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Sydney travel guide

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Sydney Opera

With its vibrant and bustling city, beautiful harbor, pristine beaches, iconic structures and favorable weather, it’s little wonder why Australia’s Sydney is a mecca for tourists near and far who flock its way for a vacation, a family visit or a business venture. When in town, spend time in the city with the Harbour Bridge, Sydney Tower Eye, Opera House and Targona Zoo in your sights and explore the restaurants and small bars, filled with world-recognized cuisines and drinks.

Venture out from the bustle to comb the beaches up aand down the coast or head inland for a hike, signature photo snap and Aboriginal tour through the Blue Mountains or any number of national parks that New South Wales has to offer. Whatever your itinerary, this Sydney travel guide will help you get to Sydney and see, eat and experience everything you need to make your journey a memorable one.

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Sydney hotel stays from $53 per night

Book hotels in Circular Quay, Darling Harbour, Sydney Airport and more from just $63 per night.

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What should I know before I go?

Is Sydney in New South Wales?

Yes. Sydney is the state capital of New South Wales.

Is Sydney a city?

Indeed, it is. Sydney is the most densely populated city in Australia and Oceania. It’s a vibrant, diverse and enchanting city of opportunity.

Does Sydney have daylight savings?

Yes. New South Wales, including Sydney, observes daylight savings. Daylight savings commences on the first Sunday in October and ends on the first Sunday in April.

Where is the Sydney airport?

The Sydney airport is located on Airport Drive, Mascot. It’s situated about five miles south of Sydney city center and is colloquially known as Kingsford Smith airport, or Mascot airport. It’s connected to the city center by train.

Does the Sydney airport have free Wi-Fi?

Free Wi-Fi access is available in both the domestic and international terminals. Connecting to the Internet is easy; just follow these steps:

  1. Using your device, scan the available networks and choose “Free Internet by sponsor’s name & SYD”.
  2. Provide answers to questions.
  3. Read the terms of use and click “Proceed”.

You will be directed to a website after the sponsored message. You can enjoy Internet browsing for two hours and data usage of up to 500MB.

Health and safety

Is Sydney safe at night?

Sydney is a relatively safe place, but like most cities, it isn’t completely crime-free. Here are a few tips on safer travel in and around Sydney.

  • Crime: Keep your personal possessions close to you at all times, and keep your passport in your hotel safe or in a locked bag in your room. Violent crime in Sydney is rare, but beware of some neighborhoods, especially at night. In particular, Redfern is questionable, so avoid the area if possible. If you’re staying in western Sydney, steer clear of the areas of Mount Druitt, Blacktown and Wiley Park. King Cross is a notorious party district that can also be dangerous if you’re not cautious. Just remain alert and attentive.
  • Wildlife: The suburbs of Sydney are home to snakes and spiders, but if you’re planning on sticking to the city, they shouldn’t pose a risk.

Where is the Sydney Opera House?

The Sydney Opera House sits on Bennelong Point in the city center, with the closest train station being Circular Quay. The Sydney Opera House is Australia’s most recognizable building and an icon of the country’s creative and technical accomplishments. It attracts worldwide respect and admiration for its design and construction.

Where is the Sydney Lyric theater?

The Sydney Lyric theater offers opportunities to experience stage shows, musicals, operas, ballets and concerts. It’s situated on Pirrama Road, Pyrmont, Sydney next to The Star casino complex.

Where is Sydney Olympic Park?

Home to sports, leisure and educational events, Sydney Olympic Park is both a complex and suburb, and it sits just over 10 miles west of the city center. It’s situated on Rod Laver Drive, Sydney 2127, and is connected to the city by train.

Getting around

Types of transportation: Sydney has a vast network of trains and buses across the city and to surrounding areas like Wollongong, Newcastle and the Blue Mountains. Trams and ferries also service the central business district (CBD) and certain outer suburbs. Expand the sections below for coverage maps.

Paying for transit: The Opal card is Sydney’s electronic transportation ticket. It can be purchased from train stations as well as select convenience stores and 7-Elevens, and it’s free to obtain with a minimum load amount. The Opal card allows you to ride all forms of public transit (trains, buses, trams and ferries) by pre-loading it with funds. Individual tickets can still be purchased; however, these are priced higher than what you will be charged for using an Opal card. Certain services will not issue on-the-spot paper tickets during peak periods, so the Opal card is a good investment to avoid this potential hassle. You can find more information about the Opal card here.

Best apps for getting around: There is no official app for Sydney Transport; however, is a popular trip planning app that features timetables for both Sydney and Melbourne’s transit systems.


Taxis and Uber

Taxi: Taxis can be hailed off the street or pre-booked for a fee. Watch for taxis with their lights on, as this symbolizes that they are available to hail. Designated taxi pools can be found outside the terminal at the Sydney airport, with fares to the CBD estimated at $35-$42 in addition to an airport toll.

Uber: The ride-sharing service Uber is available throughout Sydney and can be used to get to and from the airport. The Uber website estimates fares from the Sydney airport to the CBD at $26-$29.

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Car rental companies in Sydney

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Rental car desks for major services, including Avis, Hertz and Europcar, can be found on the arrivals level at both the domestic and international terminals of the Sydney airport. Redspot is also available in addition to the car rental options above.

While you can rent a car on the spot, it’s recommended that you book in advance to ensure you get the car you prefer and to ensure a car will be waiting for you when you arrive.

Airport transfers

If you’d prefer not to drive yourself or take public transit, you can pre-book airport transfers for a smoother ride from the airport right to the door of your accommodation.

Companies like Viator offer a range of affordable shuttle options, including shared rides to save more money and airport-to-cruise-port transfers.

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Traveling during COVID-19
The CDC advises postponing travel to protect yourself and your family from getting or spreading COVID-19. If you plan to travel during the pandemic, monitor the risk assessment levels for your destination when planning your trip, before departure and on arrival. Follow safety measures that include wearing a mask in public, social distancing and washing your hands. If you are diagnosed with, have symptoms of or are waiting for test results for COVID-19 — or are otherwise at risk of illness — do not attend gatherings or travel for 14 days.

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