Free Things to do in Australia

In a recent ranking of the world’s costliest cities, two of Australia’s major cities and most popular tourist destinations, Sydney and Melbourne, ranked in the top 10. Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide came in the top 40 of the 131 cities surveyed. Rising costs shouldn’t put travellers off from visiting these cities, however – there are plenty of free things to do in Australia, no matter which capital city you visit.

 

free things to do in australia sydney taking to the open road peggy tee wikimedia
The Opera House, Sydney

Free things to do in Sydney

  • Walk across the Harbour Bridge for spectacular views over Sydney’s crown jewel, the Opera House
  • Great art is available for nothing at the Art Gallery of NSW and the Museum of Contemporary Art, both free for all. Temporary exhibits charge a ticket entry price, but permanent displays can be viewed without cost.
  • A free bus ride around the CBD on the 555 will take you close to the State Library, Paddy’s Market, and Darling Harbour – all free attractions in their own right.
  • Explore the Botanical Gardens and check out the interesting local (and not so local) flora. If you are visiting at dusk, keep an eye out for the resident flying foxes!
  • Take in the sweeping coastal views along the Bondi-Coogee walk and cool off with a dip in the sea at world-famous Bondi beach
free things to do in australia melbourne taking to the opne road wikimedia
Federation Square, Melbourne

Free things to do in Melbourne

  • Explore the street art and graffiti around Melbourne’s laneways, starting with Hosier Lane
  • Browse Queen Victoria Market for fresh produce and bargains on everything from clothes to souvenirs
  • Find a spot somewhere in the sun and people watch in Federation Square, Melbourne’s urban heart.
  • Eat at Lentil as Anything, which is a new concept restaurant where you donate as little or as much as you want to for a vegetarian meal.
  • Catch the City Circle Tram, an unique Melbourne experience which runs through CBD and take in the sights.
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free things to do in australia perth little creatures taking to the open road peggy tee flickr
Little Creatures Brewery, Perth

Free things to do in Perth

  • Perth’s Cultural Centre is comprised of the Art Gallery, Museum, State Library and Perth’s Institute of Contemporary Art, PICA, and is a haven for art buffs. Best of all, entry is by gold coin donation.
  • The Bibbulmun Track is just over 1,000 kilometres long, but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t attempt at least a small section of it. Starting from Kalamunda, it is a scene, free way of taking in Perth’s natural sights.
  • The I-City walking tours are run by City of Perth volunteers and take visitors to the main sights. There are even speciality tours with a art, history or culture focus.
  • At the boutique brewery of Little Creatures, in Fremantle, tours are offered free of charge, though sadly, a pint of Little Creatures ale is not.
  • Creative Native, an Aboriginal art store located in downtown Perth, offers free 15 minute lessons on how to play the didgeroodoo. Book in advance.
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free things to do in australia haigh chocolate taking to the open road peggy tee flickr
Haigh’s Chocolate, Adelaide

Free things to do in Adelaide

  • The Garden of Unearthly Delights is a yearly festival of arts and entertainment with outdoor bars, carnival rides, sideshows and market stalls – a free spectacle for all.
  • Getting around Adelaide is free and easy with the trams that run between north Adelaide, Adelaide City and Jetty Road, Glenelg.
  • On a good day, the climb up Mount Lofty is worth it for the spectacular views over the city
  • Arguably South Australia’s most popular export, Haigh’s chocolate is a household name amongst cocoa lovers. The Adelaide chocolate factory offers free tours, and if you’re lucky, a few pieces or two for tasting at the end of the tour.
  • Jam Factory is a collective of artists’ studios, galleries and shops. It’s free to wander around and watch the artists at work, or $5 for a guided tour.
free things to do in australia darwin sunset taking to the open road peggy tee flickr
Darwin sunsets

Free things to do in Darwin

  • The sunsets over Darwin Harbour are truly magnificent. Watch the light change from the coastal reserves at East Point, Night Cliff or Casuarina Beach.
  • Fannie Bay Gaol, a 19th century gaol, is a key historic attraction in Darwin. It was built in the 19th century and was closed down as recently as 1979.
  • Lyons Cottage is a historical bungalow that was once the British Australian Telegraph house, and the only example of colonial architecture to be found in Darwin city.
  • Try your luck with a line at the Stokes Hill Wharf, a dedicated fishing platform close to the CBD. You may have to beg, borrow or steal a fishing rod, or if all else fails, pull up next to a local and ask (nicely!) if you can cast a line.
  • Entry to the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory is completely free – the site boasts some of the best collections of Aboriginal artwork in the country.
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free things to do in australia hobart taking to the open road peggy tee wikipedia
The seaside town of Hobart

Free things to do in Hobart

  • Visit Anglesea Barracks, which are the oldest military buildings still in use in the country. Go on a Tuesday, when there is a free guided tour.
  • The Mount Wellington National Park boasts walking trails aplenty as well as cultural attractions within the park itself.
  • For intrepid twitchers, bird watching at the Waterworks Reserve offers a chance to spot water fowl and other feathered natives, absolutely free. Bring your own binoculars.
  • Ride an ArtBike around Hobart. These 15 free bicycles are available for visitors looking to get around the city on two wheels. Look out for the quirky, arty bike parking.
  • Explore Battery Point, a historic warren of old cottages, pubs and mansions built in 19th century Hobart, and step back in time.

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10 Comments

  1. Ah this makes me miss Australia!! I need to get back there next year. It’s simply not an option not to pop over since I’ll be in New Zealand anyways! 🙂

    1. Absolutely NO excuse not to pop over to Oz if you’re going to be in the Southern hemisphere, Amy! Safe travels to NZ – which part are you going to? North or South island?

      1. I’ll be starting in the North Island I believe – might be better for the job market there. I have a 1-year visa, so trying to maximize my time there. We’ll see how it all works out though!

        1. Ooh! Good luck! Make sure you visit the rest of the Asia Pac region while you are based in NZ.

  2. some great tips! The Botanical Gardens in Melbourne are BRILLIANT by the way! And there are monuments such as the War Memorial as well which are very worth seeing. Melbourne has a system of disused rail tracks as well which make great walks and in the summer great beaches such as St Kilda beach, which is of course free! sorry, it’s my town! Walking along southbank and the Yarra also is another great way to spend a few hours.

    1. Thank you! 🙂 Where are the disused rail tracks in Melbourne ? That reminds me of a similar walk in Paris and sounds very urban explorer. Would be keen to check it out the next time I’m down in Melbourne. Unfortunately you can’t win me over re: beaches – I live by the water here in Sydney and the beaches here are most definitely, in my biased opinion, better than down south! 😉

  3. When we visited Tasmania last year, we were a bit shocked at how expensive things had become. It seemed like, while the rest of the world’s economy was tanking, Oz just kept crawling along. It was enough that we’ll probably put off another trip down under for a while. Maybe go back to New Zealand instead…

    1. Yes I got sticker shock after moving back to Oz after living in London and NYC! I think there are definitely pockets where you can still find affordable prices in Australia, but on general, things here just seem more expensive!

  4. Great list. I would add, the Kings Park in Perth offers free guided tours and in Adelaide you can hire a city bike for free.

    1. Those are brilliant tips, thanks Michela! I’ve been to Kings Park and it’s beautiful. Really liked the native plants section. Thanks for commenting!

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