Spotlight on Sydney: How to get around Sydney

Spotlight on Sydney: How to get around Sydney

So you’ve landed in Australia’s harbour city: Sydney! Ready to explore? We’ve put together a useful guide with our top tips for getting around the city and beyond; from public transport and car hire options, to interesting scenic walks around the city.

Looking for accommodation in Sydney city? Wake Up! Sydney Central’s prime location means that you’ll have easy access to…everywhere! Our hostel is located in Sydney’s Central district in Sydney’s traveller hub, close to public transport, supermarkets, amazing budget food options, and famous Sydney landmarks. 

Keen to join the Wake Up! fam? Check out our award-winning hostel to kick start your Aussie adventures.

Here’s everything you need to know about travelling around Sydney.

Public Transport in Sydney

Sydney has an impressive network of public transport options including buses, trams, ferries and trains making getting around the city and to the outer suburbs of Sydney a breeze! Share the ride with locals, commuters and travellers around the city, to world-famous Bondi Beach and beyond… 

To use public transport, you can buy an Opal card (available from newsagents, post offices, convenience stores and train and bus stations) or simply tap your bank card ‘on’ and ‘off’ as you go.


One of the easiest ways to get around the city is by hopping on the ‘City Circle’, Sydney’s city train loop from Central Station to Circular Quay, stopping off near some city landmarks, including Hyde Park, The Rocks, The Queen Victoria Building and Darling Harbour.

Central Station, just over the road from Wake Up! Sydney is the hub for all the train lines both around the city, to the airport and further afield. From here you can hop on a train to Newtown, a bohemian borough known for its alternative indie vibes, eclectic bar scene and live music, in just 5mins. 

Another convenient train line takes you from Central Station to Bondi Junction, the gateway to the Eastern Suburbs beaches and famous Bondi Beach. The train takes approx 15mins, then a short bus journey from here will take you directly to the beachfront! 

Day trips from Sydney on the train

Fancy a cheap day trip from Sydney? The Blue Mountains should be high on your Sydney bucket list! The Blue Mountains National Park is a heritage-listed area, full of bush trails, quaint country towns and dramatic scenery. You can catch a train from Central Station to Katoomba, home to the famous ‘Three Sisters ’rock formation. It leaves every hour or so and takes approx 2 hours.

Top tip: The cost for travel on a Sunday is capped at $8.15 meaning you can travel on as many journeys as you like and you won’t pay any more in that day than the capped price. Heading to the Blue Mountains? Although the train will take 2hrs each way, you’ll only pay $8 for the ride! 

We recommend downloading the ‘TripView’ App to plan your trip.

Light Rail

Another easy way to explore the city is via Sydney’s light rail. There are three main lines linking up the city to Circular Quay (you can ogle The Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge from here!), Randwick to the East of the city via Surry Hills and Dulwich Hill to the West of the city.

Keen to look around the historic Queen Victoria Building shopping centre? Fancy wandering through Sydney’s hidden laneways? Heading to Circular Quay, The Rocks and Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens? If you don’t fancy the walk, why not hop on the Light Rail (L2) from Rawson Place (1-min walk from Wake Up! Sydney hostel) to Circular Quay, hopping off along the way to see the sights along George Street.


Though you can, you don’t have to hire your own private boat to cruise around Sydney Harbour 😉

The ferries from Circular Quay cruise to eight main destinations including Manly, Taronga Zoo, Barangaroo Reserve, Luna Park (Sydney’s iconic ‘Coney Island’ style amusement park), Darling Harbour and more.

If you fancy checking out the famous beachside haven of Manly, hop on a ferry! In 20 minutes you’ll have docked up at one of Sydney’s most iconic beach towns, home to Manly Corso, a whole lot of restaurants, bars and cafes and of course Manly Beach itself.

Not only will the ferry to Manly take you from A to B, but it’s also a great opportunity to do some sightseeing along the way. The ferries have an outdoor seating area so you can sit in the sunshine, whilst cruising past The Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge – pretty dreamy hey?!

Check out NSW transport info for ferry timetables and to plan your trip.


In most big cities, Uber has fast overtaken taxis as a relatively cheap and reliable mode of transport. And Sydney is no exception.

Uber is awesome for shorter trips and a quick and easy way to get around Sydney’s city and suburbs. Although generally cheaper than taxis, Uber prices can surge during peak times so be sure to check out the competition to compare prices before you order.

Other ride app options in Sydney include DiDi, Ola and all-woman rideshare company Shebah.

Stretch the legs!

Sydney has so much to offer both in the city and its surrounding suburbs, so why not take your time and soak up this beautiful city by exploring on foot? One of the (many!) beauties of Sydney is how accessible everything is, within walking distance.

From Wake Up! Sydney in Haymarket, you can walk to China Town in 5 minutes, Darling Harbour in less than 10 minutes and up to Circular Quay and the Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens in approx 35mins.

You could spend a day strolling through the leafy city suburbs of Surry Hills, Darlinghurst and Paddington, along Oxford Street (the vibrant centre of Sydney’s LGBTQIA+ community) and to Centenniel Park just 4.5km from the city centre.

Staying at Wake Up! Sydney? Join our guided City walk, City Bays walk and Coogee to Bondi beach walk; the perfect way to explore the area and mingle with travellers from all over the world. Check out our daily activities schedule to plan your stay.

Car & Van Hire

Keen to hit the wide-open road? For day trips and travelling short distances, car-sharing sites such as Car Next Door offer a cheaper alternative to traditional car rental companies, with more flexibility. Just sign up (International driver’s license holders are welcome), select a car near you, add on insurance and pay per hour and per kms travelled. 

If you’re travelling a little further afield and keen to experience the great Aussie #vanlife, there are heaps of campervan rental options around. Take a look at our guide to road tripping, with tips, tricks and advice along with The Ultimate road trip itinerary from Sydney to Byron Bay.

How to get to Wake Up! Sydney from the airport

By Train

Getting a train to the city from the airport? Trains run from the Sydney Domestic and International Airport between 5am and midnight, 7 days a week.

When you land, grab yourself an Opal card from any terminal or use your debit card to ‘tap on’ & ‘tap-off’ at your destination. The train from the International Airport to Central Station currently costs $15.30 one-way.

Top tip: If you top up your Opal card at the airport, a minimum of $35 top-up is required. Most credit/debit cards valid for use in Australia will also work as a contactless payment method to get you started.

The airport line will take you straight through to Central Station in 11 minutes (4th stop on the line). When you arrive at Central Station look for the Grand Concourse exit, which will bring you onto Pitt Street, right in front of Wake Up! Sydney Central – easy peasy!

By Uber & Taxi

Hop in an Uber at the designated pick up zone at the airport and you’ll be dropped off at Wake Up! Central in a breezy 20-25mins. Fares can vary depending on surge pricing at popular times, however, you can expect to pay anywhere between $35 -$70.

The airport taxi rank is just outside the International Arrivals Terminal and will cost between $50 and $60.

Planning a trip-of-a-lifetime in Australia? Kickstart your adventure at Wake Up! Sydney, where lifelong friends are made and the best of Sydney is at your doorstep! Check it out and book in your stay.

Sydney, travel tips

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