How to: Sydney, Australia on $25 a day

Sydney, Australia. A world class city that’s home to some of the best beaches in the world, not to mention the Opera House and Nicole Kidman. It’s also the first stop for many backpackers to Australia, and sometimes the only stop, for those lured into everything this city has to offer.

Sydney, while renowned for its greatness, it’s also notoriously known for being extremely expensive. Therefore, I decided to choose Sydney to be the first city for my “25 Cities for $25” challenge, where I’ll provide an itinerary for a city that includes sights, food, nightlife, and accommodations while keeping a total daily budget of…$25.

To put that into perspective, $25 CAD is roughly 18 euros, 16 pounds, 178 SAR, 196 HKD, or 25 USD/AUD. Impossible? Check it out for yourself!

Alright, the following itinerary is based off an actual day I had during my time in Sydney.

Accommodations: $15
Breakfast: free

I stayed at a hostel called Westend Backpackers, which is located right in the CBD. I paid $15 for a night in their largest room, infamously dubbed “The Church.” I actually never ended up staying in that room, as they gave me a free upgrade to a 6 dorm bed instead. Sweeet!

On weekdays before 9am (I believe it was?), Westend offers a free breakfast for all their guests.

Bus fare: $7
Lunch: free

I was there on a Tuesday, and every Tuesday they offer a free beach bbq at Coogee beach. While a return bus fare is a bit pricey, they make sure you have lots of fun. It’s a great way to meet all the other backpackers who go out, and chill out on one of nicest beaches in Australia! The free bbq lunch is also a plus.

Dinner: $4
Opera House: free
Internet: free

Stop by at the Coles supermarket across the street from the hostel with your friend and buy some pasta, sauce, and toppings. Split the bill and you should spend $4 or less. The hostel has a stove to cook your dinner.

After dinner is a great time to see the Opera House, with all the lights out in the evening. It’s about a 20 minute walk from the hostel, but you can stop at the State Library of NSW along the way to use their free internet to send some emails.

Drinks: free
Box of goon: $2

The best way to get drunk cheaply in Australia is to pitch in and split a box of goon (casked wine). It costs around $10-14 for 4 litres, so between a few of you guys, it costs next to nothing.

For nightlife, everyone knows the best place to party in Sydney is in Kings Cross. Also known as the “red light district” of Australia, it’s the place to go for a good time. Luckily, on Tuesdays, Westend offers a free party bus down to World Bar, and free drinks for the ladies (and guys who dress like ladies!). A stop at the Gaff bar is also a must!

Total for the day: $25

And, there you go! Everything from the beach, the Opera House and a ton of partying for $25. Imagine that! While you’ll have to stay at Westend (particularly on a Tuesday) to make this happen, it really is a pretty awesome hostel. A bit “roughed up” but I’ve made loads of friends there, and lots of good memories (some I can’t remember).



  1. January 27, 2011 / 6:14 am

    Hey, that's amazing! I didn't think it was possible to do Sydney for $25!! And now I've got a new slang word to use – goon!! Will be interesting to see if anyone I know has ever heard of it!!

  2. January 27, 2011 / 7:25 pm

    I think "goon" is more widely used amongst backpackers than locals – for good reason too…it tastes horrible! 🙂

  3. February 11, 2011 / 6:51 pm

    I have to admit that you found a great hostel…though only on tuesdays can you have that lunch for free 🙂 This said, get some pasta and tomato sauce at coles and you have lunch and dinner for 2AUD or less.

  4. February 9, 2012 / 10:05 pm

    This is so amazing. I love the fact that you only spent $25 for a daily trip to sydney. I got to try this out.

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