How to have a Sydney Christmas on a Budget

Is it possible to have a Sydney Christmas on a budget? Christmas in Sydney without breaking the bank can seem like a challenge, but we have a few ideas for anyone visiting or just not wanting to spend the day at home.

Six ways to spend Christmas Day in Sydney

Have a picnic in the Royal Botanic Gardens

One of the nicest ways to spend a day in Sydney is to take in the view while sipping your favourite drinks and nibbling on local delicacies. With just a little planning you can put together an epic picnic basket and for no more than the price of public transport have a wonderful day to remember.

Just before supermarkets close on Xmas Eve, you can usually pick up some great bargains on fresh seafood, ham and other Christmas goodies. Most shops across the city are closed on Christmas Day so get in and sort out your hamper nice and early.

Ride the ferry to Cremorne or Manly

There is no holiday for Sydney’s public transport, so why not jump on a ferry and find a spot to enjoy the day. We think a swim with a view of the beautiful harbour at the free Maccallum Pool is a great idea. There won’t be much open here, so be sure to bring a picnic with you.

Macullum Pool at Cremorne Ferry Wharf

Another option is to head to Manly where you will find plenty of things to do and several take way food options.

Manly to Shelly Beach Walking track
The walkway to Shelly Beach is suitable for prams

You could snorkel at Shelly Beach, take a walk to North Head or challenge your self with the Manly to Spit Bridge walkway.

Take a Swim in a Rock Pool

Sydney’s Beaches get pretty crazy in summer, but there is a short reprieve on Christmas Day when lots of locals are spending the day at home with family.

Take a swim in a Sydney rock pool

Visit Bundeena and view indigenous rock art

Take the train to Cronulla and then the little Bundeena ferry across the bay to Bundeena Village.

Take the little ferry from Cronulla to Bundeena

Once you arrive, there is an easy to follow rock art walk and several beaches to choose from for a Christmas Day picnic.

Take a self-guided bus tour

The buses are operating on the Sunday timetable on Christmas day, and the roads will be less busy than usual. Follow the self-guided HOHO bus tour on our sister website Sydney Expert.

Sydney's Queen Victoria bulding
QVB is a good starting point for a self guided bus tour

Explore Sydney’s Street Art

Follow my Inner West street art walk, Newtown will be much quieter than usual, but the window shopping and street art will be waiting for you to discover, and you are bound to find somewhere to eat along King Street or Enmore Road.

Wander the city and check out the Christmas decorations without the crowds

From the Rocks to Martin Place, Town Hall to St Mary’s Cathedral there are at least 4 giant XMAS trees to visit and tonight will be your last chance to take an evening light walk. A stroll around Darling Harbour after sunset on Christmas eve or Christmas Day is perfect. There are also several more affordable dining options in Darling Harbour.


We would love to hear how you plan to spend your Christmas day in Sydney.

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Main image credit: Bronnie Barnett and Darling Harbour Authority

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