Guide to Sydney on the cheap

The view of the Sydney Opera House, taken from the Harbour Bridge.
Sydney Opera House, taken from the Harbour Bridge.

Being rich and having loads of free time is a great way to travel, for the rest of us Nomads Blogs guides are written by local’s to help you explore the best parts of a city on the cheap.

The first trap most tourists fall into is taking the train from Sydney Airport, the airport station was built by the airport so is prohibitively expensive, if you are travelling alone it is roughly the same cost as a Taxi, but if there are 2 or more of you then a taxi is definitely a cheaper option and Uber is available in Sydney. The only exception to this is peak hour if you are headed into the CBD can have heavy congestion especially if it is raining.

Want to dine on Bondi Beach, but don’t want to spend $80+ for a meal at Icebergs? How about a few sausages from the butcher, and $2 for the public BBQ, some sauce and bread. Check out the North end of the beach and there are a number of council provided coin operated BBQ’s. This area is an alcohol free zone but if you keep it tidy you likely will be fine, as a local I never had problems and I can’t pull the “I am from out of town and didn’t know” trick. Bondi RSL is also a reasonably priced alternative and has amazing views looking south over Bondi Beach.

Transport in Sydney is expensive, buying a MyMulti Daily for $23 or weekly pass for $46 will get you around the city on your choice of Train, Bus, Tram, or Ferry, this can be used in the Blue Mountains, Newcastle, and most of Sydney but check online first if you are not sure.

Harbour cruises are fairly expensive, but the ferry is cheap, the Circular Quay to Manly is the most visited option, but the ferry’s also head up the Parramatta River $6 – $7.40 this is included if you buy a MyMulti, we would recommend spending the day in Manly and coming back for sunset on the ferry, here is why:

The sunset ferry Circular Quay to Manly

The sunset ferry Circular Quay to Manly

Walking across the Sydney Harbour Bridge is free, you can climb one of the Pylons (South Side) for a small fee that is a fraction of the cost of paying to climb over the top $200+, the first photo on this post was taken from walking across the bridge, and as you can see the view is spectacular.

Sydney Harbour Bridge from Circular Quay

Sydney Harbour Bridge from Circular Quay

The natural beauty around Sydney is one of its biggest assets, so walking is a great way to see it, there are a number of well signposted walks, these include the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk, which follows from Bondi south and is around 4km, some of the views here are breathtaking and if you go there for Sculptures By The Sea, an annual art installation the experience is even better, with some amazing, and some bizarre pieces but be warned this usually very busy. Sculptures is in late October-November.

Sculptures by the sea, Bondi, Sydney

Sculptures by the sea, Bondi, Sydney

If you happen to be on the North Shore, there are also many coastal walks, the best is Split Bridge to Manly, and is usually less busy than the Bondi to Coogee walk, and the ferry to Manly offers a great view of the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House.

Walking from the Sydney Opera House, to Sydney Harbour Bridge then through the oldest part of Sydney, The Rocks is also a must. We would recommend a stop at The Australia Heritage Hotel to try the Coat of Arms pizza, consisting of the two animals on the Australian Coat of Arms (emu and kangaroo). From here a stop head to the rooftop bar at The Glenmore for a few drinks overlooking the harbour.

The view from the Glenmore, The Rocks, Sydney

The view from the Glenmore, The Rocks, Sydney


Sydney Tower, which is known my locals as Centrepoint tower, or now Westfield Tower is the tallest vantage point in Sydney, and offers some great views, if you do plan on heading to the observation deck you can buy tickets online, and save some money, or if you are in to yoga, they do often hold classes which include a free breakfast for $25. this still comes in at 10% of the cost of climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Sydney Price Guide:

  • Hostel shared dorm – $20-$30 season and location dependent, New Years Eve this will be substantially higher.
  • Cheap hotel $50 – $90 again dependent on location
  • Beer (Schooner 375ml)  in a pub $7-$10 (Happy Hours and Backpacker bars $5)
  • Beer in a club $10-$15
  • Cheap take away meal $10-$15
  • Restaurant meal $25+ if you are in a tourist area this can be much higher
  • Bottle of water $2

More information:

Whats on in Sydney: or

The Bondi to Coogee coastal walk: and Manly walks:

Transport information and pricing


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