With its glorious harbour and vibrant culture, Sydney is a dream destination for university students. If you’re new to Sydney’s international student community, we can help you get to know your adopted home.
Seeing the sights isn’t always easy on a student budget, but it’s still possible to experience the best of Sydney without spending much money. From iconic tourist destinations to lesser known attractions, there are plenty of fun things to do in in Sydney for free (or at a very low cost if you can spare a few dollars).
Take a Walk
Exploring Sydney on foot is one of the cheapest ways to see the city without blowing your budget. Walking trails can be found throughout Sydney’s coastal regions, providing easy access to the best local beaches.
These are some easy walking tracks to check out in Sydney when you’re not busy studying:
- Bondi to Coogee – This clifftop coastal trail covers several seaside suburbs, including Bronte and Clovelly. It’s only 6km long and takes around 2 hours to complete.
- Bradley's Head to Chowder Bay – Starting at Taronga Zoo, this 5km walk offers uninterrupted views of Sydney Harbour. If you want to visit the zoo before starting your walk, make use of the Taronga Zoo student discount.
- North Head – The North Head walk hugs the coastline for 9.5km. It traverses dramatic cliffs, old military buildings dating back to WWII, and dense patches of coastal bushland.
Catch the Manly Ferry
If your feet need a rest from all that walking, jump aboard the Manly Ferry. Locals use the ferry to get to and from work, but it’s just as popular among tourists hoping to get a glimpse of the city’s famous beaches and skyline. Travelling from Manly Wharf to Circular Quay, the ferry sails through Sydney’s stunning harbour. You’ll be able to marvel at mansions perched on the water’s edge in Kirribilli and Mosman, sprawling parks, and landmarks like the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
You can pay for your ferry trip using your Opal Card. If you don’t have an Opal Card, simply purchase a single ticket or use your credit card to tap on and off. International students in Sydney are entitled to concession prices, so one trip will cost you less than $5.
Visit the State Library of NSW
Feel like a change of scenery from your university’s library? Grab your laptop and head to the State Library of NSW. Established in 1826, it’s the oldest library in Australia. With its high-domed ceiling and hushed atmosphere, the Mitchel Reading Room provides the perfect setting for students in search of peace and quiet. There are also thousands of books and a wealth of online resources available to the public. When you need a break from studying, make your way to the library’s first floor. Rotating exhibitions are held in this part of the building, such as the World Press Photo Contest. The State Library of NSW is located on Macquarie Street in the heart of the city and entry is free.
Swim at the Bondi Icebergs Club
Sydney is filled with iconic swimming spots, but the Bondi Icebergs Club is ranked among the most famous. Featuring an open air rock pool, the club is located at Bondi Beach. If you’ve been stuck inside studying for hours, it’s the perfect place to cool off. Waves from the ocean break over the edge of the pool, constantly refilling it with fresh seawater. Even if you’re not much of a swimmer, the pool’s photogenic setting makes it a must-see destination for international students in Sydney. Facilities at the club include a 50-metre adult pool, a shallower 25-metre kids’ pool, and a restaurant overlooking the ocean. Despite the fancy surrounds, entry only costs $9.
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