Sydney can be an expensive city to visit, but if you know when and where to look, you can check out some incredible events here for free. Often, all you have to do is keep your ears open around your Sydney hostel and keep your eyes open for posters everywhere you go, because in a city this big there are always all sorts of free events going on. The following events are all well worth planning your trip around, as apart from being free, they are also great events to attend to have a real Australian experience.
It is always hard deciding where you want to be for that all-important New Year’s Eve celebration, and while there are plenty of great choices around Australia, for a fantastic free option, head to Sydney harbour, as the fireworks display here is among the best in the world. Over a million people pack the harbour and the surrounding shores to watch a stunning display light up the sky, creating an atmosphere that is absolutely electric, and easily one of the best free events of the year.
The start of the Sydney to Hobart
The Sydney to Hobart yacht race is an annual tradition in Australia that sees dozens of boats, including the massive super maxi yachts, race from Sydney, down the east coast of Australia and all the way to Hobart in Tasmania. The race begins on Boxing Day, December 26, and the start really is one of the most incredible spectacles in world sport. You can get a great look at the start of the race from any number of places, and regardless of which beach or headland you choose to see it from, this is one of those great free events that everyone can enjoy.
The Sydney Festival
For just over three weeks in January every year, Sydney puts on one of the year’s best festivals, and in the process treats locals, tourists and travellers alike to dozens of fantastic free entertainment events. There are live music performances, street theatre, fireworks displays, stand-up comedy and just about every type of entertainment you can think of, so if you are planning on visiting Sydney as a backpacker on a tight budget, try to coordinate your trip to coincide with the Sydney Festival. If you do choose to come for this wonderful festival, book at least your accommodation well in advance, because every backpacker accommodation in Sydney will be full come day one of the festival.
This spectacular annual event is a huge highlight of the Sydney events calendar, and is a celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pride. This popular festival goes for two weeks and consists of over 100 mostly free events, offering a wonderful opportunity to get a look at one of the more colourful sides of Sydney.
The highlight of the Mardi Gras each year is a huge street parade consisting of dozens of floats and thousands of extremely elaborately dressed revellers. The parade is televised live, but hundreds of thousands line the streets, cheering them on, creating an atmosphere that is impossible to describe. If you are looking for something awesome and inexpensive to do and are in Sydney around early March, you won’t find a better free party anywhere than the Sydney Mardi Gras.