The Backpackers Guide To Sydney

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20th October 2016, 03:39pm - Views: 2553
Are you dreaming of summer days spent on the idyllic beaches? Winter nights enjoying the happening arts scene? Or getting out on a cruise on the world's most famous harbour?

Sydney has often topped the list of 'to-do places' for many backpackers, but the high cost of living in Australia has put off a lot of travellers from making their dream a reality. Before you give up on your Australian travel dream and settle for a poor imitation (such as New Zealand), let me share with you some local knowledge and advice that will help you have the best Sydney trip ever, without blowing your budget.

First, let's lay our cards on the table. I love Sydney. I also spend far too much of my salary on fine food and drink. I view a memorable experience far more precious that a tangible item. Over the last decade, I have travelled to over 20 countries and consider myself a traveller and not a tourist. If any of this resonates with you, then you are going to love the little tips and tricks that I am going to share with you.

Just so you know, a lot of these tips and tricks have never been published anywhere online! So for a Sydney experience that you will never forget, read on.

When Is The Best Time To Travel To Sydney?

Some famous travel guides will tell you that Summer and the fringe seasons are the ideal time to explore this famous city, but I have a far better option. Book your journey for when the flights are the cheapest. If you are travelling to Australia from Europe or the United States, the largest expense of your trip is going to be your flights. If you can free up some of your budget by purchasing cheap tickets, you can then have a far more exhilarating trip with your remaining budget.

Secret Tip Error Fares
It may not surprise you that the data entry staff that work for AIRPLANE companies are imperfect and often make errors (hopefully the pilots working for the same companies do not make as many errors). What may surprise you, is that there are a lot of companies that scour the internet for error fares and post Twitter updates when they find them. For example, in the past week I have seen sub-$700 flight from Melbourne to London, and Sydney to Los Angeles. This is compared to the $1500 flat-rate fares that these companies normally offer these flights for. So you can have the same quality flight for half the price! Imagine how many sausage rolls that extra $800 can buy you.

Some of the Twitter accounts you can follow include Cheap Flights Lab, Fly4Free and Secret Flying.

The weather is always great in Sydney, so buy bargain flights whenever you can and the extra money you save will ensure that you have an awesome time.

Are Backpackers and Hostels Still The Best Value?

In times gone past there was no debate that Backpackers and Youth Hostels were the best value accommodation for budget travellers. But with the onset of the share-economy, and countless couch-surfing and room leasing options, how do backpackers weigh up on the economy stakes?
The secret is to examine the inclusions. Let's say you find a sweet couch-surfing gig on Gumtree (Australia's #1 classified site, think Craigslist with an Australian accent), what will you get? You will get a bed/couch to sleep on. That's it. You will have to pay for public transport to get to the house, and taxis are not cheap in Australia. Also, you will have to pay for breakfast. Once again, not cheap. So in the big scheme of things, are you actually saving yourself time and money? Probably not. The better value option is to shop around and find a backpackers that offers free airport pick-up, free breakfast and free wifi (Jolly Swagman Backpackers Sydney includes all of these services for free and is in a great location).

If you can save money when you are sleeping, you will be able to have more fun when you are awake.

What Should I Eat While backpacking In Australia?

There are not many iconic Australian meals that backpackers need to try while in the 'land down-under'. Sure there are sausage rolls, battered savs, steamed dim sims and meat pies. But most of these are just poor imitations of cuisines introduced to Australia.

The savvy traveller will instead head to metro suburbs with large migrant communities and enjoy some world-class international cuisine. Here are some of the suburbs to try for delicious cuisine:


This is one of the Vietnamese hubs of Sydney, with an enormous selection of Vietnamese restaurants. With over 135,000 Vietnamese immigrants settling in Sydney over the past three decades it comes as no surprise that the food is amazing in this Western Sydney suburb. It is common knowledge that Vietnamese citizens travel all the way to Bankstown to try the iconic Beef Noodle Soup. Why? They use award-winning Australian beef. Local's claim that the result is the world's best Beef Noodle Soup. At only $13 a bowl, you can not argue with that even on a backpacker budget.


If you are looking for fine international cuisine wrapped in paper, you are going to love the Inner West of Sydney. One of the heartlands of the Greek community in Australia, Marrickville offers travellers with a wide range of international cuisines at discount prices. A great bet for backpackers is the succulent Australian lamb smothered in rich garlic sauce created in one of the numerous Gyros restaurants on Marrickville Road. Order a takeaway meal and enjoy first-rate food without the high-end price tag.

Some of the other great suburbs to explore include Ashfield with its authentic Cantonese inspired restaurants, exquisite Korean cuisine in Campsie and traditional Lebanese dining in Lakemba. Modern Australia is more multicultural than ever. This allows backpackers to explore a vast array of ethnic backgrounds in one city.

What Are The Best Things To Do In Sydney?

The biggest tip I can give you, don't travel Sydney like a guide book wielding tourist, travel it like a local. If you really want to have a unique and inspiring journey in Sydney with Instagram snaps that will make your friends back home green with envy, put down the guide and start searching online. Sydney-siders love a good time and there are always events, festivals and pop-ups happening. But if you are not a local, how can you possibly know what is on in the short time that you are in the city? Here are some great online publications that will allow you to find out from some of the most informed Sydney netizens about all of the unique events that are on:

Sydney Playground
Broadsheet Sydney
Two Thousand
Timeout Sydney
Urban List Sydney

Each of these sites has a calendar that allows you to plan your trip in advance, as well as social media accounts that can help you keep abreast of any awesome new events that are popping up (like surprise shows and restaurant openings).

Of course, you should include the obvious Bondi Beach and Circular Quay expeditions, but for a truly memorable expedition, backpack Sydney like a local.

Follow all of these tips and tricks and hopefully you will have an awesome time in Sydney and can then brag about it when you travel south to Melbourne, to the other World's Best City.

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