Top 10 Free things to do in Sydney
Updated: Jan 25
Sydney & its surroundings are blessed with incredible natural beauty which enables you to do many outdoor activates around the city for absolutely free. Here are 10 Sydney activities and icons which won’t cost you anything.
I AM FREE SYDNEY WALKING TOUR
I’m Free Sydney Walking Tour runs twice a day, starting from Town Hall Square on George Street at 10:30am and 2:30pm. No bookings are required, simply show up and join the tour. Tours take about two to three hours to complete.
Sites covered: Sydney Opera House, The Harbour Bridge, The Rock’s District, Hyde Park Barracks, St Mary’s Cathedral, Customs House, Parliament House, Macquarie Street, Queen Victoria Building, Lane ways & Art, Underground Tunnels, Sydney Tower and many more.
BONDI TO COOGEE COASTAL WALK
This scenic 6km coastal walking track starting from iconic Bondi beach to Coogee beach, (or vice-versa from Coogee to Bondi) runs along the most popular beaches in Sydney. This walk features stunning views, beaches, parks, cliffs, bays and rock pools. The beaches and parks offer a place to rest, swim or a chance to eat at one of the cafes & restaurants.
Picture credit: Instagram @juicetin07
Sydney has a stunning collection ocean pools and swimming baths to go with a glorious coastline and famous beaches. These beautiful rock pools that have been cut into the base of cliffs and rocky headlands and provide spectacular views of the ocean as well as the safety of a contained environment. Almost every Sydney beach has one rock pool to give swimmers some protection from strong ocean currents and big waves.
ROYAL BOTANIC GARDEN
Spending a lazy afternoon in the Royal Botanic Garden is one of the best things to do in Sydney. Whether you while away your time strolling, picnicking or lingering over high tea next to Australia's largest green wall, you're bound to finish up feeling refreshed and relaxed. There are free guided tours daily, as well as Aboriginal Heritage tours every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
Located next to one the most beautiful natural harbours in the world, you can enjoy spectacular views and take photographs of Sydney Harbour, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. Entry into the gardens is free and it opens daily at 7 am. The nearest train stations are Circular Quay and Martin Place.
Sydney is home to many underwater spots that according to experienced snorkelers are among some of the best snorkelling sites in the country.
There are over 500 species of sea life in the harbour including sea dragons, cuttlefish, seahorses, octopus, blue swimmer crabs, pygmy leatherjackets, Port Jackson sharks, starfish, blue groper and many, many more.
WALK AROUND THE ROCKS AREA
The Rocks is a neighbourhood of historic laneways in the shadow of Sydney Harbour Bridge. Locals and tourists mingle at the open-air Rocks Markets, purchasing street food and handmade fashions. The area has some of Sydney’s oldest pubs and many of the upscale restaurants have harbour views. Buskers perform along the busy harbour front promenade.
MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART
Museum of Contemporary Art is located in the rocks area of spectacular Sydney Harbour, the Museum of Contemporary Art is open seven days a week. The entry to Museum is free, here you can discover the latest art and ideas from contemporary Australian and International artists.
There is a large collection of work from John Mawumdjul, who hails from west Arnhem Land in Northern Territory. There is also an exhibition of the work of Chinese artist Sun Xun and I particularly liked his paintings done on old newspapers.
WHALE WATCHING AT BARRANJOEY LIGHTHOUSE
This iconic lighthouse is located at the northernmost point of Sydney – Barranjoey Head at Palm Beach.
To get there, take an easy and picturesque walk along Barrenjoey track for 1km. The walk to the top requires moderate fitness and will take about 30 minutes each way from Governor Phillip parking area.
Make sure to carry your binoculars for whale watching between the months of May and September. From this spot you can capture the panoramic views of Broken Bay, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and the Central Coast with your camera.
Note: The inside of the lighthouse is only accessible by guided tour (Operates every Sunday for $5 per person) but you can walk around the outside.
ST MARY'S CATHEDRAL
Situated next to Hyde Park, St. Mary’s Cathedral is the first Roman Catholic Church in Australia and is regarded as one of the finest examples of English-style Gothic architecture.
Free tour of the cathedral and the crypt is conducted on Sundays after the mass at approximately 11.30 am.
FREE FESTIVALS IN SYDNEY
Picture credit: Instagram @ruthcollins
Sydney puts up some of the best free festivals and events anywhere in the world. Here are some of them:
New Year’s Eve (December) – Sydney NYE is an annual multi-tiered event held every New Year's Eve over Sydney Harbour, centering on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The main event is the firework display at 9 pm and at midnight, which is considered the absolute best in the world and it does not cost you anything.
Sydney Mardi Gras (March) – This annual LGBT pride parade and festival in Sydney is attended by hundreds of thousands of people from around Australia and overseas. It is one of the largest such festivals in the world.
Vivid Sydney (May-June) – Sydney is transformed into a spectacular canvas of light, music and ideas.
The Sydney Festival (January) – is Sydney's major arts festival that runs for three weeks every January. The festival features in excess of 100 events from local and international artists & includes contemporary and classical music, dance, circus, drama, visual arts and artist talks.