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Spread out across more than 7,500 square miles, you might feel overwhelmed visiting Australia’s largest city, but it’s interesting to note that the city’s central business district, which is home to the majority of Sydney’s tourist attractions, is relatively compact.
The city center itself is highly walkable. However, if you’re seeking public or private transportation throughout the city, this guide can help you navigate your way around with ease so you can maximize your vacation and minimize your stress.
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.
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.
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.
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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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