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The Frugal Guide to Sydney

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Carolin Pilligrath – Travel Blogger

They say the best things in life are free. And while we all know Sydney isn’t the cheapest city in the world ($30 for lunch in Circular Quay, seriously?!), discovering the hotspots with a small wallet is definitely possible and can be just as much fun!

Go on a CBD Walkabout

Starting a visit to Sydney with a walking tour from ‘I’m Free Walking Tours’ around the city centre is a great way to familiarise yourself with the history, culture and lifestyle of the city. No need to book, tours run daily, with no exception to weekends or bad weather, from Town Hall at 10.30am for approximately 3 hours.


Get lost in the Royal Botanic Garden (and pet an ibis or two!)

A true oasis of tranquillity in the busy city centre is the Royal Botanic Garden. Uncountable grassy spots invite you to lay down your blanket and have a picnic after wandering around the perfectly groomed gardens. A highlight you certainly cannot miss is the vantage point at Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, a sandstone rock cut into the shape of a bench, ready for you to sit down and gaze the view of the Opera House across the Cove, to just take in all that Sydney beauty…


Relax on Observatory Hill

A bit hidden but not far from The Rocks you’ll find Observatory Hill, one of the highest points in Sydney. Once you climb up the little hill you’ll be blown away by the panoramic million-dollar vistas with the Harbour Bridge right in front of you. A perfect picnic spot to enjoy the afternoon breeze and take that postcard shot. Observatory Hill is also a super affordable (read: cheap-as) place for a romantic date with that special someone!


Cross the Harbour Bridge

Of course you can opt to climb the Harbour Bridge, but at $200 a pop, you can kiss your frugal (read: cheap) attempts of enjoying Sydney goodbye! And really, the panoramic views you get from the lower pedestrian level are definitely no less impressive.


Enjoy the ‘aquarium’ at Shelly Beach

Sydney has a lot of beautiful beaches and spots to cool off all around. But if you like to see some colourful fish without spending a fortune visiting the Sydney Aquarium, head to Shelly Beach in Manly. Just remember to bring your goggles! You can jump in the clear water and snorkel away. There is no ocean swell which makes it a perfect spot for the whole family to get up close and personal with the marine life. Getting to Shelly Beach can be nearly free too! That’s if you decide to meet the fish on a Sunday, because all public transport, no matter where or how far you go will only cost you a flat $2.50!


Pose at the Sydney Opera House

While you can’t sneak inside the concert hall and theatres for free, you can for sure snap away around the sails and pose in front of one of the most recognisable buildings in the world. And don’t worry, you are in great company with some famous Australian and international celebrities who’ve striked a pose here before.


Hear some tunes at the Opera Bar

Right below the Sydney Opera House you can find the infamous Opera Bar, a great spot for locals and tourist alike. Spread across a lovely terrace, you can freely sit down and take in the amazing Sydney Harbour views while listening to some free live music at the end of an exciting day exploring.


Caroline PilligrathCarolin Pilligrath is a passionate traveller soul and digital nomad. Her passport states she’s German but really, her heart loves the open road. She has lived in many places, among them Australia, Singapore, Peru, Thailand, Spain and currently calls the beaches of Bali her backyard. Today, she enjoys a fully nomadic life with diverse offices and constantly following the sun while working as a social media specialist, travel writer, and running a blog called