There is so much more to Australia than kangaroos and koala bears. In Sydney, that so much more can even be frugal. After much contemplation, the top frugal choices were narrowed down to the ferry system, the Royal Botanical Gardens, and the Art Gallery Of New South Wales.
Seeing Sydney from the water is a must. Frugal tourists don’t pay for a boat ride. They take the ferry.
Ferries have been operating in Sydney for more than 135 years. Today, for the price of a day pass (including ferry service), tourists can travel to Manly Beach to watch the surfers and play beach volleyball, to Darling Harbour to see the Australian Maritime Museum (the museum is free), Taronga Zoo (admission charged), and be able to snap great photos of the cityscape, the Opera House, and the interesting Luna Park. All from their seat on the ferry.
Royal Botanical Gardens
The Royal Botanical Gardens is 30 hectares of parkland in the heart of Sydney, hugging the shoreline. Highlights are the iconic Opera House on one side (tourists can peak inside for free but for a better look, they need to either pay for a tour or buy an event ticket) and Mrs. Macquaries Chair, a seat carved into stone where the wife of Governor Macquarie liked to sit and watch the ships come in, on the other. Wildlife include the grey-headed flying foxes (giant bats), cockatoos, and other colorful birds. A kind local gave me some food to feed the birds.
The Royal Botanical Gardens are also a great place for the fitness buff. Nothing like jogging along the shoreline at dawn or dusk.
Art Gallery Of New South Wales
My favorite experience in Sydney is taking the guided tours of the Aboriginal Art Collection in the Art Gallery Of New South Wales. Not only am I given an understanding of the fascinating art styles by an enthusiastic guide (I’ve done the same tour twice with different guides and received new information with each tour) but she also explains bush tucker, hunting styles, religion, women’s lib, and other topics of interest. Admission and the tour is free.
Sydney is a world class city with world class tourist sights. Using the ferry system to get around, visiting the Royal Botanical Gardens, and taking the tours at the Art Gallery Of New South Wales will allow the frugal tourist to experience more for less.