Sydney Harbour, Sydney, New South Wales © Tourism Australia
Getting around Sydney
Your guide to getting around Sydney quick and easy.
Public transport options in Sydney
Public transport is used across Australia by locals, commuters and visitors alike, and Sydney is no exception. To use public transport including buses, trains, ferries and light rail in Sydney, you can either purchase an Opal card or use a credit card with tap-and-go functionality.
You can purchase an Opal card from participating newsagents, post offices, convenience stores and supermarkets as well as when you arrive at the domestic and international airport terminal stations.
Before using an Opal card, you’ll need to load it with money to cover your fares. You can top it up at convenience stores and train stations as your balance runs low. There are also top up machines at some stations and ferry wharves. To use your Opal card, tap your card on the reader when you board your selected mode of transport and be sure to tap the reader again when you disembark. If you are using a credit card, be sure to use the same card when you tap on and tap off.
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 you’re staying north of the bridge, you can travel across the Sydney Harbour Bridge to the lower north shore on the T1 North Shore and Northern Line that stops at Central, Wynyard and Town Hall before travelling north across the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
To get to Kings Cross and Bondi Junction (the gateway to Bondi Beach), catch the T4 Eastern Suburbs and Illawarra Line that goes from Central, Town Hall and Martin Place stations. If you are planning on travelling to the Blue Mountains, catch the Blue Mountains line from Central. It passes through the vibrant Western Sydney city of Parramatta, and then on to the main Blue Mountains stations including Wentworth Falls, Leura and Katoomba.
Use the trip planner to map your route.
Sydney’s light rail network has three main lines. One which goes from Central Station to Dulwich Hill (L1), and two others which go from Circular Quay to Randwick (L2) or Kingsford (L3). The L1 is 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. Use the L2 or L3 to reach the city centre, Surry Hills, Sydney Cricket Ground and Royal Randwick Racecourse.
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 you want 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 in front of Central Station. Operators include Firefly Express, Greyhound, Murrays and Priors Scenic Express.
You can also hop onto a Big Bus Tour of Sydney, which will allow you to stop at 33 destinations across the city, with services running every 20-30 minutes, first departing from Circular Quay. Purchase 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.
With its sparkling harbour, Sydney was made for ferry travel. 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 Sydney, catch the non-stop F2 service. You'll find more services to Luna Park, Barangaroo, Darling Harbour and more. Check out the map guide to see all the routes on the Sydney Ferries Network.
Getting around Sydney city is easy on public transport. However, if you want to venture outside of the city, driving yourself is a great way to hop from one beach to another, or explore Sydney's famous national parks.
There are several toll roads in Sydney. If you are traveling on a budget and want to avoid tolls, there will be possible alternate routes.
There are both free and paid parking options on the street or in secure car parks across the city if this is not provided by your accommodation.
Getting to and from the airport
To get to and from Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport (both domestic and international terminals), catch the T8 Airport and 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.
You can also access taxis and rideshare services when you arrive. The Sydney city centre is a 20-minute ride away. You'll find taxi ranks at the front of all terminals – simply follow the signs to the nearest ranks. Rideshare services will pick you 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 NSW website for information on using public transport before your trip.