Free Things to Do in Sydney
Sydney is an outdoors city and the upside of that is there is a lot of free fun to be had. It costs nothing to explore the city's natural beauty, from its famous beaches to lush parklands, while many museums and attractions have free entry. If you know where to go, you can have a great time without breaking the budget.
Sydney is surrounded by water, so jump right in. Stop to see the swell at one of its many spectacular beaches, go swimming in ocean pools when the tide is up and when it’s down explore the rockpools for little sea critters. During the annual whale migration perch yourself on a coastal lookout and wait for those magnificent animals to pass you by.
Gardens & walks
Stroll through the Royal Botanic Garden, a green oasis in the middle of the CBD and enjoy a free guided tour that departs daily from the Visitor Centre. It’s just one of hundreds of gorgeous gardens throughout the city. For something more wild, explore one of the many enchanting national parks. The biggest is the Royal National Park which is free to access via public transport (though there is a $12 parking fee per vehicle).
Get a sense of how grand Sydney’s coastline is by following it on foot. There are many walking trails around the Sydney Harbour foreshore or catch a ferry from Circular Quay and take the Cremorne Point to Mosman Wharf walking track or the Bradley’s Head to Chowder Bay walk in Sydney Harbour National Park.
If you don’t want to stray too far from the centre of town, walking across the impressive Sydney Harbour Bridge is an experience in itself. And don’t forget you can walk around the around the iconic Sydney Opera House and see the architectural masterpiece from another angle.
Museums & attractions
Enjoy a bit of culture with free entry to the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and the Art Gallery of NSW, which also had free audio tours for kids. The Powerhouse Museum has free entry and parts of the Australian National Maritime Museum are free, though if you want to climb aboard the ships and visit the latest exhibitions you’ll have to buy a ticket.
Casula Powerhouse in Western Sydney is another great free option with lots of immersive and interactive exhibits. Though it's not technically a museum, but you'll learn a lot when you visit Cockatoo Island, one of the World Heritage-listed Australian convict sites. It's an island in the middle of Sydney Harbour and the ferry ride there is part of the fun.
Sydney Olympic Park has great family attractions and some are free, including the Birds Australia Discovery Centre every weekend and the Mini Park Rangers program on Tuesdays, where children aged up to five explore the parklands and adjacent wetlands with park rangers.
Exploring Sydney via public transport is very cost effective. By using Opal cards to tap and on off busses, trains and ferries you'll enjoy daily travel caps and pay a maximum of $8.05 for adults and $4 for children for all-day travel on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays.