A Backpacker’s Travel Guide to Sydney

Backpacker’s Guide to Sydney

Why Go:

Many backpackers start their Australian adventures in Sydney and it is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, home to one of the most iconic views in the world. But there’s much more to Sydney than just the Opera house and Harbour Bridge and luckily there are plenty of ways to enjoy this fabulous city on a budget.

Sydney Daily Backpacker Budget:   AUD$60 – 80 or approx   US$ 50 – 70

Top 5 Things to do in Sydney:

  • When in Sydney you can’t miss out on soaking up one of the most iconic and beautiful views in the world – the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. For the best views and photo opportunities stroll through the Botanical Gardens to Mrs Macquarie’s Point to get that picture postcard perfect iconic view of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.
  • Take the excellent free walking tour that leaves at 10.30am and 2.30pm everyday from Sydney’s Town Hall for an insight into Sydney’s history and convict beginnings and taking in some of the best of the modern city.
  • Explore Sydney’s oldest area – ‘The Rocks’. This is where Europeans first settled and now you can learn more about the history and people of Sydney at the free Rocks Discovery Museum and explore the steep lane ways and historic houses, shops and pubs.
  • Take a ferry trip to Manly, enjoy stunning views of the harbour and relax on Manly’s beach, enjoy the shops and seaside feel of one of the nicest areas of Sydney or stroll along the shore line, boat clubs and glamorous houses on the 9km scenic walk from Manly to Spit.
  • Australia is famous for its beaches and Sydney does not disappoint, hit up famous Bondi Beach. Relax on the beach or on the grassy hill that rises above the stunning bay, watch the bronzed surfers or take a surf lesson and try it yourself. If you feel more active take a spectacular cliff top walk from Bondi to Coogee. Feel the exhilarating force of the waves crashing below and keep your eyes peeled out to sea, maybe you can spot a humpback whale. 
Views from the Bronte to Cogee cliff walk, Sydney

Views from the Bronte to Cogee cliff walk, Sydney

Worth Splashing out on?

The Sydney Bridge Climb at $150 – $350 is a bit steep for most but gets great reviews if you can afford it. Unfortunately, the only way inside the Opera House is by taking an expensive tour or buying a ticket for a performance but drinks at the Opera House Bar outside are quite reasonably priced.

The Best Backpacker Hostels in Sydney:

You are spoilt for choice with cool, modern backpacker hostels in Sydney. For a place with a view then try the Sydney Harbour YHA this modern hostel is right in the historic rocks district has a great rooftop with stunning views over Sydney harbour.

Wake Up is one of the most popular hostels in Sydney and has a good central location, loads of thoughtful extra and super nice staff that arrange events and activities most days. Bounce nearby is also awesome and has a popular bar and restaurant.

Maze Backpackers, has a great central location, sociable atmosphere and plenty of freebies, like BBQ night and pancake Sundays and is a great budget hostel option although not as modern and funky as the others.

Or if you fancy being closer to the beach the Bondi Beach house YHA is a popular choice with heaps of facilities, activities and even lend you all the stuff you need for a great day on the beach.

Read More:  My top 6 backpacker hostels in Sydney and this epic guide to all the hostels in Sydney.

Sydney harbour bridge

The Sydney Harbour Bridge

Where to Eat on a Budget in Sydney:

Check out buzzing Chinatown for cheap and delicious Asian food or try fresh mussels from the market. Darling Harbour is a really nice, if a bit pricey, spot for restaurants and nightlife in Sydney is great too, try the bars in Surry Hills or the clubs around Kings Cross for a lively night out. To really save money pick a hostel with a kitchen so you can cook up your own food and drink your own goon!

How to get to Sydney:

Sydney is home to one of the busiest airports in Australia and is the entry point for many backpackers. Sydney is well connected by domestic flights, buses and trains to the rest of Australia.

Visas for Australia

Expect for New Zealanders, all visitors to Australia need to obtain a visa before travelling but don’t worry, this is an easy process. Tourist visas for Australia are known as Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) visa cover visits of up to 90 day and are quick to process and are electronically linked to your passport so there’s no need to send your passport away. The visa costs $20, apply online through the government website  or make the process even quicker and easier by using iVisa.

If you want to stay longer and work and travel in Australia for a year or more then download my free backpacker’s guide to see if you are eligible for a working holiday visa 

Where Next:

Only an hour away on the train is the beautiful, UNESCO listed Blue Mountains. The wineries and rolling countryside of the Hunter Valley make a nice trip too.

Have you been to Sydney? What are your favourite things to do and top budget tips?

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