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With iconic landscapes and a glorious harbor, the buzzing and vibrant city of Sydney offers a visual treat unlike most other cities in the world. Offering some of the Southern Hemisphere’s best surf and attractions, Sydney caters to a wide range of travelers and is a year-round destination. It also boasts a round the year line-up of events and festivals. The city’s high season is from December – February. The sunny climate and average temperatures of 70 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit attract snowbirds from all over the globe. While this is the ideal time to enjoy the outdoors, beaches, and everything that Sydney has to offer, be prepared for high room rates and long queues at popular attractions. For a slightly quieter experience, visit Sydney in the shoulder months from September – November or March – May. From June – August, the average temperatures range from 45 – 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Since this is the low season, you’ll find fewer crowds. Hotel rates are at their lowest and you will also be able to enjoy festivals such as Vivid Sydney, Sydney Film Festival, Bondi Feast, and the Australian International Music Festival during this time.
Several airlines offer direct international flights from U.S. cities to Sydney. You can choose from United Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar Airways, and Hawaiian Airlines. Other airlines that offer flights with 1 or more stops include Emirates, All Nippon Airways, China Airlines, Air Canada, Korean Air, Philippine Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Fiji Airways, British Airways, Air China, Air India, Singapore Airlines, Japan Airlines, AirAsia X, Qatar Airways, LATAM Airlines Group, Air Tahiti Nui, Etihad Airways, Asiana Airlines, Xiamen Airlines, Air New Zealand, China Southern Airlines, and Scoot.
SYD is located in the suburb of Mascot, approximately 5 miles south of Sydney’s city center. There are several options to travel from Sydney Airport to the Sydney Central Business District (CBD).
You can reach Sydney’s city center and CBD locations in as little as 13 minutes by the Airport Link train that runs every 10 minutes. The station is located at the northern end of the terminal and accessible from the Arrivals level. The one-way adult fare is $18.50 AUD for a ride to any of the stations. If you plan to use public transportation more than once during your stay, purchase an Opal card and earn attractive discounts on all fares.
There are no direct bus routes that connect Sydney Airport to Sydney CBD. However, you can use the buses for economical transportation. Ride Bus route #400 from the arrival terminal to Kingsford Nine Ways and change to route #394 or #396 to reach the city center. The total journey time will be approximately 60 – 70 minutes and total fare will be $4.61 AUD.
Taxis are easily available outside all terminals. Arriving passengers can follow the signs to the nearest ranks. Sydney CBD is a short, 20 minute ride away and will cost approximately $45.00 -$55.00 AUD. An additional $4.50 AUD charge is applicable for all rides originating from the airport. Rideshare options such as Uber are also available and the vehicles usually arrive at the Express Pick-up zone outside the international terminal.
Several private operators offer shuttles, limousines and coach services for travel from the airport to various locations in the city. Redy2Go offers shared ride shuttle vans from the airport to CBD for up to 10 people, for a fare of $22.00 AUD per person. Limousine providers charge between $50.00 – $100.00 AUD for a ride to Sydney CBD. Prices vary based on the type of vehicle.
Sydney Airport has several car rental companies located at the arrivals level of the international terminal – T1. You can also check out deals on car rentals with momondo.
Most of Sydney’s popular tourist attractions are located in the CBD or around the harbor. If your hotel is in the downtown area, you can easily cover most of the attractions on foot. It is best to avoid driving within the city as traffic is always heavy and Aussies drive on the left side of the road which may not be easy for those who are accustomed to driving on the right. To visit the surfing areas such as Bondi and Manly, you have plenty of other public transportation options.
Sydney Trains runs a convenient train and light rail network for getting around in the city. Its City Circle line connects many of the popular tourist attractions including the Sydney Opera House, The Rocks, and the Royal Botanic Gardens. Fares are based on time and distance travelled. An Adult Opal single train ticket fare starts at $4.20 AUD, while the same fare using an Adult Opal smart travel card will be $3.46 AUD. For light rail, the fare range is the same as that for buses.
Sydney Buses offers an extensive network connecting all parts of Sydney and its outskirts. However, Sydney is a big and bustling city and buses, or any other ground transportation will be prone to frequent traffic jams and delays, particularly during rush hour. Fares are based on distance travelled and start at $2.60 AUD for the Adult Opal single bus ticket fare and $2.15 AUD if you use the Adult Opal card.
To get to areas such as Manly Harbour or Darling Harbour, or to take in the sights of the spectacular Sydney Harbour, hop on to one of the Sydney Ferries from the main ferry terminal at Circular Quay. Approximately 7 ferry lines operate from here and ferries depart every 25 – 40 minutes. Fares are based on the destination. One-way fares start at $7.10 AUD for the Adult Opal single trip ticket fare and $5.88 AUD if you use the Adult Opal card.
Taxis are easily available all over Sydney city and you can hail a taxi directly in the streets. Taxi fares are determined by the number of kilometers traveled and additional surcharges apply during peak hours and on weekends.
Citizens of any nationality other than Australia and New Zealand need a visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) and a valid passport to enter Australia for business or tourism. Please check the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs website.
One of the most vibrant urban destinations in the world, Sydney offers something for everyone. Apart from popular attractions and iconic monuments, the city features lush green parks, museums and galleries, scenic harbors, surf-worthy beaches, and a host of shopping, dining and entertainment options. Here are a few suggestions on what to do when you travel to Sydney.
Purchase an Opal Card
Sydney’s public transportation is fast, efficient, and economical. Instead of trying to drive in the city, rely on the trains, buses and ferries, and pick up an Opal card for significant discounts on travel.
Invest in an iVenture card
Invest in an iVenture card to enjoy significant savings on Sydney’s top attractions. Check out the Sydney Unlimited Attraction Pass that includes 27 top attractions and tours. A 3-day adult pass costs $216.75 AUD. If you plan to visit other cities in Australia, consider the Australia Multi City Flexi Attraction Pass.
Pick up some Aussie slang!
Aussies love their slang and if you wish to mingle with the locals and soak in the true Aussie culture, it may be worthwhile to pick up some of the popular local lingo like ‘mate’ (friend), ‘barbie’ (barbeque), ‘bevvies’ (alcoholic beverages), ‘brekkie’ (breakfast).