Skip to content

How to Get Around Sydney Without a Car

If I go on a trip, I usually prefer to travel without the stress (and costs) that comes with driving, or hiring the car. Sometimes it’s more convenient to stroll or catch a brief bus or train ride to get there without the hassle of navigating the roads and traffic Learn about driving rules and locate parking.

Thankfully, Sydney is a very public-transport-friendly city; in fact, most Sydneysiders prefer public transportation over driving!

This article explains the different transportation options in Sydney the advantages and costs, as well as all details that visitors need to know if they are looking for ways to travel around Sydney without having a car.

Walking around Sydney

There are various locations in Sydney especially within the CBD (central downtown/business district) and by walking. I’d suggest walking if you’re within the CBD region. Even though there are trains and buses but it is often easier and faster to walk rather than waiting in the traffic for buses, or paying for tickets to train.

If you’re located in the CBD It’s a shorter walk through the whole region; from the very beginning at the beginning of CBD (we’ll call it Central Train Station) to the edges (Circular Quay, the place where there’s the Opera House is located) approximately 30-40 minutes walk. It’s easy to walk to other attractions like Darling Harbour, the Harbour Bridge, Darling Harbour as well as Darling Harbour, the Queen Victorian Building, and other places.

The journey from the city to the suburbs is more difficult. Although the majority the city of Sydney has flat terrain (so only a few hills) The city sprawls out quite far. For instance, although traveling out of downtown to the CBD to the neighborhood of Bondi is just 20-30 minutes on a bus but it’s nearly a two-hour walk. It’s not impossible but definitely not something to consider in the event that you’ve been to Sydney during the extremely humid and hot summers!

Opal Cards

Opal cards are used to purchase tickets in Sydney You can utilize them to travel on trains busses, ferry rides, as well as light rail. Reloadable cards permit you to purchase a sum of cash for travel that is then taken off your account, based the distance your journey was. Opal cards are intended available in Sydney and its suburbs You are not able to use these Opal cards outside of the states within Australia (most cities use their own systems for ticketing, i.e. Melbourne’s “myki” card).

The card is not charged However, the minimum value for topping it up is $5. The card is capped every day following $16.30 dollars worth of travel (meaning you are able to use the card for unlimited travel once you have spent $16.30) or after you’ve spent $50 in the course of a month (Monday-Sunday). Opal Rewards you with a 2 discount on transfers (catching another transportation option for 60 minutes or less). Public holidays and weekends are priced at $8.15 or for the whole day. This makes it an ideal day to take an affordable ferry ride!

I suggest checking for the Transport NSW fare page, since fares are subject to vary without notice.

Opal Cards offer a variety of cards to adults, but there’s an option for children aged 16 and younger, which comes with discounted (half-price) fare. There are also discounted fare cards for seniors/pensioners as well as students However, they must also be Australian resident to qualify to use these cards (so unfortunately, you are unable to buy any of them while visiting Sydney).

Opal cards are available to purchase on the internet (but you must send them at the Australian address) in Opal stores at Sydney Airport, at train stations, Woolworths, Coles, 7-11 and a variety of other convenience and grocery stores. You can also add value to your cards at any of the above places, and through the internet and the Opal application.

I would recommend downloading the free Opal Travel app on your Android or iOS device. Not only will you be able to monitor the card’s worth as well, but you can verify that you’ve done the tap correctly, check how you travel, increase your account’s value as well as use The Trip Planner for planning your trip by trains, buses ferry, light rail or.

Taking the Train in Sydney

Sydney has a broad train systemthat connects the city with all of its suburbs. Sydney Trains are owned and managed through The State administration (specifically Transport for New South Wales) and can be used through ticket sales at the station or with Opal cards. Opal card.

Many of the major suburbs in Sydney have trains at their stations and trains generally run every 5 to 15 minutes (frequency differs based on the time of peak and the demand of the station) up to 12am every day. At 1am, all train stations close in the evening and until the early morning, but you are able to still travel around in the evening by using NightRide buses, which are in operation between midnight until 4:30 am.

Central Station (located in the CBD between Haymarket and Surry Hills) is the principal train hub in Sydney and lets you transfer onto any one of nine lines within the network. Each line covers a particular part in Sydney (i.e. the T2 line is for the Inner West & Leppington area and permits passengers to take trains starting from to the CBD City Circle, through suburbs to Parramatta as well as Leppington).

Be aware of an additional charge for going via trains towards Sydney Airport; on top of the usual ticket price the airport station access cost that is $14.30 (or $12.80 to children).

In general the train system is efficient in Sydney. It is possible to reach all areas with a train and stations are distributed in the city. You can get there through walking or by a short bus journey. Trains are also among the fastest method of communication mentioned in the article, when compared to ferry, buses, or light rail. With trains that you can move in and out of cities easily, and travel from A to B in relatively short time.

Sydney’s train system is relatively stable, with delays typically only happening during peak hours and stations being shut on weekends (for maintenance at stations, track work- in which buses are used to replace trains). Stations within the CBD can be extremely busy during peak hours on Mondays (7-9:30am and 6:30-7:30pm) and I’d suggest that you not to travel to the city by train at these times, as much as you can.

I would recommend that you use the official Transport for NSW site or the Opal Travel app (or even Google Maps) to plot your train routes, as any of these will provide simple and clear directions for getting there, locate your station, as well as what stop you should get off at.

Sydney’s Bus System Bus System in Sydney

Sydney also has a extensive bus network that allows passengers to move around the city and also to the inner suburbs. The majority of buses that are in Sydney are fitted with Opal card readers, however certain buses outside of the CBD permit passengers to pay in cash (paper) tickets to travel one-way.

There are numerous bus hubs inside Sydney which includes one located just outside Central Station called Railway Square (located at the intersection of George and Lee Street), which includes buses that go towards the city the eastern suburbs, and the inner west.

Regular city buses usually run between 15 and 30 minutes during peak times and then the frequency decreases to each 30 minutes or every hour during non-peak hours or on weekends or public holidays.

Some places are that can only be reached by bus, for instance, Bondi and Coogee Beach are only accessible by bus (there’s no station for trains or train station in Bondi and Coogee).

The buses in Sydney are a bit unpredictable; as with many cities, buses tend to be late, sometimes even early, which means that timetables can be useless. When you do are able to board the bus, you’ll be able to arrive at your destination quickly and, depending on where you are located or where you’re traveling to, it may be easier to take buses instead of taking a train. Each suburb has at least one bus route, with a variety of stops scattered in the streets to make it easy for access.

The drawback to buses in Sydney in addition to the non-reliable schedule and the fact they are prone to being crowded in peak hours and the seats are filled quickly. It is possible to be in a bus with a lot of people when you are traveling during the morning or evening commutes, and there won’t have adequate ventilation on buses, too. You could experience an extremely uncomfortable experience standing on a bus for a number of stops if you happen to be in a busy one.

It is also recommended download and installing the Opal Travel app or using Google maps of Sydney since both provide real-time GPS-based updates of the expected departure time and times. You can also track your bus with these apps and track it when it is approaching the stop. Be sure to mark your bus once it arrives and then ring the bell when you’ve arrived at the stop. Buses require that you tap once you’re on and then tap off when you leave with the Opal card.

Taking the Ferry in Sydney

Ferries to Sydney aren’t the primary means of transport, but you’ll want to get on one to find the most convenient method to reach Manly Beach or Taronga Zoo for instance.

There are eight ferry routes within Sydney and, in addition to the routes mentioned above, there are ferry services from Parramatta (along with the Parramatta River) and Neutral Bay Mosman Bay, Double Bay, Cross Harbour, and Cockatoo Harbour.

The primary hub for ferry services is Circular Quay. Here you can board ferries to any of the mentioned destinations.

I would highly recommend taking the ferry for a trip to Manly beach. It’s an iconic ferry ride that is ideal for both visitors and city dwellers alike. It’s an amazing view of the ocean, and is a 30-minute journey between the town and the beach (which will take nearly an hour with several buses, in other words).

Most ferry lines operate every 30 minutes, but are also shut down by 9 pm. It is recommended to look for the timetable in an app prior to leaving and arriving at the dock at least twenty minutes prior to leaving (particularly on Sundays, due to an $2.70 Opal cap, the ferry terminals are extremely full and packed) So you’ll be able to find a seat! It is also recommended to arrive earlier, as ferry departures are strictly according to their scheduled departure time and you’ll also be denied admission if the ferry is at capacity before you are able to board.

Sydney’s Light Rail

Sydney’s light rail system operates in the city and its surrounding suburbs. It is currently under construction along with another line that will connect the CBD as well as those of the South East suburbs (Randwick and Kingsford) to be completed in 2020. The light rail runs above the ground and is comparable to a tram but is faster than buses.

There’s just one light rail line in operation that stops at 23 stations throughout the CBD all the way the CBD to Dulwich Hill. The light rail runs at various points of interest within the CBD such as Darling Harbour, The Star casino, Pyrmont Bay, the Fish Market, and the Exhibition Centre.

The light rail is operated every 10 to 15 minutes, based upon the hour of day and the last one departs at 11 pm on weekends (12am on Saturday and Friday).

The light rail may be the most efficient way to travel within the city, to places such as Darling Harbour or the Star However, many other locations are likely to be accessible faster or easier with trains or buses. If you’re visiting or staying in one of the suburbs located along the rail line that is light, look up Opal Travel’s Opal Travel app or Google Maps to determine the best option for you. the light rail, or alternative modes of transport.


You can also navigate around Sydney by using Uber as well as taxis. Uber is the most popular ride-sharing company in Sydney There’s also Shebah (a service that has female chauffeurs), Taxify, and Ola. Uber has the highest popularity and is most widely used of all ride-sharing companies and you can usually hire a driver in just a few 30 minutes for most areas within the city. Lyft is not yet operating in Australia.

Uber trips are relatively affordable within Sydney However, public transport is usually cheaper. The choice of using an Uber instead of. public transport is really down to convenience it is a door-to-door service and be able to get there faster that waiting in a line for the bus or walking to the bus stop to the destination.

An Uber journey begins at just $9 (this is the minimum price regardless of the distance you travel) and will cost more $1.45 per kilometer.

In the section on trains I would highly recommend you are traveling to the airport with more than two people more, to make an appointment with an Uber so that you don’t have to worry about having to pay the airport access fee. You also benefit from the ease of being capable of putting your luggage in the trunk of your car and not have to carry it up to train stations. It’s also much faster than taking a walk to the station and waiting in line, or traveling on the train. If you take UberX, an Uber between to the CBD towards the airport, is about $40 for UberX as opposed the cost of $17.70 per person on the train. Add in the ease of Uber and it’s worth the extra $4.60 for two passengers to ride an Uber which is obviously cheaper if traveling with a group of 3 or 4.

It is still possible to take an ordinary taxi in Sydney If you spot one down in the street or spot one at an airport taxi stand. Taxis generally cost more than Uber but they do have the cost of a base rate of $3.60 and the $2.19 cost per km (this is increased to $2.63 in the evening). There’s no minimum cost for taxis in the event that you’re taking in a small distance that’s not enough to warrant a $10 Uber ride (i.e. just a few blocks you don’t have the time or desire to walk) You might be better off calling taxis, instead of hiring an Uber.

Personally, I am a fan of Uber in both the regular component of my weekly journeys and also as a tourist in other cities. On a typical week, I’ll usually take a couple of Uber trips in lieu of my normal commute when the bus is late, or when the schedule isn’t convenient and I’d like to go faster, or if the destination is one that requires a lot of transfers (having to change to more than two trains or buses).

Featured News