The Iglu Guide | Blog

Students’ favourite things to do in Sydney for free

You’re a student living in one of the world’s best cities, and you’re desperate to get out and explore your new home. But how can you make that happen when daily life feels pretty expensive right now across the board, and you’re already managing on a tight budget? Don’t despair! When you’re looking for a fun-packed itinerary that doesn’t cost a cent, Sydney has plenty to offer all year round. Here’s some of our favourite student activities that’ll keep the budget happy, and show off the very best of this beautiful Harbour City all at the same time.

Outdoor adventures

Thanks to an amazing 200 days of sunshine served up every year in Sydney, there’s plenty to do in the fresh salty air that’s completely free of charge. Start with one of the iconic coastal walks such as the ever-popular Coogee to Bondi. This stunning pathway passes through several swim spots and picnic places just crying out for you to take a break. It culminates at Bondi’s iconic Icebergs pool where a nominal fee will buy you unlimited laps – or dip in at Bondi for free. Don’t miss out on the Manly to Spit harbour walkway where you can take in incredible harbour views. Dip in at the many calm waterways as you walk the full 10k, and be prepared to hop over a few natural residents along the way. Keep an eye out for the preserved aboriginal sites and secret lookouts. More ambitious students might take on some of the Royal National Park’s 26km trail adorned with subtropical rainforests, coastal scrub, dramatic cliffs and numerous aboriginal sites and artefacts. Warning… Don’t be lulled into the waters here, as the beaches are unpatrolled and only for experienced swimmers and surfers. For a more relaxing day in the fresh air, pack a picnic, grab some friends and head to the nearest park for the afternoon. Iglu Sydney residents can take advantage of Prince Alfred Park or Chippendale Green for somewhere close to home. And beach lovers have some of the world’s best beaches to choose from here in Sydney. Pack a towel and a book before heading off to the iconic Bondi Beach where you can spend hours watching the world go by. For a more relaxed family atmosphere take a ferry from Circular Quay to Manly and check out the beautiful Northern Beaches. Here you can get some surfing practise in, have a snorkel at Shelly Beach, or try out paddle-boarding in the harbour waters. Remember to always swim between the red and yellow flags, and don’t forget to slip slop slap!

Culture vultures

Sydney is not short of cultural opportunities, with many of them offering free exhibitions that won’t cost you a cent. Students should not miss out on the legendary White Rabbit Art Gallery, just 3 minutes’ walk away from Iglu Central Park. Featuring cutting edge and contemporary Chinese art completely free of charge, this is one gallery that never disappoints. Check out the MCA and Art Gallery of NSW for the latest free exhibitions featuring modern, classical and aboriginal artworks. Street art fans should definitely experience a Newtown street walk to check out the many colourful murals that adorn the buildings around the suburb. This successful art program, just 3km from Iglu Redfern, connects willing artists with property owners and blank walls – all as a result of community efforts.

City views

Sydney is never short of an incredible view or two, and the good news is that many of them can be nabbed for free. Take a march across the iconic Harbour Bridge for spectacular city perspectives, or head to Crown Sydney’s Sky Deck for the best of the Sydney skyline. Travel up some 83 levels and step out onto an expansive open-air balcony. Here you can enjoy the views along with a 30-minute guided tour, all completely free of charge! A little more low-key, but equally as spectacular, are the beautiful views from North Head in Manly. Encompassing dramatic cliffs and hidden beaches, it’s the perfect spot to watch the sun go down. Take advantage of the excellent transport system and don’t forget to spectate this amazing city from down low as you go about your day. Wander around the iconic street markets that crop up every weekend, or take a perch in the Botanical Gardens and simply relax. Combining the best of mother nature with active city living, there’s nowhere quite like Sydney.

Educational opportunities

Sydney is a living history book, and there’s plenty to be learned just wandering around the city streets. The Rocks is the birthplace of the modern city, and where the Europeans arrived and settled back in 1788. This shaped the development of the area, and it has a rich colonial history that permeates the atmosphere. Take a self-guided walking tour around the cobbled streets and check out the oldest pub, narrow passageways and the original workers’ cottages. Read about the convicts who first inhabited the area, and discover how the city evolved into the spirited enclave we see today. For more educational opportunities, the NSW State Library is a great resource and it regularly holds free exhibitions and workshops. Check out the individual universities for free lectures and talks, and keep an eye out in your local area for any community workshops you can take part in.

Fitness and wellbeing

Sydney is the home of outdoor exercise, and with a city that looks this good, it’s not hard to see why. Exercise is really important at all stages of life, but it’s also a fantastic way to help de-stress as a busy student. It releases endorphins that flood through your body and immediately refreshes your mood and mind. Take that feeling outdoors, and the benefits are even greater! Grab a mat and head outside to the nearest park for an invigorating yoga or exercise session. Log on to a free class using an ipad or even your phone, and stretch out your tired body in the morning sun. You’ll never regret it! Another way to keep fit and get around for free is to jump on a bike. Take advantage of the fantastic cycle ways that crisscross the city and don’t forget to take a good look around as you go. It’s a great way to explore the city and avoid the nasty traffic at the same time. And as an added bonus, it’s great for the environment! If you prefer to keep fit on terra firma, take advantage of the beautiful running tracks that will take you all around the city. Try the legendary 7km waterside Bay Run in Drummoyne, pick up your pace around Centennial Park or enjoy the water views as you nail the 3km run from Sydney Opera House to Macquarie’s Chair. The options are delightfully endless, and you won’t have to spend a cent.

Photo credit: Destination NSW

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