Difference between revisions of "Sydney"
Revision as of 21:48, 9 April 2010
Sydney  is the Harbour City. It is the largest, oldest and most cosmopolitan city in Australia with an enviable reputation as one of the world's most beautiful and liveable cities. Brimming with history, nature, culture, art, fashion, cuisine, design, and set next to miles of ocean coastline and sandy surf beaches. The city is also home to the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, two of the most iconic structures on the planet.
Sydney is a major global city and one of the most important cities for finance in the Asia-Pacific. Sydney hosted the first Olympics of the new millennium, and continues to attract and host large international events. The city is surrounded by nature and national parks, which extend into the suburbs and right to the shores of the harbour.
Sydney has a compact city centre surrounded by sprawling suburbs, forming a vast metropolitan area.
If you are in Sydney for a holiday, or to see the sights, the major attractions of Sydney outside of central Sydney are in:
Sydney is a vast sprawling city, and the suburbs in the city metropolitan area spread for up to 100km from the city centre. The traveller visiting the suburbs will find less crowded beaches, parks, cheaper shopping, commercial centres, cultural festivals, and hidden gems.
Sydney is the oldest European settlement in Australia, having been founded as a British penal colony on 26 January 1788 by Arthur Phillip (now celebrated as Australia Day, the national public holiday, with major festivities around the city and the Harbour).
Sydney is one of the most cosmopolitan cities on the planet, with one third of its population born overseas. European settlement largely displaced the Aboriginal peoples, and over the years, with the earliest colonists largely coming from England, Ireland and Scotland. The Australian goldrush attracted more immigrants, including a significant number of Chinese; with about one in four Australians with convict descent also having some Chinese ancestry. In the 20th century, Sydney has continued to attract immigrants from all over the world - mostly from the U.K. and Ireland, as the White Australia Policy prevented non-European peoples (and even Southern Europeans) from entering the country.
Australia's immigration patterns, and subsequently, that of Sydney, changed significantly after WWII, when migrants began to arrive from countries as diverse as Italy, Greece, Germany, Holland, China, New Zealand, India, the Philippines, Poland, Lebanon, Iraq, Vietnam, Thailand, South Africa and the Pacific Islands. Sydney's culture, food and general outlook well reflect these contributions to the majority Anglo-Celtic institutions and social establishment.
Sydney is recognised worldwide for its vibrant gay community. Every year, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is celebrated at the end of February, drawing people from all over Australia and the world for the celebrations.
Sydney became the centre of the world's attention in September 2000 when the city hosted the Summer Olympics - officially announced by the IOC Chairman at the closing Ceremony to be the "the best games ever"! The Olympics saw a major building and renovation program take hold of Sydney, positioning it as one of the great world cities of the 21st century.
Sydney is comfortable for travellers to visit any time of year. The city enjoys over 300 sunny days each year.
Sydney's Western Suburbs, which lie away from the coast, tend to be hotter during the day and a little cooler during the night. They miss the afternoon sea breezes and the night-time warming effect of the ocean.
Sydney has air conditioning in all public buildings, and on some public transport. It is common to catch a bus or train without air conditioning on hot days. Carry water during summer and remember sun protection year round.
Sydney Climate and Weather information is available online at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology .
Sydney’s skyline is large and widely recognizable. Sydney also possesses a wide array of diversity of modern and old architectural style. They range from the simple Francis Greenways Georgian buildings to Jorn Utzon’s Expressionist Sydney Opera House. Sydney also has a large amount of Victorian buildings, such as the Sydney Town Hall and the Queen Victoria Building. The most architecturally significant would be the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, among many others. Skyscrapers in Sydney are also large and modern such as the Sydney Tower, which dominates the Sydney skyline.
There are also pockets of architecturally significant housing dotted around Sydney's suburbs. The inner-eastern suburb of Paddington is known for its terrace houses, while several inner-west suburbs contain streets lined with so-called federation houses (built around the time of Australian federation in 1901). Probably the best preserved example of federation houses in Sydney is in the Inner West suburb of Burwood. Appian Way is a circular street built around a lawn tennis courts complete with pavilion house. The large houses are all architecturally unique and built on large expanses of land featuring old trees and lovely gardens. Further away on the lower North Shore, Castlecrag is a unique suburb, being planned by the architect Walter Burley Griffin in the 1930s.
Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport (SYD)  is Australia's busiest airport and is the main gateway to Australia. It is located only 8km from the City center in Southern Sydney on the northern shores of Botany Bay. Sydney Airport is the oldest continually operated commercial airport anywhere in the world.
Over 35 airlines fly in and out of Sydney Airport with daily flights linking Sydney to key destinations on every continent. The Asian-Pacific transport hubs of Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Tokyo and Seoul have several daily flights, as do various European centres (especially London) via Asia or the Middle East. North America is connected via Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver. Direct flight links also exist with many destinations within New Zealand.
You can fly to Sydney directly from all other Australian capital cities and from many major regional airports. Otherwise, you need to fly to the state capital and transfer to a Sydney flight. Sydney can be reached within an hour and a half from Melbourne and Brisbane, 45 minutes from Canberra and just under four hours from Perth and Alice Springs
Airlines and terminals
Check the terminal that you are arriving at or departing from carefully.
International terminal (T1) handles all international flights and some domestic flights. Check your itinerary and flight number as connections, customs etc will take longer when arriving or departing from the International Terminal even on a domestic flight. You do not need a passport when travelling domestically, just hang on to your boarding pass.
Domestic terminal 2 (T2) is the largest domestic terminal. Airlines using this terminal include Qantas & Qantaslink (Qantas flights 1600 and above), Aeropelican, Regional Express (Rex), Jetstar, Tiger and Virgin Blue.
Domestic terminal 3 (T3) handles only Qantas flights from 400-1599, which are mainly the inter-capital services.
T1 (International terminal) has food and shopping both before and after immigration and security. There is an open air beer garden and bistro by check in Bay A on the departures level. There are cafes on both departures and arrivals level. Good coffee and food can had for a reasonable price, but it is easy to buy bad overpriced coffee and food too. Departures has cheaper prices than downstairs at arrivals. There is a better and cheaper choice of food before going through security, at the large central food hall in departures. Avoid currency exchange offices (see the Currency exchange section). Two free showers for both males and females are available by check in bay 'A on the departures level. There is also an open air observation deck, with the entrance next to check-in bay B on the departures level, through the bistro and up the elevator. A post office is in the check in area, but it is only open business hours. Post boxes are available after customs. There is a small kids play area after security. There is a large duty free shop selling alcohol, cigarettes, perfume and electronics available when departing and arriving. There are some free Internet terminals in departures, even a few before security. There are paid Internet terminals too and downstairs in arrivals. Trolleys cost money landside of security. Pick one up airside where they are free, or out in the carpark where they have been left by previous users.
T2 has a large food and shopping area, with a large selection of food outlets located to the right after you go through security. There are also gift shops, bookshops and some clothing stores. There are nice views over the tarmac from the eating area. There are ATM's before and after security. Everyone is able to go through security, whether travelling or not.
T3 (Qantas Domestic) has a food hall with a variety of food and coffee. Nice Thai is available for around $15 or Hungry Jacks for normal prices. The food hall is airside of security, but you do not need to be a passenger to pass through. Most food and drink places and the security checkpoint close 30 minutes or so before the last departure. Don't expect to be able to get anything at all if you are arriving on a late flight. Don't expect people to be able to get to the gate to meet you on a late arrival as they will have to wait at baggage claim if you arrive after the last departure. There are Wi-Fi and Internet terminals available for $5 per hour.
For accommodation around the airport, see the Southern Sydney article
Due to curfew laws, no planes arrive or depart between 11PM and 5:30AM. The domestic terminals (T2 an T3) close after the last flight has cleared (around 11PM) and reopen at 4AM - you cannot remain in the terminal. T1 (international) also closes around 11PM and reopens at 4AM - but there is small transit area with no facilities that you can remain in if you are already in the terminal. The last train service departs at 11:45PM.
Transfer between terminals
Transfer between domestic terminals T2 and T3 must be done on foot. Follow the signs either via the railway station underground, or across the car park.
Transfer between T1 and T2/T3 is 4 km by road, as the terminals are on opposite sides of the airport tarmac. You will have to use one of the following methods to transfer.
Sydney airport is world class in many respects, but terminal transfers are clumsy, and will surprise those who are used to terminal shuttles in other developed airports worldwide.
Between the airport and the city
Sydney Airport is only 9 km from the city centre. Although driving, taxi or the train may seem like the only options to get to the city when you're at the airport, there are cheaper ways to get there if you're not already hiring a car. It is worth considering what your travel arrangements will be while in Sydney before purchasing a public transport ticket to the city as many multi-day and tourist tickets include some or all of the travel cost to to the city.
It is possible to drive to Sydney from Brisbane or Melbourne in a full day, around 9 hours non-stop to Melbourne or 11 hours to Brisbane. A comfortable drive would allow two days from Melbourne or Brisbane, and three to Adelaide. The Melbourne drive is mostly dual carriageway high quality road. The same can't be said for the Brisbane drive, which while it has high quality sections, it also has some very narrow winding sections, carries high traffic volumes, and has many stoppages from roadworks.
If you are renting a car, check the daily distance allowances and any one-way charge that may apply. Cars may be rented at the airport and elsewhere from major rental companies, or at smaller, less conveniently located, cheaper companies such as Airport Car Rental  at Sydney Airport or Bayswater Car Rental  in Kings Cross.
There are tolls applicable to all motorways coming into Sydney, and not all routes accept cash. See "Tolls" section below.
Coach companies operate to Sydney from all capital cities, and many New South Wales regional centres. The Sydney coach terminal is located adjacent to Sydney Central train station in the City South. Follow the signs.
Coach travel to Sydney is usually quicker, cheaper and more frequent than train travel. Online and advance booking specials are usually available.
The New South Wales long distance train service CountryLink, (13 22 32 within Australia)  runs at least daily services to Sydney from Brisbane, Melbourne, Canberra and many regions of New South Wales including the Mid-North Coast, New England, the Central West and the Southern Highlands. It also services Broken Hill weekly. Travelling time from Melbourne and Brisbane is around 12 hours. Fares range between $30 and $100 for standard class seats, and reservations tickets can be purchased online, by phone, or at the station. The long distance trains between Melbourne and Sydney, and Brisbane and Sydney can be a less stressful alternative to driving, but they do not average particularly high speeds and take longer than flying. It is often possible to get a discount airfare around the same price or cheaper than the adult train fare.
The Indian Pacific  (13 21 47 within Australia or +61 8 8213 4592 internationally) train service runs from Perth to Sydney via Adelaide and Broken Hill. Adult fares from Perth are $1250 for a sleeper cabin and $513 for a seat. Children's fares are $805 for a sleeper cabin and $139 for a seat. The train departs from Perth on Wednesdays and arrives at Sydney on Saturdays. Note that these fares are much higher than return plane fares to Perth, this journey is really for train journey enthusiasts who want to see the interior of Australia. It also gives you the ability to take your car on the train for an additional fee.
All long distance (Countrylink and Great Southern Railway) trains to Sydney terminate at platforms 1-3 of Sydney's Central Station in the south of the CBD area. Travellers can transfer to Cityrail trains, the light rail service to Darling Harbour, city buses, as well as taxis. It is also easy to transfer to other long distance trains and coaches. There is free short term parking up the ramp in front of the station, and you can meet the trains on the platform. There are ATM's, a choice of food outlets, cafes open until late, and a railway heritage society display and bookshop in the terminal.
The Cityrail network runs services several times a day from close regional cities: Newcastle via the Central Coast (New South Wales), Goulburn via the Southern Highlands, Nowra via the South Coast and Lithgow via the Blue Mountains.
Cruise ships generally dock at the International Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay or at Darling Harbour.
Circular Quay is a spectacular place to dock, right by the Harbour Bridge, and you can walk off the ship into the centre of the The Rocks.
Darling Harbour passenger terminal at Barangaroo seems a little more remote when you disembark, but it is still easy walking distance to the main attractions, Wynyard Station, and Darling Harbour itself. The terminal is immediately adjacent (north) of the King St Wharf precinct, at Darling Harbour, but immigration makes sure you exit away from the water where you can't see it. Just turn right and follow the road, it is only a short walk. It is less than 15 minutes walk to the city centre and The Rocks. It is a 5 minute walk to Wynyard station. There is also a Sydney Explorer bus stop in Sussex St nearby.
White Bay in the Inner West is being developed as a new wharf for passenger arrivals, to replace Darling Harbour as Barangaroo is re-developed. Currently it is only used if their are already two passenger ships in the harbour. White Bay is not easy walking distance to anywhere. You could potentially walk up to Victoria Road and get a bus to the city, or you could walk over the Anzac Bridge into Darling Harbour. Expect the walk to take about an hour. Probably best to rely on the shuttle buses supplied arranged by the cruise company unless you are keen to save a few dollars.
Travel times and routes
You can drive around Sydney reasonably freely, and outside of peak times travelling by car is usually at least as quick as any method of public transport. Congestion can be expected on roads to the city from 6:30AM until 9:30AM, and roads away from the city from around 4PM until 6:30PM. Congestion is considerably worse heading away from the city during Friday afternoon peak.
Roads are generally well signposted to the next major suburb or suburbs along the route. Only a handful of cross-city met-roads are signposted by number.
Congestion can be expected around Bondi Beach, and the other eastern suburbs beaches on summer weekends.
Travel times from the CBD to the Sydney outskirts can take around 45 minutes in good traffic.
Some motorways, tunnels and bridges charge tolls.
The M5 (towards the South West and Canberra and the Eastern Distributor Motorway from the airport to the city have tolls of $3.80 and $5 respectively. You can pay in cash, and change is given at the tollbooths. There is no toll payable on the Eastern Distributor heading away from the city towards the airport.
The Harbour Bridge and Tunnel, Cross City Tunnel, Lane Cove Tunnel, M7 and the Falcon Street northbound motorway entrance only use electronic tolling and if you use these you need to decide how you will pay the toll. You can easily avoid the Lane Cove Tunnel, M7 or Falcon Street on-ramp, however, it is hard to avoid the harbour crossings if you are going to Manly, the Northern Beaches or the zoo by car.
Your choice is to have a pass or a tag.
A capital 'E' marked on the lane indicates it accepts a tag and a lower case 'e' indicates it accepts a pass.
Not paying a toll incurs a $10-$15 administration fee in additional to the toll. If you are in a rental car the rental car company will charge an additional fee for this to your credit card.
Parking your car in the City Centre is always possible but expensive. Expect to pay up to $70 per day or $25 per hour at some central parking lots, and around $25 even with specials. Reduced parking charges are made for early bird parking, where you must enter and leave within prescribed times. For example you can park all day at the Opera House  for $16 provides you enter before 10AM and leave between 3PM and 7PM. There is no grace period, so you can't get out even one minute before 3PM, and you will be charged the day parking rate of $42 if you are 10 seconds late. Most city parking lots offer reduced flat fees (around $15-$25) for evening and weekend parking.
Street parking in the CBD is generally only possible before 8.00am and after 6.00-6.30pm on weekdays and even then is almost invariably metered until 10.00pm at $2.20-3.30 per hour. On weekends, most parking spaces have a 4 hour limit, again metered at $1.10-2.20 per hour. All day street spots are sometimes available in the Domain/Mrs Macquarie's Chair and Hickson Road, however these spots are often taken up by commuters and since they are metered, an early bird deal may work out cheaper than the metered rate. Parking meters increasingly accept credit card payment, however don't assume this.
City hotels invariably charge for parking for the guests.
Similar prices are charged in North Sydney.
Parking in many major suburban centres and beaches can be a matter of spending time cruising and searching for parking spots. All day street parking is rare around the city suburban shopping centres.
Some train stations have all day free commuter parking. A major stations this can be full by 8AM. Smaller stations with less frequent train service tend to have better parking availability. On weekends it is easy to find a spot in the commuter parking lots. The stations will commuter parking are marked on the Cityrail maps.
Parking at some beaches on summer weekends can often be near impossible. Some beaches are in suburban neighbourhoods, without large car parking facilities. Check the appropriate destination guides for more information.
Parking fines in Sydney are $80 if you exceed the allowed parking time. Reloading the meter, or moving your car within the same parking zone will not get you out of a fine. If you park illegally and wait with your car, you may find you have the licence place photographed and fined before you have the chance to move on, don't expect a warning. If you park illegally in a disabled spot, the fine is $375. If you do get fined for exceeding time, you will not be fined again the same day--so enjoy your parking spot.
Clearways, which are no stopping zones on main roads during peak periods. Fines will be around $400 to reclaim your car after it is towed away. However, clearways also offer parking opportunites if you want to park just after 10AM or 7PM when the clearway periods end.
Sydney driving speeds
Speed limits can change frequently even when following the same main road. Speed limits drop for areas of pedestrian activity, schools, as well as driving conditions. Every road in Sydney has a signposted speed limit, and in every case you will need to read the signs, as you cannot tell the speed limit just by looking at the road. The speed limit is usually 50km/h on residential streets, 60km/h or 70km/h on main roads, and 80km/h and above on freeways or freeway sections.
Some speed limits vary throughout the day. School speed zones (40 km/h) are enforced between 8.00 AM to 9.30 AM and 2.30 PM to 4.00 PM on school days. Some have flashing lights, and some just a sign. It is up to you to check the time and know if it is a school day or not. Some other roads have variable speed limits that drop during busy traffic times. Variable speed limits also drop for road maintenance. These areas are signposted, and you need to read and obey the signposted speed. Speed cameras monitor school zones, and enforce variable speed limits. For example, if there are roadworks in the Lane Cove Tunnel, the variable speed will drop, and the speed camera in the tunnel will enforce the lower speed. There are plenty of warning and reminder signs along the way.
Some police will randomly stop vehicles and accuse the driver of speeding, and hence give you a lecture on road safety. Most of the time they are not sure if the driver was actually speeding. If you are certain that you had not been driving over the speed limit, challenge the police by asking for a radar reading. Usually, if they were bluffing, they will let you go after a breath test (provided you have not been drinking over the limit of course). But other ruthless police may still issue a fine regardless of having no radar reading. Locals who have taken the case to court generally lose because the judges are confident that police have the expertise of judging speed with their naked eyes.
Taxis are a convenient way to get around Sydney. They can also be the only transport option available to some locations late at night when the trains and regular buses stop.
It is usually easy enough to flag a taxi down at the kerb in the CBD, or catch one at taxi ranks located in most suburban centres. The availability of a taxi is indicated by a small amber/orange light on the top of the "taxi" sign positioned on top of the vehicle. If the amber light is on, it is available for hire, if the amber light is off, the cab is occupied.
Beware the 3PM change over and the Friday evening rush. It can be near impossible to get a taxi between 2:30PM and 3:15PM, and similarly between 2:30AM and 3:30AM, as almost all of the drivers changeover their shifts at the same time. They are similarly scarce on a Friday and Saturday evening. Booking in advance is no guarantee, as these jobs are simply offered electronically to drivers, who may or may not accept the job. It is easily possible to wait an hour or more for a taxi booked 24 hours in advance on a Friday and Saturday evening. Ringing the taxi company back and complaining will often help (if the operators can relate to your problem they have the ability to offer a taxi driver an incentive to take your fare). Cancelling your job and ringing another taxi company in frustration never helps as the taxi companies have handover systems which would have seen your job handed over if another company had more capacity. You will just end up at the back of the queue again. Evenings other than Friday and Saturday are usually fine.
During busy times it is also not uncommon for a taxi driver to leave the door locked and ask where you are going through the window and drive off if the destination is too close or not on their way home, even though this is illegal.
There are two meter rates: a day rate (rate 1) with a flag fall of $3, a distance rate of $1.79 a kilometre, a "waiting" rate of $0.77 a minute and a booking fee of $1.50; and a night rate (rate 2 - applicable to journeys commenced between 10PM and 6AM) which adds a 20% surcharge to the distance rate. All fares also attract the 10% tax. You can check the rate your taxi is using by looking for a 1 or a 2 next to the current charge: if it's set to 2 it is using the night rate. The so called "waiting" rate is charged whenever the speed drops below 25km/h. For trips in congested traffic it is possible for large amounts of the trip to be charged at the "waiting" rate. All Sydney taxis are metered and taxi drivers will always charge the metered rate, adding the charges for tolls manually. Silver Service taxis are more luxurious vehicles, but they are charged at the same rate as standard taxis.
Taxis accept all major credit cards. They charge an extra 10% on top of the fare for this.
Passengers are required to pay all tolls for their trip. In addition, passengers who are taken north over the Harbour Bridge, for which there is no toll, are required to pay the driver's southbound toll for the return into the city (currently $3). Drivers will usually take the toll roads unless you ask them not to. If you are unsure why they are asking for an amount above that shown on the meter, just ask.
Passengers have the right to control the air conditioning and the radio - don't be afraid to ask the driver! Whilst most taxi drivers behave acceptably, there have been reported incidences of taxi drivers behaving inappropriately towards women - it is always safer to sit in the back of the car.
Tipping is not required or generally expected. However, rounding up a taxi fare the next dollar (or five or ten dollars, depending on the base fare) is fairly common. On the other hand, don't be surprised if the driver rounds the fare down to the nearest dollar - accept with grace and good cheer.
By public transport
Sydney public transport consists of an extensive rail network, multiple buses and ferries, a single light-rail line and a tourist-oriented monorail. It can get you to nearly all of the city's main attractions, especially in areas closer to the city. The further away from the city centre you travel, the less frequent and comprehensive public transport services will tend to be.
The ticketing system for Sydney's public transport is antiquated and poor. There is no comprehensive system, and there is no stored value card. It can be worth spending a little time understanding where you will be travelling, as some of the tickets can save considerable amounts over multiple trips, especially if you are going to be taking ferries.
Bus drivers will check you buy or validate a ticket on entry. Ferry hands will check tickets. Trains have ticket barriers at city and major suburban stations. Minor suburban stations are open. Inspectors are renowned for their intimidating behaviour and will generally not accept any excuses. They issue a ticket on the spot ($200) and post you a reminder to pay.
Children aged 15 years and under are entitled to a discount. Also, on ferries (except private ferries), buses, and trains, you pay for only the first child when accompanied by a parent or grandparent, the other children in the same family allowed for free. Usually, no family identification is ever required, so anything that resembles a family unit will have to pay for only the first child. Children 3 years and under travel free.
Cityrail train tickets allow you to make as many transfers as required but you may not break your journey (i.e. leave a station), or your ticket will become invalid. Other forms of transport do not permit any forms of transfer, and you will need a ticket for each trip or some form of pass ticket (described below).
Child fares are available to anyone under the age of 16, whether or not they are travelling with an adult. Student and other concessions are only available to those issued with a NSW transport student identification card. This card is only issued to students enrolled and resident in NSW or the ACT. Seniors fares are available to anyone with an Australian Seniors Card. Accordingly overseas visitors are not entitled to student or senior concessions.
Transport Infoline, ☎ 13 15 00, . 24 hours. Information on fares and route planning for all public transport in Sydney. Available online and by telephone
TransitShops, Circular Quay (cnr of Loftus & Alfred Sts) or Wynyard under Wynyard Park. Information on fares and route planning for all public transport in Sydney, all travelpass and travelten sales, accepts credit cards
Some train stations are easy access, with lifts to all platforms and ramps operated by station staff to allow wheelchair access to trains. Some buses have disabled access. All monorail stations have lifts and level access to the car, as do all light rail stations. Station facilities and bus times are available from the transport infoline, online or by phone.
Sydney has an extensive suburban rail network operated by CityRail . Cityrail operates with at least a 30 minute frequency to all metropolitan stations (apart from the (dark blue) Carlingford Line and stations between Riverstone and Richmond on the (yellow) Western Line). There are usually 15 minute frequencies to major destinations and transit hubs such as Chatswood, Bondi Junction, Hurstville, Parramatta, Bankstown, Blacktown, and Liverpool. The Cityrail timetable has a weekday service and a weekend and holiday service.
During peak times 7am-9am and 5pm-6pm trains are faster, more frequent and more crowded. Expect severe congestion around Town Hall. The complex rail network sometimes experiences delays, especially during rain or excessively hot days.
The majority of Cityrail's suburban trains are not equipped with destination displays on the train and announcements can be inaudible. The displays on the platform are usually clear, but you need to make sure you know where you're going and keep track of the station stops.
All stations are equipped with CCTV and trains at night have designated NightSafe carriages and station areas with emergency intercoms and security patrols, making catching trains at night a viable (and cheaper) alternative to taxis.
Outside of operating hours, between 12AM (1AM on Fridays and Saturdays) and 5AM, NightRide buses are available on most routes within Sydney. Any CityRail train ticket is valid for the equivalent NightRide bus except a single. If you don't have a ticket, you'll need to buy a NightRide single from the driver, which is more expensive than a single for the train. NightRide buses stop at most CityRail stations and a few additional stops, but they don't travel on the same routes. If you intend catching a NightRide bus home, check the NightRide route map on the back cover of each timetable or at the station while you are waiting for your train.
On weekends check for trackwork  before leaving for the station; CityRail will transfer passengers to buses if lines are closed for trackwork, and the process will add about half an hour to a typical journey. Trackwork will be advertised at the station for about a week before it begins. You need a the same ticket for the trackwork buses as you would for the train.
You must always purchase a ticket for the entire journey before boarding a train from either the ticket office or from the ticket machines that are located on most stations. There is no opportunity to buy a ticket onboard or at the destination. Ticket offices have limited opening hours at suburban stations, and outside of these hours you will need to use a machine. The ticket machines accept up to $50 notes but will give only $19.90 in change (in coins). They will also accept only 10 coins. Ticket offices accept Visa or Mastercard for a total ticket value over $20. A handful of ticket machines also accept Visa or Mastercard at major stations if you have a PIN.
Ticket inspectors will not hesitate to fine you and generally don't accept any excuses--unless if you say the ticket machine was broken at the station which you boarded the train, and then they will check that! If you accidentally buy the wrong ticket or forget to buy a ticket, honesty is not necessarily the best policy.
Sydney buses (Government Buses)
Most of the buses in the inner city and inner suburbs are run by the government owned Sydney Buses  The rest of the commuter network (primarily around the outer suburbs) is run by private bus companies. These services do not compete so you will usually only have one way of getting somewhere by bus.
You must flag down buses with an outstretched hand if you want them to stop for you--they will not automatically stop unless they need to pick someone off or drop them off.
A Sydney bus fare depends on many sections you are travelling, measured in sections of about 1.6 kilometers. Tickets can often be bought in cash when boarding the bus, in which case you can just state your destination to the driver and pay the fare. n the CBD, at Bondi Junction Interchange, and on prepay-only routes, tickets must be pre-purchased from a ticket agent, usually an newsagent, convenient store, or a transit shop. All types of tickets, including multi-ride, single-ride and travel passes, are available from these agents. Discount tickets (10-ride Travelten or 7-day Travelpass) must always be purchased in advance and are not available from drivers.
If you have to buy a single or multiride ticket from a newsagent you have to know how many sections your journey will be. Section ranges correspond to a colour of ticket. You can find out how many sections your trip is by calling the transport infoline , asking at a transit shop at Wynyard, Circular Quay, or the QVB, or by looking at the route map in the timetable (printed or online). Every section you travel in counts as a section. So to travel from Wynyard to North Sydney Station is 2 sections, because you travel in sections 2 and 3. If you boarded one stop before Wynyard, and exited one stop after North Sydney Station, you would have travelled in sections 1, 2, 3 and 4, so you would need a 4 section ticket. 1-2 section tickets are blue, 3-5 brown, and 6-9 are red. Blue will cover any journey within the CBD.
Drivers may be able to give change for a $20 note, but it pays to use lower-denomination coins and notes.
There are two main bus termination points in the CBD, at Wynyard and Circular Quay. These two points are about 10 minutes walk from each other or a one-stop train trip. You will need to make this walk if connecting from buses arriving from north of the harbour bridge to buses heading east or west, or vice-versa. Bus information centres are located at both Wynyard and Circular Quay.
The red coloured Metrobuses (route 10 and route 20) runs between Leichhardt and Kingsford via the city and Oxford Street, and Mascot and Artarmon respectively. They only accept repaid tickets, and run every ten minutes or so, with no timetable. This bus attempts to be visitor friendly, with electronic next stop displays, but don't count on them working.
Bus stops are not numbered, and on the standard blue buses there is nothing on the bus to tell you which stop you are approaching or which stop you are at. There are no poster maps on the bus either. If you are not sure where you are getting off pick up or print out the timetable, which has a route map on it and watch for landmarks as you pass. Also make sure, if you take a bus marked "Limited Stops" or "Express" (the route number will start with an L or an X), that the bus stops where you want it to! Limited stops services stop only at major stops, so give can give you a bit of a walk if you miss your stop. Express services can run many kilometres from the city express before resuming a normal stopping pattern. All normally numbered buses stop at all stops, so missing your stop or getting off one stop early is a manageable mistake.
From midnight to 5AM, most buses cease running with the exception of a few trunk routes that run at a reduced frequency including the 373, which runs 24 hours between the city and Coogee.
Outside of the city and inner suburbs, private bus companies provide services to varying degrees of frequency and reliability (but generally significantly less frequent during off-peak periods and weekends). Expect many service to stop running around 9PM.
More than just a utilitarian means of transport, the ferries are a great way to see the harbourside. The best ferry excursion for visitors is from Circular Quay to Manly. Be prepared to take a stunning photograph of the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge as you leave Circular Quay.
At peak periods the Parramatta River ferries can fill to capacity, and you should ensure that you have an alternative for completing your trip. Passenger counts are strictly enforced. Peak periods are weekends around 4PM-6PM at Parramatta and Circular Quay, and school holiday weekdays from 4PM-6PM at Darling Harbour (heading to Parramatta) (you are okay if you board at Circular Quay where the ferry starts from). The Manly and inner-harbour ferries can get busy, but very rarely do they reach capacity.
By light rail and monorail
The Metro Light Rail is cheaper, and goes further than the monorail.
If you are a fit and experienced urban cyclist, used to riding on multi-lane roads in heavy traffic, then just get on your bike. Cyclists are permitted just about everywhere on Sydney's roads, with the exception of some freeway tunnels where bicycle signs will usually direct you to the alternative route. Kerbside lanes are often narrow, so ride assertively, be seen, and take the full lane when you know there is insufficient room to be passed.
Central Sydney is not particularly cyclist friendly. Also, Sydney is not a flat city and you can expect regular hills but no marathon uphill climbs. The weather is, however, usually good for cycling.
If you are looking for a quieter ride, a number of quiet on-road and shared pedestrian/cycle paths are available, but can be hard to find. A good place to start is at Sydney Olympic Park where you can get your cycle legs on the extensive off-road trails, and then if you feel inclined you can follow off-road/quiet road trails out to Parramatta or following the Cooks River to Botany Bay in Southern Sydney. The Harbour Bridge has a dedicated cycle lane, suitable for all ages, but as soon as you get off the bridge you are back onto urban streets in Milsons Point.
It is illegal to ride bicycles on footpaths unless cycling with children under 12. In reality this is fairly weakly enforced out in the suburbs, but it is common for people to be fined for cycling through pedestrian malls in the city like Pitt St Mall or Martin Place. Bicycle helmets are required by law, as are lights and reflectors at night. Road rules applying to cyclists and maps of cycleways in the greater Sydney area are provided by the state government authority , but are not comprehensive, and indicated cycle routes can sometimes be busy roads with car-door lanes.
Bicycles can be taken on all Cityrail trains, but a child fare should be paid if any part of the journey is made before 9AM or after 3:30PM on weekdays. Check trackwork schedules on weekends , when buses replace trains and make taking bicycles more challenging.
Bike hire is available in many locations in Sydney. Unfortunately, bike hire for two bikes for a day usually costs more than hiring a small car and petrol for the day; however, for shorter periods some places may be reasonably priced (for example Sydney Olympic Park. In addition you have to consider the cost if the bikes are stolen or damaged. However, they are much easier to park, are greener and can be more fun. See the district articles for bike hire listings.
There are tours around Sydney offered by bus, hike, walking, motorcycle, and in a variety of other forms. See the district articles for listings.
Museums and galleries
Or see one of the smaller chic Art Galleries in East Sydney.
and just out of Sydney, the
In the wild
Sydney's large natural harbour was the reason that the original penal settlement was established in the area, near what is now known as Circular Quay. It is now well developed, with skyscrapers, highrises, and houses all around its shores, but it is still very beautiful.
The harbour is served by ferry services that transport passengers around the harbour. An excellent way to see both the harbour and Sydney attractions is to take a ferry east from Circular Quay to Taronga Zoo or Manly or west under the Harbour Bridge towards Parramatta. These are reasonably priced and a favourite for tourists. If time is short, for a shorter route, the ferry between Circular Quay and Darling Harbour will let you ride under the Harbour Bridge and see the central part of the harbour.
You can take a cruise on Sydney Harbour. There are many cruises to choose from and they depart from Darling Harbour or Circular Quay. For a bigger adrenalin rush, try the jet boats that zip around the harbour  at breakneck speeds.
Sydney Harbour can be viewed from the city or from on of the many walks next to it, most of which are easily accessible by ferry or bus.
You can arrange a guided tour of the islands by contacting the Sydney Visitors Centre at Cadmans Cottage, 100 George Street, The Rocks, ph 02 9247 5033. fax 02 9241 3303.
The world famous Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race begins every year on Boxing Day, on Sydney Harbour. Thousands of spectator craft take to the water to farewell the yachts as they set off on their grueling journey to Hobart. Seaworthy craft can follow the yachts through the Sydney Heads into the open ocean. You can also see the race from a harbour vantage point like Watsons Bay. where you can see them sail towards you across the harbour, and then cross to the gap to see them sail down the coast.
Far from being confined to the inland areas, Aboriginal people extensively occupied the Sydney area prior to the arrival of European settlers.
There are many picturesque and interesting walks throughout Sydney. The following are just a few of the better-known routes.
Sydney has three indoor ice skating centers in the suburbs. The closest to the city centre is:
Sydney has three theatres which show major international productions, the Capitol Theatre in Haymarket, the Theatre Royal under the MLC Centre in the CBD and the Lyric Theatre in Star City in Pyrmont Bay. Usually one of the latest theatre blockbusters will be on show at these theatres. Slightly more on the cutting edge, with more locally produced drama can be found at the Sydney Theatre Company, in Walsh Bay in The Rocks, or occasionally at the Opera House Drama Theatre. Similar productions are often on at the Seymour Centre next to Sydney University just off Broadway on City Road. Smaller theatres, some with lesser known performers, featuring new and local writers can be harder to find. Try the Belvoir St Theatre in Surry Hills in City East, or the Newtown Theatre in the Inner West. Amateur theatre, especially musical theatre, proliferates in Sydney, with over 30 amateur musical theatre companies providing a fun night of theatre for around $20 per ticket in the suburbs. Check the Riverside Theatre in Parramatta, the Zenith Theatre in Chatswood on the Lower North Shore, or the Sutherland Entertainment Centre in Sutherland.
For classical music fans, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra plays at the Opera House and at  Angel Place Recital Hall . If the Sydney Symphony aren't playing, the Recital Hall may have other performances of interest. Conservatorium of Music often hosts performances on a smaller scale. .
Opera Australia perform at the Opera House in the City Centre.
For arthouse, or more obscure movies, try the Chauvel, Verona and Academy Twin cinemas on Oxford Street in the City East, or the Dendy near the Opera House in the City Centre or in Newton, or Cinema Paris at the Entertainment Quarter at Fox Studios at Moore Park in the City East.
Many of the larger cinema complexes offer premium seating and services for a premium price.
There is one drive-in movie left open in Sydney, at Blacktown in the Outer West.
Sydney is home to a number of major and minor festivals and calendar events each year. Listed chronologically these are:
You can take language classes, join a cafe book group, learn to draw, sign up for historical or foodie walks, or take computer or business classes at City of Sydney Library, where you can sign up to borrow books or just read magazines in their café as well.
See the Sydney District Pages for things to buy in the City, and other Sydney districts.
Most stores will accept VISA/Mastercard credit cards, and only a few take only cash. American Express is generally accepted only at larger stores.
As with the rest of Australia, currency exchange offices operate in a free market, and the small convenient exchange booth you pass on George Street, by the Opera House or at the airport can charge 15% or more over the best rate you can obtain elsewhere. As always, check rates and commission carefully. Know today's rate and be prepared to walk away if the amount of money they calculate isn't what you would expect. Banks typically offer much better rates, but are only open business hours on weekdays.
You may find it better to pay by credit card and use ATM withdrawals and have the certainty of getting the rate and fees provided by your bank.
Main department stores and speciality stores open around 9am and close around 6pm, staying open until 9pm on Thursday. On Sunday expect them to open around 10am in the suburbs, and around 11am in the city centre, and to close at 5pm. There are a few locations where you will find shops opening a little later, such as Darling Harbour which is open until 9pm every weeknight.
Large supermarkets will be open from 6am until midnight.
Banks will usually only open weekdays, with only an occasional branch opening Saturday morning. Travel agents (not including booking agents in tourist areas) close on Sundays.
Those quintessential Aussie souvenirs - stuffed koalas and kangaroos, various "Australiana" knick-knacks - can be found in any souvenir store around the city, as well as in airport shops. Authentic Aboriginal/indigenous arts and crafts, such as traditional paintings, hand-made didgeridoos, are expensive, and the range in Sydney is much smaller than in Alice Springs. For those who only wish to take home a replica, as a memento of their trip to Australia, head to Paddy's Markets  in the Haymarket area of the southern end of the city. The markets also sell a huge range of souvenirs at much better prices than regular souvenir stores. Dollar shops (see "Food and Essentials" below) also sell souvenirs at bargain-basement prices, albeit at a much reduced quality.
Australia's unique style and creativity means Sydney is developing on the international fashion circuit, as designs from Australians such as Wayne Cooper, Collette Dinnigan, Akira Isogawa, Lisa Ho, and Easton Pearson are seen around the globe. In fact, around 60 Australian labels are currently exporting their designs to boutiques and department stores in Asia, Europe and the United States.
The greatest concentration of clothing and accessories stores are to be found in the northern half of the CBD, starting from the Town Hall precinct, neat the Queen Victoria Building.
Food and essentials
Prices are inflated in convenience stores and in tourist areas, and it is worth seeking out the supermarkets - even in the city centre. The main Supermaket Chains in Sydney are Woolworths , Coles , Franklins  and Aldi . See the local guides for locations.
Sydney postcards are least expensive at post offices (AUD 0.75), where you can buy stamps from as well. Convenience and souvenir stores may sell a wider range of (more expensive) postcards, but generally they do not sell stamps. An overseas stamp for a postcard costs AUD 1.40 .
Prices in Sydney's restaurants vary. A main meal in a mid-range restaurant is around $25 - $35. Upper mid-range averages around $35 - $45. At the real top-end places a dinner for two with wine can run up to $400-500 and beyond.
For the more budget-conscious, go for the "multicultural" restaurants, especially the Asian ones. Many restaurants also offer "lunch specials". For example, a good Korean "set lunch" can be found for less than $15.
Cafés serving breakfast start opening at 6AM and breakfast is usually served until 11AM, or occasionally all day. Orders for lunch start at about noon and continue until about 3PM. Many cafes will start closing late afternoon, although a few may remain open for dinner.
Restaurants usually open for dinner around 5PM-6PM and while there are exceptions (usually concentrated in areas with active nightlife), last orders for dinner are typically taken around 10PM. Restaurants in business areas open for lunch as well. It is common for restaurants in suburban locations to sometimes be closed on Sunday, Monday or Tuesday nights.
It is more expensive to get a sit down meal in the evening, than it is for lunch.
Just about every suburb of Sydney will have a restaurant or two, a cafe or coffee shop, and a place that sells takeaway food.
However, there are are a number of places in Sydney where you can window shop through many restaurants, and take your choice.
All of Darling Harbour is like this, there are restaurants of every variety all along the waterfront. East Circular Quay in the City Centre is similar, along with the International Passenger Terminal on the west of Circular Quay.
In the east of the city, Victoria St in Darlinghurst and Crown St in Surry Hills (between Oxford and Cleveland Sts) have a large range of restaurants ranging from cheap Asian take-aways to mid-high end restaurants.
King Street, Newtown, centered on the railway station, has a constantly changing selection of good value restaurants, cafes and bars. Not at all touristy.
Sydney is also home to some of the world's best restaurants.
If you are wanting to try Sydney's finest rated restaurants during your visit, make a booking in advance at Quay in the The Rocks; Tetsuya’s, Bilsons, or Est in the City Centre; Marque in the City East or Pier in the Eastern Suburbs.
Neil Perry is one of Sydney's celebrity chefs, and runs Rockpool at The Rocks. He also has the Rockpool Bar and Grill in the city, not far from Circular Quay, with Spice Temple downstairs.
If you want to splurge on the location make an advance booking at Forty One, on the forty first floor of Chifley Tower in the City Centre but be aware the food may not live up to its price-tag, or Guillaume at Bennelong Restaurant in the Opera House. You may be lucky on a weekday and get a walk-up table at one of the restaurants in Campbells Cove in the The Rocks#Eat.
If you want to have fine dining, away from the central Sydney, try Jonah's in the far Northern Beaches - go for lunch, the view is stunning.
Thanks to Sydney's (or rather, Australia's) multicultural mix, "modern Australian" is usually characterised by a fusion of cuisines. Think entrees spiced with a Thai-inspired chilli dressing, mains with a hint of a Chinese-style ginger-based marinade or sunny Tuscan flavours- all in the same menu. Many of Australia's celebrity chefs are of ethnic backgrounds, and many have trained overseas, bringing with them a world of experience back home.
Alternatively, many CBD pubs offer $6 to $10 steak "meal deals", provided that you also order a particular alcoholic drink at the same time.
For those who are after authentic multicultural culinary experiences, there are unique "food districts" scattered around the greater city. The range of food available is huge and isn't necessarily expensive. It is usually possible to find a restaurant of any nationality, specialising in almost any cuisine.
Many of the areas mentioned above also sell produce related to the original nationality of the locals. CityRail also has a section for eating your way round Sydney by train. Organised by each train line, you will find a range of places to eat out often within easy walking distance of stations .
Take away food in Sydney can be as cheap as buying the ingredients and making it yourself, and many stores specialise in take-away food. There will usually be a picnic table, park or beach nearby to eat whatever you can select. Quintessential Aussie takeaways include the meat pie (minced beef with gravy sauce in a crusty pastry shell) and sausage roll (sausage mince in a puff pastry casing), usually topped generously with tomato sauce/ketchup.
Most restaurants will do take-away food as well, but almost certainly at a premium to the cost of buying food from a take-away. Outside of the city an occasional restaurant may offer a 10% discount for take-away.
Vegetarian and special diets
Vegetarians are well catered for. Every restaurant will usually have at least one vegetarian dish. Indian retaurants can be relied upon to provide a wider selection. The trendy East Sydney and Inner West suburbs are likely to give you a large choice as well.
There is an awareness of gluten-free and dairy-free diets in Sydney, and again the more trendier inner city suburbs are more likely to cater for these diets.
It seems every weekend, there is a food festival on in one of the suburbs of Sydney. Usually the idea is that restaurants take part, providing smaller portions of their signature dishes around $7-$12 a plate.
The largest good festival, the Sydney International Food Festival,  which showcases Sydney's food culture is in October, which includes the night noodle markets operating in Hyde Park in the City Centre
The general rule on tipping in Australia is that it is not compulsory and generally not expected. This remains true for most cafes, and for counter service in Sydney. However for a full service restaurant in a tourist areas and mid to higher end restaurants a tip would be expected by the waitstaff. However, most Australians will still not tip, and you should feel free to follow their lead should you wish to. Nobody will follow you or give you a hard time. Otherwise a 10% tip added to the bill or rounding the bill up to the nearest $10, $20 or $50 to a maximum of 10% (depending on the size of the bill!) will usually meet their expectations. They may be expecting a little more if you have an American accent, as they are well aware of what Americans tip at home.
Sydney has an enormous number of places to drink and party. A limited number of venues have 24 hour licenses, however the majority close before 3AM and some as early as 11PM, particularly if there are nearby residents. Most venues will have door staff checking photo identification to determine that you are over 18. Admission is also commonly refused to those who seem visibly drunk. More popular venues have discriminatory door practices, the most common of which is refusing entry to groups of men who are not accompanied by women.
Most places have at least a basic dress code. For most generic pubs, men should wear closed toe shoes (not running sneakers), full-length pants, and a shirt with sleeves (not a singlet). For clubs, men should don neat business-style shoes.In almost all cases, women can dress more freely, but a small number of places require closed shoes or dressy sandals or high heels.
Entry charges for live music or DJs are usual and range from $5 to $30 depending on clientèle. Entry charges are rare if you're going into a pub for a drink.
There is a taxi shift change at 3AM, and it is notoriously difficult to catch a taxi anywhere between 2:30AM and 3:30AM. Also beware that there is currently a government enforced lockout at many establishments between 2 and 5AM - which means that you need to stay inside or you won't be able to get back in - even if you go out for a cigarette (smoking is illegal inside). Ask the bouncers or some locals if you're unsure and they will tell you which places are affected by the lockout and which aren't.
Some types of nightlife are concentrated in particular areas:
There are many great nightclubs in Sydney, unfortunately they are very spread out so it would be a good idea to get an idea of were you want to go. Check guides in Friday's newspapers, or the free guides available in music stores and youth clothing stores.
Most bars and clubs in Sydney will simply return your change, and no tip is expected. Some more upmarket bars will return your change on a tray. Most Sydneysiders will simply collect the change from the tray, however feel free to leave the coins on the tray if you would like to tip. Working out a percentage of the drink cost, or tip per drink is never required.
Sydney has a wide range of backpackers' hostels - popular districts for these include the southern half of the CBD and Haymarket , Glebe and Kings Cross, the Eastern Suburbs(Bondi, Coogee) and the Northern Beaches (Manly).
You find many mid-range accommodation providers within the CBD (mostly in the southern Haymarket end), and within a short distance of the city by public transport, including in North Sydney, the Inner West and the North Shore. Sometimes a cheaper motel style accommodation can be obtained on the roads leading into Sydney, particular in South Western Sydney
There are luxurious hotels that can be found all over Sydney. The most expensive hotels are generally located in the CBD and the Rocks district, near the business hub of Sydney, close to many restaurants, often featuring spectacular harbor views. Some other high quality hotels are located in Darling Harbour.You may check the list below for specific locations.
Please visit one of the various Sydney districts described in the Districts section above to see the accommodation listings.
Serviced, short-term apartments are widely available throughout Sydney and are available for stays as short as one night. Amenities typically include kitchen, washer and dryer, and separate bedrooms. A range of properties exist from budget to five-star.
Please visit one of the various Sydney districts described in the Districts section above to see the accommodation listings.
The Australia-wide emergency number is 000, with the ambulance service, fire department and police being available through this number.
Sydney has similar crime issues to most large western cities. Be on the lookout for the usual big city petty crime problems.
Occasionally people begging may ask for money, but they are generally harmless. They will often make up elaborate stories about needing a train fare etc. Simply say "Sorry, no" and they will leave you alone.
Take care walking around George Street, The Rocks or Oxford Street especially on Friday and Saturday nights as there are many drunk people around who can get into fights. Usually fights with drunks are not completely random, and start with some sort of engagement. Avoid trouble, and don't hesitate to call police if you feel threatened.
Other violent crime
There are few complete no-go areas in Sydney.
The Block on Eveleigh Street in Redfern, directly opposite Redfern station, is still to a certain extent an area demonstrating urban Aboriginal disadvantage. It is slowly being redeveloped, and the murals, vandalism, drugs and hopelessness being bulldozed. Common sense would tell you to avoid this area, unless you have a desire to see this side of Sydney, in which case take extra care.
Some areas of South Western Sydney, like Cabramatta, Lakemba, Liverpool, Hoxton Park have a reputation. The reality is that the risk of violent crime to travellers is no greater here than in the city, especially during the day, when they are busy, vibrant centres. However, avoid going to these areas at night, as the risk of violent crime increases considerably.
Be careful in the red light area of Kings Cross at night. Although the main street in this area has been cleaned up immeasurably by the police, crime does still occur and pickpocketing or mugging can happen to the unwary, especially in quiet laneways. Women should take extra care at bars and keep an alert companion at hand, especially in the central hostel area, and take precautions against spiked drinks.
Public transport after dark
After 9PM, smaller outer suburban stations can be very quiet, and many are totally unstaffed after this time. The trains can also be empty when they get towards the end of the line at this time. Don't expect a taxi to be waiting at every station--only the major ones will harive a well patronised taxi rank.
Travel in the carriage closest to the guard's compartment, which is the 4th carriage and marked with a blue light on the outside of the train. There are also blue nightsafe markings on the platform. Drunk people are common on trains late at night, particularly on Friday and Saturday nights. If you ever feel concerned for your safety on any Cityrail train, you can call 1800 657 926 to speak with Cityrail security, then can usually arrange for a transit patrol to board the train and provide assistance. In more modern trains, you can press the button in the entry area to speak with the guard. Every train station has an orange emergency help point monitored by CCTV that connects to Cityrail security, usually towards the centre of the platform.
Nightride buses, which replace trains after midnight, can arrange for a taxi to meet you when you get off. Ask the driver.
If you are going to the beach, take the same precautions as you do anywhere in Australia. See Beach going.
Sydney has no really dangerous jellyfish. Bluebottles (Portugese Man-Of-War) are blueish-purple stingers that hit the Sydney beaches a couple of days every summer, when the wind direction is right. They have an air-bladder that floats on the water, and stinging tenticles. Often the air-bladder can be no bigger than a coin. You will see the evidence of them with their air-bags washed up on the beach if they are present. They can give a painful sting - even when on the beach - but it won't keep everyone out of the water. Apply a heat pack if you can, or ice, or salt water. Vinegar is useless. Sometimes small transparent jellyfish appear in the harbour and estuaries. You can usually avoid any groups of them, but they are mostly harmless. More rarely larger purple jellyfish are in the harbour and other estuaries. If you see these in the estuaries, best to stay out of their way. Probably more of an issue to water skiers than to swimmers.
Sydney ocean beaches all have shark mesh nets around 100 metres out to sea, and are regularly patrolled by air for sharks. A shark alarm will sound if any are sighted, and you should get out of the water. The risk of shark attack swimming on a patrolled beach between the flags is virtually nil. Shark attacks are rare on Sydney beaches, but they have occurred, although there have been no fatal attacks for 45 years. Advice is to avoid swimming in murky water after storms, or at dusk or at dawn, and to swim in the netted enclosures within the harbour and other estuaries.
Take note of the general issues regarding staying safe in Australia.
If you need an ambulance, call 000.
Medical centers with general practicioners are available for minor ailments without an appointment around the city and suburbs. Expect to wait around an hour or so to see a doctor. Upfront charges are usually around $50 for a standard consultation, and most centres accept credit cards. Many medical centres remain open until 10PM or so, and a few remain open 24-hours. Those with an Australian Medicare card will find many medical centres in Sydney that "bulk-bill".
Most hospitals in Sydney have emergency departments, but check before attending as some do not. Those emergency departments are open 24-hours. See the Australia article for more details on health charges.
Many pharmacies stay open after normal business hours, often in proximity to medical centres, and there are a few that stay open 24-hours. You can call +61 2 9467 7100 to find the location of your closest after hours pharmacy.
The City of Sydney offers free Wi-Fi access to the Net in all the public libraries under its control.
There are a number of good one or two day trips from Sydney:
Or if you are moving on: