Backpacking Sydney Travel Guide 2018

Recognized as Australia’s most famous city and the largest city in Oceania, Sydney is an effortless blend of beach culture and urban life. This metropolitan is the gateway for nearly all visitors in Australia, making it a backpacker’s paradise.

Sydney is home to world-renowned landmarks like the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, as well as some of the most gorgeous and famed beaches on the planet.

Culturally diverse, Sydney welcomes people from all walks of life. With a young but rich history, Sydney pays homage to its indigenous people through museums, educational walks, and cultural events.

Anything goes in Sydney, as long as people are happy, healthy, and having fun. Life is truly uncomplicated here. Backpacking Sydney will give you an incredible taste for life down under.

Vibrant and spirited, Sydneysiders are quick to identify their city as the party capital of Australia. There is never a shortage of festivals, pubs, clubs, live music venues, or parties to attend.

Open your mind, expand your horizons, and have a blast while backpacking Sydney.

Photo: Alexandria Zboyovski

 

How Much Does Backpacking Sydney Cost?

Getting hereflying into an isolated countrywill be your biggest expense. My recommendation is to sort out visas and flights before you begin to budget your trip.

Sydney can be affordable if you truly travel like a broke backpacker. Allocate your money to the activities you deem most important during your stay. Use our backpacking Sydney travel guide to save wherever you can, like food and accommodation.

Realistically, I would budget a minimum of $75 a day to comfortably experience Sydney. The following is a breakdown of items to consider for you Sydney daily budget:

Hostel Dorm Bed: $25-35

Airbnb: $35-70

Airport Link Train to City: $18.50

Adult Opal Card Fare: $3.50-7.00

Beer at Bar: $6-10

Goon: $10-25

Breakfast: $5-9

Lunch: $12-20

Dinner: $20-35

Day at Beach/Coastal Walks: Free

In this detailed travel guide for backpacking Sydney, we have covered all of the best Sydney attractions as well as travel costs, tips, and tricks for visiting Sydney on a backpacker budget!

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Sydney Budget Backpacking Tips

Backpacking Sydney is not cheap—let’s get that out of the way! That’s not to say that you need to break the bank to enjoy the city. The following are a few tips to note before you head to Sydney to stay on a backpacker budget.

Food: For those non-foodie, budget backpacker through-and-through types, hit-up Australian supermarkets like Coles and Woolworths, and have yourself a nice little outdoor picnic.

Markets around the city will also have fresh seafood and produce at reasonable prices. Check out Chinatown for cheap eats, and ask around the neighborhood for inexpensive local restaurants.

Drink: There is no shortage of backpacker bars in Sydney. Be on the lookout for backpacker specials at the many hostels. As always, in true Australian fashion: drink goon, save money.

Note: Australian tap water is fine to drink, and you can find water fountains everywhere. Refill water bottles to save on water purchases. (Always stay hydrated!)

Transportation: Get an Opal Card. It is easy—you will need it! Taxis are expensive in Sydney, and rideshare is a better means of getting around. (Use UberPool to share your ride with other travelers for an even cheaper fare.)

Free Activities: Luckily, Sydney is loaded with things to do for free! Swim at the beach, admire a coastal sunrise, check out local art at the free museums, stroll along Sydney’s coastal walks, join a free walking tour of the city, hike in the Blue Mountains, or browse the many markets and festivals. It is easy to experience Sydney on a backpacker budget.

Other Backpacker Tips: Internet is expensive in the land down under. Luckily, McDonald’s (Maccas) always has free WiFi.

Stores close early and oftentimes do not open on Sundays. Unbelievably, all shops close at 5 or 6. Thursday is late-night shopping, so expect stores to be open until 9. This seems strange for such a massive city, but it is true, so plan ahead for certain necessities.

BridgeClimb Sydney is a cool attraction if you have the money. However, you can get a view of the Sydney Harbour by simply walking across the bridge for free!

Bronte, Sydney

Bronte Baths Photo: Alexandria Zboyovski

 

Where to Stay in Sydney

We’ve broken down 5 of the best areas to stay in Sydney, here, but the following are a select few neighborhoods in Sydney that you could rest your head for the night.

Surry Hills: A hip neighborhood and home to many great places to eat and drink. Surry Hills has great public transportation connections.

Darlinghurst: Darlinghurst is the heart of Sydney’s gay scene, and home to popular Oxford Street.

Kings Cross: Essentially Sydney’s Red Light District, Kings Cross has bars lining its streets. Often called “backpacker central” as Kings Cross comes alive at night with drinking, dancing, and lots of travelers looking for a great time.

Bondi: Arguably one of Sydney’s hottest suburbs, Bondi has everything you need for a truly Australian experience. Home to stunning beaches, great coffee, trendy shopping, vibrant nightlife, active people, and the popular Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk.

Manly: One of Sydney locals most favored beaches, Manly has a cool community feel. A lovely 30-minute ferry ride from the city, with incredible views of the Sydney Opera House, is reason enough to make the trip over to Manly.

If you are traveling as a couple or group, check out our Airbnb post for a free $35 free credit!

Sydney is a popular backpacker destination, so naturally, there are many backpacker hostels scattered throughout the city. I have listed my top 3 favorites below, but make sure to check out our full list of backpacker hostels in Sydney.

 

Best Backpacker Hostel in Sydney: Bounce Sydney

Bounce Sydney is located in the trendy suburb of Surry Hills just opposite Central Station, the main hub for Sydney’s rail station.

This accommodation offers a new and modern feel, clean rooms, and a rooftop terrace with BBQ, paired with exceptional views of Sydney.

Bounce is equipped with key card access, on-site bar and restaurant, free WiFi, a fully equipped kitchen, 3 lounges, guest lockers with power sockets inside, an ideal location, great atmosphere, and friendly staff; it is hard to find a reason not to stay at Bounce Sydney!

Book Your Sydney Hostel Here 

 

Best Party Hostel in Sydney: Kings Cross Backpackers

Kings Cross, or “The Cross” as locals say, is a small Sydney district known for its happening nightlife. Naturally, Kings Cross Backpackers tops our list for the best party hostel in the city.

Newly renovated in 2017, this backpacker hostel offers all of the things you could ask for during your stay in Sydney. A notable rooftop bar with BBQ, fast and free WiFi, free tea/coffee/breakfast, and some free nightly meals, are just a few of the perks to be had here.

Kings Cross Backpackers is within walking distance to the CBD and Kings Cross Station. Combine their free organized events and nights out with lots of international travelers looking to make new friends, and you get a great hostel to have some fun or maybe get a little weird!

Book Your Sydney Hostel Here  

 

Best Hostel for Solo Travelers in Sydney: Bondi Backpackers

Solo travelers are doing it right when they choose to stay at Bondi Backpackers on Sydney’s most iconic beach!

Panoramic views of Bondi Beach, a furnished rooftop lounge, yoga lessons, coastal walking tours, and free surfboard hire are all awesome extras that Bondi Backpackers offers its guests.

A social atmosphere with chilled beach vibes make this an ideal location to hang with others if you are looking to make friends, but easy enough to get away and relax in the sun if you desire a true solo Aussie escape.

Bondi Backpackers has all of the freebies you need from your accommodation, as well as BBQ nights, and it is within walking distance to the beach, shopping, and vibrant nightlife spots.

Book Your Sydney Hostel Here  

 

Top Things to do in Sydney

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1. Chill at the Sydney Opera House

Sydney is noted for its iconic Sydney Opera House, a multi-venue performing arts center. Located in the harbor of Circular Quay, you can catch the train directly from Sydney Airport.

No visit to Australia would be complete without an Instagram photo of this amazing piece of architecture, right!? Keep yourself updated on any events you may like to see inside, and be sure to head down to the Opera Bar for a lovely sunset drink on the water.

Sydney Opera House

 

2. Discover Sydney Harbour Bridge

Another world famous landmark is the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Take a ride over the steel structure and catch views of stunning Sydney.

You can legally climb the southern half of the bridge with Sydney Bridge Climb, however, it is free to walk or bike across. The more frugal option allthe ows opportunity to take-in the glorious harbor, and snap some panoramic shots of the Opera House.

If you are lucky enough to be in Sydney for New Year’s Eve, you do not want to miss the firework show that forms an explosive backdrop of the Harbour Bridge.

Sydney Harbour Bridge by Night

 

3. Spend the Day at Bondi Beach

Sure, I could lump all beaches together as a must-do activity, but with Australia’s endless coastline, I need to be a bit more specific. Bondi Beach is especially relevant, as it is one of the most visited tourist sites in Australia.

Bondi is a white-sand, crescent-shaped beach with reliable waves for surfers, and a great spot to hire a surf lesson. Swim or skate around Bondi, grab lunch at a local cafe, or take a dip at the notable Bondi Icebergs Swimming Club; there is plenty to do here that make it one step above the rest.

A quick train ride from the city to Bondi Junction, and you can easily catch a bus, Uber, or taxi down to the beachfront.

Photo: Alexandria Zboyovski

 

4. Stroll along the Many Coastal Walks

Do not miss an opportunity for a stroll along the popular Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk. This coastal walk stretches from the cliffs of Bondi to Coogee with dramatic scenery and incredible ocean views along the way.

The beaches on the coastal route are well maintained and pristine. Be sure to take a dip in one of the rock pools on your route.

Other incredible coastal walks include the Hermitage Foreshore Track and the Spit Bridge to Manly Walk. See the “Best Walks in Sydney” section below for more information!

 

5. Ride the Ferry to Manly Beach

Circular Quay is the location of Sydney’s main ferry terminal. You do not want to miss the 30-minute ferry ride over to Manly. Manly Ferry is a must-do for visitors; it provides a great angle and perspective of the harbor, Opera House, and Harbour Bridge.

Situated among the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Manly itself is one of the locals’ most favored beaches. Manly exudes Aussie surf vibes and it has a lovely promenade, wide beach, many restaurants, shops, and a happening nightlife.

Manly, Sydney

Manly Wharf

 

6. Unearth the Rocks

Essentially, the Rocks is the birthplace of modern Sydney, as it was here that British settlers first landed. The historic precinct has quite a colorful past.

Unfold the story of The Rock’s evolution, from cobbled laneways full of rowdy sailors, soldiers, convicts, and gangs, into the modern precinct it is today. Amble the foreshore, drink at Australia’s oldest pubs, browse the popular markets, enjoy the myriad of cafes, join the Rocks Walking Tour to take a step back in time, and visit the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia.

 

7. Mosey around the Royal Botanic Garden

Opened in 1816, the enchanting Royal Botanic Garden sits on the edge of Sydney Harbour, and it is the oldest scientific institution in Australia. The garden is sprawling with thousands of plant specimens, birds, and even cute fruit bats.

Soak up the sun on the garden lawn, as access into the garden is completely free.

Join the Aboriginal Heritage Tour to gain knowledge of the Cadigal people. Tours are guided by Aboriginals, themselves. Learn about the diverse history of the original owners of Sydney. Uncover the gardens by exploring plant uses and try bush food.

Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair—an exposed sandstone cutout of rock in the shape of a bench—is also cool to check out. The chair was hand carved by convicts in 1810, and it makes a nice lookout point to gaze at the harbor.

 

8. Familiarize Yourself with Unique Animals at Taronga Zoo 

A 12-minute ferry ride from Circular Quay, Taronga Zoo is a not-for-profit organization that supports wildlife conservation.

Taronga Zoo provides another place to score excellent views of Sydney Harbour, but the real treat is the chance to see native wildlife, as well as, exotic animals.

Highlights include animal feedings, encounters, and the nocturnal platypus habitat. Who wouldn’t love spending the day among the ‘roos?

 

9. Visit Darling Harbour

Darling Harbour is just adjacent to the city center and easily accessible by public transportation; it is home to many of Sydney’s attractions and museums.

Paddy’s Market, Aboriginal Centre, the casino, the Sydney Sea Life Aquarium, Wild Life Sydney Zoo, Australian National Maritime Museum, and many other public facilities have roots here. You will find this large pedestrian precinct in the heart of Sydney, neighboring Chinatown, King Street Wharf, and Cockle Bay.

Darling Harbour is often host to large-scale events, so see what is going on during your visit to Sydney. 

 

10. Wander the City

Discover Sydney by simply wandering the city—it’s free! Many of the museums offer free admission, such as the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Meander the old-time buildings that are open to the public, including the Queen Victoria Building.

Explore the city’s many parks and gardens, like Hyde Park. Uncover interesting suburbs around the city, for instance Kings Cross. Do not pass-up a stroll around Luna Park; it may be worth a few bucks to hop-on one of the amusement park’s fun rides. 

Backpacking Sydney

Luna Park

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Backpacking Sydney 3-Day Itinerary

Admittedly, 3 days in Sydney is not nearly enough time if you want to see it all. Hey—that just comes to show that Sydney is bustling full of the things that make a city great!

Obviously, if you are limited on time, you should try to adjust this itinerary to match your personal travel goals. What one backpacker in Sydney deems important may completely differ to another.

I have done my best to break down 3 days in Sydney that maximize the amount of sights you can see in this huge city.

 

Day 1 in Sydney

How many hours did you just spend sitting on an airplane? You need to get up and walk around for the day!

Dive right into the good stuff, and head straight to Circular Quay. It is here that you can marvel at the Sydney Opera House in all of its glory. Sip on your very first Australian cocktail at Opera Bar, and grab a seat on the water to take in the views of Sydney Harbour and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Continue onward to The Rocks. Here, you can grab a bite at one of Sydney’s oldest pubs. Walk around the historic neighborhood and browse the open-air markets, before making your way to the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Finally, catch the ferry to Manly Beach. Kick back and enjoy the ride as Sydney’s most iconic landmarks pass you by. Upon arrival to Manly, you can have a stroll around the promenade, and soak-up the sun at the beach. Watch surfers as they catch waves at this popular surf spot.

End your amazing day with a sunset dinner on the water. If you have not had enough fun yet, pop over to Darling Harbour for a night cap… or 3.

Sydney Opera House

 

Day 2 in Sydney

Refreshed and revitalized from your day in the Australian sun, you are all set to conquer day 2 in Sydney at Bondi Beach. Grab the train from the city to Bondi Junction. From this point, hop on a bus and ride down to the beachfront.

Spend your morning swimming in the sea or wading in the natural rock pools. Watch skaters shred at the park, snap some photos of the local street art, or checkout the hip streets for shopping. Get a feel for the funky beach lifestyle at Bondi.

Bondi is known for its waves, so definitely book yourself a surf lesson. If you have not learned yet, Australia is the place to do it! If surfing isn’t your thing, head over to Bondi Icebergs Swimming Club to hang in the pool, have a cocktail, and dine on the balcony overlooking the ocean.

Begin your journey of the eastern beaches with the coastal walk that stretches along the cliffs to Coogee. There are breathtaking views on this route. Watch the waves crash on the cliffs, spot sea life, and stop at all of the divine beaches on the way.

When you finally arrive to Coogee, cool down with a drink at the Coogee Pavilion.

Bondi has endless options for food and drink, so I recommend having dinner at a local restaurant before making your way back into the city. Feeling frisky? There is a happening nightlife in Bondi as well, so go get some drinks with the cuties you met on the beach!

Bondi Beach

Bondi Beach

 

Day 3 in Sydney

Since 3 days in Sydney is not a lot of time, dedicate day 3 in Sydney towards things that pique your own interest.

Take the day to hike the Blue Mountains if you enjoy nature and rugged landscapes.

For those backpackers that enjoy eating and drinking around the world, discover one of Australia’s most prominent wine regions.

Cruise the ferry to Watson’s Bay for more beach time. Appreciate the astonishing views of the city from one of Sydney’s iconic walking tracks that you can catch at the bay.

Visit the animals at Taronga Zoo, Wild Life Sydney Zoo, or Sea Life Aquarium.

Looking for free things to do in Sydney? Make time in your day to enjoy the Royal Botanic Garden. Have a picnic under the trees while staring out into the harbor. Wander down the famous Oxford Street, gawk at the beautiful Queen Victoria Building (QVB), and stroll around Hyde Park.

Go out with a bang and get wild at the many backpacker bars in Sydney like Kings Cross. For Sydney on the cheap: drink goon (wine) until you pass out. Don’t worry, you can blow-up the wine bag to make sure you have a nice pillow to rest your head for the night!

Sydney

 

Sydney off the Beaten Track (More Awesome Things to do in Sydney)

You came all the way to Sydney, so why not wander a little more? If you have more time to spare while backpacking Sydney, then the following are a few recommendations. These may require some planning to get to, as they are not centrally located.

Blue Mountains National Park: A vast region west of Sydney and part of the Great Dividing Range, the Blue Mountains make for a great day trip away from city life.

Hire a car or use a tour company that offers transportation to the mountains as it will take about 2 hours to reach. Visit the well-known landmarks like the Three Sisters and Lincoln’s Rock. Explore waterfalls, snap epic photos of the mountains and valleys, and have a BBQ—yum!

Hunter Valley: About 2 hours drive north of Sydney is the Hunter Valley wine region. Visit some of its 120 wineries where you can sample wine and cheeses. It is possible to rent a bike and tour the region, especially if you are a backpacker who enjoys the finer things in life—on a finer budget! You can also bushwalk through the Yengo National Park to visit Aboriginal cultural heritage sites.

Cockatoo Island  A UNESCO World Heritage-listed site, Cockatoo Island is an old convict precinct. Located smack dab in the middle of Sydney Harbour, this is a key cultural site for the city. Discover the island’s history as it evolved from a prison, to a reformatory school, into a major shipyard. Cockatoo Island also hosts many events, so you should keep track of what’s going on during your stay in Sydney

 

Best Walks in Sydney

Sydneysiders have a wealth of choices when it comes to walking tracks. Here are some top picks to explore the city by foot when backpacking Sydney:

Bondi to Coogee: The quintessential Sydney stroll—surf, sand, skate, swim, eat, drink, workout, and take-in picturesque views. This 6 km coastal hiking track is undeniably the most famous in Sydney.

Spit Bridge to Manly: One of the best and most easily accessible treks in the city. This 10 km trail boasts panoramic ocean views, gorgeous bays, brilliant beaches, and native bushland. Important to note, the Spit Bridge to Manly walk is actually part of the 20 km, Manly Scenic Walkway, for those of you backpackers looking for a challenge.

Rose Bay to Watson’s Bay: An 8 km track and one of the most scenic in the Sydney. A relatively long but easy walk. Highlights include the secluded beaches and parks as well as a section of the walk called the Hermitage Foreshore Track, which may be the best part!

Bradley’s Head to Chowder Bay: This is a trail that overlooks the Sydney Harbour, Harbour Bridge, the Opera House, and the city skyline. Continue on into the bush until you end your walk at the beautiful Chowder Bay.

Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk

 

Backpacking Sydney Travel Tips and City Guide

The following is a breakdown of the basics and everything you need to know before your Sydney trip. Whether you are a first-time backpacker or experienced in the art of travel, it is always nice to have a reference of useful information.

 

Best Time of Year to Visit Sydney

The Australian continent is in the Southern Hemisphere, so it celebrates its summer from December to March and winter from June to September. New South Wales, the state where Sydney resides, is located in a subtropical zone with hot summers and cool winters. 

While there is no wrong time to visit Sydney, there are few things to take note of before you plan your dream trip.

Peak season is from Christmas until the end of January. This time coincides with school holidays, hot temperatures, and higher rates on flights and accommodation. However, it is also the time-frame to experience the longest days, Christmas on the beach, one of the greatest New Year’s Eve firework shows on the planet, popular festivals, and Australia Day!

Alternatively, a Sydney spring is usually dry and warm; offering pleasant temperatures, smaller crowds, and days full of abundant sunshine.

 

Getting in and out of Sydney

Sydney’s major transportation hub for international and domestic travel, Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport, is located approximately 9 km (6 miles) south of the city center. Due to Australia’s geographic location in Oceania, it is likely that you will arrive to the country via airplane.

There are a number of ways to get to-and-from the airport such as car, taxi, rideshare, train, shuttle, rental car, bus, or bike.

Airport Link offers fast and convenient train services that run approximately every 10-minutes. For a mere 13-minute ride to the city, you will need to purchase an Opal Card—Sydney’s ‘tap-on, tap-off’ travel system—before riding.

Especially important to note: the only visitors that do not require a visa prior to arrival in Sydney are Australians and New Zealanders. For information on Australia entry requirements, please visit my Backpacking East Coast Australia Travel Guide.

Backpacking Sydney

 

How to get around Sydney

Sydney has an extensive rail network within the city that also covers regional areas. The main hub is Central Station, which most lines pass through.

An Opal Card is used for fares, and can be purchased at train stations and participating retailers. It is wise to purchase your Opal Card upon arrival in Sydney, as they can be used for train, bus, and ferry services. ‘Top-up’ your travel credit and receive a better value on transportation than single-ticket purchases.

Transport NSW also has an extensive bus network. Buses are in operation from around 5 am to midnight. Use your Opal Card to tap on-and-off. Trams (Light Rail) runs between select locations within the city.

Enjoy your travels in Sydney by taking a ferry. Explore the waterways from around 6 am to midnight. The most popular service is the Manly Ferry, which you can board at the Sydney Harbour.

Sydney Metro is a future rapid transit system that also participates in the Opal ticketing system. The first stage of the metro system is set to open in early 2019.

Driving within the city center can be time consuming and expensive to park. However, car rental can be handy for accessing Sydney’s outer reaches for day trips.

Taxi, Uber, and bicycle rental/bike share are all popular means of transportation in Sydney.

Australians are laid-back, easy-going, no-stress kind of people. That means public transportation may not be the most reliable. Give yourself plenty of time to get to where you are going.

Australia

Alex in Australia

 

Long Distance Trains from Sydney

The Indian Pacific is an Australian passenger rail service that connects Sydney with Perth. This is considered to be one of the few truly transcontinental trains in the world.

NSW TrainLink’s XPT and XPLORER link Sydney with Melbourne, Brisbane, and Canberra.

 

Safety in Sydney

Australia is a safe country with a low crime rate.

Maintain safety in Sydney by wearing sunscreen, hats, sunnies, and light clothing while going out into the Australian sun. Sunrays are dangerous being ever-so-close to the equator. Drink water and always carry fluids on you. A sure-fire way to destroy your trip is by ending up in the hospital with dehydration symptoms.

Swim between the flags on the beach. Oftentimes, shark nets are used on popular beaches for protection. Ocean rescue can easily see you when you are with the crowd if any trouble were to arise.

In addition, no matter how advances you may feel you are at swimming, the sea is a mystical place, so do not think you are stronger than any current. The flags are there for good reason.

Never swim at night in the sea. I was once told, in reference to the crocodile riddled waters of the north, “if you do not see an Australian swimming, you should not get in,” and that can be a good rule of thumb to follow.

Although it may not be common, there is the risk of being bitten by a snake or spider as well as being stung by a jellyfish. Always tell someone the areas you are exploring and try to find a buddy to join if you are headed into the bush.

Pick yourself up a backpacker security belt to keep your cash safe on the road, and check out Backpacker Safety 101 for tips and tricks to stay safe while backpacking Sydney. This post for plenty of ideas on ingenious ways to hide your money when traveling.

 

Get Insured Before Backpacking Sydney

Get insurance! Even if you are only going on a short trip, you should always travel with insurance. Have fun on your backpacking Sydney adventure, but take it from someone who has racked up tens of thousands of dollars on an insurance claim before, you need it.

As a wise man once said, if you can’t afford travel insurance, you shouldn’t be travelingso be sure to get your backpacker insurance sorted before you head off on an adventure! I highly recommend World Nomads.

 

Sydney Accommodation Travel Hacks

Accommodation could put a dent in your wallet while backpacking Sydney. A great way to alleviate that expense is to work for your hostel room. Many hostels will allow you to work in exchange for a bed. Although this may only be an option if you plan to stay for over a week.

Airbnbs are great if you are traveling with several friends to cut costs.

As always, if you are on a tight budget then utilize the Couchsurfing community. There are many awesome hosts in Sydney! An added bonus: your local couchsurfing host will likely show you around town and give you insider tips.

Caravan parks and campgrounds are definitely a money saving option near Sydney for those of you touring Australia in a camper van.

Networking can go a long way as wellIt is very possible that you have made friends while traveling elsewhere that live in your destination city. Call on a buddy for a place to crash for a few nights.

Backpacking Sydney

 

Eating and Drinking in Sydney

In Sydney, you can find any cuisine you desire. Restaurants provide an extensive array of local and international food as a result of multiculturalism.

Sydney boasts high quality seafood attributable to clean ocean environments and bountiful access to water.

Australia has a long developed coffee culture; therefore, Sydneysiders can enjoy a brekky cafe around every corner. Try avo (avocado) on toast. Native fruit is always a great snack or breakfast idea.

For cheap and tasty food, be sure to check-out Sydney’s Chinatown.

Surry Hills has one of the highest concentrations of restaurants within Sydney, priding itself on a diverse range of choices.

If you would like to eat like a local, your diet is going to consist heavily upon meat. Common meals include meat pies, fish and chips, roast dinners, lamb, and Australian bush food.

Have a barbecue anywhere you desire in Sydney, as local council offer barbecues for use by the general public, and your hostel or Airbnb will likely do the same. Drink a few stubbies (beer) and complete your burger with slices of beetroot—it’s the Australian way!

For an authentic Australian experience be sure to try: Kangaroo, Emu, Vegemite, Tim Tams, and Lamingtons.

 

Wine in Sydney

Australia is one of the world’s largest exporters of wine and it is produced in every single state. The major varietals of wine in Australia are Shiraz (Syrah to much of the world), Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Semillon, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc.

New South Wales, in particular, has several wine regions to be discovered. Quite a few of these wine regions fall within driving distance from Sydney, such as Hunter ValleyAustralia’s oldest wine growing region Mudgee, Southern Highlands, and Orange.

While many may enjoy the finer things in life, even on a budget, the majority of Sydney visitors will stick to Goon—boxed winean Australian staple for backpackers.

 

Nightlife in Sydney

In an effort to reduce alcohol-fueled violence, the Government of New South Wales introduced Sydney lockout laws. In short, the legislation requires 2:00 am lockouts and last call on drinks at 3:30 am, within the Sydney CBD entertainment precinct.

Essentially, the precinct is bounded by Kings CrossDarlinghurstCockle BayThe Rocks and Haymarket. However, there are plenty of bars and pubs outside of the entertainment precinct that will allow customers in after 2:00 am.

This Sydney lockout map is useful for night owls looking for a place to party into the early morning.

Lockouts have not prevented Sydneysiders from having fun. Australian pubs or ‘hotels’ are popular among students and backpackers. Find some awesome pubs at The Rocks, Coogee, or Bondi.

Oxford Street has gained a reputation as Sydney’s nightclub strip, and the Darlinghurst end of the street has become known as the center of Sydney’s gay community. Every March, Oxford Street hosts the parade for the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras festival.

Nightlife is often concentrated around Kings Cross where you can find many strip joints and sex shops as well as plenty of clubs.

Newtown also emits awesome party vibes and has several drinking options outside of the lockout zone!

 

Books to Read on Sydney

Below are some excellent books to add to your Sydney reading list!

The Backpacker Bible – Learn how to ditch your desk and travel the world on just $10 a day whilst building an online income.

Lonely Planet Sydney (Travel Guide) – Relevant, up-to-date travel information and advice from the world’s leading travel guide publisher, Lonely Planet.

Half a World Away in Australia: Travelling in a Land Down Under – Discover the land down under from someone who has dedicated his life to it. The English born author fell in love with Australia, moved there, and has been discovering and writing about it ever since. This is one of the best books set in Australia, full of fascinating stories, written in a down-to-earth style, and sure to be a hit for anyone intrigued by the land down under.

Kings Cross: A Biography – A fascinating account of the history of Kings Cross, one of Australia’s most infamous and misunderstood places. 

Harp In The South – This Australian classic portrays the life of the Darcy family living in the once slum suburb of Sydney–Surry Hills.

Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence – A book about Australia’s history and its treatment of the Aboriginal peoples. A sad but fascinating read to gain a little insight about Australia’s history.

 

Make Money Online Whilst Backpacking Sydney

Traveling in Sydney long-term? Keen to make some cash when you are not exploring the city? 

Teaching English online is a great way to earn a consistent income—from anywhere in the world with a good internet connection. Depending on your qualifications (or your motivation to obtain qualifications like a TEFL certificate) you can teach English remotely from your laptop, save some cash for your next adventure, and make a positive impact on the world by improving another person’s language skills! It’s a win-win! Check out this detailed article for everything you need to know to start teaching English online.

Learn what it’s like to be a VIPKID teacher, a top company in the field of online English learning.

In addition to giving you the qualifications to teach English online, TEFL courses open up a huge range of opportunities and you can find teaching work all over the world. To find out more about TEFL courses and how you can teach English around the world, read my in-depth report on teaching English abroad.

Broke Backpacker readers get a 35% discount on TEFL courses with MyTEFL (simply enter the code BACKPKR), to find out more, please read my in-depth report on teaching English abroad.

Whether you are keen to teach English online or looking to take your teaching game a step further by finding a job teaching English in a foreign country, getting your TEFL certificate is absolutely a step in the right direction.

 

Want to learn how to travel the world on $10 a day? Check out the Broke Backpacker’s Bible…

Yay for transparency! Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation, buy a book or sort your insurance, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only link to stuff I’ve actually used and never endorse crap. Your support helps me keep the site going.”


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In this detailed travel guide for backpacking Sydney, we have covered all of the best Sydney attractions as well as travel costs, tips, and tricks for visiting Sydney on a backpacker budget!

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