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===By plane===
===By plane===
'''Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport (SYD)''' [] is Australia's largest and most important international and domestic airport, located 8 km from the city center at Mascot in [[Sydney/Southern Sydney|Southern Sydney]].
'''Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport (SYD)''' [] is Australia's largest and most important international and domestic airport, located 8 km from the city center at Mascot in southern Sydney on the northern shores of Botany Bay.. Sydney Airport is the oldest continually operated commercial airport anywhere in the world.
There are over 35 airlines that fly in and out of Sydney Airport with multiple daily flights linking Sydney with key city destinations in the Pacific, Asia, Europe and North America. The Asian-Pacific transport hubs of [[Hong Kong]], [[Singapore]], [[Bangkok]], [[Tokyo]] and [[Seoul]] are particularly well-served, as are various European centres via Asia. Multiple flight links also exist with [[New Zealand]]. In addition, the west coast of the [[United States of America|US]] and [[Hawaii]] are popular inbound / outbound destinations. Sydney Airport is the only airport in Australia with connections to every continent.  
Over 35 airlines fly in and out of Sydney Airport with multiple daily flights linking Sydney and key city destinations in the Pacific, Asia, Europe, North and South America. The Asian-Pacific transport hubs of [[Hong Kong]], [[Singapore]], [[Bangkok]], [[Tokyo]] and [[Seoul]] are particularly well-served, as are various European centres (especially [[London]]) via Asia. Multiple flight links also exist with [[New Zealand]]. In addition, the west coast of the [[United States of America|US]] and [[Hawaii]] are popular inbound / outbound destinations. Sydney Airport is the only airport in Australia with connections to every continent.  
Travellers from Europe and the Middle East tend to travel into Sydney via Asia, whilst travelers from South America fly via either North America or New Zealand.
Travellers from Europe and the Middle East tend to travel into Sydney via Asia, whilst travelers from South America fly via either North America or New Zealand.
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==== Between the airport and the city ====
==== Between the airport and the city ====
Sydney airport is only 13km from the city centre by road.
Sydney Airport is only 13 km from the city centre by road.
*A '''train''' service known as [ '''Airport Link'''] connects Sydney Airport and the CBD, single fares are $14.20 for an adult, or $9.60 for child. Airport Link stations use the '''Cityrail''' [] commuter rail system and shares a ticketing system, and you can buy a ticket directly to any Cityrail destination. The trains can be busy weekdays during the morning peak [07:30-09:30] as trains that service the Airport also carry commuters to the City. If there are more than two people travelling together, a taxi will usually be cheaper, and just as quick outside peak hours.
*A '''train''' service known as '''Airport Link''' [] connects Sydney Airport and the CBD, single fares are $14.20 for an adult, or $9.60 for child (fares to Central Station—an area popular with backpackers—are slightly cheaper). Airport Link stations use the '''Cityrail''' [] commuter rail system and share a ticketing system—at the airport you can buy a ticket directly to any Cityrail destination. The trains can be busy weekdays during the morning peak [07:30-09:30] as trains that service the Airport also carry commuters to the City. If there are more than two people travelling together, a taxi will usually be cheaper, and just as quick outside peak hours.
*several '''mini-bus''' operators will drive a group of passengers to the city and deliver them to their hotels - a typical charge is $8-$10 per passenger
*'''Mini-bus''' operators will drive a group of passengers to the city and deliver them to their hotels - a typical charge is $8-$10 per passenger
*'''Taxis''' to the city centre should cost approximately $30 (including tolls), and more to other Sydney destinations (The Rocks $35-40, North Sydney $35, Manly $50, etc.)  You can expect to pay a $2 airport taxi levy, and a $4.50 Eastern Distributor toll on top of the metered fare.  If arriving on a Friday evening is is possible to face long queues for taxis. Asking the driver to take O'Riordan Street is a little slower but shorter and cheaper than the Eastern Distributor tollway.
*'''Taxis''' to the city centre should cost approximately $30 (including tolls), and more to other Sydney destinations (The Rocks $35-40, North Sydney $35, Manly $50, etc.)  You can expect to pay a $2 airport taxi levy, and a $4.50 Eastern Distributor toll on top of the metered fare.  If arriving on a Friday evening is is possible to face long queues for taxis. Asking the driver to take O'Riordan Street is a little slower but shorter and cheaper than the Eastern Distributor tollway.

Revision as of 12:20, 23 March 2008

For other places with the same name, see Sydney (disambiguation).
The iconic Sydney Opera House

Sydney [2] is the capital city of the south-eastern Australian state of New South Wales, situated on Port Jackson, a waterway including Sydney Harbour, Middle Harbour, North Harbour, and the Lane Cove and Parramatta Rivers. With a population of just over 4.25 million, Sydney—the "Harbour City"—remains the largest, oldest and most cosmopolitan city in Australia. Sydney holds a reputation worldwide as one of the world's most beautiful and liveable cities, brimming with historical associations and globally influential in the realms of culture, art, fashion, cuisine and design. The city is also home to many unique architectural styles, including the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, two of the most iconic structures on the planet.

Sydney is a dynamic centre for Australian economic activity and one of the most important cities for finance in the Asia-Pacific region. Sydney was also the host of the 2000 Olympic Games, which successfully raised the city's global profile. Though comprised of a large, sometimes sprawling population, Sydney nonetheless retains many large public spaces and lush green parklands—the city is literally surrounded by national parks, which extend even into the suburbs and the shores of the harbour.


Sydney panorama.jpg

Sydney sprawls extensively around its Harbour in Port Jackson, extending up the Parramatta and Georges Rivers to the west, along the adjacent coastlines (both north and south) and across the surrounding Cumberland Plain to the Blue Mountains. The city and its suburbs (many of which are cities in their own right) form a vast metropolitan area.

Owing to the city's size and variety, the districts of Sydney remain notoriously difficult to categorise.

Central Sydney

  • Sydney City - the Central Business District (CBD) of Sydney, the historical centre of government, retail, finance, culture and entertainment
  • The Rocks - bordering Sydney Cove to the west, includes the first colonial village of Sydney and the iconic Harbour Bridge
  • Darling Harbour - an extensive, enjoyable leisure and entertainment area immediately to the west of the CBD, the area is also home to many luxury hotels
  • Kings Cross - chic bars, blinding neon signs and hip night clubs, Kings Cross is also well known as Sydney's red light district
  • Darlinghurst - once the site of countless brothels and speakeasies, now the site of chic and stylish eateries and the heart of the gay community
  • Paddington - ranging from the camp (Darlinghurst end) to the posh (Woollahra end), Paddington is a must for upmarket fashion addicts and drinkers
  • Chinatown - Amazing Chinese culture and cuisine!

North of the Harbour

  • North Sydney - located across the Harbour from the city centre, linked to the CBD by the famous Harbour Bridge and the Harbour Tunnel, a major business and shopping district
  • the North Shore - leafy suburbs stretching northwards from the Harbour, its inhabitants tending to be wealthy "well-to-do" middle-class families. The North Shore area includes a large number of the most expensive and prestigious private schools.
  • the Northern Beaches - from Manly to Palm Beach
  • the Hills District is a largely residential area around 30 minutes to the North and West.
Aerial view of Sydney's extent

Heading East

  • the Eastern Suburbs - between the City and the sea, includes the world-famous Bondi Beach and other city beaches, which are all hubs for visitors and residents in the city during summer.

Heading West

  • the Inner West - Sydney's original suburbs are now bohemian, but still affordable. In particular, King Street, Newtown offers a hub of cheap eats, shopping and inner-city culture.
  • Homebush Bay - home of the Sydney Olympic Park, providing venues for sports and outdoor activities.
  • Parramatta - the historical core of western Sydney, now a thriving commercial, tourist and retail center, around thirty minutes from Sydney by car, train or ferry.
  • the Outer West stretching from Parramatta out to the Blue Mountains and the South West with the centers of Liverpool and Campbelltown are a large swathe of residential and commercial Sydney containing over half its population.

Heading South

  • Southern Sydney - the area south of the CBD and north of the Georges River, including the area surrounding Sydney Airport and Botany Bay
  • Sutherland Shire is the district to the far south and east of the city center including Cronulla

Satellite towns

Some of the areas on the far western edge of Sydney developed long before the expansion of the suburbs to their doorstep, and are still considered to some extent separate towns:



Sydney is the oldest European settlement in Australia, having been founded as a British penal colony on 26 January 1788 (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. As well as being home to the descendents of those who arrived with the original English, Irish and Scottish colonists, Sydney has attracted immigrants from all over the world - from countries as diverse as Italy, Greece, China, New Zealand, India, the Phillipines, 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 cultural basis.

Sydney has a prominent 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 center of the world's attention in September 2000 when the city hosted the 2000 Summer Olympics - officially announced by the IOC Chairman at the Closing Ceremony as "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 and will continue to hold its world city status.


Sydney is perhaps best described as "sub-tropical" - although Sydneysiders talk about four seasons, it is truer to say that Sydney probably has two seasons: a hot, mildly humid one (summer), and a cooler one (winter). The city is generally comfortable for travellers to visit any time of year. The city enjoys in excess of 300 sunny days each year - that said, when it rains, it really can rain, varying between days of grey drizzle to over a week of bucketing downpours with occasional localized flooding.

Summer can be extremely hot, with temperatures climbing to over 40 degrees Celsius for a number of days each year in Summer, accompanied alternately by stifling humidity and searing dry winds. Sydney is generally well equipped with air conditioning in public buildings, however, and the beaches and harbour are only a short journey away -- just remember your sun protection, as the UV exposure risk is extreme in Sydney! Hot summer days frequently (though not always...) end with a "Southerly buster", a cold front sweeping up from the south, bringing a clearly noticeable drop in temperature, and thunderstorms. Within hours, the storm can pass and the evening continues cooler.

Summer is also the season when bush fires on the margins of the city are most prevalent. For this reason, in hot weather lighting of outdoor fires (non-gas BBQ's etc) is frequently banned (reported as a "total fire ban" during weather reports) and visits to National Parks can be hindered.

Winter in Sydney is generally cool, not cold - daytime temperatures rarely drop below 13°C, but night-time temperatures can fall to below 10°C. It does not snow in Sydney, and unless you intend spending long periods outside, you can usually get by with a sweater .

Autumn and spring may be the best times to visit and see the sights. March and April, especially, tend to have clear, warm days with mild nights. Spring is very similar, though perhaps with a greater chance of more rain. If you wish to make the most of Sydney's beaches, visiting between late-October and early-April. Outside of these times it is generally considered too cold to swim in the ocean.

  • Sydney Climate and Weather information is available online at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology [3]


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, the 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 signifiant housing dotted around Sydney's suburbs. The inner-eastern suburb of Paddington is known for it's terrace houses, while several inner-west suburbs contian streets lined with so-called federation houses (built around the time of Australian federation in 1901). Further away on the lower North Shore, Castlecrag is a unique suburb, being planned by the architect Walter Burley Griffin in the 1930s.


Get in

By plane

Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport (SYD) [4] is Australia's largest and most important international and domestic airport, located 8 km from the city center at Mascot 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 multiple daily flights linking Sydney and key city destinations in the Pacific, Asia, Europe, North and South America. The Asian-Pacific transport hubs of Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Tokyo and Seoul are particularly well-served, as are various European centres (especially London) via Asia. Multiple flight links also exist with New Zealand. In addition, the west coast of the US and Hawaii are popular inbound / outbound destinations. Sydney Airport is the only airport in Australia with connections to every continent.

Travellers from Europe and the Middle East tend to travel into Sydney via Asia, whilst travelers from South America fly via either North America or New Zealand.

You can fly to Sydney directly from all other Australian capital cities and from many major regional airports. Otherwise, you will usually 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.

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 include Qantas & Qantaslink (Qantas flights 1600 and above), Aeropelican, Regional Express (Rex), Jetstar and Virgin Blue.

Domestic terminal 3 (T3)- handles only Qantas flights from 450-1599, which are mainly the inter-capital services. Qantas Cityflyer flights generally depart and arrive at Terminal 3.

Transferring between terminals

Transferring between T2 and T3 is by walking. Going via the railway station is easiest.

Transferring between T1 and T2/T3 is 4km 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.

  • If you are connecting through with Qantas or a One World partner airline, they offer an free air-side shuttle service.
  • Catch the train ($4.70), which is part of the Sydney suburban train system, not a terminal shuttle train. It is a 2 minute journey with around 10-15 minute frequency. Follow the train signs from the terminal. Make sure you are going the right way, and only stay on the train a single stop.
  • T-bus ($5.00) outside the terminal building. The T-bus is a dedicated terminal shuttle and uses the normal roads. It will take around 10 minutes, but can be stuck in Sydney traffic at peak times.
  • Taxi ($10.00). A taxi driver may not be happy transferring you between terminals, as he/she would have been expecting a trip to the city or further, and may have been waiting in a queue for an hour or so. Still, you want to get between terminals, so load up your luggage in the boot, sit firmly in the seat, close the door, tell the driver where you want to go, and ignore everything else. The trip will take around 10 minutes. It is a legal requirement for the taxi driver to take you there, but unfortunately not a legal requirement for them to smile while doing so. This problem has been slightly reduced by a new system that allows the driver to tell the taxi controller that they received a short fare, they are then allowed to jump the queue.
  • Walk. If you have little luggage, and some time to kill, the walk will take around an hour. There is a footpath the whole way, and has good views of planes taking off metres above your head, and of the Alexandra Canal. From T1 walk across the carpark, across the crossing, under the underpass, and follow the Airport Drive footpath/cycleway to the right, keeping the canal on your left, and airport on your right. From T2/T3 follow the road out of the airport, and turn left onto Qantas drive, and keep the airport on your left.

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 13 km from the city centre by road.

  • A train service known as Airport Link [5] connects Sydney Airport and the CBD, single fares are $14.20 for an adult, or $9.60 for child (fares to Central Station—an area popular with backpackers—are slightly cheaper). Airport Link stations use the Cityrail [6] commuter rail system and share a ticketing system—at the airport you can buy a ticket directly to any Cityrail destination. The trains can be busy weekdays during the morning peak [07:30-09:30] as trains that service the Airport also carry commuters to the City. If there are more than two people travelling together, a taxi will usually be cheaper, and just as quick outside peak hours.
  • Mini-bus operators will drive a group of passengers to the city and deliver them to their hotels - a typical charge is $8-$10 per passenger
  • Taxis to the city centre should cost approximately $30 (including tolls), and more to other Sydney destinations (The Rocks $35-40, North Sydney $35, Manly $50, etc.) You can expect to pay a $2 airport taxi levy, and a $4.50 Eastern Distributor toll on top of the metered fare. If arriving on a Friday evening is is possible to face long queues for taxis. Asking the driver to take O'Riordan Street is a little slower but shorter and cheaper than the Eastern Distributor tollway.
  • Vehicle rental is available at all Sydney Airport terminals from a variety of rental companies, although car rental will typically be more expensive when rented at the airport.
  • Local Buses The only local bus route is the 400 bus running from Bondi Junction and Burwood via Rockdale Station. The 400 bus to Rockdale Train Station($2.90/International $3.90/Domestic) then train to the city ($3.40) is the cheapest way to get to the city. The bus destination sign will show "Burwood". The Bondi Junction bus is going the other way. If you purchase a "Red" bus/train/ferry travelpass for $35 it lasts for 7 days and covers this entire route to the city. A surcharge is payable to use the Airport Link train, however. The 400 bus runs ever 20-30 minutes, from outside T3 and T1. If you are at T2 you have to walk to T3 to catch it.
  • Having a friend collect you from the international terminal is not necessarily a cost saving. There is nowhere for a private car to stop legally at the international arrivals (T1) area to pick someone off the curb. Each car has to park at the short term car park for a minimum charge of $7 (longer if more than half-hour). At the domestic terminals (T2 & T3) cars can only stop at the pickup areas if there is someone already at the curb. Fines apply for waiting at the arrivals areas, or for picking up at the departures areas. Leaving your car is out of the question.

Walk and Train.

  • T1 the International Terminal, is about 1.5km from Tempe Station, from where a train is $3.40 to the city. The walk isn't signposted and not recommended after dark. Exit straight from the international terminal (T1) straight across the car park, to the right of the entrance, and to the right of the carpark construction. Cross the road at the crossing, and then go under the road using the underpass, and then bear right on the cycleway/footway by the canal. Keep the water on your left. Proceed along the cycleway until you come to a footbridge over the canal. Cross the footbridge, go straight cross the sporting fields, keeping right. Near the end of the fields, turn right onto South Street, then left onto Station Street, and follow this to Tempe station, crossing the Princes Hwy with care (or using the lights at the next block). Around 30 minute walk. The surface is uneven in parts. As an alternative, when you cross the Princes Hwy, the 422 bus stop at the Tempe bus depot is two blocks to your right. This bus will take you to the city via Newtown and Railway Square (Central). Cost is $4.00.
  • It is also possible to walk from the Domestic terminal (T2 and T3) to Mascot train station. The walk takes about 20 minutes and is along suburban pavements that can be uneven at times. Follow the road out of the domestic terminal and on to O'Riordan Street. Follow O'Riordan Street and then veer left onto Bourke street. Cross Coward Street and then John Street, Mascot train station is on your right. An adult fare to the city (Central) from Mascot is $5.20 as of 21/01/2008.

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.

By car

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, has some very narrow winding sections also, and carries high traffic volumes.

  • Melbourne - Sydney = 862 km via Albury-Wodonga (Hume Highway)
  • Adelaide - Sydney = 1422km via Mildura or 1659km via Broken Hill (National Highway 32)
  • Brisbane - Sydney = 938 km via the coast (Pacific Highway) or 961 km via Armidale (New England Highway). The New England Hwy is usually the quicker route as speed limits are usually set around 100km/h, unlike the Pacific Highway which has many 60km/h and 70km/h zones. The Newell Hwy is also a quick route, but covers more kilometres and is a tiring journey as the road has minimal bends, increasing fatigue.

If 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 Bayswater Car Rental in Kings Cross.

By bus

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. Follow the signs.

By train

All major train links to Sydney terminate at Sydney's Central Station in the south of the CBD area. Travellers can transfer to Cityrail trains or the light rail service to Darling Harbour, as well as to taxis.

New South Wales' long distance train service CountryLink (ph 13 22 32 within Australia) runs daily services to Sydney from Brisbane, Melbourne, Canberra and many regions of New South Wales including the North Coast, New England, the Central West and the Southern Highlands. Travelling time from Melbourne and Brisbane is around 12 hours. Fares range between $30 and $100 for standard class seats. The long distance trains between Melbourne and Sydney, and Brisbane and Sydney are a faster and less stressful alternative to driving.

The Indian Pacific train service (ph 13 21 47 within Australia or 08 8213 4592 internationally) 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.

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. Fares on these trains range from $4 - $25 for adult.

Get around

Sydney has a good public transport system, especially in areas closer to the city area where many attractions are. You can find out timetables, fares, and routes by phoning 131 500 within Australia for the cost of a local call, or by visiting The further away from the city you travel, the less frequent and comprehensive public transport services will tend to be.

The system consists of an extensive rail network, multiple buses and ferries, a single light-rail line and a tourist-oriented monorail. Unlike some other Australian systems, such as Melbourne or Brisbane, they do not share a single ticket scheme, although multi-modal tickets are available for some at a premium.

The cheapest way to use the buses, trains and ferries is to purchase one of the many travel cards: multi-use tickets typically sold at a 10-20% discount. Some (for trains, buses or multi-modal) are unlimited use within a time limit (e.g. 1 day or 1 week), others (for buses and ferries only) let you travel for ten trips but have no time limit. Information about the discounted commuter tickets and leisure tickets is available from Cityrail; otherwise a quick visit to the TransitShops in Circular Quay (cnr of Loftus & Alfred Sts) or outside the Queen Victoria Building or the information booth at Central Station will get you all the info you need. Most newsagents also stock travel cards. If you are in Sydney for a week or more, or even planning a busy day on the ferries then one of these passes will save you a few dollars, maybe even enough for an extra cold beer at the end of your travels at one of Sydney's many pubs.

Of particular interest to short-term visitors are the CityHopper ticket ($7.40 adults and $3.70 children, cheaper if bought after 10am) which allows unlimited train travel for a day in the center of the train network; the DayTripper ticket ($16 adults and $8 children) which allows unlimited travel on all metropolitan Cityrail trains, Sydney Bus services and Sydney Ferry services; and the longer term SydneyPass tickets, allowing unlimited travel for up to 8 days including tourist services. [7] An alternative is the week-long Red TravelPass which includes all trains, buses and ferries in the inner Sydney area for $35. [8]

Note that there are private buses and ferries away from the city that do not accept the abovementioned travel cards and will require the purchase of cash tickets.

By car

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 roads, tunnels and bridges in Sydney charge tolls. They are the Harbour Bridge/Tunnel, the Eastern Distributor to the airport, the M4, M5, M7, and Lane Cove Tunnel. There is an option to pay in cash on the Harbour Bridge, Eastern Distributor, M4 and M5, but not on the M7, Harbour Tunnel or Lane Cover Tunnel which use only electronic tolling. Tolls may only be paid by purchasing an electronic pass from the tollway management up to 24 hours before or after using the road. The number to call or website to visit is displayed as you go pass the tolling point.

If you want to avoid the charges associated with an getting a toll day pass, then use the Harbour Bridge instead of the Harbour Tunnel, and use the above ground Epping Road route instead of the Lane Cove Tunnel. The Cross City Cunnel is a Sydney white elephant, and if you manage to use it at all, then you will be one step ahead of most Sydneysiders. The other toll roads all accept cash and give change, so you will be okay.

Beware that if you are in a rental car and do not call in to pay the toll, the rental car company may change an administration fee in addition to the toll, in addition to the fine to your credit card, if you do not make the effort to pay.


Parking your car in the Sydney CBD is possible but parking is expensive. Expect to pay up to $60 per day at some central parking lots, and around $25 even with specials. CBD hotels invariably charge for parking for the guests.

Similar prices are charged in North Sydney. Parking in the inner-city, and many major suburban centres can be a matter of spending time cruising a searching for parking spots. All day street parking is rare around the city and around suburban shopping centres.

Road Rules

As with the rest of Australia, driving is on the left hand side of road.

Speed limits are posted in kilometres per hour. Stay alert for speed limit changes, as roads usually drop speeds through shopping centres and areas of pedestrian activity. School speed zones (40 km/h) are enforced at certain times of day on school days. Some have flashing lights, but many do not. It is up to you to check the time and know if it is a school day or not. Speed cameras often monitor these locations.

By taxi

Taxis are a convenient way to get around Sydney if you don't know it. They can also be the only transport option available late at night when the trains and buses stop. All Sydney taxis are metered: it's rare for drivers to forget to turn the meter on, but it's important to check the meter because there are two meter rates: a day rate (rate 1) with a flag fall of $2.90, a distance rate of $1.68 a kilometre, a waiting rate of $0.72 a minute and a booking fee of $1.50; and a night rate (rate 2) which adds a 20% surcharge to the distance rate. The night rate applies for journeys commencing between 10pm and 6am: check the meter of your taxi at other times for a 1 or a 2 next to the current charge: if it's set to 2, remind your driver to switch to the day rate.

Passengers are expected 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 expected to pay the driver's southbound toll for the return into the city (currently $3). Drivers will sometimes take toll roads without asking you, and will simply add the toll amounts before quoting the fare. Do ask if you are unsure why they are asking for an amount above that shown on the meter.

Multiple taxi companies provide services to potential passengers; Taxis Combined (tel 131 008) perhaps provide the most extensive coverage.

Tipping is never expected anywhere in Australia, but it might be nice if you round a taxi fare up to the next dollar (or five or ten dollars, depending on the base fare). On the other hand, don't be surprised if the driver rounds the fare down a few cents to the nearest dollar - accept with grace and good cheer.

By train

File:Daytripper map.gif
A Network map of Sydney's rail system for a more comprehenisve one see here [1]

Sydney has an extensive suburban rail network operated by CityRail. Sydney trains are often very crowded in peak hour, but a CityRail train may be the fastest way to get to the CBD. The complex rail network sometimes experiences delays, especially during rain.

Cityrail operates with at least a 30 minute frequency to all metropolitan stations and 10 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.

Cityrail also operates lines to regional cities such as Newcastle and Wollongong and into the Blue Mountains at hourly frequency. This allows you to sit back and enjoy the journey rather than suffer the hassle of driving in foreign conditions, but offers less freedom upon arrival. Regional cities and towns do offer reasonable bus services throughout the metropolitan area with routes converging on the city center and train station.

All stations are fully 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.

In addition to the discounted tickets discussed above, Cityrail has single trip and return trip tickets valid until 4am the day after purchase. There are discounted single and return trip tickets for children, students and pensioners. A return trip ticket is much cheaper than two single tickets if you purchase it after 9am (called off peak).

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. 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. Train tickets, single, return or travel card, are valid on trackwork buses between the same stations.

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. Ticket offices have limited opening hours at suburban stations. There is no opportunity to buy a ticket onboard or at the destination. If you are caught by an inspector travelling without a ticket the fine is at least $200 and up to $550. If you are found with a student or pensioner ticket and you don't have the appropriate authorisation card, the same fine applies. Be aware that the ticket machines accept up to $50 notes but will only give $20 in change.

Within the city area there is a light rail system run by Metro Light Rail. It connects Central station to Darling Harbour, Star City Casino and the inner western suburbs.

By bus

Sydney has an extensive bus network.

Sydney buses (Government Buses)

Most of the buses in the inner city and inner suburbs are run by the government owned Sydney Buses. Their buses are mainly blue and white, with The rest of the commuter network is run by private bus companies. These services don't compete so you'll usually only have one way of getting somewhere by bus.

A Sydney bus fare depends on how far you are travelling, measured in "sections" of about 1.6 kilometers. Tickets can be bought in cash when boarding the bus, except on "prepay-only" trunk routes. State your destination to the driver. Drivers may be able to give change for a $20 note, but it pays to use lower-denomination coins and notes. One day bus-only tickets (Bustripper/$11.70) are also available when boarding the bus. All other discount tickets (10-ride/Travelten|7-day/Travelpass) must be bought in advance from newsagents or railway stations before getting on the bus.

There are two main bus termination points in the [Sydney/City|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 from North to the East or West. Check the destination of the bus. Bus Information Centres are located at both Wynyard and Circular Quay.

From late night to dawn, most buses cease running with the exception of a few trunk routes that run at a reduced frequency.

Private buses

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). They do not accept tickets from government buses or multi-modal tickets, although single fares cost the same.

Tourist buses

  • Sydney Explorer [9], operated by Sydney Buses. The conspicuously red Sydney Explorer visits 27 tourist destinations on a loop around the city. A day ticket (adult $39, child $19, family $97) allows unlimited rides for one day and services run every 20 minutes. Day tickets also allow access to the Bondi Explorer services. Two day tickets are also available.

By ferry

A Sydney ferry

Sydney Ferries run all around the harbour and up the Parramatta River. The central hub is at Circular Quay at the north of the CBD. 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.

By light rail and monorail

The Metro Light Rail and Monorail may be useful for travelling between Sydney City and Darling Harbour, the casino, and Pyrmont.

The Metro Light Rail [10] operates one route from Central to Lilyfield via Haymarket (Paddy's Market, Entertainment Centre), Darling Harbour, and Star City Casino. The Light Rail is rather small, yet it is very reliable. Combined tickets are available when travelling on Cityrail and the Metro Light Rail (from

The Sydney Monorail [11] runs on a loop through connecting Town Hall, World Square and Darling Harbour. The monorail is really only for tourists, and is more a ride than it an effective means of transport. It is expensive, and if travelling to Darling Harbour it can be just as quick to walk as it is to catch the monorail.

The Metro Light Rail is cheaper, and goes further than the monorail.

By bike

If you want to see a particular area of the city, a bicycle may be suitable. A number of on-road and shared pedestrian/cycle paths are available, especially radiating from the city, however the city itself is not particularly cyclist friendly. Sydney is also a reasonably hilly city, and many areas are not suitable for inexperienced or unfit riders. Maps and other information for cyclists around the inner city are provided by local government [12].

It is illegal for adults to ride bicycles on footpaths unless they are especially marked for cyclists or they are cycling with children under 12. 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 [13]. Bicycles can be taken on all Cityrail trains, but a child fare must be paid during weekday peak hours.

  • Bonza Bike Tours, + 61 (0)2 9331 1127, (e-mail: [email protected]), [14]. Bonza Bike Tours offers bike hire/rental for full and half days. They offer top of the line equipment, and hire/rental includes a bicycle (men's or women's), helmet, bike lock, bike mounted bag (for smaller items), and secure storage for larger bags while you are out. Bonza can provide you with information on some of the best areas to visit.


Part of the city as seen from North Sydney at night
  • The Sydney Harbour Bridge crosses the harbour from the city to North Sydney. You can walk or cycle across the Harbour Bridge free of charge. You can climb the arch with BridgeClimb [15] or fly over it with Red Baron Adventures [16]
  • The Sydney Opera House, [17]. Located in the city, millions of tourists a year throng the building just to see it, even if they have little or no interest in Opera. The Sydney Opera House is easily one of the most famous structures ever built.
  • Darling Harbour is a large tourist precinct and includes a range of activities, restaurants, museums and shopping facilities.
  • Sydney Olympic Park, [18]. Home of the 2000 Summer Olympics, in Homebush.
  • Luna Park, 1 Olympic Dr., Milson's Point, tel. 02 9033 7676, [19] Is a large theme park situated near the Sydney Harbour Bridge, it's mouth-shaped entrance can be seen from many areas of Sydney as well as the large Ferris Wheel.
  • Sydney Tower also called Centrepoint Tower. The tallest structure in Sydney, the tower contains a buffet, cafe and a rather large restaurant and attracts many visitors a year. You can stand over the city on a transparent platform, over the edge of the top of the tower with Skywalk [20]

Historical areas

  • See The Rocks in the city.
  • Parramatta to the west of Sydney is the site of many of Sydney's oldest buildings from colonial times.
  • Sydney Hospital on Macquarie Street was the first hospital in the colony. Known as "The Rum Hospital" it was the first major building established in the colony.
  • La Perouse, near Botany Bay, contains the grave of an early French explorer.
  • The walk from Manly to The Spit passes many coastal artillery fortifications built into the cliffs of Sydney Harbour during the late nineteenth century.
  • Mrs Macquarie's Chair near the Botanical Gardens.

Museums and galleries

Museums and galleries are concentrated in the city and in Darling Harbour. Highlights include:


  • Taronga Zoo [27] in North Sydney.
  • The Koala Park Sanctuary in the Outer West.
  • Sydney Aquarium in Darling Harbour
  • Featherdale Wildlife Park, in western Sydney.
  • Australian Reptile Park [28], about an hour north of Sydney, with much more than just reptiles.

Sydney Harbour

Yachts in Sydney Harbour; business district in background

Sydney's large natural harbor, usually called Sydney Harbour (correctly Port Jackson), was the reason that the original penal settlement was established in the area now known as Circular Quay, rather than further south at Botany Bay as James Cook recommended after mapping the coast in 1770. While it is now very built up (and Sydneysiders will pay a premium for views of the water) it is still very beautiful.

The harbor is served by a dedicated ferry service which transports passengers across the harbor. An excellent way to see both the harbor and Sydney attractions is to take a ferry from Circular Quay to Taronga Zoo, Manly or Parramatta.

There are a number of islands in the center of the harbor which you can visit for a picnic: Shark, Goat, Clark and Rodd Islands. These are very beautiful and have magnificent views of sailing boats on the harbor and of Sydney's harborside buildings. At most times of the year they will be nearly deserted. You will need to reserve a place and pay a fee of approximately $5 per head to the National Parks and Wildlife Service (ph 02 9960 6266 or fax 02 9960 3965). You also cannot moor a boat at any of these islands. Goat, Rodd and Clark islands are not served by ferries, so unless you can arrange for a private drop-off, you will need to charter a water taxi at a cost of approximately $20 per head. Contact Water Taxis Combined [29] by phoning 02 9247 5033 or faxing 02 9241 3303. Shark Island is served by an hourly Matilda Cruises [30] ferry on weekends; the price of $16.00 roundtrip per adult includes the National Park landing fee or visit for their Sydney Harbour Cruises packages [31].

You can arrange a guided tour of the islands by contacting Cadmans Cottage, 100 George Street, The Rocks. ph 02 9247 5033. fax 02 9241 3303.

Fort Denison is another, more popular, island on the harbor. Its entire area is a large fort, completed in 1857 and built to defend Sydney against Russian attack. The National Parks and Wildlife Service runs a half-hour guided tour for $22 per adult, $18 per child and $72 for a 4 person family. They also run a morning brunch for $47 adults and $43 children. Contact Cadmans Cottage as above.

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 follow the yachts through the Sydney Heads into the open ocean. The private hire water taxi service H2O Taxis [32] have an offshore service that is suitable for this and other offshore activities such as scuba diving. Contact them on 1300 426 829. You can also see the race from a harbor vantage point like Watsons Bay and many others.


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.


Sydney's Luna Park
  • Swim at one of Sydney's many beaches try Bondi, Manly, Coogee, Cronulla or Wattamolla
  • See a movie at Fox Studios (now called "The Entertainment Quarter" [33]) in the Eastern Suburbs, or a performance at the Opera House.
  • Swing by the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Art Gallery of New South Wales (free admission) on the edge of the gardens.
  • Visit the Australian Museum, the Powerhouse Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art.
  • Cycle around Centennial Park in the Eastern Suburbs
  • Visit the IMAX Theatre, which provides a movie experience with one of the largest cinema screens in the southern hemisphere in Darling Harbour
  • Drive a dodgem car at Luna Park in North Sydney
  • Go to a football match. Football (Soccer) August to February - Sydney FC are a dominant force in Australia's A-League; featuring a host of current and future Australian internationals, and a smattering of import stars. Sydney FC enjoy vocal, passionate and frequently large support from the local community. Matches are played at Aussie Stadium, Moore Park. Check out a sure-to-be heated match against hated rivals, and current A-League champions, the Melbourne Victory if possible. Also see the Sydney Swans have a game of Aussie Rules [34]] , or the original Sydney game of Rugby League [35] (March to September).
  • Catch a ferry from Circular Quay to Manly. Before returning to the Sydney CBD, walk from the Manly ferry wharf along the Manly Corso to famous Manly Beach. A great day, afternoon or evening out at a fraction of the price of a commercial harbor cruise.
  • Charter a motor boat for a private harbor cruise or as crewed overnight accommodation. Flagship Cruises have a range of boats for all group sizes, +61 (0)2 9555 5901
  • A great alternative to the standard bus/boat/walking tour is a guided bicycle tour. A bike tour allows you the freedom to get up close to the attractions, while ensuring that you will have time to see all that you want to see (which you certainly couldn't do by foot in a single day). Bonza Bike Tours offers really fun guided bicycle tours, including the "Sydney Classic" which covers many of Sydney's most popular sites. It is a great way to see all that city has to offer. The ride is easy and is especially perfect for someone that is in Sydney for a just short period of time. The Sydney Classic tour rides two times a day and costs $60 for adults and $45 for children/students/backpackers. ([email protected], +61 02 9331 1127, [[36]])
  • Kayak Sydney Harbour. Because of wind and waves kayaking is easier in Sydney Harbour than in the oceanside suburbs. Kayaks can be rented from Sydney Harbour Kayaks at the Spit Bridge ([email protected], +61 2 99604389, [[37]])
  • Sail aboard a yacht. There are a number of yacht charter rentals in Sydney for your choosing.
  • Scenic & Aerobatic Flights A fantastic way to see Sydney Harbour is from the air. Red Baron Adventures do scenic flights over Sydney Harbour and the Northern Beaches most days of the year (weather permitting) in an open cockpit Pitts Special bi-plane. They also have heart stopping Aerobatic Flights available for the more adventurous (note: these are not done over Sydney Harbour). Flights range from $395 to $595 and go for between 45min and 80minutes. ([email protected], +61 2 9791 0643, [[38]])


There are many picturesque and interesting walks throughout Sydney. The following are just a few of the better-known routes.

  • Coogee beach to Bondi Following the eastern coastline past several of Sydney's beautiful beaches. Stop off for a swim if you get too hot.
  • Manly to the Spit Along the foreshore of Sydney Harbour -
  • Circular Quay and surrounds Start underneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge, then walk past the The Rocks, Circular Quay, the Sydney Opera House, the Royal Botanical Gardens and Mrs Macquarie's Chair. For an extended tour of the city center, covering these and other major sights, see Walking tour of Sydney.


Sydney has indoor ice skating centers open to casual visitors. Be aware that if you have not tried it before, chances are that you will feel very unstable on ice.

  • Macquarie Ice Rink Macquarie Ice Rink is located in the vast expanse of Macquarie Shopping Centre in North Ryde. Activities include training sessions, birthday parties and casual visits. Skates are available for hire (usually a bit worn and not necessarily sharp), or bring your own. Phone to enquire about public session times as the ice is shared between many other users (like hockey teams) and may not be available for the whole day.
  • Sydney Ice Arena Conveniently located just 5 minutes from the M2 Motorway and next door to Norwest Markettown Shopping Centre. Sydney Ice Arena is the fun place to go ice skating with unrivaled facilities. It is located at 11 Solent Circuit, Baulkham Hills.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

The Sydney Harbour Bridge has an excellent view of the city, especially at dawn and dusk, although the drivers and train passengers relegated to the middle of the Bridge don't see it. There are several things to do on the Bridge:

  • Cross it on one of the protected lanes on either side of the bridge accessible from Milsons Point in North Sydney or the Rocks in the city. The eastern side is reserved for pedestrians and the western side for cyclists. There is no toll for crossing by foot or cycle.
  • Climb to the Pylon Lookout on the south east pylon. ph 02 9240 1100. fax 02 9241 2151. email [email protected] See the bridge climb view for less time and money, with a little less excitement. The pylon is open 10am to 5pm every day except Christmas Day. Admission is $8.50 adults, $3 children under 13, and free for children under 7.
  • Bridge Climb, 5 Cumberland Street, The Rocks. ph 02 8274 7777. fax 02 9240 1122. email [email protected] Climb to the very top of the Bridge. Note that this climb is more demanding than climbing a set of stairs (although it is not so demanding as the name implies): you will be fitted with special climbing suits and secured and you must be 10 or over to climb. The climb takes three and a half hours and a climb leaves every ten minutes. You can climb during the day, at twilight and at night. Book your climb as early as possible as the climb is very popular. Loose items including cameras are prohibited on the climb; Bridge Climb staff will take a photo of you, but you may not take photographs yourself. Standard rates are $160 adults and $100 children (Monday to Thursday, day and night climbs), $185 adults and $125 children (Friday to Saturday, day and night climbs), and $225 adults and $175 children (all week, twilight climbs). Peak rates are in place between the 25th December and 9th January and are $195 adults and $125 children (day and night climbs) and $250 adults and $175 children (twilight).


Sydney is home to a number of major and minor festivals and calendar events each year:

  • The Sydney Festival [39] is an arts festival held in January each year. It aims to be international in reach, inviting acclaimed international artists to exhibit their work or perform in Sydney. A number of free outdoor events are held alongside the festival including the hugely popular Jazz in the Domain and Symphony in the Domain concerts held in the Domain in the city.
  • The Royal Easter Show [40] is the major agricultural show in New South Wales, and is held around Easter each year at Sydney Olympic Park in the Outer West. Farmers from all over the state come to show their prize produce. But it isn't just an agricultural show: a huge number of amusement ride operators set up for the Show as well, together with vendors of the worst kind of child baiting junk food: fairy floss and deep fried hot dogs (known as "dagwood dogs" or "pluto pups").
  • New Year's Eve has become a major event in Sydney over the last few years, with the fireworks display ranking among the world's best. Displays of pyrotechnics center around Sydney Harbour, near the Harbour bridge ( including fireworks shot from the bridge itself ). There are two shows, a "family show" at 9pm, and the major fireworks display at midnight. Many of the hotels and bars near the Harbour hold special parties as well.
  • The Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras [41] is a festival organized by and for the queer community. It includes sports, cultural and arts events that run throughout February, culminating in the Mardi Gras parade in Darlinghurst on the first Saturday of March each year. The festival began as a street protest, and has grown into a huge celebration.
  • Chinese New Year is widely celebrated by Sydney's Chinese community, with the center of festivities being at Chinatown. Look out for Lion dancing, Dragonboat races at Darling Harbour, and of course plenty of good food.
  • The Bacardi Latin Festival in Darling Harbour is held in early January as part of the Sydney Festival, and contains a week of Latin dancing and music.
  • The Biennale of Sydney [42] is a contemporary arts and multimedia festival held in winter in even numbered years.
  • The Sydney Fringe Festival [43] runs from mid-January to mid-February each year, and features fringe art in the form of film, TV, performance and sport.
  • The Sydney Film Festival [44] is held in June each year and shows over 200 movies in 16 days, including an enormous number of Australian movies, most of which will premiere at the festival.
  • The Big Day Out [45], an Australia-wide rock/alternative music festival with a side of dance, plays to up to 60 000 Sydneysiders at a time for one or two days in late January (normally on the January 26th public holiday). Past acts have included Nirvana, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Chemical Brothers and Marilyn Manson from overseas, and Powderfinger, Regurgitator and Gerling from Australia. It normally sells out about a fortnight after tickets are released.
  • The Homebake festival [46] is a rock/alternative/dance festival featuring only Australian acts. It is held in the Domain in the city each year in December.
  • Carols in the Domain [47] are held annually in the Domain in the city on the last Saturday before Christmas. 100 000 people with candles sing along as night falls and the show is also telecast live.


See the Sydney District Pages for things to buy in the City, and other Sydney districts.


While cities such as London, Milan, Tokyo, Paris, and New York City are traditionally regarded as the fashion centres of the world, these days Australia's unique style and creativity means Sydney is also mentioned as 'must-visit' centers on the international fashion circuit. When it came to fashion, Australia used to be seen as isolated and out-of-touch. That notion is now out-of-touch itself, 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. Sydney has now been listed in the many "must visit" fashion lists.


Anything and everything you could possibly want to buy is probably available in Sydney, it may be scattered all over the city, but it will be there. Areas range from the more up-market to bargain and moderately priced items.

  • Pitt Street Mall is the pedestrianized section of Pitt Street in the CBD of Sydney, Australia. It is one block long between Market Street and King Street and is one of Australia's busiest and most cosmopolitan shopping precincts. Despite the districts small size, it is home to many flagship chain stores.
  • Queen Victoria Building is a renowned 20th century building, home to over 400 stores. The building retains a historic architectual style. Located on George St adjacent to Town Hall.
  • Oxford Street close to the CBD in particular, the street is lined with numerous shops, bars and nightclubs.
  • Castlereagh Street is lined by many of Sydney's most expensive boutiques and jewellery stores.
  • Westfield Shopping Centre, Chatswood. A major suburban shopping complex easily reached by train or bus to Chatswood station. Also in Chatswood, and arguably more up-market is Chatswood Chase, where you can find stores including Hugo Boss, David Jones, Oroton, Ralph Lauren, Scanlan + Theodore, among others. Chatswood Chase is a short walk from Westfield.
  • Westfield Shopping Centre Bondi Junction is held in similarly high regard as a Sydney fashion center, and is easily accessible from Bondi Junction railway station which is ten minutes ride by train from Town Hall.
  • Birkenhead Point - A multi-story factory outlet. Short bus ride from the Sydney CBD. Also accessible from the city center via Ferry from Circular Quay, though the usual trip time is far greater than the equivalent bus trip.


You never have to go far to find food in Sydney. As a rough guide, cafés serving breakfast menus 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. Orders for dinner start from 5:30pm, and while there are a small number of exceptions (usually concentrated in areas with active nightlife), last orders for dinner are typically taken around 9pm.

Thanks to Sydney's multicultural mix, the range of food available is huge and isn't necessarily expensive. Almost every restaurant will have some staff members who speak English, but the ones that don't will usually have pictures of the dishes on their menu. If in doubt, just point.

Take away food in Sydney can be as cheap as buying the ingredients and making it yourself. There will often be a picnic table, park or beach nearby to eat whatever you can select.

Check out the district entries above for some recommendations in the area you are in.

  • Yum cha in Chinatown is very good, arguably even better now than Hong Kong since many of their best chefs moved to Sydney in the 1990s. Yum Cha is an entire meal comprising many small dishes. Dim Sum (Mandarin: Dian Xin) means small snacks e.g. spring rolls.
  • Visit the Sydney Fish Markets in Darling Harbour for fresh seafood of almost any description.
  • Eat Chinese in the city's Haymarket area in the Sydney Chinatown, as well as in Chatswood on the North Shore, Eastwood to the north west, Ashfield and Strathfield in the Inner West, and Hurstville in Sydney's southern suburbs.
  • Eat Thai in one of the many low priced Thai outlets in Newtown's King Street in the Inner West.
  • Eat Italian in one of the restaurants in Leichhardt's Norton Street, or nearby Ramsay Street, Haberfield in the Inner West. Or in Stanley St in East Sydney - a walk from the CBD.
  • Eat Spanish in Liverpool Street in the city.
  • Eat Portuguese in Petersham in the Inner West.
  • Eat Indian in one of the many restaurants in the Sydney/Outer West with all types of Indian cuisine (North Indian, South Indian, Vegetarian, meat, etc.)
  • Eat Korean in Strathfield and Eastwood.
  • Eat Japanese in Neutral Bay.
  • Eat Nepalese in Glebe Point Road, Glebe, in the Inner West.
  • Eat Turkish in Enmore Rd Enmore / South King St Newtown in the Inner West. Get your Sucuklu and Pastirmali here.
  • Eat Lebanese in Cleveland Street in South Sydney. Baba Ghanouj, Lahem Begin and Baclawa here. Salam Alaikum.
  • Eat Vietnamese in Marrickville in the Inner West or further west in Flemington (opposite Flemington Markets). If you're prepared to travel across Sydney, try Cabramatta. All three places are easily accessible by train or bus, just bring a big appetite.
  • Eat Kosher in Bondi/Bondi Beach. Many great restaurants throughout the area.

Many of the areas mentioned above also sell produce related to the original nationality of the locals.

  • Lastly, if you're simply looking for a good steak, many of Sydney's pubs serve excellent examples. Try pubs in North Sydney, Chatswood.

Sydney is also home to some of the world's best restaurants (though none are Michelin rated). In the City itself, try Tetsuya's in Kent Street (be warned, there are no walk-ins and bookings are taken only one month in advance, often filling up on the first day of bookings), Becasse in Clarence Street or Rockpool at The Rocks.

If you are on a budget, Sydney's Chinatown food courts are the best source of cheap food. See the travel guide for the Chinatown District.

There are also several districts well known for having a large amount and variety of restaurants. In the north, try Crows Nest, Cremorne, Chatswood, Neutral Bay, Mosman and Lane Cove. In the west - Parramatta, Beverly Hills, Hurstville and Cabramatta each have large restaurant districts. In the East/Inner-city - Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, Bondi, Coogee are well-known eating spots.

It is usually possible to find a restaurant of any nationality, specializing in almost any cuisine, in Sydney. Just look around, or ask a local.


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 to the staff. 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. If you're not sure where you're headed and want to get into most generic pubs and clubs you come across, men should wear a collared shirt, neat full-length pants (not jeans) and business-style shoes. Cheaper pubs have looser requirements, and of course different groups follow different fashions. This recipe won't work for entry to a goth club. In almost all cases, women can dress more freely, but a small number of places require closed shoes.

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.

Note that there is a taxi shift change at 3am, and it is notoriously difficult to catch a taxi anywhere between 2:30am and 3:30am.

Some types of nightlife are concentrated in particular areas:

  • Backpackers drink near the hostels, and will find a lot of fellow budget travellers in pubs in the Eastern Suburbs Beaches like Bondi Beach and Kings Cross.
  • In some ways Irish pubs are a global phenomenon, but they've certainly taken Sydney by storm. Irish pubs are concentrated in the Rocks area of the city, and are outrageously popular on the 17th March when the St Patrick's Day parade is held.
  • Business pubs also cater to the city crowd: lawyers, financiers and brokers and are very busy Friday nights when the city workers are let loose for the week.
  • Large nightclubs are concentrated in the Darling Harbour area.
  • Sydney's large gay scene is concentrated on Oxford Street in Darlinghurst although it still has a large range of pubs and clubs for all ranges of sexuality and is a prominent nightspot for a lot of party-goers
  • Sydney's students drink in the Inner West
  • Some nightclubs and Sydney's younger party-goers are found in North Sydney

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. A free magazine called 3D world can be picked up at most clothing stores and music shops which hosts a large range of night spot opportunities.

Stay safe

Sydney has similar crime issues to most large Western cities. Be on the lookout for the usual big city crime problems such as pickpocketing, and exercise caution on the rail system late at night, as you would in other cities. It is generally advisable to travel in the carriage closest to the guard's compartment, which is marked with a blue light on the outside of the train. Drunk people are quite common, especially after dark.

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. Women should take care at bars and keep an alert companion at hand, especially in the central hostel area, as there have been recent reports of attacks with the date rape drug.

Certain Sydney suburbs such as inner-city Redfern, and south-western areas such as Lakemba have a higher than average crime rate, but most tourists are unlikely to venture there.


Sydney is such a large city that we've put individual hotel listings in the district pages-- here are some suggestions for districts to stay in


Sydney has a wide range of backpackers' hostels - popular districts for these include the southern half of the CBD, Glebe and Kings Cross, the Southern Beaches (Bondi, Coogee) and the Northern Beaches (Manly).


You find many mid-range accommodation providers within the CBD, and within a short distance of the city by public transport, including in North Sydney, the Inner West and the North Shore


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 Apartments

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.


  • Robert Hughes, The Fatal Shore - the early chapters in this fantastically evocative treatment by a born and bred Sydneysider is a real eye-opener to Sydney's convict beginnings. Highly recommended.
  • John Birmingham, Leviathan, The Unauthorised Biography of Sydney - a history of Sydney from its beginnings as a penal colony to contemporary times. Non-fiction, it discusses incidents and themes in an anecdotal fashion. Definitely not your usual historical work! ISBN 0091842034, Random House, 1999.

Get out

There are a number of good day trips from Sydney.

  • Drive across the Bell's Line of Road over the Blue Mountains to Lithgow. Buy some apples from the orchard vendors at the side of the road if driving over in autumn. Lithgow is accessable on the Cityrail and Countrylink networks.
  • Travel up into the populated area of the Blue Mountains. There are a number of good day walks in the Katoomba area, or you could tour Jenolan Caves. These are easily accessable on the Cityrail network to Katoomba.
  • Royal National Park, in the south of Sydney and accessible by train has nice 1 to 2 day walks
  • Newnes Glen in Wollemi National Park
  • Kanangra Boyd National Park
  • Take a tour of the Hunter Valley wineries.
  • Wollongong is a lovely small city south of Sydney, accessible by driving down the F6 freeway or taking an hourly Cityrail train.
  • Head up to Gosford or Woy Woy for some quieter, but picturesque beaches. Both of these towns are accessable by the Central Coast and Newcastle Cityrail lines.
  • Head up to the regional city of Newcastle by Cityrail train and take in some of the victorian architecture and fantastic city beaches.

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!