Complaining about the cost of city living is something of a national past time in Australia. Yet what is often overlooked is that this country is also best in class when it comes to offering city inhabitants fun activities for gratis.
While Australia’s state capitals aren’t the cheapest places to live, most offer a wealth of options when it comes to free fun experiences for all. From hidden gardens to amazing walking trails, Australia’s temperate climate and inviting topography means there is no shortage of activities to appease frugal visitors.
Australia’s most populous city also has an enviable reputation as one of the world’s most beautiful municipals. Alongside its popular free attractions which include a stroll around the Sydney Opera House, across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, through The Royal Botanical Gardens or along the iconic Bondi Beach, it also offers a host of cost-free art, cultural and sporting activities including the Art Gallery of NSW, The Rocks markets and the exceptional Darling Harbour.
Located at the foothill of her private home in Lavender Bay lies Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden with majestic views of some of the city’s most photographed attractions as well as an assortment of ferns, lilies and figs alongside bronze busts, engraved stone tablets, wooden carvings and other hand-crafted sculptures.
Meanwhile the Darling Quarter precinct provides cost-free fun for all the family with access to unlimited games of ping-pong, cost-free film showings and free pre-schooler yoga classes staged every Friday.
Repeatedly declared the most liveable city in the world, Melbourne is often regarded as the country’s cultural hub. Its more notable galleries boasting free entry include the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art or the Koorie Heritage Trust Cultural Centre while a meander through the Royal Botanical Gardens or St Paul’s Cathedral should also feature on your to-do list.
Hop aboard the free City Circle Tram which passes a host of places of interest including Melbourne Aquarium, Parliament House and Federation Square. Alternatively, leave your wallet at home to discover the next big thing at The Espy, on St Kilda’s Esplanade or rock and roll at Cherry Bar in the city’s AC/DC Lane.
With its enviable subtropical climate that rarely ventures below 20°C, Brisbane is one of the fastest growing cities in Australia. Those in the know recommend walking or cycling along the newly rebuilt Farm Riverwalk, through the Sherwood Arboretum or across the city’s heritage-listed Story Bridge. You may like to dabble in the arts at the Queensland Art Gallery, Queensland Performing Art Centre. Finish your day of free fun with a swim at Streets Beach, a BBQ at Kangaroo Point or indulge in a stroll to the lookout at the top of Mt Coot-Tha which offers exceptional views of the city and out to Moreton Bay.
Jump aboard the hop-on, hop-off CityHopper ferry whose stops include North Quay, South Bank 3, Maritime Museum and Sydney Street or catch an hour of free comedy at Knockoff at the Brisbane Powerhouse.
Widely regarded as the city of churches, Adelaide is no slouch when it comes to green space either with 19 parks covering 45% of the city area. Those heading to the city for the first time are advised to make the most of its varied list of great attractions including arranging a visit to the three parks that comprise Botanic Gardens of Adelaide, exploring the artworks at the Jam Factory or increasing your cultural knowledge courtesy of a visit to the Art Gallery of South Australia. You could also consider obtaining a fresh look at the city by jumping aboard the City Connector bus that links of all the major tourist attractions in the city, treking through the R.M Williams Outback Heritage Museum for an insider’s view of the life and journey of the man behind one of Australia’s most popular products or free-wheeling the city’s cycleways with Adelaide Free Bikes.
Take up one of the free guided tours through the National Wine Centre of Australia or take a stroll along the promenade and pier at Glenelg after a visit to the low key Bay Discovery Centre.