Getting Around Sydney: A local's guide to exploring the city

Known for its bustling CBD and beautiful natural surroundings, exploring the diversity of Sydney’s top attractions can be overwhelming without good advice of how to best make your way through the city. If you’re after a local insight into the best ways to explore Sydney, look no further than this breakdown of all your transportation options.

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Train

With a large and efficient network, jumping on a Sydney train is a safe, quick and convenient option to make your way through the city. To get started, all you’ll need is a contactless debit/credit card or an Opal Card, giving you access to various transportation options in the city. While a full day fare of travel is $16 from Monday-Friday, take advantage of half price travel on the weekends- only $8 for a full day fare. 

Whilst all suburbs aren’t covered for those that are and for travel in the centre of the city it’s the quickest way to get to where you need to go. 

Buses

With routes covering the entire Greater Sydney area, public buses are a great option for exploring beyond the city centre, particularly as they are the only way to get to the Eastern suburbs beaches such as Bondi & Coogee. Some services run almost 24/7, and Opal card and contactless debit/credit card travel rates apply. 

Another option to bus around Sydney is to book a Hop-on Hop-off bus tour. Taking you to major stops and attractions throughout the CBD, the tour bus will give you a simple overview of the city’s sights and history. However, this is a very pricey option, with tickets starting at around $60. You’ll also find this to be a very tourist-oriented activity- best to avoid if you’re looking to travel like a local!

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Boat

Known for its harbour views and incredible beaches, one of the best ways to explore Sydney is via ferry. With public ferry services accepting Opal cards and contactless payments, cruising over to highlight destinations such as Watson’s bay, Manly, Taronga Zoo and Luna Park is an easy, cost effective and scenic venture. 

Photo by Luke White on Unsplash

Light Rail/Tram

Another easy and convenient way to get through the city and surrounding suburbs is on the light rail. The city features three light rail lines- the L1 Dulwich Rail Line which services the Inner West, the L2 Randwick Line services the CBD to Randwick, while the L3 Kingsford Line is mostly the same as the L2 but branches towards Kingsford after the CBD. 

As the light rail is often dealing with heavy road traffic, travel time can be a lot slower than the trains. That said it’s smooth and comfortable and lets you see where you’re going and covers some areas that aren’t well connected by train. An Opal card or contactless debit/credit card is also needed for the light rail, with the same rates applying.

Car

Due to the unplanned design of Sydney, travelling through the city by car can be a confusing journey. Parking is also limited and expensive, so if you’re unfamiliar with the city, hiring a car to explore the CBD may be more stressful than it’s worth. If you’re looking to embark on a day trip however, hiring a car offers you the freedom to explore Greater Sydney and New South Wales at your own pace.

Ride-share services/Taxis

If you are wanting the convenience of a car when exploring the city, but not the responsibility of driving, there are plenty of ride share services and taxis available. While taxis are abundant, keep in mind the level of traffic- heavy congestion can make for an expensive journey. Ride-share services such as Uber, Ola, and DiDi are generally cheaper than taxis, and an increasingly popular option to get around. 

Walking through The Rocks, Sydney with a local Im Free Tours guide. Photo by Im Free tours

Walking

If you’re looking to explore Sydney like a true local, look no further than your own two feet. Walking through the city is an easy, free, and fun way to get to know your surroundings, while immersing yourself in the unique atmosphere of the busy Sydney centre. Outside of the city, you will also find 200km of connected coastal walks from the North to the South of Sydney, featuring areas such as Bondi to Coogee, and Manly to Spit Bridge. If you’re wanting to explore like a local, book yourself a free walking tour at Sydney Free Walking Tours | I'm Free Tours

Photo by Mitchell Luo on Unsplash

Bike

Sydney has a variety of bike sharing systems that allow you to cycle through the city at low cost, with docked and dockless options available. Alternatively, there are plenty of private bike hire companies available to rent for a full day or more. With an increase in purpose built bike lanes across the centre of Sydney, cycling is slowly becoming easier & more popular.

With all of these options at hand, you’ll be calling yourself a Sydneysider in no time. But if you’re still looking for more tailored information on the best ways to get around on your trip, why not ask a local?

The team at I’m Free Tours are experts at helping you plan your city exploration, and will happily guide you on the best transport options for you, all while touring you around some of the best city sights and secrets! Book now at Sydney Free Walking Tours | I'm Free Tours

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