Transportation in Sydney

Transportation in Sydney is less well developed than you may expect. Sydney is one of the few cities of this size without a proper underground system. Yet, there are some good ways to get around the city by public transportation. Check out our transportation guide to learn how to get around easily!

While trains don’t play a crucial role for long distance transportation in Australia, Sydney actually got a decent rail network. Besides a few long and medium distance trains, especially the so-called ‘Sydney Trains’ play a crucial role for transpotation in Sydney. Those trains connect Sydney with its suburbs and cities a few dozen kilometers away from the metropolis.

City Loop in Sydney

Four lines of the Sydney Trains take the so-called ‘City Loop’, which connects the Central Station with Town Hall, Wynyard, Circular Quay, St. James and Museum. The City Loop is the backbone of public transportation in Sydney and allows easy transportation between the most important spots in the city.

Sydney Train

Trains in Sydney rarely operate underground

Another important line for transportation in the city center of Sydney is the Eastern Suburbs and Illawarra Line, which crosses the city starting from Bondi Junction via Edgecliff, Kings Cross, Martin Place and Town Hall to the Central Station. If you are arriving or departing from Sydney by plane, the green Eastern Suburbs and Airport and East Hills Line is important for you as it allows easy transportation between the City Loop and the domestic and international airport.

All City Loop and City Center Lines in Sydney:
  • Eastern Suburbs and Illawarra Line: Bondi Junction – City Center – Central – Waterfall
  • Bankstown Line: City Circle – Lidcombe
  • Inner West Line: City Circle – Liverpool
  • Airport and East Hills Line: City Circle – Macarthur
  • South Line: City Circle – Campbelltown

Buses in Sydney

All parts of Sydney, which are not part of the City Loop and don’t have access to the Sydney Trains, are well connected with the rest of the city by bus. The bus network is one of the most extensive ones in the world and carries more than 200 million passengers each year. There is a differentiation between different types of routes. There are 13 so-called Rapid Routes, which stop less frequently and thus allow easy transportation between the suburbs and the city center.

Sydney Bus

Buses are important to get around in many parts of Sydney

In addition, there are suburban and local routes. For rail replacement services during the night, buses are used under the name NightRide. As Sydney got an integrated transportation System since August 2016, all means of transportation can be paid with the Opal Card. This one is available at nearly all stations and at several retailers and might be loaded with any amount. You may also buy single tickets at bigger stations or at the bus driver (only between 7 pm and 7 am).

Taxis in Sydney

For more private transportation, you might either use taxis or Uber in Sydney. Taxis are available throughout the city and are reasonably comfortable and safe. Thus, you should be aware that the charges for taxis in Sydney are quite elevated.

Sydney Taxi

Taxis in Sydney are quite expensive

The charges are the same for all taxis. There’s a hiring charge of 3.60 AUD and a charge of 2.19 AUD for each kilometer. Be aware that there are several further charges for nighttime services, waiting time and services outside of urban areas.

Other means of transportation in Sydney

Sydney is one of only few cities in the world with an extensive ferry network. Due to the location of the city, there are several different ferry services. Some of these might be used with an Opal Card as they are operated by the City Council. However, there are also several speed ferries and private operators with different fare systems.

Sydney Hop on Hop off

Sightseeing buses in Sydney are operating very frequently

Most of the ferries are departing at Circular Quay, but there are several other ferry stops throughout the city and the outskirts, too. Depending on where you are going, the ferries might actually be the fastest way of transportation. Additionally, Sydney as a touristic city comes with several further special means of transportation including sightseeing buses.


You need a transportation guide for another city? Check out whether we got the right guide for you!


2 Comments on “Transportation in Sydney”

  1. This is a really great read! And it’s really interesting to see just how connected Sydney is. Our transport network is so connected, it might not be as great as some other cities, but it gets you places just fine. The sad and concerning thing about it though, is the high levels of crime and incredible levels of danger there is in some areas for commuters. I know, the stations that I travel to on a daily basis are not the safest around. It’s always important to remember to stay vigilant when travelling, and keep yourself out of dodgy areas as much as possible – ND

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