How to Have a Fun 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.

Royal Botanic Garden Sydney red flower view
A sunny Christmas Day at the Botanic Gardens is so Sydney

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.

We also suggest you get over to the Sydney Fish Market and join the annual tradition of prawn shopping. The markets open day and night for several days before Christmas and the atmosphere is electric.

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.

Mosman Pool Maccallum
MacCallum Pool at Cremorne Ferry Wharf

Another option is to head to Manly where you will find plenty of things to do and several takeaway food options. Spending at least some part of Christmas Day at the beach is very much a part of the lifestyle in Sydney’s beach communities and the Northern Beaches crowds will be much more local than Bondi.

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 yourself with the Manly to Spit Bridge walkway. But we think a dip in the ocean pool and some fish and chips by the beach with a bottle of bubbly is a top choice!

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.

Marhan Pool
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.

Bundeena Ferry
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. The tracks in the Royal National Park will likely be nice and quiet too!

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.

TheOXKing Promise Lennox St Newtown
This mural behind the IGA in Newtown is one of our favourites

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.

Sydney Christmas on a budget decorations viewing
The Strand Arcade Christmas Decorations

Find more ideas on our seven days in Sydney itinerary or our weekend guide.


We would love to hear how you plan to spend your Christmas day in Sydney on a budget

Come join the conversation in our Facebook Group

Got a question about exploring Australia? Join our friendly community where you can ask questions and get advice from the locals

Main image credit: Bronnie Barnett and Darling Harbour Authority

Share this with a friend

Leave a comment