Within the first few hours of visiting Sydney I instantly knew it was one of the few cities around the world I could see myself living in.  It has all the advantages of a big city surrounded by some of the worlds finest natural beauty.  With the Blue Mountains a short train ride away and an abundance of pristine beaches, what more could you ask for?  Oh, did I also mention the nearby famous wine regions and world heritage sites.  Yup, Sydney has it all!

This snapshot of Sydney, Australia is the ultimate travel guide to make your next visit easy, cheap and fun!

Best Places to Stay in Sydney

Hostels – Prices range between $20 and $50 AUD for a dorm or you can get a private room between $75 and $120.  The cheapest hostels are located in the Kings Cross area.
Here are a few of the best hostels in Sydney.

Hotels in Sydney are expensive so if you want to stay in a private room then you will have to compromise extreme budgeting.  My recommendation is to check Airbnb because you’ll find a private room on there much cheaper than a hotel or private room in a hostel.

Cost to Eat in Sydney 

If you are traveling to Sydney in a camper van or staying at a hostel that offers kitchen access then you can save a lot of money by cooking your own food.  The average cost of basic meals like sandwiches, burgers, sushi and salads are $15 AUD give or take.  I love Sydney but dining out on the town is not cheap.  If you’re on a tight budget then I suggest staying at a hostel with a kitchen and cooking the majority of your meals.  Dinner and drinks will easily set you back $30 AUD and fast food will cost over $10 AUD.

Getting Around Sydney 

Sydney has a very good transportation system compromised of buses, trains and ferries.  I recommend taking Uber over Taxis since they tend to be super expensive in the city.  Depending on what zones you are traveling in, the bus or train will cost you a $2-$6 AUD on average. The airport express train is $15 AUD so once you get into the city center you can grab a free tourist map which shows you all the zones and travel routes.

If you have a camper van I suggest parking a little bit outside the city and taking the train in because parking fees are super expensive.  We parked at the Lane Cover Tourist Park which is only a 10 minute walk to the train station.  Even if you aren’t camping there you can park outside for free.  Free parking in Sydney is near impossible to find!

Best Things to Do in Sydney

Take the Ferry to Manly Beach – The first thing I did when I arrived to Sydney was hop on the ferry and do the harbor cruise.  It is the perfect way to kick off your visit and instantly get a feel for the city.  It is a calm and cool 30 minutes each way on the water and it was my favorite thing to do on my visit to Sydney.  You can hop on the ferry starting in Circular Quay.


taking the ferry in sydney

Visit the Blue Mountains – Some call it the Grand Canyon of the East.  It is only a 2 hour train ride from Sydney which makes it a fun and easy day trip.  Stay for sunset and you’ll see the light hit off the famous Three Sisters rock formation and you can also hike the winding trails or take the tram car across the canyon for a closer view.  The park is free!

visiting the blue mountains australia blog

Walk from Bondi Beach to Coogee –  You can’t skip this breathtaking walk along the coast.  It takes about 2 hours and offers a view of the water every step of the way.  You’ll find trails that lead up on top of rock formations to catch a stunning sunset.

bondi to cogee beach walk sydney


Go out and Party in Kings Cross – It’s no surprise that most popular hostels are located in this part of town.  It’s where the party happens!  If you’re looking for cheap beer, late night music, dancing and a heap of fellow backpackers then head to Kings Cross.

Swim at Bondi Icebergs Club – Located at the south of Bondi Beach, this winter swimming club is a great way to spend the afternoon.  It is a gigantic swimming pool that receives natural splashing waves from the sea.  It is the perfect way to swim and enjoy the views of Sydney without worrying about sea creatures aka, Sharks!  The cost for adults to enter is $6.50.

bondi icebergs club sydney


Visit the Sydney Opera House – Visit during the day or make a full night out of it and catch a show.  Tickets are actually pretty affordable and you won’t experience anything else like it.  The building is iconic and the energy that surrounds the venue is magical.

visiting the sydney opera house travel blog


Walk the Sydney Harbor Bridge – It is very expensive to climb and tour the bridge but it is arguably worth every penny.  If you’re on a tight budget then I suggest walking across for free!  It’s another iconic part of Sydney that you don’t want to miss.

Visit the Royal Botanic Gardens – A very short walk from Circular Quay makes this a must do activity before or after your harbor cruise.  It is Australia’s first vegetable garden which makes it one of the most visited attractions in Sydney.

Spend Time at the Beach – Sydney is known as one of the best surfing spots in the world so you better believe the beaches are worth a visit.  The water is blue and the surrounding cliffs make it an incredibly unique terrain for swimmers, surfers, walkers or beach bums.  Coogee Beach, Bondi Beach and Manly Beach are three famous beaches but if you want to escape the crowds then try Watson’s Bay or Bronte Beach.

best beaches in sydney australia

Visit The Rocks – This urban locality is in the historic area of Sydney’s city center.  You’ll find street performers, museums and weekend markets in this neighborhood.  This is a lively part of town so make your way to the Rocks for excitement day or night.

Visit Hunter Valley – If you want to visit one of the best wine regions in Australia then you are in luck!  Day tours are offered from Sydney but be aware that although the wine is good, especially their red; it can be expensive.  It is worth the visit if you like red wine and want to get out of the city for a few hours.

7 Free Things to Do in Sydney 

For current events including free activities, check out What’s on Sydney.

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