Budget travellers rejoice! Some of Sydney’s best attractions are free, so you can happily enjoy the glamour of the Harbour City’s art galleries, elegant gardens and iconic architecture without spending a dollar.
Here are some of the most popular free activities in Sydney.
1. Walk from Bondi to Coogee
Sydney’s most outstanding coastal walk is a joy to experience and all it will cost you is a few hours.
The walk follows a cliff-top trail for six kilometres through Sydney’s eastern suburbs. Along the way you will pass through parks, beaches, rock pools and lookout points. Pack some food, because most parks and beaches have dedicated picnic spots, some with barbecues which are also free to use.
The walk from Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach takes about two hours and involves some steep gradients, so you’ll need decent shoes.
You can stop off along the way to swim, snorkel, indulge in a cafe break or watch surfers glide across the waves off Mackenzie’s Point.
2. Stroll around Centennial Park
To escape the rush of central Sydney, head to Centennial Park. The Parklands hold a special place in Australian history – it has been a space for Sydneysiders to enjoy some greenery since 1901.
Just outside of the central business district, this park is a European-style expanse of grand avenues, ponds and formal gardens. It’s a tranquil spot to soak up some sun on a quiet afternoon.
3. Picnic in the Royal Botanic Gardens
These sweeping gardens are a green sanctuary in the heart of the city. From herb gardens to tropical greenhouses, you can take a botanical journey and finish by having a picnic on the perfectly maintained lawns, enjoying a priceless view of the harbour. Wander down to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair to get that iconic photo of the Harbour Bridge.
The Royal Botanic Gardens are only a 15-minute walk from Potts Point, so they are easily accessible from the Macleay.
4. Marvel at the Art Gallery of New South Wales
Sydney’s premier art gallery hosts an incredible collection of Australian art, ranging from Indigenous pieces to Asian art. Alongside local artists are some of the greatest names in the art world – keep an eye out for Van Gogh and Cezanne.
Entry and guided tours are free and if you drop by on a Wednesday night you can take advantage of free talks and films.
You can find the Art Gallery 20 minutes from the Macleay Hotel. Directly opposite the Royal Botanic Gardens, you can easily combine the two for a budget-friendly day of culture.
5. Browse the White Rabbit Collection
One of the largest collections of contemporary Chinese art in the world, this art gallery arrived on the Sydney art scene in 2009. The gallery’s philosophy is that art should be for everyone. Amazingly, it’s entirely funded by the philanthropic Neilson foundation and there is no entry fee.
After visiting the collection, you can relax in the tea salon on the bottom floor. You have to pay for the tea, but the zen atmosphere is free.
You can find the gallery in Chippendale, on the southern fringe of the central business district.
6. Walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge
You don’t need to spend a cent to get a million-dollar view from the Harbour Bridge. The walk from one end to the other is roughly one kilometre with views of the harbour and city all the way. It’s especially spectacular at sunrise and sunset.
Another great way to save money on your Sydney trip is to get a good deal on your accommodation. At the Macleay, you can nab great rooms at even better prices, setting you up in a central location from where you can explore all the best corners of the city.