The further we get into spring, the more it looks like luxury is at the forefront in Sydney. Opulent hotels and larger-than-life cinema experiences are just the tip of the iceberg in the harbour city but if you’re on a budget it can get a bit tricky to find fun things to do without spending all your hard-earned money. We’ve put together a list of totally free things to do in Sydney this spring which includes everything from public attractions to exploring the vast wilderness around town, free exhibitions and vibrant outdoor events.
1. Head to the Open House Weekend at the Opera House
In case you missed it, the Sydney Opera House is celebrating its 50th birthday this month and to ensure everyone gets a chance to celebrate it’s throwing open its doors for a weekend completely free of cost. Explore the seven performance spaces, enjoy live performances and go behind the scenes of the iconic structure. The event is happening on the weekend of October 21 and 22 and although it’s free to attend, you’ll need to sign up to book a spot. Head here for more details.
2. Check out Sculpture by the Sea
One of Sydney’s biggest cultural events takes place in spring and it’s completely free to visit. The world’s largest outdoor sculpture exhibition returns from October 20 to November 6 and in celebration of 25 years, it’s bringing back six artists who displayed their works at the exhibition’s 1997 debut. Find stunning artworks peppered across the scenic 2km Bondi to Tamarama coastal walk and enjoy Sydney’s stunning coastline without spending a penny. Find more details on the Sculpture by the Sea website.
3. Catch a free movie under the stars
The Rocks’ Laneway Cinema is back for its 2023 spring-summer season and it’s bringing dreamy movie nights to the historic neighbourhood for the next couple of months. A bunch of exciting movies will screen at the outdoor cinema including Christmas classics as we inch closer to the festive season. If you haven’t been, the screenings take place every Wednesday from 7pm with bean bags and deck chairs provided and it’s totally free, no catch at all. There are also a number of eateries in the vicinity including P’Nut Street Noodles, Pancakes on the Rocks and The Doss House. Head here to see the full line-up for October.
4. Cool off at the beach
This one’s a no-brainer and an all-year favourite for Sydneysiders but with the weather getting increasingly warmer there’s no better time to hit the beach. And if you don’t know where to start in a city with over 100 beaches, we’re here to help. For the picture-perfect harbour view, head to the secluded Milk Beach, to get the beach all to yourself to make your way to the unique Washaway Beach which tends to disappear at high tide. And if you want to get out of town, there are a number of pristine white sand beaches to explore plus some which even sparkle with bioluminescence every now and then. Find more here.
5. Get fit with free yoga at The Rocks
The Rocks continues with the goods with free yoga classes every Sunday at 9.30am if you’re looking to get started on that summer body. Aside from being completely free, you really can’t beat the location, they take place literally under the Sydney Harbour Bridge and you don’t have to shell out a single penny. Yoga mats are not provided at the venue and no experience is required to follow along. Head here for the details.
6. Check out a historic ghost town
There are plenty of spooky ghost tours around Sydney but if you’d rather save your money, there’s another option to get your thrills ahead of Halloween. NSW is home to a number of historic ghost towns that are now abandoned without a trace of human life. The deserted places might not be *actually* haunted but they sure are creepy if you’re into kind of thing. Make your way out of town to these ghost towns that are well worth the drive out of Sydney.
7. Enjoy a free museum day
If you’re looking to get your art and culture fix, there are heaps to choose from, most major exhibitions at The Powerhouse are free including the 1001 Remarkable Objects exhibition where you can see a number of unique objects from the museum’s archives. Then there’s the I Am The People exhibition at the White Rabbit Gallery which highlights the struggles and aspirations of the Chinese community. There are many more to choose from, take your pick here.
8. Discover a hidden waterfall
The best things about Sydney and its surroundings are the natural landscapes and the endless opportunities to get one with nature. If you’re looking to save some money and beat the heat, make your way to one of the many wonderful waterfalls in and around Sydney. One spot we recommend is just a 90-minute drive from the CBD and it lights up with glow worms after dark. Read all about it here.
9. Wander through a Sydney garden or park
Get your fill of spring flowers at one of Sydney’s many parks and gardens. There are many to explore but some of our very favourites include the picturesque Wendy’s Secret Garden and Australia’s oldest park in the heart of the CBD — Hyde Park. There’s also the peaceful Auburn Botanic Gardens if you want to see Cherry Blossoms and the Royal Botanic Garden with all the city views.
10. Go for a hike world’s third-oldest national park
The Royal National Park always offers a wealth of wonders for nature lovers but did you know it’s one of the world’s oldest national parks? It was also Australia’s very first and it’s filled with waterfalls, beaches, lookouts and opportunities to spot whales, snorkel and swim filled with rugged beauty all around. At just an hour’s drive from Sydney, this is the ideal free thing to do in the city. Check out everything you can do at the Royal National Park here.