Getting around town
Sydney’s public transport system features a comprehensive network of train, bus and ferry services. Light rail lines, airport links, sightseeing buses and taxi services complement the network.
You can get a free smartcard ticket to load funds for use on trains, buses, ferries and light rail. The Opal card can be used on the transport network extending beyond the city to the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Hunter, Illawarra and Southern Highlands regions surrounding Sydney.
The NSW government’s Transport Info site can help you plan your trip, even if it involves changing modes of public transport. Use the site to calculate the best way to get from A to B when travelling to or around the City of Sydney. It also provides fare and timetable information.
Train stations in central Sydney include Central, Museum, St James, Town Hall, Wynyard, Circular Quay, Martin Place and Kings Cross. They are easy to travel between or to hook up with services going to the northern, southern and western suburbs. Trains to the eastern suburbs, including Bondi Junction, en route to the famous Bondi Beach leave from Martin Place Station.
Services run from 4am to around midnight on most train lines. Information kiosks can be found at Central and Circular Quay stations. All stations on the network have 24 hour ticket vending machines.
Sydney’s vast metropolitan train network not only links the wider region with the city, it also travels to nearby major cities and attractions like Newcastle and the Hunter Valley region to the north, Wollongong to the south and the Blue Mountains to the west.
NSW TrainLink also operates rail services to and from regional centres and holiday destinations such as Port Macquarie, the Snowy Mountains, Dubbo, Tamworth and Broken Hill. Central Station is the main terminal for country services. Trains to Canberra, Brisbane and Melbourne also leave from Central.
Sydney Buses travel through the city and beyond almost 24 hours a day. Most of the bus routes within the City of Sydney are prepaid only to reduce delays, so you’ll need to buy a ticket before you get on board. There are ticket outlets all over the city and you can usually find one near bus stops.
The airport line operates from all City Circle stations to the domestic (T2 and T3) and international terminals (T1) every 10 minutes or so. The trip will take between 10 and 20 minutes, depending on where you get on and where you are going. The line runs from around 5am until midnight, 7 days a week. Station access fees are payable if you use either Domestic or International stations.
Transdev operates the light rail network connecting (zone 1) Central Station, Capitol Square, Paddy’s Market, Exhibition Centre, Convention, (zone 2) Pyrmont Bay, The Star, John Street Square, Sydney Fish Market, Wentworth Park, Glebe, Jubilee Park, Rozelle Bay and Lilyfield. Central to Lilyfield travel time is around 25 minutes.
Services operate daily every 15 minutes from Central to Lilyfield between 6am and 11pm Monday to Thursday and between 6am to midnight Friday and Saturday. There is a 24 hour service from Central to The Star operating every 15 minutes from 6am to midnight then every 30 minutes until 6am.
The City of Sydney welcomed the NSW Government’s announcement that work will soon begin on a $1.6 billion light rail line along George Street, connecting Randwick with Circular Quay.
The international ‘hop on, hop off’ bus tour departs from Alfred Street on Circular Quay. Bondi tour departs from Eddy Avenue (near Central Station). Call 02 9567 8400.
Ferry services across Sydney’s world-renowned harbour leave from the terminal at Circular Quay and travel to an array of harbourside destinations including Taronga Zoo and suburbs such as Balmain, Kirribilli, Neutral Bay, Mosman and Rose Bay.
Services also travel to the northern reaches of the harbour at Manly and west along the Parramatta River. Information kiosks are located at Circular Quay and Manly.
Taxis in Sydney can be hailed from the kerb on the street or engaged at one of several designated taxi ranks throughout the city centre. Taxis can also be booked directly with one of numerous private taxi companies operating across the city.
Water taxis are a fast way to shunt around the harbour (Circular Quay to Watsons Bay in as little as 15 minutes). Companies will quote on any pick-up point within the harbour and the river, including private jetties, islands and other boats.