Here's a guide to getting around Sydney quick and easy.
Sydney is an easy city to get around, with the metropolitan area servicing a great network of public transport, roadways and walking paths. This useful information will make moving around Sydney’s different areas and attractions very simple.
Public transport is heavily used in Australia by locals, commuters and visitors alike. To use public transport including buses, trains, ferries and the light rail in Sydney, recommend purchasing an Opal card from participating newsagents, post offices, convenience stores and supermarkets. Just look for the Opal symbol.
Initially, it'll need to be loaded with money to cover fares. And top it up at convenience stores and train stations as the balance runs low. To start a ride, tap the card on the reader when boarding the selected mode of transport and be sure to tap off when disembarking.
The Opal network includes services in Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Hunter Valley, Illawarra and the Southern Highlands.
The City Circle is the train network that runs a loop around the city, stopping at the following stations: Central, Museum, St James, Town Hall, Wynyard, Circular Quay and Martin Place. This is the easiest way to get around the city centre. If staying north of the bridge, travel across the Sydney Harbour Bridge to the lower north shore on the T1 North Shore & Northern Line that stops at Central, Wynyard and Town Hall.
To get to Kings Cross and Bondi Junction (the gateway to Bondi Beach), catch the T4 Eastern Suburbs & Illawarra Line that goes from Central, Town Hall and Martin Place. If travelling to the Blue Mountains, catch the Blue Mountains line from Central. It passes through the vibrant Western Sydney city of Parramatta, and then onto the main Blue Mountains stations including Wentworth Falls, Leura and Katoomba.
Sydney’s light rail network goes from Central Station to Dulwich Hill. It’s most convenient for reaching Chinatown, The Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo, The International Convention Centre in Darling Harbour, and The Star Casino and the Australian National Maritime Museum in Pyrmont and the Tramsheds in Forest Lodge.
Sydney has a comprehensive bus network. Many buses travel through the city from Wynyard and Circular Quay, and beyond to Sydney’s suburbs, beaches and regional areas. To travel to Bondi Beach and the eastern suburbs, catch the 380 or the 333. If wanting to explore the trendy inner city and inner west neighbourhoods like Newtown, Surry Hills, Marrickville and Alexandria from the city centre, choose bus services including M30, M10, 308, 352, 355, 412, 422, 426, 428.
There are regional bus services that travel to the Blue Mountains, and along the coast to other Australian towns and cities, departing from Eddy Avenue out the front of Central Station. Operators include Firefly Express, Greyhound, Murrays and Priors Scenic Express.
There's also the Big Bus Tour of Sydney, which allows stops at 33 destinations across the city, with services running every 20-30 minutes, first departing from Circular Quay. Book a ticket in advance and choose either 24 or 48 hour validity and get exploring great spots around Sydney including Kings Cross, Barangaroo, The Rocks and Bondi Beach.
Ferry services operate around Sydney Harbour from Circular Quay to eight main destinations. To get to the beachside hotspot of Manly, catch the non-stop F1 service. To Taronga Zoo, catch the non-stop F2 service. The F3 service to Parramatta stops via Milsons Point and Barangaroo and the inner west suburbs of Balmain, Drummoyne and then on to Sydney Olympic Park before reaching Parramatta. The F4 service goes to Pyrmont Bay stops via Barangaroo/Darling Harbour, while the F4 service south heads to the beautiful suburbs of Watsons Bay via Double Bay and Rose Bay. The F6 service to Neutral Bay stops off at Kirribilli and North Sydney, while the F6 goes to Cremorne and Mosman. The F8 service is a limited stop service to Cockatoo Island. Purchase ferry tickets on the wharf or alternatively (and more efficient), use an Opal card to tap on and off. For more information on the Sydney Ferries Network check out this map guide.
Getting to and from the airport
To get to and from Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport (both domestic and international terminals), catch the T8 Airport & South line that stops at stations on the city circle. Travel time between the city and airport is around 10-15 minutes, with services running approximately every 10 minutes.
There's also access taxis and rideshare services on arrival. The Sydney CBD is a 20 minute ride away and will cost about $45-$55 one way. Find taxi ranks at the front of all terminals - simply follow the signs to the nearest ranks. Rideshare services will pick up from the passenger pick up area.
Accessible transport options
In Australia, airlines, trains, buses and ferries have options for people using a wheelchair or mobility device while exploring Sydney's accessible attractions and getting around the city. Sydney Airport provides special assistance for people with disabilities and can help with baggage, getting around the airport, and getting on and off the plane. The majority of buses and trains have accessible options - check the Transport New South Wales website for information on using public transport before a trip.
Find more information on getting around Australia.