Getting Around Sydney
The best way to get around Sydney is by CityRail — specifically the City Circle line, which stops at a number of the city's best things to do. Although the bus system has routes that crisscross the city, any traveling done on four wheels is at the mercy of Sydney traffic. We recommend rental cars for driving to and from the city, but not inside its boundaries, since traffic is heavy and Aussies drive on the other side of the road, which can be confusing to American visitors. Walking is, of course, a wonderful way to explore any city, but Sydney is much too large to be done on foot alone. And a trip on a ferry is a must-do for the views alone.
To get from Sydney International Airport (SYD), you can take a fairly cheap taxi ride, or you can hop on the Airport Link Train, which take you the about 11 miles into the city. You can also rent a car from the airport.
CityRail is Sydney's light rail network. Many attractions, including the Sydney Opera House, The Rocks and the Royal Botanic Gardens, can be accessed from the system's City Circle line, while other lines travel to the nearby Blue Mountains and along the South Coast. Fares vary based on distance traveled. You can buy them online or at a ticket office. If you want to avoid the frustrating calculations, purchase a weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly "MyTrain" ticket, which grants you access to all of Sydney's public transportation modes. These three MyMulti passes are each priced differently based on the areas and modes of transportation covered, with MyMulti3 being the most expensive and offering the most comprehensive travel options.
Sydney's public buses are a fairly reliable form of transportation, and they're convenient to just about everywhere in the city, even its outskirts. But because Sydney is such a big and bustling place, the buses do encounter frequent traffic jams and delays, particularly during rush hour. You can buy tickets at certain vendors throughout the city: Sydney Buses offers a online map that can help you find the nearest ticket outlet. Fares are based on a zone or "section" system. A single, one-way bus trip in sections 1 and 2 costs $2 AUD (about the same in USD). You can also buy a monthly, quarterly or yearly "MyMulti" ticket that allows you access to all of Sydney's public transportation modes. These three special MyMulti passes each have different price points, with MyMulti3 being the most expensive and offering the most comprehensive travel options.
The best way to see Sydney's harbor is aboard a ferry. You'll find the main ferry terminal at Circular Quay. You have your choice between the JetCat (which travels to the nearby town of Manly) and a RiverCat (which travels to the town of Parramatta).
One-way fares vary based on the destination, but they start at about $5 AUD (roughly the same in USD). When purchasing tickets, keep in mind that there are two fare zones: One that travels a distance of less than nine km (MyFerry1), and one that travels a distance of more than nine km (MyFerry2). You can also buy a "MyMulti" ticket that allows you access to all of Sydney's public transportation modes. MyMulti tickets allow you unlimited access on all regular Sydney and Newcastle ferries services.
|Car||If you're planning on destination-hopping though Australia or just taking a daytrip outside of Sydney, you should rent a car. However, within the city, a car will become an expensive, inefficient hassle: Parking is super scarce and traffic is constant. Add in the cost of a rental (about $75-$85 AUD a day, about the same in USD) and the price of gas, and you'll paying big money for a big headache.|
|Taxi||Taxis charge by kilometer, so you might find the fares higher in Oz than America. Keep in mind that fares are about 20 percent higher between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. You can hail taxis right off the street or call them in advance.|
|On Foot||When in doubt, hoof it. If you're armed with a good map, then walking can be a great way to see Sydney's individual neighborhoods. However, this sprawling city is way too large to traverse entirely on foot. When you get tired (and you will), hop on another mode of transit.|
Entry & Exit Requirements
You must have a valid U.S. passport to enter Australia, and you are welcome to stay for up to 90 days as long as you acquire an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). ETAs are electronic visas and can be obtained here; airlines and travel agents may also apply for ETAs on your behalf. For more information, visit the U.S. State Department's website.