Sydney is a world-class city with limitless ways to entertain yourself and enjoy the sights.
They say that the best things in life are free, so take a tour of Australia’s most famous city with our list of free things to do in Sydney.
1. Explore the Sydney Harbour
The whole Harbour area is many visitors’ first-stop on a tour through Australia. You can stroll along the edge of the water and take pictures of stunning Harbour views.
Then, take a walk across the Harbour Bridge and wave to the climbers above you!
Take a look at more things to do around Sydney Harbour.
2. Get Cultured at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
This Sydney mainstay will leave you in awe at the amount of amazing artwork that is on display. Australian and International works displayed in a quirky, art-deco building right inside The Rocks district.
3. Soak Up the Sun
You can’t think about Australia without thinking about those sunny, golden beaches. Sydney’s beaches are some of the best and most popular in the country. Whether you’re looking to lounge and want to learn to hang-10 and surf the famous break, you can’t go wrong with a day at Bondi, Manly, Coogee or any other Sydney beach.
4. Listen to the Buskers at Circular Quay
In this bustling Harbour-side plaza you’ll find plenty of street-musicians performing for the masses. Everything from folk duos, solo musicians and didgeridoo players fill the air with the sounds of local and native tunes. It’s free to listen, but of course a busker always appreciates a good tip!
5. Walk the Clifftops from Bondi to Coogee Beach
Can’t decide which beach to pay a visit? How about all of them?
There are plenty of great walks in Sydney and the surrounding areas, but the walk from Bondi to Coogee Beach may just be the most spectacular. A constructed boardwalk sits perched high over seaside cliffs and runs the entire length, connecting 5 of Sydney’s sunniest beaches.
Walk along and make a stop at each beach, from surf-mecca Bondi to the sandstone-striations of Clovelly.
6. Visit the Chinese Garden of Friendship
This tranquil oasis in the middle of Sydney CBD is the perfect place for a peaceful pit-stop under a pagoda.
7. Walk Through Chinatown
Sydney’s Chinatown is ranked one of the 10 best in the world. While you could go all out and try a smorgasbord of authentic Chinese cuisine – including the world-famous Golden Century Seafood Restaurant, where you can pick your own catch of the day from the fish-tank lined walls – walking through this Chinese cultural mecca in Sydney is just as satisfying.
Plan to be there on a Friday night to see Chinatown transformed in to a buzzing, outdoor night market.
8. Peruse Paddington Markets
One of the oldest markets in Sydney. Paddington Markets have plenty to browse through with arts, crafts, hand-made trinkets and goods and more. Walk around and enjoy the vibe of this market with Aussie locals. The market is open Saturdays from 10am to 4 pm.
9. Take a Free Guided Walk of the Royal Botanic Gardens
We make no secret about our love of the Royal Botanic Gardens. There’s no better place in Sydney to see such a diverse collection of flourishing flowers and lush, green plant life. The best part? You can take a free walking tour to get the in-depth low-down on this floral wonderland.
Tip: Be sure to stop for a picture at Mrs. Macquaries Chair for one of the best views from the park of the Harbour and Harbour Bridge.
10. Free Festivals
If you plan your trip around certain times of the year, you can take advantage of Sydney’s packed schedule of annual festivals. See the city all lit up during Vivid Sydney from May-June, see art installations, music, dance, talks and more at Sydney Festival in January, see beautiful blooms at the Cherry Blossom Festival in August and many more.
*Tip: If you miss Vivid, you can see the Sydney Opera House lit up every night with the mini light festival, Badu Gili. This 7-minute art-installation projected on the “sails” of the Opera House happens each night at sunset.
11. Roam Through the Oldest Park in Australia
Hyde Park is a 40-acre park smack in the middle of Sydney. At nearly 140 years old, it was the first park established in the entire country. This communal green space is manicured and pristine, with tree-lined avenues, monuments and memorials, fountains, flowers and more. Post up on a bench for a bit of people watching or take a leisurely stroll.
12. Explore The Rocks District
This 18th century historic Aussie settlement (one of the first ever established) has a storied past of convicts, gangs and other sordid affairs. Since then, the area has cleaned up it’s act and is perfect for a historical walk over cobbled streets, past renovated, centuries-old buildings. The Rocks is also home to two of Sydney’s oldest surviving pubs.
13. See The Rocks Museum
This unique museum is located in a restored 18th century warehouse. You’ll find a historic collection of artifacts and artwork that follow the timeline of the Rocks District, from pre-settlement to present day. Fun, interactive exhibits make this museum a history lesson that’s fun for the whole family.
14. See Amazing Architecture
Sure, the Opera House is the architectural wonder that put Sydney on the map for beautiful buildings, but the industrial design of other sites will give even the most discerning eye something to geek out over.
Australia Square Tower
St. Mary’s Cathedral
15. See Local Music at a Free Gig
16. Stop into the Queen Victoria Building
While Queen Victoria Building (QVB) is a shop-til-you-drop paradise, you don’t need to spend anything at all to enjoy this Sydney staple. QVB makes for a great stop on a sightseeing tour of Sydney. The Victorian architecture, glass roof, tile work, stained glass panes and animated-diorama Royal Clock show an attention to detail unheard of in modern shopping malls. There is even a free historical tour.
17. See Great Works at the Art Gallery of New South Wales
Curating some of the finest international and Australian art in the world, this free museum is perfect for an afternoon of art and culture. On Wednesday nights, the Gallery opens it’s doors until 10 p.m. for lectures, film screenings and more.
18. Stroll Through Everleigh Market
With all the usual trappings of a farmer’s market, including organic produce, coffee, juice and takeaway food, this market makes for a relaxing Sunday afternoon. Everleigh Market is adjacent to Carriageworks Art Space, so along with produce and food there are plenty of vendors offering local art and handmade goods.
19. See the City from Observatory Hill
Photo ops abound in this park overlooking the Harbour and Harbour Bridge. Post up for a photo, pack a picnic lunch or walk the grounds taking in the gorgeous views along the way.
20. Let the Kids Play at Darling Harbour Playground
Imaginations will run wild in this inventive, outdoor activity center that will allow your children to rediscover the act of “play”. Modern and built from the ground up with ziplines, giant slides, a mega-swingset, climbable net-tower, sand diggers and much more.
21. Explore the National Maritime Museum
Enjoy free entrance to selected galleries and exhibitions in this museum dedicated to Aussie Naval and marine history.
22. Take in the View from North Head Lookout
Gaze out over views of rugged cliffs and rocky coastline that only Australia can provide. Take the scenic walking track from Manly Wharf and arrive at North Head.
Spend Your Down Time with These Free Things to Do in Sydney
You no doubt already have a packed itinerary with plenty of the amazing tours in and around the city. But during your down time, spend some time with these great sights. We think it will take a while to exhaust this list of free things to do in Sydney, so hopefully you have enough time in the city to try them all!
If you’re ready to start planning your trip and looking for even more suggestions and tips, talk to one of our Destination Specialists. We’ll get you set up with the perfect itinerary for you and make it so the only thing you have to worry about is what to see next.
Phone us Toll Free on 1-888-359-2877 (CT USA, M-F 8.30am – 5pm).Tags: australia, best places to visit, planning, sydney, things to do, travel destinations, vacation, vacation spots