Getting Around Sydney With The Opal Card

Public Transportation In Sydney Australia!

If you are planning a trip Down Under with some time in Sydney, you need to build your plans around this cities great public transportation. Like most large cities, buses are plentiful but Sydney also boasts a metro rail system and an express system called “Light Rail” that connects most major parts of the metropolitan area. In addition the system is integrated with a regional conventional railroad network along with a fantastic harbour ferry system. The metro and light rail boasts frequent service with cars that are modern, clean and comfortable.

Riding on the entire system is based on the Opal Card which is a  “tap on – tap off” system. You can buy a single one-trip card or a card that can be loaded with additional amounts of money. Each time you board, you tap your Opal against the sensor pad and again when you exit. At ferry terminals and metro stations the “tap sensor” is usually associated with a turnstile and on buses and light rail the tap post is usually at the car entrance. Be sure and tap as there are conductors that come through occasionally with readers to check that you did and the fine can be serious.

Luna Park Sydney

From the neighborhoods around Central there are any number of metro stops that will get you to Convention Center, Exhibit stops, Darling Harbour, Bondi Junction, Circular Quay and the Fish Market all in less than a half hour. In addition, the extensive Sydney harbor region is crisscrossed with dozens of ferries which all converge at Circular Quay located between The Rocks and the famous Sydney Opera House.

Even without a destination, taking a ferry is a great way to see the sights around the harbor and the city skyline. Ferries from the Quay take you out to Watson’s Bay (be sure and have fish ‘n chips at Doyle’s on the Beach), Manley Beach (a popular ocean front beach town noted for good surfing) and across to Luna Park, Sydney’s classic amusement park.

The Famous Bondi Beach
Sydney Harbour Bridge

If all this wasn’t good enough, there is also a multi-day fare system based on the Opal Card. You buy the card with your choice of an amount loaded (you can also reload) and than tap on and tap off on all of the above systems as well as the regional rail lines. But here’s the best part. As you use the card there is a maximum daily fare of A$15 (A$7.50 for children) with Sundays capped at only A$2.50. That means you can ride all day for no more that A$15.

On a Sunday you could take a train to the Blue Mountains over an hour and a half from Sydney, spend the day, return to Sydney, take a Light Rail to Darling Harbour for dinner and return to your hotel all for A$2.50. There is also a weekly cap of A$60 with the card as well and, after eight paid journeys with Opal, you can travel for the rest of the week for half-price fare.

The Historic Rocks

In addition downtown Sydney is a very walkable city. The focus of the downtown area (CBD) is the Circular Quay and The Rocks. Facing the water at Circular Quay, the Opera House is to your right with a number of restaurants and shops nearby and the ferries straight ahead. Off to the left is The Rocks, the location of the original English settlement at the harbor with a number of popular shops, restaurants, galleries and two great museums. Some of the museums offer free or reduced entry admissions so be sure to check this out if you are in the area.

A short walk From The Rocks is the approach to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which is worth the climb up to its walkway just for the views. If you are really adventurous and aren’t afraid of heights you can even book a climbing tour up the suspension cables to the very top of Sydney Harbour Bridge. A dozen blocks west and south is the Kings Street Wharf and Darling Harbour area with a great waterside walk lined with restaurants and tourist attractions including a wildlife center, an extension of the Sydney zoo and the Sydney Aquarium.

Three Sisters in the Blue Mountai

A metro rail trip out to the town of Bondi with a bus connection at the station to the famous Bondi Beach takes about forty minutes from the Central station area.

Light Rail will connect to Central Station and will also take you to the extensive Sydney Fish Market.

Before leaving Sydney make sure you take a ferry or two and if staying for a couple of days, spend an evening at Luna Park/

Often getting around a large city as a tourist can become costly but not in Sydney if you get an Opal Card. Opal cards are available at Central, Circular Quay, major stations or over the counter from Opal retailers that include most convenience stores and newsagents. There is no charge for an Opal card, but there is a minimum top up value of A$20. Be sure you click the map below to save or print a copy before you going to Sydney.


The above map is perfect to save on a device or to print a copy to take along.

Great casual fashion for ship n’ shore at The Cruise Life Shop.

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