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Visitors' Essential Information for Sydney

Arriving in Sydney

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. For direct bus transport from the airport to your hotel or catch the train for a 13 minute trip to Central Station.

Public Transport

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

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 can handle it. Plug adaptors with transformers are essential. If you need to purchase a transformer buy it before you depart for Australia, they are not easy to find here. 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.

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.

Post Offices

Open from 9am until 5pm Monday to Friday.

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 for 2014

2014
Labour DayMonday, 06 October
Christmas DayThursday, 25 December
Boxing DayFriday, 26 December
2015
New Years DayThursday, 01 January
Australia DayMonday, 26 January
Good FridayFriday, 03 April
Easter SaturdaySaturday, 04 April
Easter Sunday

Sunday, 05 April

Easter MondayMonday, 06 April
Anzac DaySaturday, 25 April
Queen's BirthdayMonday, 08 June
Bank HolidayMonday, 03 August (Not State wide)
Labour DayMonday, 05 October
Christmas DayFriday, 25 December
Boxing Day1Saturday, 26 December
1Additional DayMonday, 28 December

School Term & Holiday Dates

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.

Rail Travel Throughout NSW & To & From Other Australian Cities

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

Tourist Refund Scheme

Did you know an overseas tourist can claim a refund of the goods and services tax (GST) and wine equalisation tax (WET) that they pay on goods they buy in Australia. The refund only applies to goods which are taken as hand luggage or worn on to the aircraft or ship when they leave the country.

For more information on the refund scheme.

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