Saturday, March 1, 2014

Exploring Sydney on a Budget

Yesterday marks one month since we arrived in Sydney. Time passed quickly yet slowly depending on I-don't-really-know-what factors. Even though we are living abroad as a long term visitor (for me at least while Mr. H is hard at work), it would not be right to not make time or effort to explore the city. As we aim to balance budget & experience, we managed to find and complete five activities without costing us an arm and/or a leg.

1. Free walking tours Sydney
This is a great "short cut" way to learn more about Sydney city. While the tour is free, tipping your guide is expected at the end of the tour (that is how they earn their $$). The tour runs three times a day (rain or shine) at the following times - 10:30am, 2:30pm and 6pm. The first two sessions would cover the same sights while the 6pm tour is a different one.

If you do decide to join the tour, my advice would be:

  • wear comfortable shoes/sandals/footwear - it's a lot of walking and you need to keep up with the group.
  • bring a raincoat or umbrella (in case it rains).
  • sunscreen and sunglasses
  • cash (for tips).
For more information on this tour, go to

2. Scenic walk from Bondi to Bronte

View from Bondi to Bronte

You are not limited to walking, you can also jog along the route. We noticed quite a number of joggers/runners covering this route. The view is also awesome and perhaps does help motivate the runner to complete the distance.

If you're not exercising, taking this walk is still worth while - the views are amazing and there are ample of opportunities for picture taking. Along the way, there are also boards with information regarding the history of the place, local conservation efforts, flora & fauna etc.

It was a sunny day (don't forget your sunscreen, sunglasses and also a cap/hat) yet it was breezy. It reminded me of my walk on my way up to Gunung Tahan in 2003. Felt like I was walking in an air-conditioned outdoor room.

In the event you are tired or short of time, you don't have to complete the whole distance. Just take one of the many exits and you are free to head back home (via public transport) or head to the shops nearby for a cuppa.

3. BBQ Picnic at Palm Beach
Bring your own BBQ set or use the grills provided for public use (it is free). The BBQ area itself is opposite the beach, closer to the golf course. This is probably a calculated move as the winds are strong by the beach - making it harder to maintain a fire right? 

Once the picnic is over, feel free to head to the beach for a swim or for some sand play.

Palm Beach

4. Mrs Macquaries Chair
Mrs Macquarie loves to watch the ships enter the harbour. Her husband asked his men to carve a chair from stone so she can sit and continue watching the ships comfortably (this is my version as I remember). 

The chair is close to the Botanical Gardens. In fact, we made a small detour into the gardens on our way to the chair (we were gifted with the magnificent view of the Opera House, Harbour Bridge and a huge liner in return). In order to kill two (or more birds) with one stone, you can coincide this visit with a picnic or a jog or a run etc.

5. Sydney Fish Market
This is a popular stop, not only among the tourists but also locals for fresh (and perhaps cheap?) seafood. You can choose your seafood and get them to cook it just the way you like it and enjoy your freshly cooked food outside overlooking the harbour. We have not experienced this exactly but did get the chance to yamcha at a restaurant on the 2nd floor :p

Not bad for the first month eh?

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