beat the atmosphere, views and sea breeze as you sip your champagne (or AUS$10 bottle of Peroni).
You can’t visit Sydney without a stroll through the beautiful Botanical Gardens which not only offer a tranquil environment with many flora and fauna but offers fantastic city views. visit the famous Mrs Macquarie’s Chair to get some mandatory snaps with the bridge and Opera House in the background.
We’re not going to lie. As it was the festive season (like we need an excuse!) we spent the majority of our time in Sydney exploring the bars, which are definitely on par with London. To find out our fave’s read our post on the best bars in Sydney!