Australia   /  
  • Opeara House & Harbour Bridge from the Botanical Garden

  • Bundeena, près de Sydney

  • Sydney city center

  • Harbour Bridge from a pub

  • Manly

  • Three Sisters, Blue Mountains

  • Ivy, hype disco in Sydney

  • La cathédrale Ste-Mary, entre le centre-ville et Kings Cross

  • Luna Park

  • Watsons Bay

  • The Gap, Watsons Bay

  • Opera House

  • Noël à Bondi Beach

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While 60 years ago , Sydney was a backwater ignored by the world, it is now by far the most beautiful city in Australia . To go around, take at least four days, which will allow you to visit the city, but also to relax on the beaches of Bondi and Manly, to celebrate King ‘s Cross and enjoy magnificent views of Watson Bay. Add two more days to go to the Blue Mountains nearby which are completely worth the trip!

visit Sydney on a budget

The Botanical Garden

Walk in the Botanical Gardens, it’s absolutely magical. You will notice a sign inviting you  to walk in the grass rather than on the paths ;-) From the garden you have a beautiful view of the city, the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, icons of Australia.

The Opera House

Gorgeous pictures of the Opera House can be taken from the botanical garden or from the Rocks. It’s useless to visit the opera house inside, as those who did it were disappointed with the visit. The best is of course to book a ticket to see an opera or a show inside, but you must book it long in advance and it’s a real budget. You will find the program on the site of the Opera House. The history of the building is also interesting. In 1957, a competition was held to select a major architectural project. This is the plan of the young Danish Jorn Utzon, an unknown 37-year old architect, which was chosen after much hesitation. The project may be a bit too ambitious… nobody had never built such a roof and no one knew if it was even technically feasible. One of the chief engineers said later that if he had known how challenging the project was, he would never have given the green light. Five years were needed just to elaborate principles needed to build, and nearly 15 years to complete the building, which cost 14 times the original budget. But ultimately, the building is a masterpiece, a true symbol for the city and the whole country.

The Harbour bridge

The Harbour Bridge is also a huge project. Only the arch weighs 30,000 tons. In 1923, when the city decided to build the bridge, they wanted to break the record of the longest arch ever built, with 536 meters long. The work was extended and lasted almost 10 years. No luck, just as they were about to finish, they learned that the bridge of New York had been opened and measured 63.5 inches longer than the Sydney Harbour Bridge ! It is possible to climb the Harbour Bridge, but prices start at $ 180 ! More information on the Bridge Climb website.

The city center

The city center is full of areas where it is pleasant to walk, whether in the shopping streets, especially George Street in Darling Harbour or on the historic Rocks district.  If you are in Sydney in November and December, you ‘re lucky : there will be the Rocks Village Bizarre at Markets by Moonlight, which takes place every Friday night at the beginning of the Australian summer. It is a festival where you can participate in weird activities… but really nice. By cons , do not eat in the Rocks because the prices are very expensive and the quality is not always good.

On Darling Harbour, go see a 3D movie on the world ‘s largest IMAX screen. Check out the program on the website of the IMAX. A month before Christmas, do not miss the parade of santa clauses (Santa Parade) on Darling harbor… you will see Santa Claus himself , jet skiing !

Watsons Bay

Do not miss it : a walk on Watsons Bay where you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the city of Sydney and the Atlantic Ocean from a small hill called The Gap. It is also a historical part of the city since the Governor Philip docked on the bay in 1788, which became the Australia’s oldest fishing village. Taste its famous fish and chips from Doyles Restaurant, open since 1845 ! Relax on the beautiful beach of Camp Cove (there is also a nudist beach near Lady Bay). Also make ??the trip to the lighthouse from the beach. To get to Watsons Bay from Sydney, take the ferry from Circular Quay or the 324 bus.

Bondi Beach

Do not forget to spend a day at Bondi Beach, the closest beach in Sydney. Walk from there to Coggee Beach and you will enjoy magnificent views. In early November, you can also admire the sculptures through the festival Sculptures by the sea . If you are in Sydney on Christmas Day, which is also highly recommended, it is in Bondi Beach that you will go with your Santa hat ! The atmosphere is really great!

Manly beach

Take the ferry to Manly (beautiful views of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge) and learn to surf by renting a board on the beach. There are also some cool walks on the peninsula, which will take you on small deserted beaches. Do not miss the small beach of Shelly Beach, it is really nice .


Highly recommended : kayak in Bundeena (it’s really cheap! ) or a walk in the Royal National Park. This is a less known place near Sydney but totally worth it ! The beach is certainly the most beautiful of all Sydney, and it is not crowded with tourists ! To get to Bundeena, you should take the train to Cronulla and then the ferry to Bundeena. Stay there at least a day.

activities not to be missed in Sydney

  • Enjoy Free Walking Tour of Sydney, which takes place three times a day, 10:30, 14:30 or 18h . More information and places of appointment on IMFree site.
  • Go for a drink at the top of the Sydney Tower in the restaurant which turns around himself “360 Bar and Dining” at the 88th floor. It offers panoramic views of Sydney Harbour, without moving from your chair, and for free (you only pay for consumption). You can also choose to go on the top of the Westfield Tower but entry is $ 20.
  • The open-air cinema in Sydney. You can choose between the St George Open Air Cinema in January and February, which overlooks Sydney Harbour , or Moonlight Open Air Cinema in Centennial Park that runs throughout the Australian summer.
  • Go and eat Asian food in China Town ! This is where you will find the cheapest and the best restaurants. You ‘ll be spoiled for choice between Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Indonesian, etc.

Nightlife  in Sydney?

The best clubs are located in Kings Cross, you will also find there many strip clubs  and prostitutes who make this place the most decadent and depraved area of ??Sydney. In the 60s, it was the area of organized crime, corruption and drugs… It has a bad reputation. But Kings Cross is also the district of backpackers, as you will find a lot of hostels that take all young holidaymakers in the best clubs for free at around 10pm, often with a free beer at the entrance. So it is cheaper to take a night in a backpacker hostel  if you want to go out in Kings Cross ! Every night, a different club is the place to be:

Monday: Free BBQ @ Empire at 7pm , then the Sugarmill (free drink)
Tuesday : Trademark for the night of Coyote Ugly (free drink)
Wednesday : SoHo (free drink)
Thursday : The Club (free drinks)
Friday : The Empire

Another good plan is the Oz Party Bus, which is a bit expensive but offers an exceptional evening in a bus going to the best clubs and pubs in the city. It’s every Thursday and Saturday nights for $30, with a free drink in all the bars where the bus stops.

Finally, in the city center, the club of backpackers is the Scary Canary. On Wednesday, there is a contest of wet t-shirts and admission is free for backpackers. If you prefer the most exclusive outlets, then you can choose the sophisticated Ivy on George Street, which hosts a different public ($ 20 entry). Otherwise, for a drink and listen to music, go to the 3 Wise Monkeys. Finally, very nice too, Scruffy Murphy hosts concerts on the ground floor and you can dance on dance music in the basement.

Finally, for any Belgian who would feel homesick or anybody who like Belgian beers, visit the belgian café, Heritage Belgian Beer Cafe (135 Harrington Street in the Rocks). Of course , you will pay the price for enjoying a good Kriek or Leffe ! The decor is really nice and you can also eat there and taste the belgian typical dishes as beef tartar (Filet Americain) or mussels & fries !

Which hostel to stay ?

There are plenty of choices in hostels. For a convivial atmosphere and good value for money, Chile Blue in Kings Cross is certainly an excellent choice. I tested the D’Lux which has a great location, right next to the Empire in the main street and a roof where backpackers end up after work for a drink before clubbing. The atmosphere is nice and you have a bathroom in each dormitory, which is really great. This is ideal for long stays (for those who work in Sydney). But, on the other side, it is not very nice decorated or clean.

Go on Hostel World website where you can compare prices and review comments .

Tours from Sydney

The Blue Moutnains

Difficult to imagine that behind this metropolis of 4 million inhabitants lies a stunning landscape with mountains 300 meters high, waterfalls and eucalyptus forests whose evaporation leaving a blue haze gives its name to the mountains. You will admire the famous three sisters. Stay there two days. You can get there directly by train.

Wollongong and Kiarma

Spend a day in Kiarma or Wollongong, two charming towns with beautiful beaches and beautiful views, a few hours from Sydney.

A question ? Other tips to add ?

Share your experience with other backpackers to enrich this article! Feel free to ask questions or leave comments below, we will answer with pleasure!


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