Top tips to visit Sydney for less
Today’s Cities for Less feature comes from Nicole is who taking us on a trip Down Under. Now I have to confess, it has been some time since I went to Australia. Every time I get the urge to book a flight, I look at the cost of accommodation, the pitiful exchange rate and take the view that there’s plenty of other places yet to see on my bucket list. Australia can wait!
From the heady heights of almost $3 to the pound on my first trip fifteen years ago, the Aussie dollar is now down at xxx and I simply cannot face paying all that money when so many other places beckon me. Maybe you share my sentiment, in which case you may be praying that Nicole can show us some awesome ways to save money Down Under.
Let’s face it though, Sydney is an awesome city with some amazing cityscapes, easy access to the great outdoors and a mild climate perfect for the endless beaches lining the harbour.
Nicole is a lifestyle blogger at HighStyleLife. She is passionate about travel, healthy living and fashion. She always seeks new adventures and enjoys sharing her experiences with others. In her free time she loves to design clothes and furniture and you can find her on Facebook or Twitter.
Let’s see what she has to say about saving money on a trip down under.
Visit Sydney without breaking the bank
Personally, I have never let my lack of funds prevent me from exploring. Visiting Sydney was yet another of my savvy journeys and I even spent less than I thought I would. Locals are very warmhearted and friendly, which I’ve experienced in restaurants and museums, but also in random places and on the streets.
What I liked the most was the Vivid Sydney festival: there was always something going on and the streets were crowded with people. We also saw a light show projected across the Sydney opera: lions, snakes, birds and other shapes made out of neon lights – all was absolutely mesmerizing.
Anne: OMG I would love that. I am such a sucker for fireworks (Sydney still holds the crown for the best New Years Eve firework display as far as I am concerned) and laser displays! After all, how damn cool is this?!
Sydney has many expensive hotels (especially those in the city centre and near Circular Quay) but there are many low price alternatives. Consider affordable hostels if you’re comfortable sharing accommodation with others.
My friend and I decided to stay at one of the Randwick hotels because we made an early booking and caught a discount. If you prefer staying at a hotel, Randwick suburb is generally a good option, since the accommodation is cheaper than in other areas. Airbnb and Couchsurfing are also great options.
Anne: if you do go ahead and use Airbnb and have yet to sign up, be sure to use this link to grab a £25 voucher towards travel! Of course, you could always find a friend and go visit them. Let’s face it many of us Brits have family in Oz which makes for great reunions and savings on accommodation.
Obviously, Australia is a far-flung destination, no matter where you’re traveling from. You can find direct overseas flights to Sydney, but prices vary depending on your place of departure. Consider low-cost flights and planning way ahead so you can catch great offers and discounts.
Here’s an extra tip: when browsing through airline companies and checking out your best ticket deals, don’t forget to clear your cookies. Some travel experts say that airlines and bookings are using cookies to track your search so that they offer higher prices for routes you’ve browsed often. As for the intercity flights, the prices mostly vary between $40 AUD and $200 AUD, depending on your desired destination.
Sydney is a well-connected city when it comes to public transport. I strongly recommend you get an OPAL card since it will save you a lot of money. It’s extremely practical and works for buses, rails, and ferry services.
This smartcard ticketing system allows you to pay on the spot and enjoy discount benefits. For example, Sunday rides are incredibly cheap ($2.5 AUD!) and if you manage to complete eight trips from Monday to Friday, you can use public transport for free for the rest of the week.
Food and Drink
Believe it or not, you can eat tasty food in Sydney for $5 AUD! It is a city filled with international restaurants where cheap food has nothing to do with greasy sandwiches or unsavory chips you eat to make it through the day. Chinatown and Rocks Foodies Market are your two wallet-friendly food meccas.
We were regulars at the Tasne Curry House which served Indian food for about $10 AUD in the Randwick area, but there are a lot of budget friendly options you can choose from.
Anne: I have to say one of my favourite memories of food in Sydney was an early morning visit to the Fish market for prawns and mussels, cooked in a multitude of sauces. Sitting outside on the dock eating something so simple, but utterly sweet, was divine. Oh and I had my first Subway there lol!
Things To Do
There are free Sydney tours to enjoy. We took the walking tour which lasts about two and a half hours and the time simply flew. The local guide gives you a historical overview of the city (mainly the Rocks) and shows you hidden places that cannot be found in regular tourist guides.
Besides the Vivid Sydney festival, you can enjoy Bilennale, which is Australia’s biggest visual arts festival. It’s a huge cultural event and it’s completely free! There is always something going on in the center of the city, be it film festivals, shows or musicals.
When it comes to visiting museums and galleries, organize your schedule wisely to save money. Some days are free-entrance and some have permanent exhibitions that are free of charge. We visited six different museums, of which the Powerhouse Museum was my personal favorite. Circular Quay with landmarks such as Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge is wonderful, as well as the Royal Botanic Garden nearby. Of course, no visit to Sydney would be complete without a visit to Bondi beach, a vibrant place to relax.
Your Best Splurge
We didn’t want to miss the view across the Pacific Ocean, so we visited the Sydney Tower Eye. I regret nothing – we enjoyed the view although the glass-floored platform was a bit scary!
The best things in life are free, but traveling is not one of them: sometimes it can get really expensive, especially when it comes to hot tourist spots. However, if you make smart choices and are flexible enough, it is absolutely doable!
Anne: Thanks so much Nicole for sharing those tips. Some great ideas! It really has me hankering after a return journey to Australia for those awesome views, fabulous beaches (hello Manly, I am talking to you!) and vibrant bars of Circular Quay.
What are your top tips for saving money in Sydney?
I know many of my readers have been to OZ are even living there so what other advice do you have for saving money down under? Have your say in the comments below.