While it is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Sydney is certainly not the cheapest. And with the Australian dollar reaching near parity with the US dollar, visitors are looking for ways to make their money go further.
Fortunately, there are a variety of activities that won’t leave your wallet hurting.
The entrance to Luna Park is perhaps one of the most iconic landmarks in Sydney, second only to the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. Located just a short ferry ride across the harbour, Luna Park is Sydney’s only amusement park.
The park first opened in 1935 and has kept its sideshow charm. A walk through the giant grinning mouth and visitors are surrounded by a carnival atmosphere.
Admission to the park is free, but you pay per ride. Indulge your inner child (or your own children) with everything from the Ferris wheel, to slides, to carnival games.
After working up an appetite, head to the nearby Lighthouse Cafe for one of the meal deals. It’s a cheap and easy way to grab food on the go!
• Admission: Free
• Rides: $10/ride
• Meal Deal at Lighthouse Cafe (Burger OR Hot Dog Plus Chips and a Drink): $12
Behind the Scenes Tour of the Sydney Fish Market
Ranking up there with the top seafood markets in Japan, and Pike’s Place in Seattle, the Sydney Fish Market is the largest seafood market in the Southern hemisphere.
A behind the scenes tour of the market is a great way to see how seafood makes its way from the ocean to the plate. The tour takes visitors onto the auction floor of the market to get an up close look at the haggling and trading of seafood. There is also a stop at the Sydney Seafood School where visitors might get to watch a cooking class in action or an oyster shucking demonstration.
Don’t forget to sample the market’s wares. There are many restaurants offering the day’s catch with everything from the standard fare of fish and chips, to Lobster Thermidor!
Tours start at 6.55am and end at 8:30am.
• Fish Market Tour: $20 Adults/$10 Children 13 years and Under
• Meal: $10+
Darling Harbour is one of Sydney’s main tourist areas, and a great place to take kids. Set along the harbour are a variety of shops, restaurants and attractions. Spend a couple of hours at the Sydney Aquarium and check out some of the native sea life, including crocodiles and sharks. There is also an exhibit that showcases the marine animals of the Sydney Harbour.
Fish not your thing? Right next door is Sydney Wildlife World, home to some of Australia’s most deadly inhabitants: snakes, scorpions. and one of the largest crocodiles in captivity.
The nearby Ice Cube Restaurant is a great place to grab a meal of fish and chips. Here’s a tip: the restaurant serves a wide variety of local seafood, but you’re looking at $25+ for a plate. Just around the corner is Ice Cube Ahoy, the restaurant’s takeaway counter. The two restaurants use the same kitchen and the same ingredients, but the take-away prices are about a third less. There’s not as much variety to choose from, but you can’t beat the prices.
• Wildlife World or Aquarium Adult General Admission: $34.99
• Takeaway Meal: $10+
Chinese Garden of Friendship
Located near busy Darling Harbour, the Chinese Garden of Friendship is a peaceful oasis in the middle of a bustling metropolis.
The garden is filled with perfectly manicured landscapes, weeping willows and plenty of massive koi fish. One thing that you won’t find in most Chinese gardens are the large lizards that call the grounds home. They freely roam the area, sunning themselves on rocks and ignoring passersby.
The garden’s Teahouse is a nice way to end a visit. The menu features a variety of refreshments from traditional Chinese tea, to a more European fare of cream scones.
Don’t miss the life size replica of a traditional Chinese bridal carriage carved completely out of jade. The ornate carriage is the only one of its kind outside of China.
• Garden Entrance Fee with Tea Included: $11
To find other things to do in Sydney that won’t cost you a penny, take a look at the Top 5 FREE Things to Do in Sydney.