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Hop-on bus and cruise boats are best way to see Sydney


Sydney, with a population of almost 4 million, and covering almost 1120 square kilometres (700 square miles), is a remarkably easy city to move around in. An excellent train, bus and ferry service covers all points of the greater metropolitan area (see public transport maps). Roadways, although congested in peak hour times, are generally well planned and driving is not too harrowing an experience.


But unless you come to Sydney to specifically seek out friends in outlying areas, you will have no real need to travel too far away from the lower city area and the harbour. Most Sydney tourist attractions are situated around the Circular Quay area or at points around the harbour. The exceptions are Bondi and Manly - surf beach suburbs situated south and north of Sydney Heads - which are easily accessed by bus or boat.


So, keep in mind that you don't have to splash out on transport fares or taxis to see the best of Sydney. Keep in mind that most of the appeal of Sydney lies in the attractions around the Circular Quay area. From there you can walk to most of Sydney's maijor attractions and sights. From Circular Quay you can easily walk to the Sydney Opera House, Royal Botanic Gardens, The Rocks, Mrs Macquarie's Seat, Barangaroo Point and Darling Harbour. You can also walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge to Kirribilli, Milsons Point and Lavender Bay.




If you've only got a week or a few days in Sydney, your time would be best spent by starting in the Circular Quay area, visiting The Rocks or spending time out on the harbour. The harbour is Sydney's jewel in the crown and on a warm day, with a clear blue sky, there is no better place on earth.

Best ways to explore the city

Sydney Explorer: Hop-On Hop-Off


The Sydney Explorer Hop-On Hop-Off bus is the best way to see all the highlights of Sydney, at a very affordable cost. A 24-hour adult ticket in September 2016 cost $45. A two-day adult ticket cost $65. The buses represent exceptional value, given that they run every 15 minutes or so, stop at 35 stops, allow you to hop on and off the buses as much as you want, and take you to all Sydney's main attractions including the Sydney Opera House, Circular Quay, The Rocks and Bondi Beach.

Taking a City Circle train or walking is an alternative way to see attractions in and around the CBD but you need to do your research and work out what you want to see and how to use the services. Also, to use the public transport system you will need to buy an Opal card and keep topping it up.


The best way to experience the harbour is to take a harbour cruise. There are lots of cruise boat options, ranging from low-cost sightseeing-only cruises to degustation dinner cruises. The importance of harbour cruises, when compared with government-run ferries, is that the cruise boats take you to all parts of the harbour at a leisurely pace - and they aren't overly crowded. The cruise boats cater for a limited number and you can usually get good vantage points on board to see the delights of the harbour. Tours run for one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half hours or longer, which means you get to see all the harbour and its bays and sandy coves. In contrast, the ferries go quickly from one point to another and are overcrowded in the warmer months. On weekends in summer you will find you will have to fight to get a viewing spot on the outer decks.


If you are hell bent on squeezing on board the ferries, use the Trip Planner service. It also lets you work out a travel plan using CityRail services, or a combination of train, bus and ferry services to get you to your destination. For low cost travel on buses, ferries and trains from Monday to Saturday, buy an Opal MyMulti Day Pass. The passes are capped at $60 a week or $15 a day. If you're happy to rub elbows with the thousands of other public transport users on Sundays, Opal card fees are capped at $2.50 for the day's travel. This sounds like great value but there is a catch - ferries, in particular, are bursting with both locals and tourists on Sundays. Many Sydneysiders who live in the western suburbs board the ferries to make their way to the eastern surf beaches on Sundays, and this means an abundance of prams and strollers on ferries.

Also see Essential information for visitors to Sydney


The MCA site has an excellent panorama view of the Sydney city landscape