3 Wallet-Friendly Weekend Trips You Need to Take In Australia

Arianna Grelling is a student at Whittier College and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in Sydney, Australia.

So you successfully survived the 14-hour flight (and if you’re like me, probably kissed the ground as soon as you stepped off the plane) and came to terms with the fact that you literally lost a day of your life; you counted your blessings when you found out the currency exchange was in your favor. But then you realized that Sydney is the fifth most expensive city in the world and you’re on a budget.

So what now? You’ve seen the Harbour Bridge and Opera House countless times; you’ve walked around just about every corner of the city and your suburb on numerous occasions. What more can you do; what more can you see?

For those weekends that pass slowly and painfully, when your heart desires thrill and adventure, here are three must-see places to waste your time that won’t leave your wallet in agony, begging you why.

1.  Royal National Park

Royal National Park, Sydney, Australia - Grelling - Photo 1
Here is a panoramic shot of one of Royal National Park’s many gorgeous lookout points – the perfect setting for a picnic or to simply get lost in your thoughts.

Located about an hour or so from the Sydney CBD, Royal National Park is the world’s second largest national park. It offers park-goers an array of exciting opportunities anywhere from relaxing on the shores of Wattamolla Beach (or if you’re feeling adventurous, you can steal my method of fun, which involves cliff diving) to immersing yourself in a bit of Aboriginal culture and heritage at Jibbon Point. With its coastal walks and dramatic landscapes, Royal National Park is the perfect destination for a day away from the city or a weekend getaway. And the best part? The park entry fee is only 11 dollars per vehicle, so grab your mates and explore the wonders Royal National Park has to offer.

2.  Canberra

Canberra, ACT, Australia - Grelling - Photo 2,
Mount Ainslie offers a spectacular view of Canberra; even through the cloudy gloom, the capital city’s beauty never ceases to shine.

While practically any Sydneysider you ask will advise you to steer clear from here, Australia’s capital city has heaps to offer its visitors. With educational tours through the Parliament House and afternoons spent exploring the National Museum of Australia and Australian War Memorial, Canberra is oozing with history and culture just waiting to be discovered. Granted, it is basically just the Australian version of Washington D.C., but you have to admit that international history and policies are often more interesting than your own. And better yet, Canberra’s lively nightlife will keep you entertained after these primarily free attractions close, so you never have a dull moment.

3.  Luna Park

Luna Park, Sydney, Australia - Grelling - Photo 3
This eccentric archway is sure to grab your attention and pique your interest as you enter Luna Park!

If you’re anything like me, then you probably recognize this amusement park from the ultimate preteen movie, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s Our Lips Are Sealed (or maybe that’s just me?).   Situated at Milson’s Point, this carnivalesque park is the perfect escape for those days you can’t be bothered to leave the city. Especially due to its free admission, I strongly recommend spending an evening here, buying yourself some fairy floss, and enjoying the spectacular view of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House from the top of the Ferris Wheel with that special someone or good friends. So grab your mates and thrill for adventure and relinquish your inner eight-year-old at Luna Park; you won’t regret it!

Want to read more about life in Sydney? Check out “What Everyone Ought to Know About Study Abroad in Australia”