ESSENTIAL INFORMATION

Arriving in Sydney by air

The Kingsford Smith Airport is the main international and domestic airport. It is about 10 kilometres (6 miles) south-west of the Central Business District and Sydney Harbour and is serviced by train, private coach service, shuttle buses and taxis (cabs).



Arriving in Sydney by train

The main railway station for interstate and intrastate arrivals and departures is Central Railway Station, on the western fringe of the CBD. It is connected to the suburban rail network.


Getting around the city

The easiest way to get around the city is either by bus or via the underground rail network, which is known as the "City Circle". The City Circle service operates through a series of subway stations that form a loop from Central Station to Circular Quay. The City Circle rail service allows visitors to disembark at subway stations near Sydney's main attractions, including Circular Quay and Sydney Cove, Opera House, The Rocks and Sydney Tower.
See the Getting Around section for more information


Public transport

Sydney has a large and well run Government public transport system. Web sites offer extensive information on:


Public transport tickets

the Sydney transport authority has moved away from issuing paper tickets (with rare exceptions, such as the Manly ferry) and has introduced a public transport ticketing system called "Opal cards". The Opal card is a free smartcard ticket that you load value onto and keep for travel on all public transport in Sydney, Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Hunter, Illawarra and Southern Highlands. When you tap on at an Opal card reader to start your journey, and tap off at the end of your journey, the system will automatically calculate your fare and deduct it from the value stored on your Opal card. Don't forget, you must tap off when you complete a journey on all transport services except for the Manly Ferry Service.

You can get an Opal card at newsagencies, convenience stores, kiosks and other points in the CBD and surrounding areas (see here for specific retailers and locations).

You can also get Opal cards online.

For full information about Opal cards and the ticketing system, click here.

 

Banking hours

Generally 9.30am-4pm Monday to Thursday, and 9.30am-5pm Friday, but some banks offer extended hours and some are open on Saturday mornings. Travellers cheques are widely accepted, as are major credit cards VISA, Mastercard and (to a lesser extent) AMEX and Diners Card. Most banks will engage in foreign currency exchange.


Climate

For Sydney climate and monthly mean temperature, rainfall and sunshine information.


Currency

Dollars and cents. Notes: $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 bills. Coins: 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, $1 and $2. The Australia dollar is floated on the world currency market and is presently fluctuating at around 70 to 73 cents to the US$. For the current exchange rate, and conversion to other world currencies, use this currency conversion guide.


Health

Sydney, like most parts of Australia, presents no real health risks for foreign visitors. Tap water is good, restaurants and eating places are required by law to maintain a high standard of food preparation, and the city is generally clean. Smog is less of a problem than with cities such as London, Hong Kong and Bangkok, but is still quite high.

Exposure to the sun can be a problem for those who are fair-skinned. Also, those with little experience in swimming in the surf should be cautious when swimming at Sydney's famous surf beaches, Bondi and Manly, and should always swim between the warning flags erected by lifeguards. Medical costs in Australia are not exhorbitant like in the United States and Europe, but travel insurance is still recommended.


Electricity

Australia runs on 240V, 50hz current. Make sure the transformers, chargers, and electronic gear you bring with you can handle 240v. Plugs in Australia are different from those in the UK, USA, Europe, Asia and South-east Asia. Plug adaptors can easily be purchased at electronic stores. If you need to purchase a transformer for your appliance, it might be advisable to buy it before you depart for Australia.

The plugs used here are different from those used in the UK and USA. Plug adaptors are pretty easy to purchase here at electronic stores.

Lockers/storage

A number of Locker and/or Luggage storage facilities are located around Sydney. The plugs used here are different from those used in the UK and USA. Plug adaptors are pretty easy to purchase here at electronic stores.

 

Visitors' information centres

Sydney Visitor Centres make planning your holiday easy. Located at the corner of Argyle and Playfair Streets in The Rocks, it offers one-stop-shop convenience for visitor information, providing comprehensive details on tours, accommodation and entertainment, in and around Sydney at the time of your visit. It is open from 9.30am to 5.30pm daily except Christmas Day and Good Friday.

The New South Wales Travel Centre is situated at 11 York Street, just above Wynyard Station. It is open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 1pm Saturday.

The CitiRail Host Centre is opposite No. 5 jetty at Circular Quay. It is open from 9am to 5pm, seven days a week.

There is an information kiosk in Martin Place, near Castlereagh Street, that is open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

There are information booths at the top of Sydney Tower and at Darling Harbour, both open seven days a week.

The plugs used here are different from those used in the UK and USA. Plug adaptors are pretty easy to purchase here at electronic stores.

 

City post offices

Sydney GPO Post Shop
1 Martin Place
phone 13 13 18
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 8:15am - 5:30pm
Saturday 10:00am - 2:00pm Sunday - closed


Australia Square Post Shop
264a-278 George Street
phone 13 13 18
Opening hours: Monday 9:00am - 5:00pm
Tue - Fri 8:30am - 5:00pm. Sat & Sun - closed


QVB Market Street Post Office
44 Market Street
phone 13 13 18
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 8:30am - 5:00pm
Saturday 9:30am - 1:00pm
Sunday - closed


Sydney Parliament House LPO
6 Macquarie Street
phone 9230 2297
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 9:00am - 5:00pm
Sat & Sun - closed


Royal Exchange Post Shop
38-40 Pitt Street
phone 13 13 18
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 9:00am - 5:00pm
Sat & Sun - closed


Shopping hours

Generally 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday; 9am-9pm, Thursday; 8.30am-4pm, Saturday. Shops in tourist areas may be open on Sundays.


Public holidays in Sydney in 2016

2016
New Years Day Friday, 01 January
Australia Day Tuesday, 26 January
Good Friday Friday, 25 March
Easter Saturday Saturday, 26 March
Easter Sunday

Sunday, 27 March

Easter Monday Monday, 28 March
Anzac Day Monday, 25 April
Queen's Birthday Monday, 13 June
Bank Holiday Monday, 01 August (Not State wide)
Labour Day Monday, 03 October
Christmas Day Sunday, 25 December
Boxing Day Monday, 26 December
Additional Day Tuesday, 27 December

School Term & Holiday Dates for Sydney 2016


Essentials

  • Electricity voltage: 240.
  • Units of measure: metric.
  • Public phones: 50-cent local calls (Sydney metropolitan area).
  • Phone directory assistance: 1223 (Sydney area), 1223 (Australia), 1225 (International).
  • Phone international dial out prefix code: 0011.
  • Coffee: around $4.00 a cup, sometimes less, quite often more in tourist areas.
  • Emergency phone number for police, ambulance and fire is 000 (see all emergency contact phone numbers).
  • Consulates and embassies
  • Whitepages telephone directory online (all states of Australia)

 

Rail Travel throughout NSW and Australia

Australia has an extensive rail network from Sydney connecting cities within New South Wales and throughout Australia.

From Sydney to Melbourne, Brisbane & Dubbo on The XTP; from Sydney to Canberra, Broken Hill & Tamworth, Moree & Armidale; From Sydney to Adelaide and on to Perth on the Indian Pacific; and other major train networks including The Ghan, The Overland, The Inlander, The Sunlander, The Westlander, The Gulflander and numerous more.

For more information, timetables and fares: Rail Australia

 

Petrol (gas) in cents/litre

The price of petrol fluctuates greatly in Australia due to shifts in international oil prices. The price from 2010 onwards has generally been in the $1.20-$1.50 a litre range, but in January 2016 the price had fallen to $1.12 a litre with the prospect of even greater falls.


Tourist Refund Scheme

Overseas tourists can claim a refund of the goods and services tax (GST) and wine equalisation tax (WET) they pay on goods they buy in Australia. The refund only applies to goods that are taken as hand luggage or carried onto an aircraft or ship when visitors leave the country.

For more information on the refund scheme.