How expensive is Sydney?

How much money do you need when are you planning to go to Sydney? 

What are the average costs in Sydney

Sydney is the largest city in Australia which offers a full range of excitement – from culture experience, shopping, beautiful parks, socializing, business activities, restaurants, ocean, beautiful harbor, famous Opera house and there are also plenty of festivals during the year. 

Everyone will find there what they are seeking for. I would say that Sydney is awesome! I love Sydney for its options that offer not only tourists and explorers but also for studying, working and having fun.

Because I am living in Australia, I would like to share my opinion about not only a vacation but also how is the life and expenses here. 

I have visited Sydney for a couple of times (update – now I am living here) and I love the variety there, especially with the food, events and areas. 

You can be in the middle of a crowd, have a huge selection of shopping, restaurants but also escape to the park or the ocean to restore your energy. 

Living in Sydney is really expensive though – a rent, fancy restaurants, activities. 

I feel that the city is pretty safe apart from an area around King Cross street where you will not feel comfortable and people usually try to avoid this part of Sydney, so don‘t book a hotel or a hostel around this area. You might feel that is a little bit a dodgy area.

If you consider living in Sydney, the prices for the houses are huge, and if you are a person who rather lives in a quiet place, then Sydney will probably not be the best option for you. 

Sydney is really busy, crowded and people often rush. However, depends what time you are on the street. On business peak hours, 

Friday nights and weekends the city is of course crazy crowded. 

For a vacation though dont hesitate to put it on your bucket list!

Public transport

The best way how to get around is to buy an Opal card, which can be used for buses and trams or airport link. Public transport is expensive though.

The cost of the card is for free but the minimum top up is $10 AUD for adults. You can also buy a single tickets but then you have to have coins and you just pay more for each ride.

Hop on, hop off – popular for tourist in almost every city – price start from $50 AUD

Ferry – If you want to go to Manly beach, you can go by a public transport (bus) but it is better and more fun to take a ferry. 

The ferry goes from Circular Quay every 20 minutes during peak hours and it take approximately 30 minutes to get to Manly. You can buy some snacks on the ferry as well! 🙂 


Takeaways vs Restaurants

The average takeaway meal cost around 12-$20 AUD. You can also get a combo deal for a lunch around $15 AUD which includes a drink and sometimes chips or another side. 

Asian restaurants which serve noodles with meat and rice or soups can cost around $15 AUD per meal. 

In a nice restaurant you will spend around $30 AUD per meal (without drink), but if you want to have some fantastic meal with drink, you have to spend at least $50 AUD (dinners are more expensive). 

For a fancy dinner, the average price is 80-$100 AUD per person. 

If you are on tight budget or just don’t want to spend too much for food, look for specials and check how the food looks like on the plate and not just on the picture. 

You can enjoy a fancy meal or tasty for a reasonable price. Check for example World Square with variety of meals – Thai, Greek, local, Korean, Japanese etc. or area around Chinese Garden of friendship or a romantic Darling Harbour.


The average price for a coffee is from $3.50 AUD to $4.50 AUD (a small latte or cappuccino). 

A brekkie (breakfast) usually cost around $12 AUD for some omelets or Egg Benedict but some places might charge you around $16AUD. 

Check Queen Victoria Building with few fancy cafes.


Event Cinemas -$26 AUD

Harbour Bridge Climb $163 AUD week price, $183 AUD weekend price,

Harbour Dinner Cruise – from $90 AUD -$200 AUD for 1 person (depends on style of food how fancy you want to be 🙂 )

Taronga ZOO – entry $46 AUD or $63 AUD withHarborr cruise

Sea Life aquarium – start from $35 AUD

Luna Park – unlimited rides from $50 AUD

Opera house performance – prices start from$80 AUD but average can be around $100


The cheapest Backpacker hostels start at $25 AUD but it is usually for 6 or more people in one room with very low quality, average hotel starts from around $100 AUD.

Hotels which looks nice are at least for $140 AUD.

I definitely recommend booking in advance as the later you book it, the more you will pay more for a less quality. 

Tips how to save money if you are on a tight budget!

Tap water is safe to drink 

If you need a coffee and don‘t have money buy one at 7 Eleven for $1 AUD or Night Owl for $2 AUD (which I would say taste much better)

Go to an Asian grocery, they have many amazing sweet drinks for great prices, for example, Rose drink for $1.40 AUD. I definitely prefer these types of drinks rather than soft drinks!

Search for takeaway combo deals or specials in Coles and Woolworths

Search for free events. There is always something that is happening and you don‘t need to spend a fortune for expensive exhibitions or events especially when your budget is limited (for example free exhibition in national gallery)

Book your place in advance, don‘t wait until the last minute, it is just stressful and then you pay more for lower quality. One of the quite good backpacker hostels which is right in the city center is for example: Base X, check my review here.

Walk rather than taking a public transport (if it is not necessary)

If you go to certain bars in the evening, start earlier to avoid paying for example $20 for the entrance

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