Experiencing the amazingness that the world has to offer doesn’t always have to come with a price tag. Some of the best things to do when you’re on the road are totally free (or payment by small donation only)!
Besides lazing on the beach and watching sunsets; here are a few of my favourite freebies (and some very cheap things) to do in SE Asia, Oz and NZ:
Snorkelling with black tip reef sharks in Koh Tao
A stroll through the jungle/ along some very steep roads could land you a day of snorkelling with baby black tips! Believe me, it is so worth the physical exertion when you’re swimming beside these little beauties. We found them lurking in the water at Aow Leuk & Laem Thian!
Fire shows on the beach
What better way is there to spend your evening on the beach in Thailand?! The Thai & Burmese fire dancers will have you watching in total amazement!
Feeding turtles at Chalok Ban on Koh Tao
Turtle eggs are collected from Koh Phangan and hatched at this little sanctuary. They’re fed and kept healthy by volunteers before they’re big enough to be released back into the sea. You can help to feed & medicate them from 4.30pm everyday!
Visit Pai Canyon
If you don’t develop a fear of heights like I did when I was here then you can enjoy a stroll around Pai’s beautiful canyon. Go early to avoid crowds and truly enjoy the peace and love that Pai is famous for.
Make use of free bikes in Hoi An
Lots of homestays in Hoi An will offer the use of free bikes. Brave the crazy Asian roads and you will end up seeing so much more of beautiful Vietnam!
Free Walking tours in Hanoi
Get shown around Hanoi by local students who want to improve their English. The deal that makes it “free” is that you pay for any entrance fees to attractions or food/drink on the day. We loved learning about street food and student life in Vietnam from our new friends Lee & Trang on our tour.
Visit the UXO museum in Luang Prabang
Did you know Laos is the most bombed country in the whole world?! We didn’t either until we visited here. This is an eye opening experience into Laotian history and the present day as they continue to tackle the unexploded ordnance (UXO) problem throughout the country. A small donation is appreciated to continue to help the country remove UXO.
Releasing baby turtles on Kuta beach
Another turtle freebie! Turtles on Bali are protected the ‘Bali Sea Turtle Society‘ who collect the eggs and keep them safe until they hatch. They are then released into the sea with a higher chance of survival than if they had been left to hatch by themselves. You cannot get any cuter than baby turtles racing to get into the big blue! Again, donations are appreciated.
Hanging OUTSIDE Monkey Forest in Ubud
If you’ve had one or two bad experiences with monkeys in your life, you may be slightly apprehensive to step foot inside Monkey Forest. I have had my crisps stolen in South Africa and was attacked (yes, attacked!) by a monkey on my way into Ubud by a monkey on a mission for my Dunkin’ Donut… Monkeys 2 – Natalie 0. So, watching from afar on Monkey Forest road may be a safer and totally free option to catch a glimpse of these evil, thieving little animals. I do love monkeys really, promise!
Campuhan Ridge Walk
A stunning walk through the lush Ubud countryside. You will not want to leave when you get to the top. Go early to avoid crowds and enjoy total relaxation!
Swim with turtles on the Gili’s
The Gili Islands aren’t known as the turtle capital of the world for no reason! We saw turtles almost every time we went snorkelling off the beach on both Gili T and Air!
Sydney’s “I’m free walking tour”
Meet your guide who will be wearing a bright green t-shirt (you can’t miss them!) at Town Hall Square to go on a walking tour to see all of Sydney’s main sights. We found this to be a great intro into all that Sydney had to offer. We were given great tips to enjoy the rest of our time in this lovely city. You can also do a free tour of ‘The Rocks’ to learn about Sydney’s convict history! You are encouraged to give a tip at the end of whatever you can afford/ how much you think the tour is worth.
Relax in Sydney & Brisbane’s Botanical Gardens
Both are really pretty gardens to relax with a Bundaberg and a book. Napping is optional!
Chill out at the lagoon swimming pools in Cairns, Townsville and Airlie beach
You don’t have to be staying at expensive hotels to enjoy some chill time at the pool in Oz! There’s nothing nicer than hanging at the pool and looking out at the sea. A great way to avoid those little jellies and big crocs that Australia is infamous for…
The Forts Walk on Magnetic Island
A 90 minute return walk along a track where you are almost guaranteed to see some sleepy Koala’s chilling in the trees. There’s lots of information about how the island was used as a base during WW2; and the Forts ruins at the end of the track gives an amazing view over the island!
Watch wild Dolphin’s being fed at Tin Can Bay
For £2.50 you can watch a pod of Australian Humpback dolphins swim into the bay to be fed some fish! For another £2.50 you can join in with the feeding. We made the mistake of going smack bang in the middle of school holidays so didn’t really get a look in because the place was taken over by children! Still a fun morning on our journey between Hervey Bay and Rainbow Beach!
A short walk through the bush and you will find a massive sandblow – everywhere you look is white sand. Take a sandboard…body board…or piece of cardboard to fly down the massive dunes! Follow this up by looking out for migrating humpback whales in the sea!
Take a walk through Noosa national park
Noosa was one of my favourite places in Oz. This walk around the beautiful Noosa coastline is just one of the reasons why. Stop for pics at Dolphin Point and Hells Gates!
Walk to the top of Mount Eden
Mount Eden is an extinct volcano and the highest natural point in Auckland. It has a massive grassy crater at the top and offers amazing panoramic views over the city!
Feed orphaned animals at Juno Hall in Waitomo
Do not stay anywhere else when in Waitomo – this hostel is super cosy and it gives you the chance to hand feed farm animals who have either been orphaned or rejected everyday. It is the cutest thing ever! And hilarious when the very funny manager slips and throws a bucket of milk all over one of the guests….
Hike up Mount Manganui
A lovely walk through paths of sheep with seals lazing on the rocks on the way and an amazing view over Manganui at the top! Well worth the semi strenuous hike.
Relax in the foot pools at Kuirau Park in Rotorua
Take a walk through this sulphur smelling geothermal park to find the foot pools. Take your shoes off, roll up your trousers and relax in this natural foot spa!
Walk through the Spa Thermal Park to Huka Falls in Taupo
You’ll notice a bit of a theme here that a lot of New Zealand’s free activities includes walking! On a good day the park will be pretty busy. If you can find a space you may get to relax in the free natural hot pool at Otumuheke Stream! After a dip here, take a walk along the path until you reach the amazing Huka Falls.
Visit Te Papa museum in Wellington
The best museum I have ever been to and 100% free (donations welcome!) The Gallipoli exhibition gave an amazingly realistic account of New Zealand’s part in WW1. The exhibits were incredible! Make sure you go early to give yourself time to get around the whole museum.
Walk to the centre of New Zealand in Nelson
Named the Centre of NZ as it was used as a central survey point in the 1800’s. It’s a reasonably easy but quite steep walk that gives amazing views over Nelson!
Hang with the cape fur seals in Kaikoura
Hop on a bike and cycle along the coast until you get to the Point Kean car park. There’s a good chance you’ll see some momma seals resting up after days at sea catching food for their pups. Don’t get too close as they can bite if they feel threatened. Explore the rocky area where the playful seal pups love getting up close to investigate GoPro’s. They are SO cute! Take the peninsula path and enjoy the beauty of Kaikoura after this.
Feed the ducks in Kaikoura
Normally an activity to do with young children but I am not ashamed to admit that I LOVE feeding ducks! Find a spot at the river front and make some new quacking friends!
Walk (or drive) up Mount John at Lake Tekapo
A dirty hangover stopped us from completing the 3 hour walk to the summit of Mount John. But we still got to see the beautiful view over Lake Tekapo by driving to the car park at the observatory. It is so beautiful up there!
Franz Josef glacier walk
Glacier country is renowned for rain, rain and more rain. If you’re unlucky like us and your helicopter tour gets cancelled due to weather; fear not! You can still catch a tiny glimpse of the glacier by taking a 45 minute walk to a barrier . Do not ignore the signs about going no further – people have been killed by hopping the barrier to get closer to the glacier. Respect mother nature!