I have always been very keen on visiting Sydney, Australia for one very specific reason – I always saw a lot of the place on Animal Planet and as a child who was fascinated by animals, I could not wait till the day I would visit the city. That is how it started off for me. But once I was actually in Sydney, I discovered so much more. I went there in the month of January, when it is summer in Australia, and that is easily one of the best times to visit this vibrant city.
As a student, I had obvious budget constraints when I was in Sydney, but I was determined to see and do as much with the modest amount of money that I did have. My friends and I did a whole lot of research on our first night in the city and we figured out the different things that we could do there for free. And since making that list worked for us, I have decided to share that with everyone else too.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge
If you are in Sydney then the Sydney Harbour Bridge is surely staring at you right in the face, calling out to you. So what did we do? My friends and I hiked up the Harbour Bridge, climbing right to the top of one of the pylons, and it only cost a few dollars. Once you are at the top, the view is thoroughly captivating. It was more of an effort to climb down the bridge than hike up because it is impossible to tear your gaze away from all that you can see.
The Royal Botanic Gardens
Visiting a garden might not sound like the most exhilarating thing to do but when you come from a cluttered and congested city, you will enjoy the serenity and the beauty of the Royal Botanic Gardens. This oasis in the city is supposed to be one of the most beautiful gardens in the world. There are certain portions of the garden that require an entry fee but most of it is open to the public free of cost, including Mrs Macquarie’s Chair – one of the best spots to take spectacular photos of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.
The Sydney Festival
We were fortunate enough to have visited Sydney in January because we were able to attend the annual Sydney Festival. And the best thing about this festival is that it’s free! You can experience the best of Sydney culture at absolutely no cost. All kinds of events – plays, concerts, etc. are held all across the city in various indoor and outdoor locations. A festive mood like no other permeates the very air in Sydney during this time of the year and it was wonderful to witness.
If you are in Sydney and you are also an animal lover, you have to go visit the Taronga Zoo. As the zoo is located on the coast of Sydney, it is very convenient to get to (especially by ferry) and should be a compulsory part of your itinerary. The main attractions are of course the kangaroos, wallabies, Tasmanian devils, etc. but you would also be amazed at how well designed the zoo is. Taronga looks like it was created with so much attention to the comfort of the animals that make their home there. You almost do not feel bad knowing that they are actually in captivity. Plus, where else can you see giraffes with the city skyline behind them?
If you are in Sydney, you will feel the beach calling out to you. All you have to do is grab a towel, some shades and because you are in Australia, some sun-block, and head out to the beach. Enjoy a walk with your friends, go take a dip in the water or just simply sun bathe and you will have spent some of the best hours of your holiday there. And if you feel like you have saved enough money on your trip you can check out the cafes and stores on the beach front.
The Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains are right outside the city limits of Sydney and the perfect place for a trek. You can check out the rock formations, forests and waterfalls right along the designated hiking trails, not to mention the view at the top.
Our trip to Sydney will always be memorable, along with that the realisation that money is not that necessary to have a good time.