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No matter what your itinerary for a trip around Australia is, if you’re a backpacker Sydney will almost certainly be your first stop. Today we look at nine must-see places in Sydney – all free or very cheap, all iconic, and all heaps of fun!
Luna Park: Very old-fashioned for a theme park – but that is the charm of Luna Park! Don’t go expecting heart-stopping adrenaline filled experiences – Luna Park is much more of a cultural and historical experience than a thrillseeker’s delight.
Sydney Opera House: You can’t go to Sydney without going to the Opera House! If you have the cash, check out an Australian Ballet, Bell Shakespeare, Musica Viva, Ensemble Theatre or Sydney Symphony Production.
Open Air Cinema: If you’re backpacking in Sydney in the summer months, the Open Air Cinema in the Botanic Gardens is beautiful. Compared to renting a DVD, it’s a little pricey… but compared to sitting on the couch at a backpacker’s hostel, it can’t be beat! If you’re staying in a city central backpackers in Sydney, you’ll be able to walk to the Open Air cinema – no cab fares.
Sydney Botanic Gardens: Once you’ve had a little taste of the Gardens at night-time, you should definitely return when it’s a little lighter. It’s a great place to bring a sandwich and eat al fresco – there is plenty of wildlife that will be eyeing off your bread crusts! The Botanic Gardens is free.
The Rocks: The Rocks is often called Sydney’s outdoors museum. It is Sydney’s oldest area, and full of beautiful 19th century architecture, as well as publicly displayed information about the colonial days. There are heaps of nice cafes in the area, also.
Bondi Beach: Grab a bus or train out to Bondi Beach, and see what all the fuss is about! Bondi has plenty of sand, beautiful water… and plenty of lifeguards! Bondi has a well-developed tourist industry, and there are plenty of delicious restaurants, souvenir shops, etc just behind the beach.
Port Jackson Islands: You’ll have to join a tour group to get out to the islands on Port Jackson, including Shark and Clark Islands, Rodd Island, Cockatoo Island, Goat Island, and Fort Denison. Most are considered national parks – they provide a great alternative view of Sydney for backpackers.
Chinese Garden of Friendship: The Chinese Garden of Friendship is a little oasis in the middle of a bustling city. It is situated quite close to Chinatown, and features authentic Chinese architecture and landscaping design. During the Gold Rush there was a lot of antipathy towards the Chinese in the country, and the Garden went a long way towards rectifying that.
Sydney Aquarium: Entry to the aquarium is pretty reasonable, and there is a great collection of animals including dugongs, sharks (that you can swim with!), corals, anemones, and of course, fish.