Sunday, August 17, 2008

Nearly free stuff in Sydney

As a person who always panics that no-one will turn up to her party, I couldn't turn down this request from Penni at eglantine's cake. And I think it is pretty cool, someone just needs to collate the answers.

Here are the rules (because it wouldn't be a meme without rules):
1. List (at least) five things to do for free in your city or town, not just well publicised touristy things, but things YOU might do too!
2. Write it with a visitor in mind.
3. Tag three people* - extra fun if they live somewhere you'd like to know better or you're going to sometime soon.
4. If you're anonymous/coy about where you live, choose another town or city that you know.

So here's my list for Sydney.

1. The Bondi Beach walk. You can walk south from Bondi Beach along a very well marked path which is pram plausible (a few short sets of stairs). You can go all the way to Maroubra or you can pike out anywhere along the way. It is really spectacular, and there are cafes at each beach. We quite like to have brekky in Bondi first. I am a sucker for cliffs, so I love this. There are buses that run up and down the beach suburbs to get you back when you are done.

2. Get yourself to Balmain, either by bus or ferry. You can just walk around the shopping area, window shopping. There is good ice cream and great coffee. When you get bored of looking at amazing but massively overpriced antiques and cool clothes, you can wander around the back streets looking at the cool houses and head towards the harbour to get back to the ferry or grab a return bus. This is a great way to spend an afternoon, especially if you pick a day with markets, but I would recommend it as sans kid day.

3. One of my favourite "For God's sake get the kids out of the house!" excursions is to get the train to Circular Quay and then a ferry to Darling Harbour. The ferries are not real frequent, so a wander around west Circular Quay is often in order. There are always street performers around this area, which seems to amuse the kids. From the ferry stop at Darling Harbour you can wander right through the precinct up to China Town. On the way there is Lindt Cafe (with the best hot chocolate I have had recently) and a kids' playground. The playground is ok, but definitely better for the older kids - say 4yrs and up. Further around there is an area where kids can play in a little water park, with water guns and stuff. There are several opportunities for kids to get wet, so be warned. As you go under the last of the flyovers towards China Town there is a curtain water fountain that kids love. Lots of food options in China Town and then back to Central Station and home.

4. This is a summer one - walk across the Harbour Bridge to North Sydney Pool. I know the Bridge is very touristy, but I love walking across it, and when I worked in the city I used to do it at lunch time quite often. I get a buzz every time I look at the Harbour, and this is a great way to do it. When you get to Milson's Point, head down to North Sydney Pool, basically under the Bridge on the western side. It is a beautiful pool, and although it isn't technically free, it is about the same price as a ferry ticket, so I thought I could sneak it in.

5. The Rocks area on a weekend has markets which are fun to browse. It is a cool place to explore, with stair cases and little alleys and an abundance of cool pubs. My favourite pubs are off George St. The Lord Nelson holds some "oldest" title, but has fantastic beer which it brews on site and a great atmosphere. It is west of the Rocks proper, but worth the walk. Ask a punter if you can't find it. The Glenmore is up near the Bridge, on the east side. It has a fantastic deck on the roof and is otherwise an old man's pub. I love it. Just up the road from the Glenmore is the Australian, which has great beer brewed in Picton (SW of Sydney) and awesome gourmet pizza.

I really wanted to put a beach in here, but all the ones I like to go to can't easily be done by public transport.

I don't tend to tag, but I'd love to hear Ingrid's answers for her town. And I think this is a fairly constructive one, so if you feel inspired, go ahead. And let Penni know, you might live where she's going!


  1. Fantastic Ariane, thanks for doing this.

    Last time we stayed in Sydney, we stayed at the Glenferrie Lodge (just round the corner from Little Johnny) and walked back and forth across the bridge every day (with Fred in the backpack). I loved doing it. We were tourists, yes, but it's a beautiful bridge to walk across. And many years ago, before kids, we had just such a day in Balmain and it was beautiful (confession, I was moderately stalking an ex-boyfriend, I wanted a gander at his house right on that Birchgrove point).

  2. Sorry to hear you are sick. Hope it isn´t too bad (I dread for he day when it happens to me. The last time I was sick with gastro I was still breastfeeding a 5 month old in between vomitting. Worst experience ever).

    Anyway, your choice of things to do are the same as mine, although we either take the Balmain ferry around the harbour or the Manly which is another favorite (although I must admit I was a lot younger when I was living in Sydney and waking up without my shoes a bit hung over on Coogee beach, or walking along Oxford Street from Bondi at 4am, were also often among my list).Good thing I am old and resdponsible now.

    What are you studying?

  3. Thanks. I wish I could say I am feeling better, but I do have a bigger supply of codeine.

    I am studying psychology with a minor in philosophy. I am attempting to do an arts degree without actually doing any arts. :)