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When it comes to exploring Sydney, you might think that a day out is going to cost you about the same as a month’s rent in Brisbane.
But, unless you’re planning on buying a matcha latte in the city’s Eastern Suburbs, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Using a bit of creativity and some insider-knowledge, we’ve put together seven activities to keep you occupied – and they won’t set you back more than a couple of pineapples.
So, whether you’re a Sydney local or you’re heading to the big smoke for a sneaky weekend away, there’s never been a better time to get healthy in the city where the parking is as tight as the active wear.
Not only does Wedding Cake Rock boast one of the city’s best views, it will only set you back a $12 National Park entry fee (per vehicle). Located South of the CBD in the Royal National Park, Wedding Cake Rock is about an hour’s walk from the Bundeena car park. Its white sandstone cliffs and sharp crevices sitting above the ocean make it look like a slice of delicious wedding cake.
Cost: $52 for an adult all-day pass
Embrace your inner child with a day out to the best* Luna Park in the country. The all-day pass gives you access to classic rides like the Wild Mouse rollercoaster, the stomach-churning Rotor and mind-warping Coney Island. All that adrenalin can have some serious health benefits. A research team published a study in Cell00715-4) suggesting that mildly increased levels of stress hormones may slow down the growth of cancerous tumours.
Our only recommendation? Don’t go on the Hair Raiser after eating fairy floss – it won’t end well!
Cost: $12 for parking and $10 for sunscreen (#sunsafety)
Regularly named as one of Sydney’s top walks, the Bondi to Bronte coastal trail will take you over the stretch of sandstone cliffs between the two famous beaches. An easy five km return trip, you’ll be spoilt with views of the ocean – you might even spot some whales and dolphins if you can drag your eyes away from the lifeguards for long enough.
Cost: Entry to the gardens is free, and $50 should cover a decent cheese platter from Woolies for your picnic.
A green oasis in the heart of the CBD, the Royal Botanic Gardens is the perfect spot to set up a picnic. The gardens cover 74 acres and volunteers operate free guided tours every day to help you navigate through the landscape. Not only are the views incredible, but research has found that being surrounded by natural views can improve your capacity to direct attention.
Cost: $46 for an adult ticket
With more than 4,000 animals from more than 350 different species and daily keeper talks, Taronga Zoo is one of the city’s wildest attractions. Not only will you burn some calories walking around the exhibits, but a 2010 study found that visiting a zoo can decrease blood pressure – two birds, one stone!
Cost: $49 for a weekday adult ticket
Named one of Australia’s most haunted sites, the Quarantine Station (or Q Station) is a combination of historic buildings, empty pathways and a burial ground. Located on Manly’s North Head, it once served as the quarantine station for migrants arriving to Sydney. With more than 150 years of untimely deaths, the Q Station ghost tour combines real stories of tragedy, pain and loss – you might even stumble across one of the Station’s resident ghosts.
If you’re heading on the ghost tour, be sure to take a date. Psychologist at Temple University, Frank Farley Ph.D. explains that fear is a great way to create bonds, “When people go through an intense experience together it can bring them closer together. In that way, emotions can be contagious—you scream and other people join in. It’s creating a social experience.”
Cost: zilch, zero, nada!
Just when you thought you’d seen all that Sydney has to offer, it goes ahead and throws another curveball at you. This time, it’s in the form of hidden waterfalls and swimming holes located 45 minutes from the CBD at Heathcote National Park. Escape the crowds, embark on one of the many tracks and feel the health benefits of being surrounded by nature . We promise that you’ll find the perfect spot for your next Insty profile pic.
*Just don’t tell our Victorian neighbours