Sydney is perhaps the most internationally recognised city in Australia and its public transport system has been designed with a constant flow of new arrivals and visitors in mind. This makes Sydney a relatively easy place to find your way around once you understand the various public transport options available.
Tap on and off with Opal Card
As with most major Australian cities, Sydney’s public transport users are required to use a smart card as a way to manage their public transport travel and payments. In Sydney the card is known as the Opal card. The Opal card can be loaded up with funds once you purchase and topped up as required to pay for travel on suburban trains, ferries, buses, light rail and some regional rail services. An opal card can be purchased from around two thousand retail outlets including service stations and convenience stores across Sydney and can be topped up with funds automatically using your credit/debit card or automatically using the Opal travel app.
Once your Opal card is topped up, you simply tap on when you board any public transport and tap off when you disembark. There is a daily spending cap of 16.10 AUD for adults and 8.00 AUD for children and a weekly spending cap of 50.00 AUD for adults and 25.00 AUD for children.
You can now also tap on and off Sydney trains with an Australian debit or credit card.
Sydney train services are reasonably reliable and an efficient way to get across town. Train services commence at 4.00am and run through until midnight. If you don’t have an Opal card or an Australian debit or credit card you can purchase a one trip train ticket from the 24 hour vending machines located at all city and suburban stations. The Sydney transport system uses double decker or bi-level trains and an upper level seat is a great way to get a view of the surrounding Sydney metropolitan area and of course Sydney Harbour. The train is the most cost effective and quickest way to get to Sydney airport with trains running regularly from the three main stations in central Sydney. For commuters the train is generally the best option when commuting from Sydney’s West, North West or Southwest and close regional hubs such as the Central Coast, Newcastle and Wollongong.
Sydney’s Famous Ferry Service
Sydney has a total of 32 ferries that transport commuters and visitors across Sydney Harbour and as far inland as the Parramatta river. The ferry service is probably the most rewarding way to travel to work in Sydney and can take in a number of Sydney’s iconic sites on route. The ferry network has twenty separate wharves extending 37 kilometres across Sydney Harbour, with its main hub being Circular Quay in Sydney CBD. The Ferry is most convenient for those travelling from the Northern Beaches such as Manly and Freshwater as well as the lower North Shore.
Sydney’s extensive bus services run twenty four hours a day and covers the entire Sydney metropolitan area. You can use your Opal card to tap on and off and there is regular stops on route to the city so you will never be too far from where you need to go. The buses are generally the most convenient for those coming from the Eastern Suburbs and the Inner West.
Recently, Sydney is winding back the clock and reintroduced trams to run through Sydney CBD for the first time since 1961. The project which is now nearing completion will provide a much needed public transport link from the city to the main sporting precinct in Moore Park as well as the University of New South Wales in Kensington. There is also a light rail service currently in operation which serves inner west suburbs such as Leichardt, Lilyfield and Dulwich Hill.
There is plenty of public transport options to help you get around Sydney’s unique landscape and if all else fails you can always walk until your feet touch the water.