Travelling Sydney 101: EVERYTHING You Need to Know

Sydney is Australia’s largest, oldest and most expensive city; and it is easy to see why. Commonly mistaken for Australia’s capital (which it is not), Sydney hugs the east coast and proudly surrounds the world’s largest natural harbour and stretches towards the incredible Blue Mountains to the West.  

Ranking 10th in the world in terms of quality of living, Sydney further boasts the iconic Sydney Opera House, the stunning Sydney Harbour Bridge and Bondi Beach (one of the most famous beaches in the world).

Coastlines to only expect to see on picture-postcards, an abundance of world-class surfing spots and peculiar wide life, Sydney is a city you’ll never want to leave.

This blog post is going to highlight: 

  • Budget plans
  • Advice on accommodation & the best ways to get around the city
  • Top tips and must sees

 >> CURRENCY =  DOLLAR (AUS) – $17.75 AUD = £10 GBP

> DAILY BUDGET = $70-$80 AUD

>> EVENTS & FESTIVALS =

1.   January – Australian Open tennis, Melbourne

2.   February/March – Adelaide Fringe Festival

3.   March – Australian Grand Prix

4.   May – Cairns Blues Festival

5.   November – Melbourne Cup horse race

6. December – New Year’s Eve fireworks display, Sydney Harbour.

HOSTEL ACCOMMODATION:

 >> Hostels in Sydney are very expensive and are not overly comfortable unless you are willing to spend big bucks.  

>> The prices for a 30 plus mixed dorm start as low as $22.50 AUD  per night (Nomad hostel/ Westend hostel in the city only)

>> The majority of hostels start at $26 AUD (Cheapest hostels are in Kings Cross area and where most the backpacker’s hangout)  

>> In the city centre, you have some great hostels with cheap bars/ clubs attached to them (Base hostel/ Wake up) but these hostels start at $37 AUD. 

>> Top luxury hostels, with indoor swimming pools, bars, libraries and cinema rooms, start at $42 AUD for 8 bed – mixed dorm.

GETTING AROUND

>> Sydney’s transport system is made up of trains, buses, and ferries. 

>> Train: Jumping on the train is the quickest, easiest and cheapest way around Sydney and the surrounding suburbs. The trains are awesome and never overcrowded. The only negative… to get to the airport, fares start at $15 AUD one way.

>> Buses: Buses are everywhere in Sydney. Fares vary depending on the number of zones you travel, but a single fare starts as low as  $4 AUD. 

>> Taxis: Taxis are fairly easy to flag down but expensive, try to avoid this form of transport at all costs. Uber is way cheaper and nearly 45% cheaper than your average taxi ride.

>> Ferries: Getting over to the northern beaches and towns (such as Manley) are best done via ferries leaving from Circular Key. Prices range between $5-$10 AUD each way. and $2.50 AUD on Sundays. 

Related Blog posts: 

Our Top Tips: Sydney 

1. Drink in the Irish bars and backpacker hangouts. You will save loads of money here..plus they are the best bars in town 

2. Hostels over Hotels! We promise you’ll love it!  It’s here where you will save most of your money. Hostels start as low as $22.50 AUD but can go up to $3.00 AUD plus. Nomads hostel organise awesome day trips and party nights out…going with them will save you loads of money, even in bars

3. Get an OPAL card. This Metro card is free and offers discounted fares. The awesome thing about the Opal card is that is works with trains, buses, and ferries. What’s more,  there’s a maximum fare charge of $15 AUD per day and on Sundays, a maximum of $2.50 AUD. That means you can go anywhere in the metro system on a Sunday for no more than 2.50 AUD per trip! Great time to see the Blue Mountains. 

4. Getting to and from the beaches in Sydney can be very time-consuming during the high seasons. Our top tip would be to leave the beach before 5:30-6:00pm (Bondi/ Coogee especially). This will save you having to wait for buses and overcrowding on Trains. It sometimes can take up to 2 hours to get back to the city on peak days.

5. Get a mobile plan. Telstra, Vodaphone or Optus are your best choices, and texting/call are really cheap. However, prepare to eat through your data in Australia….3G will most probably only last you 2 weeks. 

Although Vodaphone has the best plans,  the best coverage out in the bush is Telstra.

6. DRINK GOON! Goon is infamous in Australia and it sure does keep us backpackers happy. Guzzle down 4 litres of box wine for $10.00-$13.00 AUD and prepare for one hell of a hangover the next day. Goon is great for pre drinking, as bars are very expensive (around $10.00 AUD per drink).

7. Find an Irish bar/pub. If you’re missing a good old English Pint (not a stubby or a schooner) the Irish pubs are where you need to be. Cheap, friendly…home. 

8.  Cooking your own food will save you “heaps” of money, and the quality is awesome. Aldi is by far the cheapest supermarket in Australia, followed by Coles. In cities, go to the Sunday markets for your fresh veg… this will save you at least $10.00 AUD per shop.

9. Remember Sydney has lock out laws for bars/clubs. You need to get into a bar before 01:00 am or the bouncers will not let you in. Also, try not to look too drunk, they are really strict on who they let in.

WHAT CAN YOU SEE AND DO IN SYDNEY?

1. Royal Botanic Gardens

Dating back to 1810, this 30-hectare oasis is utterly stunning and boasts a fantastic view of the city, the Oprah house, and the harbour. Grab yourself a good book or a 6 pack of beer and soak up the sun with backpackers and locals alike.

2. Opera House and the Habour Bridge

The world famed Sydney Opera house and the Harbour Bridge are the two biggest landmarks in Sydney, and it is easy to see why. The Opera House an architectural delight and absolutely gorgeous by night. Guided tours start at around $40 AUD and give you an insight into how the complex structure was built. Tickets for a show at the Opera House are surprisingly affordable starting at $45, however, prices do vary depending on show popularity. 

The iconic harbour bridge was built in 1932 and today was becoming the biggest symbol of the city. While tours that climb the bridge are expensive ($160 AUD), it is free to walk across it for panoramic views of the harbour and Opera House (train lines also take you over the bridge and boast incredible views)

3. Sydney Beaches

Sydney boasts some of the most famed beaches in the world. From world-class surf breaks to stunning coastal walks, the beach life in Sydney is simply unbeatable. All beaches are easily reachable by public transport (Bondi/Coogee/ Palm Beach accessible by bus/ Manley by ferry). 

4. The Blue Mountains

Stunning limestone cliff edges, narrowing ridges, fast following gorges, and the iconic three sister mountain range, the blue mountains are utterly stunning and a very popular tourist destination. From day trips to the three sisters and waterfalls to overnight hiking and weekend camping, if you’re a nature lover and enjoy the wild, a visit to the national park is a must. The blue mountains can be reached by train from central station and it takes about 90minutes. Best seen on Sunday if you are only wanting a day visit due to trains prices only being $2.50 AUD per trip.

5. Hunters Valley

Hunter Valley is home to some of the best wineries in the region and offers fantastic tours that include free wine tasting, helicopter rides, and an incredible 45-minutes voyage in a hot air balloon. Although this isn’t cheap (around $200 AUD) and the journey there is a bit of a pain, hunter valley is a phenomenal experience and one you must experience for yourself.  

6. Coastal walks

There are several coastal walks dotted around Sydney and the surrounding suburbs, but the most famous by far is the incredible Bondi to Coogee walk.  With stunningly tranquil beaches dotted along the way boasting cafes, surf breaks and quirky bars, the coastal walks in Sydney are something you can do time and time again without getting bored. Click here to read about all the coastal walks available in Sydney… 

7. Zoo 

Zoos and aquariums in Sydney are among the city’s most popular attractions. Spot kangaroos, wallabies, Giraffes and koalas in their natural setting. Guided tours and animal feedings are available throughout the day and entry fee on the door starts at $40 AUD (save money by booking online ahead of time).

 

AUSTRALIAN VISA REQUIREMENTS 

If you are not an Australian citizen or passport holder, you MUST apply for a visa before arrival.

There are SEVERAL visas for visiting Australia:

1) Visitor Visa (Subclass 600) 

2) Electronic Travel Authority (Subclass 601)

3) eVisitor (Subclass 651)

4) Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417) 

5) Work and Holiday Visa (Subclass 462)

6) Medical Treatment visa (Subclass 602)

7) Special Category visa (Subclass 444)- New Zealand Citizens

If you want to know more about the Ausquirments please click this link: https://www.gokotravels.com/australian-visa-requirements

So, that’s my top travel tip guide for you guys. Hopefully that will keep you busy and entertained to really make the most of the holiday time. If you’re thinking of staying in Sydney for the long weekend, I’ll be posting my guide next week!

Thanks for reading!

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