The iconic and most mesmerizing things to do in Sydney don’t always come at a cost. If you have time and a thirst for exploration then you won’t be hard pressed to discover attractions and events that are totally free. From walking tours to scenic nature walks, from wildlife to art, there is something for every one of all ages to enjoy! Follow our list of ideas to inspire your next group travel stopover in Sydney.
Discover the city by a free walking tour
Sydney Sights Free Tours are held daily at 10:30 am and 2:30 pm and start from Town Hall Square. The tours last for about 3 hours and are full of history and fun facts about the city. In addition, they help you get acquainted with transport, culture, events, restaurants and hidden bars so that you can make the most of your time in Sydney, like a local. The tour will cover locations and landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House, the Rocks District, Hyde Park Barracks, St Mary’s Cathedral, Customs House, Queen Victoria Building, Laneways & art, Martin Place, Circular Quay, Underground Tunnels and much more!
Feel the rhythm with a free salsa class
Get your dancing shoes on! For a fun night out, take your group to a free salsa night or class at one of the bars or clubs in Sydney. Most classes are held on a weeknight. If you’ve never salsa danced before, this is evening better and you can learn something new with your group. The Sydney Latin dance scene is quite large, so you are bound to find a class.
Complete the full Royal National Park coastal walk
For an adventure outdoors with your group, the Royal National Park is a must-see. It is Sydney’s oldest national park and is a treat for anyone who visits. It offers a coastal walk stretching from Bundeena to Otford. The full walk is 26 km and it is recommended to complete it over 2 days. Take the train from the city to Cronulla Station. From there you can catch the ferry to Bundeena. On the coastal walk, you will experience the Jibbon Aboriginal carvings, can swim with a waterfall at Wattamolla, experience Wedding Cake Rock and Marley Beach, waterfalls spilling into the ocean, Eagle Rock, Garie Beach, the Figure Eight Pools, the rainforest, and sweeping views of Wollongong and the south coast. There are campsites to stay in overnight but must be booked in advance. From Otford, you can catch the train back to the city.
Embrace beach life
Sydney is full of amazing beaches and they are free to visit. When you are planning to catch up with a group, a day at one of the city’s beaches is a simple yet brilliant idea. Pack a picnic or some nibbles for a snack. Don’t forget the cricket bat or volleyball for some fun in the sand! So lather on the sunscreen and spend a fun day by the water! Bondi often tops the list of things to do, however, go a little further out either North towards Curl Curl, or south down to Cronulla and you’ll find equally majestic sandy shores without the crowds. Every beach in Sydney has its own identify and enough charm and appeal to make you want to come back with friends and family time and time again.
Throw some food on the barbie
Sydney is full of great parks and there is nothing better than making the most of them with an afternoon barbeque. You’ll find barbeque stations in spots along beaches, coves, city parks, national parks and foreshores. Enjoy a breakfast barbeque at North Bondi Beach. Cook barbeque ribs for lunch at Cockatoo Island. Celebrate a birthday in one of the barbeque pavilions along the water in South Cronulla. Enjoy sunset views of the harbour at dinner in Shelly Beach in Manly.
Be at one with nature at the Botanical Gardens
The Royal Botanical Garden is a special place for both first-timers and regular visitors to Sydney. Located continently close by to the Harbour Bridge and city transport links the nature spot is large enough to provide hours of exploring. Whether your group is into photography, nature, botany, wildlife, meditation or just relaxing, the Botanical Gardens appeals to everyone. It’s also ideal for organising a picnic lunch by the water and taking in the views of the harbour. For a small price, you could arrange guided tours of the garden.
The Federation Cliff Walk – Watsons Bay
Take your group on the ferry or Hop-On Hop-Off cruise to Watsons Bay. Stop at the infamous Doyles on the wharf for some fish and chips and eat them in the park. Walk up through the park to the Federation Cliff Walk, which is a five-kilometer clifftop walk with stunning views out to the Pacific Ocean and goes all the way to Dover Heights. Along the way, admire the Macquarie Lighthouse, marvel at the dramatic views of The Gap and take a close look at the 80-metre sandstone cliffs at Raleigh Reserve.
Whale Watching in peak season
The months of May until November are a very magical time of the year. This is when the whales make their way up from Antarctica to North Queensland and migrate back down south with their calves. It’s also the time where tourists and locals see if they can get lucky enough to spot the rare white whale Migaloo. You can watch the whales for free from the land in places such as Manly North Head and the Royal National Park. Alternatively, you can head out to the water and watch the whales for a closer encounter by boat.
Visit the BirdLife Discovery Centre
If your group enjoys wildlife and bird watching, head over to the BirdLife Discovery Centre located inside Newington Nature Reserve in Sydney Olympic Park. Learn about the beautiful birds that share your backyard in Sydney as well as the feathered friends who visit Australia for different seasons. Watch the EagleCam to see the newly hatched resident white-bellied sea eagle in its nest. These giant birds return every May to November. Catch a bird’s eye view of their activities courtesy of tree-mounted cameras and spot a chick in the nest. Don’t miss the free guided bird walk on the last Sunday of every month.
Visit La Perouse and Barefoot Island
Take your group to the area that Captain Cook first discovered in 1770 and referred to in his journal as a ‘small bare island.’ The fort on the island was built in the 1880s to protect Sydney’s back door. It was in operation until 1908, when it became a home for war veterans. You can walk across the bridge to Barefoot Island for free. Entry to the fort costs about $10.00 on Sunday afternoons. However, there is so much to do and see around the area without the fort. You can go snorkeling, have a picnic, visit one of the surrounding beaches and hike on one of the walking tracks.
For more fun and exciting ideas to try when exploring Sydney as a group don’t miss out on iVenture Card’s night-time and best recommended things to do guides.