How to travel to Sydney on a budget?
If you love traveling, Australia, or specifically Sydney, is undoubtedly on the list of the top must-visit destination. However, as you might be aware, Sydney, one of the most expensive cities in the world, can deter you from getting the most of this lovely city.
Read this Sydney Itinerary: 4 days travel to Sydney on a budget written by Trang Le – a travel lover currently living in Melbourne to find out all the answers.
You’ll find the best places to visit in Sydney, things to do in Sydney, and places to eat in Sydney in this article.
Summary of 4 days Sydney Itinerary
- Trip: Melbourne to Sydney Budget: 500 – 600AUD (flight ticket and accommodation, Adele concert ticket, eating, shopping, and transportation included)
- Length: 3 Full days and a half-day (4 nights at Hostel)
- Requirements: Walking ability + health conditions + Food sharing + Modest shopping + Early wake-up and the late comeback
- Places covered: Harbour area, CBD area (Shopping streets, Mary Cathedral, Sydney Tower, Queen Victoria Building, Hyde Park), The Rocks area, Royal Botanic Garden (Macquarie’s chair), Sydney Fish Market, The Star Casino, Darling Harbour, The Market City ( The paddy’s Market), The Melbourne Contemporary Museum, Harbour bridge walking (30-1 hour) Harbour night view, Manly Beach, Coogee to Bondi Beach walk ( 3-4 hours), The Rocks + the rocks Sunday market.
- Places I ate: It’s time for Thai food, Vietnamese Bread – Destination Roll, Peters Sydney Fish Market, Cafe Cre Asion, The Pancakes on The Rocks.
- The note includes my itinerary, my tips, my recommendations.
- Suitable for: travel on a budget, nature lovers, foodies.
Where to stay in Sydney on a budget?
I usually use booking.com to book accommodation while traveling. You can check Sydney budget accommodation with Booking.com or read reviews on Trip Advisors.
Sydney Itinerary: Day 1
I flew from Melbourne to Sydney with the early morning flight at 8 am.
After arriving at the hostel around 10 am, I had my first breakfast in Sydney with Vietnamese bread at the store next to my hostel: 5.50$ for any rolls. It is quite good, and the price is affordable.
Free walking tour Sydney
Then, I went on a “Free walking tour – CBD Tour” from 2:30 pm until 5:00 pm and a “Free walking tour – The rocks” from 6 pm until 7:30 pm.
The ending point of the first tour is also the beginning of the 2nd one, which is in the Harbour area ( Circular Quay).
Harbour Area in Sydney
It was about less than 1 hour in between the tours. Therefore, you might walk around the Harbour area to Opera House and take some pictures with Harbour Bridge, Opera House, etc.
The tour covered all of the main iconic places in CBD Sydney, explained the history then gave some fun facts.
I recommend it for those interested in listening to stories and knowing more about what locals think.
I did enjoy it since it is free, and I haven’t joined any informative tours like this before. Especially there are so many places to go around Sydney, and you might spend a lot of money on transportation which can be made within walking distance.
I think the tour is perfect for people who are new to the city. You can have an overall review of all the places around CBD. Then you can come back later to any sites that you are interested in.
However, you shouldn’t go on the tour if you prefer walking randomly on your preferences. The journey is designed to briefly introduce the Main points in Sydney for you to come back later.
Foodie time: Thai food in Sydney
After finishing the tour, my friend and I decided to have a meal at a Halal Thai food restaurant named “It is time for Thai.”
It is also the place we ate on the last day in Sydney. Since she is a Muslim, we preferred eating here. So it is optional if you want to give it a try.
I think the “Green chicken curry with Roti” – 13.50$ and Tom Yum Kung are very delicious. I love the smell of coconut and the spicy, sour flavor for Tom Yum.
Some friends might know I am a spicy eater, but it is not that spicy, though. Therefore, I recommend them to those who are into Thai food and spicy food.
Sydney on a budget Itinerary: Day 2
Where is the best place to have breakfast on the first morning in Sydney?
Where to go in the beautiful and chilly weather to have another look at the harbor FREE and, more important, the best place to eat for lunchtime. Everything is included on the second day of the Sydney Itinerary.
Breakfast at The Cafe Cre Asion
Waking up at 7 am, I had breakfast at a cafe called “The Cafe Cre Asion,” which is just 5 minutes walking from my hostel.
I found this cafe with the highest reviews and ratings on the Zomato app, so I gave it a try.
I can say it is the most expensive breakfast that I ever had in my life. However, I think it is worth the money because the food is tasty and filling, so I didn’t feel hungry until dinner.
I ordered a “toast with peanut butter and avocados adding” and a “Carrot cake”: 16.50$ for everything.
A better option is to order a scrambled eggs toast, and matcha latte (only 5$) because it is the most popular drink here.
The Royal Botanic Garden
Then, I went to the Royal Botanic Garden by train from Museum station to Circular Quay, then walk to the place.
At first, I was a bit lost since the place I want to head to is located at a different gate, and the Garden is huge. Therefore, I needed to walk back to the main entrance at Macquarie St.
Free walking tour of Royal Botanic Garden
My friend and I registered for a free tour at the Tourist information booth in the Royal Botanic Garden at 10:30 am.
The tour took us 2 hours of walking around one little corner of the garden. The guide gave us a lot of information about different kinds of trees, history, and fun facts.
However, you might get bored since the tour is academic and biologically oriented.
I don’t recommend it if you are not interested in knowing about different plants, trees, and biology. You can spend time at your own pace walking around the garden, taking photos instead.
In the Royal Botanic Garden, you must go to Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair, where you can see both Harbour Bridge and Opera House from the right side. It is charming and scenic to view from this angle.
Sydney Seafood Market
Next, we want to have lunch at the Seafood Market, which is the most recommended place if you are a seafood lover.
You can find a variety of fresh and affordable seafood here. It is a bit expensive when coming to seafood eating.
After going around to different restaurants in the area, we decided to buy food from Peter’s. My friend ordered a set of Lobster combo: 42$.
The portion was too much for one person. Because there is only one lobster, it is unable for me to share with her.
I ordered a la carte: one chilly grilled prawn skewer, one mashed cheese oyster, and one grilled shrimp: 17.50$
Don’t order a big combo if you are unable to share it with anyone else. Better to choose a la carte to save money and try different dishes based on your interest.
Overall, it was a fascinating experience when eating and covering your hands above the food.
It’s because of the invasion of many birds flying around and start stealing your food.
However, I did enjoy eating there so much. We viewed the scene of the pier, boats, sky, and birds.
The Star Casino
After eating brunch ( and brunches for me ), we took the train to The Star Casino to get inside a bit.
Both of us are not good gamblers, so we are not willing to play any lots there. You should bring your passport or personal identification to be checked at the entrance.
We went inside for 10 mins, then went back and headed to the Darling Harbour on foot. ( 20 minutes on average – lazy pace).
The Darling Harbour
On the way, there are many benched so you can rest. The scenery is beautiful and worth taking pictures of.
After that, we walked back to the Central area, where I took the train to go to the ANZ Stadium concert to enjoy the Adele concert.
KOI dessert restaurant
My friend instead went to “KOI dessert restaurant,” which is a place of fine dining with very high rates of fancy eating.
You might be aware of your budget if you want to spend money on eating at this restaurant. It can cost you around 60-70$ for a set of 3 different kinds of deserts.
I don’t recommend it for those who are not into fine dining and not willing to overspend the budget.
Another option for a dessert restaurant for sweet-tooth people is: “One tea lounge grill” if you like Matcha and Japanese dessert.
I haven’t tried the food there, but one of my friends did, and she rated it very high.
Sydney Itinerary Budget Travel: Day 3
To me, traveling is not only getting the most for yourself but also for other people back home. Therefore, buying some souvenirs is always a MUST on our to-do list.
On the 3rd day, you can find where to go for budget shopping in Sydney. You can also find out how to spend the rest of the day viewing Sydney from a spectacular view.
The Market City
I went to Market City, which takes 10 mins to walk from my hostel, so I didn’t spend money on transportation.
You can buy different souvenirs there for friends and families. Since my weight for luggage is limited, I can’t buy many things.
In some shops, you may bargain to get a reasonable price. Just try to make a deal with the sellers to see if you can get an excellent price.
Instead, my friend went to the Glebe market to see the old stuff, and then we met up near my place. We went around that area to CBD, near Sydney Tower, shopping arcade, Commonwealth Bank building.
The Commonwealth Bank building
Here, I recommend going and see the Commonwealth Bank building, which is located on the street named Martin place.
It is the most expensive building in Sydney and is made of all marbles and very luxurious looking.
However, the bank only opens on weekdays so that we couldn’t go inside on Saturday. It was a bit regretful.
Around this area, you can find many brands stores such as Zara, Forever 21 ( which doesn’t have in Melbourne, as you may surprise).
After that, we went to the “Halal Chinese noodles bar” near George Street to have a meal.
My friend ordered a bowl of beef noodles, and the portion was a lot for her to finish, so I recommended ordering a smaller one or a la carte type of food to share with friends.
Then again, this eating place is optional since it is a Halal food restaurant. You can easily find many different restaurants in this area, such as Korean food, Thai food, or Japanese food.
Melbourne Contemporary Museum
After that, I went to the Melbourne Contemporary Museum and spent around 45 minutes there.
It closes at 5 pm, so you should come earlier. You might find it a bit deep and hard to understand the arts but still a pleasant experience.
I went to the north side of the Harbour Bridge by train to Milsons Point Station. From there, I walked back to the Harbour area through the bridge.
As you may know, you can spend 200$ on climbing above the bridge, but I instead save it up by walking through and see the view from the height.
Many people are walking as well, and it wasn’t arduous to walk. The look of the Harbour from the Bridge is astounding and breathtaking.
It took me roughly 30 mins ( my speed one again ) to finish walking from the north side to the other end.
Then I kept continuing walking, following the path to Royal Botanic Garden, where I saw the whole harbor area from the height at a different angle.
You better cross the bridge during sunset time so that you can see the Sydney Opera House under the moonlight and skylight of sunset.
Or else, you should come to the Macquarie chair at the Royal Botanic Garden to see the view during the sunset.
However, you may be aware of the closing time, which is 5 pm.
I walked for the next 30 mins and then came back to the Opera House to enjoy the night view there.
It was so peaceful and romantic when sitting on the bench and looking at the view. You better grab some snacks and spend time there.
I went inside the Opera House to have a look and went to the famous toilet. Haha. It was beautiful and worth checking out if you may wish.
>> Check Sydney budget accommodation
Sydney on a budget Itinerary: Day 4
Here are more tips for Sydney on a budget! As you may know, transportation fare in Sydney is expensive. However, on Sunday you can get an excellent deal with only 2.50$ for all the places.
For that reason, we decided to go to Manly Beach from Circular Quay by ferry. Usually, it will cost you nearly 6$ one way for the ferry riding.
From Circular Quay to Manly Beach by ferry
To avoid crowding ( because Of the Sunday deal), we woke up early and hopped on the boat at 8:45 am. Still, there were already many people at that time.
It took us 30 minutes to reach Manly beach ( haha, now I know the reason for this funny name).
We spent nearly 2 hours wandering around, taking photos, and having breakfast at a random restaurant.
It usually costs 10-15$, depending on your choice. However, I had butter, bread, and milk at the hostel to save money before going.
The beach is very stunning with high waves and many surfers who are very MANLY!!! 6 packs and fit body men are everywhere!!!
There are also some local markets where you can check out. At 11:30, we went back to Circular Quay to have lunch at “The pancakes on the rock” – 5 to 10 minutes walking from the Circular Quay.
On the way walking there, we came across The Rocks Sunday Market, which sold many different types of vintage products and stuff.
You also should have a look at them as well. Here is my friend wearing a supergiant hat selling there.
I came to the restaurant and needed to queue for around 5 minutes. However, you usually might be expected to wait for more since the restaurant is very famous!
We shared one of the recommended pancakes here: the “Devil Delight Berry Pancakes” – 13,50$.
The price varies from 10 to 30$, but the portion is rather large for Asian girls like us, by the way.
Review of the pancakes
I love the smell of it. It is not too sweet, and especially the pancake is very soft and hot inside. Tasty! I recommend the restaurant to everyone.
Since it opens 24-hours, you may come at a different time of the day.
You can find the Breakfast set on the menu, which is available all day, and the price is lower than the dinner set.
After around one hour having lunch there, we went back to Circular Quay and took the bus to Coogee Beach, where we walked from Coogee Beach to Bondi Beach.
From Coogee Beach to Bondi Beach
Typically, people walked from Bondi to Coogee. However, we want to catch the sunset moment at Bondi, so we did it reversely on purpose.
We started the walk at Coogee from 2:45 pm, and we reach North Bondi at 6 pm roughly.
On our walk, we stopped at different places to take photos, rest, drink water and go to the toilet as well.
I recommend those with good conditions and walking ability to do the walk because you can see all the breathtaking views of the ocean from the height.
It was such a fantastic experience that I have never had.
When we reached Bondi, we sat on the bench, waited for the sunset time, and then came back to the city center.
I don’t ask you to follow all the things I wrote here. If you want to follow, you may be aware of the health condition and some certain aspects.
I am a fast walker (maybe 2 or 3 times compared to an average pace, and all my friends say that ), so I obviously can save time and money by walking fast to different places.
Besides, I AM KINDA STRONG and furious, so you can feel tired and uncomfortable covering up all the places I went to. So, consider my note as helpful tips for your next trip.
I hope you enjoy reading it and please give it a comment or share as you wish to let me know you think it is helpful.
Due to the time limitation, I couldn’t go to several places as I want to go, like “The Blue Mountain,” “The Taronga Zoo,” “National royal park,”..etc. Maybe I will save it for another trip in the future. Who knows?
>> Check Sydney budget accommodation