Tip! Uber Pool works a bit differently in Australia as the driver will not always pick you up and drop you off exactly at your requested location. Rather they will often drop and pick you up at a point close to the address you input.
From the airport…
Taking the train is the most convenient way to get from the airport to the city center. The train terminal is right below the arrival hall (both domestic and international) so it’s incredibly easy and convenient to find. A single ticket to or from the airport costs $19.00 AUD. The City Circle line from the airport will take you directly to Central, Town Hall or Circular Quay, all major stations which are close to the CBD and hotels. Or you can always get off at Central and transfer to any line if you’re heading somewhere outside of the city center.
A taxi will cost you $50-$60 for one way and an Uber will cost around $30-$40, depending on surge pricing. If you’re driving your own rental car, it takes approximately 30 minutes to get from the airport to the city center with no traffic.
Sydney’s train system is clean, efficient and fast. It’s easy to navigate on the metro map and easy to find connecting lines once you get to major transfer stations. Most circle around the main stations in the city center such as Central, Town Hall, Wynyard and Martin Place, while T4 goes to Kings Cross and Bondi Junction.
The train fare varies according to the length of each journey and the time of day. Most rides will cost $2.50-$5 one way. Taking the train to and from the airport costs extra at $19.
If you’re planning on taking the train and/or bus multiple times a day, it’s recommended you buy an Opal card. Buying an Opal card and loading it with credit will save you train fare and make it easier to tap on and off trains and buses. These multiple use metro cards are available for purchase at numerous convenience stores, post offices, supermarkets and newsagents. Find out where you can buy one here.
The bus system in Sydney is fabulous and convenient as well. Wherever the train doesn’t go, the bus will take you there. Buses are the best way to get to all the Eastern Suburb beaches like Bondi, Bronte, Clovelly and Coogee. There are bus stops every few feet wherever you go in the city. It’s easy to find out which buses to take using Google Maps or the Transport NSW website. Most buses will require an Opal card to ride, so be sure to buy and load one in advance before boarding.
With Sydney’s many harbors, you can actually take the ferry to get to popular destinations. You should definitely ride the ferry at least once as you can get fabulous views of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House from the water. Catching a ferry is the best way to get to Manly and you can also access the gorgeous surburbs with harbors such as Watsons Bay, Rose Bay and Kirribilli.
All ferry lines leave from Circular Quay. A single trip for a journey of 9 km or more costs $9.20 one way and $7.51 with an Opal card. A ferry to Manly takes thirty minutes from Circular Quay. Getting to other ports can take up to 15-20 minutes depending on how far you’re going.
Thankfully Uber has touched down in Sydney and has become widespread in the past year. Wait times for Uber average 5-6 minutes around the city center. Prices are similar to what you would find in L.A. or San Francisco for Uber Pool and Uber X. Uber Pool works a bit differently in Australia as the driver will not always pick you up and drop you off exactly at your requested location. Rather they will often drop and pick you up at a point close to the address you input.
As usual, taxis are priced a bit higher than Uber. It’s easy to catch a cab anywhere in the main streets throughout the city center. Most taxis take both credit card and cash.