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Exploring Sydney on a budget

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Free Fireworks at Darling Harbour

Darling Harbour is off the edge from Chinatown just a 5 minute walk from Town Hall Station. Offering plenty of photo opportunities, Darling Harbour boasts many outdoor cafes, cheap eats, live music, bars and is a popular spot for buskers and street performers. Every second Saturday night from the 29th October to the end of January, Darling Harbour hosts a free fireworks display from 9:00pm. 

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Watch the sun set at Watsons bay hotel

Buy takeaway fish and chips on the wharf and brave the seagulls on the small beach before retiring to the Watson's Bay Hotel beer garden - http://www.watsonsbayhotel.com.au/ - to watch the sun set over the city skyline.

Gaze out from North Head Lookout

Enjoy sweeping views from the mouth of the harbour to Sydney’s skyscrapers, and if you’re lucky, spot a whale or two. Sunsets at north head are spectacular. Cost? Free

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Relax in Bronte Park and set up a BBQ
Coin-operated public barbecues make this Sydney’s best (almost free) al fresco lunch spot. Take a dip before deciding whether you’ll whip up a Korean family grill or a brzillian-style meat feast. All while enjoying the sparkling sea views.  

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Enjoy yoga with a view at Sydney Tower

What better way to view the city than by 360 degree views of the city from Sydney Tower Eye. Tickets are about $26 and the tower is only a short walk from Base Backpackers. The first level of the tower features a revolving restaurant and if you are game, try the SkyWalk Experience. TIP: pre book a Wednesday night Yoga class for $25. Now that's what you call Yoga with a view!

 

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Take a ferry or go snorkelling in Manly

Locals boast about northern Sydney's Beaches. Manly Beach is beautiful and is accessible by ferry from Circular Quay. A return ferry ticket will cost you no more than $15 and the journey takes approx 30 minutes. You will find shops, bars, cafes and restaurants lining the beach and Manly Beach Hire rent our snorkels and flippers.

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Soak in exceptional Sydney views at Pylon lookout

Pylon Lookout is one of Sydney's finest places of view with endless great picture possibilities. The 200 steps lead you to the top of the lookout of Sydney's Harbour Bridge before you are greeted with a stunning panorama of Circular Quay.

Save your dollars and enjoy the sights on a free Sydney sights tour

Sydney Sights operates on a tip basis and provides a free (yes, free!) daily walking tour of the city, They’ll introduce the attractions and provide info on attractions, tips on getting around by public transport, show you around shopping destinations and provide a little bit of the city’s history all in one. Tours depart daily from St Andrews Cathedral on George St at 10:30am & 2:30pm. Look for your guides dressed in a bright green t – shirt.

Tip: They also offer tours to The Rocks which will explore pubs, lane ways and the notorious dark side of Sydney’s history. Tours take 1.5 hours, depart at 6:00pm everyday and depart from the west side of Circular Quay.

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Visit the Markets

Sydney isn’t shy when it comes to markets. No matter what you’re looking for, from antiques to food to local crafts, you’ll likely be able to find it at a market. Here are some of our favourites:

·        Glebe Market

·        Rozelle Collectors Market

·        Orange Grove Organic Market

·        Bondi Farmer’s Market

·        Manly Market Place

·        Chinatown Night Market

·        Flemington Flower Markets

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Swim, snorkel, picnic or paddle at Camp Cove

Not into crowds? Just a short walk from Watsons Bay ferry wharf, wheelchair-accessible Camp Cove boasts millionaire views that are hard to miss. Nestled on the harbour side of South Head, this delightful beach is packed with fun options to keep the family smiling all day long.

The kids will love swimming and snorkelling in the calm waters while you relax on the sandy beach. Unroll the picnic rug and enjoy a leisurely lunch while taking in the spectacular harbour views and city skyline. Round off a perfect day-trip with an ice cream or cool drink from the nearby kiosk.

For the more adventurous, bring your kayak for a paddle or explore the underwater world while scuba diving.

For a walk that takes in the unique history and breathtaking scenery of the southern area of Sydney Harbour National Park, South Head Heritage trail, starts at the northern end of the beach.

Take an island adventure

Rekindle your sense of adventure at Cockatoo Island where you can explore the World Heritage-listed island in the middle of Sydney Harbour and learn all about its history as a convict site, naval base and shipyard.

Cockatoo Island’s year-round offerings include heritage accommodation, a waterfront campground, tours for all ages, tranquil picnic spots with panoramic harbour views, and two licensed cafés: Societé Overboard and the Marina Café and Bar.

Additionally, the island’s heritage buildings and distinctive terrain provide visitors with insights into the complex and layered history of this fascinating destination. These include the convict penal establishment, which has been inscribed on the World Heritage List together with ten 10 other Australian Convict Sites.

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Tips on getting around Sydney on the cheap

Free city circle bus

Don’t like walking? Bus 555 runs between Circular Quay, George St & Central Station. Buses operate between business hours.

Train

Buy a daily Metro Train Pass and explore Sydney's alternative inner suburbs.

Sydney Ferry’s

It is quite common for Sydney locals to commute to and from the city by Ferry. What does this mean? Daily Tickets are cheap and allow you to hop on and hop off between ferry terminals which are located at most iconic landmarks.

Monica Limanto