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Exploring the Price Range for Sydney to Perth Train Travel: What to Expect

Are you planning a trip from Sydney to Perth and wondering about the train travel prices? Look no further. In this article, we will explore the price range for Sydney to Perth train travel and give you an idea of what to expect. From budget-friendly options to more luxurious experiences, there is something for everyone. Let’s dive in.

Economy Class: Affordable Comfort

If you’re traveling on a budget but still want a comfortable journey, economy class is your best bet. The prices for economy class tickets on the Sydney to Perth train route typically range from $200 to $500, depending on factors such as the time of year, demand, and how far in advance you book.

In economy class, you can expect comfortable seating with adequate legroom and access to onboard amenities such as food and beverage services, restrooms, and Wi-Fi. While it may not offer all the luxuries of higher classes, it provides excellent value for money.

Premium Economy: Extra Comfort at a Moderate Price

If you’re looking for a little more comfort without breaking the bank, premium economy class is an excellent option. Prices for premium economy tickets on the Sydney to Perth train route generally fall between $500 and $800. This class offers additional perks compared to economy class while remaining relatively affordable.

In premium economy class, you can enjoy more spacious seating with extra legroom and enhanced amenities like priority boarding and complimentary meals. This upgrade allows you to have a more relaxed and enjoyable journey without splurging on luxury.

Business Class: Luxury at a Premium Price

For those seeking ultimate comfort and luxury during their journey from Sydney to Perth, business class is the way to go. However, be prepared for higher ticket prices ranging from $800 up to $1500 or more depending on various factors.

Business class cabins are designed with your comfort in mind. You can expect larger and more comfortable seating, often convertible into beds for a good night’s sleep. In addition to priority boarding and complimentary meals, business class passengers also have access to exclusive lounges at departure and arrival stations.

First Class: The Epitome of Luxury

If money is no object and you want to experience the pinnacle of luxury on your Sydney to Perth train journey, first-class tickets are available for those seeking an unparalleled travel experience. Prices for first-class tickets can vary significantly depending on the level of luxury provided, ranging from $1500 to $3000 or more.

First-class cabins offer the utmost privacy and exclusivity. Expect spacious seating that can be converted into a luxurious bed, personalized service from dedicated staff members, gourmet meals prepared by renowned chefs, and access to exclusive lounges at stations.

When it comes to the price range for Sydney to Perth train travel, there are options available for every budget and preference. Whether you choose economy class for an affordable journey or splurge on first-class luxury, your trip will undoubtedly be a memorable one. Consider your budget and travel preferences when making your decision, and remember that prices may vary depending on factors such as availability and time of booking. So plan ahead, book early, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable train journey from Sydney to Perth.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.


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Getting around Sydney

Whether you drive or take advantage of the city’s efficient public transport system, you’ll find it easy to get around Sydney.

By Mark Sariban

Even with its diverse suburbs and attractions, Sydney is a straightforward city to get around. The metropolitan area offers a great network of public transport, roadways and cycling and walking paths. Just hop on a bus, train or ferry and start exploring.

Transport in Sydney

Family enjoying Belmont Wharf, Belmont, NSW © Destination NSW

Belmont Wharf, Belmont, New South Wales © Destination NSW

  • Airport Transfers
  • Accessibility

Sydney has an extensive public transport system of buses, trains, metro rail, light rail and ferries. To use the network, you’ll need to either purchase an Opal card or use a contactless credit card, debit card or mobile device.

  • Use an Opal card or your preferred payment method on public transport services in Sydney, the Blue Mountains , Central Coast, Hunter Valley , Illawarra and the Southern Highlands .
  • Purchase an Opal card and load it with funds at participating retailers such as newsagents, convenience stores and supermarkets, and at Sydney Airport. There are also top-up machines at some train stations, light rail stops and ferry wharves.
  • Tap your Opal card on the reader when you board your selected mode of transport, and be sure to tap the reader again when you disembark.

Tip: If you are using a credit card, debit card or mobile device instead of an Opal card, be sure to tap on and off with the same payment method.

Sydney is serviced by Sydney Airport (SYD) in the city’s south. There are several options for reaching the city from the domestic and international terminals. 

  • The T8 Airport and South train line stops at stations on Sydney’s City Circle. Travel time between the city and airport is around 10–15 minutes, with services running approximately every 10 minutes.
  • You’ll find taxi ranks and rideshare pick-up areas at the front of each terminal – simply follow the signage. The journey from the airport to the city takes around 20 minutes.

Tip: If you’re in a group, it will be less expensive to travel to the city by taxi or rideshare.

Sydney has plenty of accessible attractions that can be reached by public transport. Check the Transport NSW’s Accessible travel page for information on using a wheelchair or mobility device on public transport, or select the ‘Accessible services only’ option when using Transport NSW’s Trip Planner tool.

  •  Sydney Airport provides special assistance for people with disabilities and can help with baggage, getting around the airport, and getting on and off the plane.
  • Most Sydney train stations are accessible for people using a wheelchair or mobility device and station staff will assist with boarding ramps.
  • The majority of Sydney buses are accessible. Look for the wheelchair symbol on the front window of the bus: the driver can lower the bus and extend a ramp to the kerb. 
  • The city’s light rail stations have dedicated wheelchair waiting areas. The driver or light rail staff can provide a boarding ramp.
  • The expanding Sydney Metro network is fully accessible.
  • All Sydney ferries are accessible, but some older ferry wharves require you to navigate stairs. Use the Trip Planner tool or review the list of accessible wharves when planning your journey.

Tip: Use the City of Sydney’s online Access and inclusion map to easily locate accessible toilets, public transport facilities and car parks in the city.

Getting around Sydney on public transport

Friends on a Sydney train © Destination NSW

Sydney Trains, Sydney, New South Wales © Destination NSW

  • Sydney Metro

Sydney’s train network is an efficient way of travelling around the city. Take the City Circle to connect to the harbour ferries at Circular Quay, the retail precinct around Town Hall Station, and Central Station. Use the Trip Planner tool to map your route.

  • Take inter-city lines west to the Blue Mountains, south to Kiama and north to Newcastle from Central Station. 
  • NightRide bus services replace trains between midnight and 4.30am.

Sydney’s light rail network has three main lines. 

  • The L1 line runs from Central Station through harbourside Pyrmont to the inner-west suburb of Dulwich Hill. 
  • The L2 and L3 lines depart from Circular Quay and travel to Central Station on their way to the city’s eastern suburbs.

Sydney has a comprehensive bus network . Many buses travel through the city from Wynyard and Circular Quay, and beyond to Sydney’s suburbs, beaches and regional areas. Selected bus routes run 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Regional bus services operated by Firefly Express , Greyhound and Murrays depart from Eddy Avenue in front of Central Station.

With its sparkling harbour, Sydney was made for ferry travel. Ferry services operate around Sydney Harbour from Circular Quay, cruising to destinations such as the beachside hotspot of Manly, Taronga Zoo Sydney , Luna Park , Barangaroo, Darling Harbour and more. Check out the map guide to see all the routes on the Sydney ferries network.

The latest addition to the Sydney public transport network, driverless Metro trains operate on the Metro North West Line from the northern suburb of Chatswood to Macquarie University and Tallawong in the north-west of Sydney.

Getting around Sydney by car

Friends being chauffeured over the Sydney Harbour Bridge with Sydney Mustang Wedding Cars, Sydney, NSW © Destination NSW

Scenic Drive, Sydney, New South Wales © Destination NSW

Driving in Sydney is straightforward and safe, but you may find it’s easier to use a combination of taxis, rideshares and public transport to get around town. You can also book tours to many of the stunning destinations outside of Sydney and leave the driving to someone else.

If you do opt to rent a car at the airport or in the city, you may want to check whether your hotel charges a daily parking fee. There may be free as well as paid street parking options, or you can use secure car parks across the city.

Tip: If you’re hiring an electric vehicle, you’ll find a map of charging stations here .

Sydney is served by numerous taxi companies. 

  • You can hail a taxi on the street (a taxi is available if its rooftop light is on) or at taxi ranks in built-up areas.
  • Secure taxi ranks operate late at night on Fridays and Saturdays in busy locations. 
  • You can also book a taxi by phoning individual companies, or by downloading an app from 13cabs or GoCatch.

Tip: You may be asked to pre-pay your fare at the driver’s discretion.

Most major ridesharing platforms operate in Sydney, including Uber , Ola and DiDi , as well as local operator GoCatch .

Tip: Female travellers can also book a ride with Shebah , a rideshare service with all-women drivers catering to women. (Adult men can use the service if they need to transport a child who requires an approved child safety seat.)

Make the most of your time in Sydney with a guided tour . There are numerous tour operators providing customisable half-day and full-day driving tours of the city and surrounds, including Personalised Sydney Tours and Sydney Private Day Tours .

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Other forms of transport in Sydney

Hop-on Hop-off at the Opera House, Sydney, NSW © Big Bus Tours

Hop-on Hop-off at the Opera House, Sydney, New South Wales © Big Bus Tours

  • Water taxis
  • Cycling & scooting

Enjoy the city’s highlights from an open-top double-decker bus on a hop-on, hop-off Big Bus Tour departing from Circular Quay. Big Bus also offers tours of Bondi, departing from Central Station.

Water taxis are an efficient and fun way of travelling between harbourside attractions and waterfront restaurants. Water taxis can meet you at public and private jetties all around Sydney Harbour. 

  • Major operators include Water Taxis Combined and Fantasea Yellow Water Taxis.

Explore the hidden beaches and secluded coves of Sydney Harbour on a cruise departing from the wharves lining the entertainment precinct of Darling Harbour, Circular Quay and Manly.

See Sydney Harbour from a different perspective on a seaplane flight. Sydney Seaplanes and Sydney By Seaplane both offer sightseeing tours of Sydney Harbour and the surrounding coastline from their bases at Rose Bay, in the city’s eastern suburbs.

Tip: Sydney Seaplanes and Sydney By Seaplane can fly you to selected waterfront fine dining restaurants in the city’s northern reaches for a memorable lunch.

With an extensive network of separated bike paths, cycling around Sydney is easy. Hire a bike and download the City of Sydney’s cycling map to plan a trip along cycleways, shared paths and streets with low levels of traffic.

Tip: Motorised scooters, e-scooters and Segways are not permitted on roads or footpaths in Sydney.

More articles like this

Jacarandas and Sydney Harbour at sunset, Sydney, NSW © Destination NSW

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Getting around Sydney

An efficient network of transport options connects the attractions and suburbs of Sydney and regional NSW, including buses, trains, ferries and light rail.  

Scenic sunrise views over Sydney Harbour from Goat Island, Sydney Harbour

View at sunrise of Goat Island , Sydney Harbour

Sydney public transport 

Transport for NSW provides a variety of ways to get around the city, as well as information for motorists. Use the trip planner at  transportnsw.info  to plan your travel. 

Opal card info  

The Opal card is an easy, convenient way of paying for your travel on public transport in Sydney. It can be used on all public transport, including trains, ferries, buses and light rail. There are daily and weekly caps on the Opal network, meaning you can travel as much as you like within the Opal network and you never pay more than the capped fare. The Sydney Airport station access fee isn’t included in the travel caps.  

Opal cards can be obtained from train stations and the domestic and international airport, as well as many  retailers across the city. For more information, visit  opal.com.au.  

You can also pay with contactless-enabled American Express, Mastercard or Visa credit or debit cards or a linked device, by tapping on and tapping off at Opal readers. Contactless payments are available on all public transport in the Opal network and you will receive the same travel benefits of an Adult Opal card. 

Ferries on Sydney Harbour

Ferries on Sydney Harbour

Sydney buses 

Buses form a key part of Sydney’s public transport system, connecting all areas of the city, including those without rail or water transport. There are also NightRide services replacing most train routes between midnight and 4:30am. 

Key bus routes include: 

333 – Connecting Circular Quay to Bondi 

B1 – Wynyard to Mona Vale 

373 – Connecting Museum to Coogee 

380 - Watsons Bay to Bondi Junction   

Family enjoying a guided tour of Sydney with Big Red Bus Tours, Sydney

Family enjoying a guided tour of Sydney with Big Red Bus Tours, Sydney

Sydney rail  

Sydney's main terminus for local and regional trains and buses is Central Station at Railway Square, close to Chinatown. Trains operate North to the CBD and across the harbour to North Sydney and beyond, as well as east to Bondi Junction and South past and including Sydney Airport. Sydney train maps and train timetables can be found at  Transport NSW .    

Sydney light rail 

The L1 Inner West Light Rail network operates in both directions between Central Station and Dulwich Hill in Sydney’s West. The CBD and South East Light Rail includes the L2 Randwick Line connecting Circular Quay to Randwick and the L3 Kingsford Line between Circular Quay and Junior Kingsford.  Visit Transport NSW for more information and for a Sydney Light Rail map.        

Tramlines running down George Street, Sydney CBD

Tramlines running down George Street, Sydney CBD 

Sydney ferries 

Ferries provide a fast and convenient way to cross the harbour, as well as offering a fantastic vantage point of the city. From Circular Quay you can take the Manly Fast Ferry or F1 to Manly, the F2 to Taronga Zoo and the F4 to Watsons Bay and Rose Bay. 

Captain Cook also operate ferries between various locations including between Watsons Bay and Manly, Circular Quay and Clifton Gardens and from Circular Quay to Shark Island.    

River ferry 

The river ferry travels up the Parramatta River from Circular Quay to Parramatta, with stops along the way including Cockatoo Island, Cabarita and Sydney Olympic Park. The full journey takes about 90 minutes depending on stops. 

Friendship Ferry cruising under Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Harbour

Friendship Ferry cruising under Sydney Harbour Bridge , Sydney Harbour

A bicycle is a great way to get around Sydney. Cyclists use kerbside bike lanes and are permitted on most of Sydney's multi-lane roads.  Find Sydney cycle maps, routes and more information . 

Family enjoying a ride on their hired bicycles from Bonza Bike Tours, Royal Botanic Garden

Bonza Bike Tours , Royal Botanic Garden

Driving in Sydney 

Australians drive on the left hand side of the road. If you’re travelling from overseas, you are able to drive in Australia with your foreign drivers licence for three months, as long as that licence is in English. If your licence is not in English, you will need to attain an International Drivers Permit (IDP) to use in Australia. 

Seat belts are compulsory in Australia, with the driver responsible to ensure all passengers are wearing them. Using hand-held mobile phones is prohibited. The blood alcohol limit is 0.05% throughout Australia and is enforced with random breath tests. Pay attention to speed limits – speed cameras are used across Sydney and NSW. 

Shops and cafes lined up along Oxford Street, Paddington

Shops and cafes lined up along Oxford Street, Paddington

Parking in Sydney 

Parking can be limited and expensive in the CBD and close to popular beaches. Many of Sydney’s streets are restricted to permit holders, with time limits applied to non-permit holders or with metered parking. Fees range from $2.50 to $8 per hour depending on the location and time of day. 

The cheapest way to park in the city centre is to pre-book online.  Secure  and  Wilson  parking offer cheaper advance rates and  parkopedia.com  is also a useful resource when looking for parking. If parking on the street, ensure you park in line with traffic. 

Jacaranda trees in full bloom along McDougall Street, Kirribilli

Jacaranda trees in full bloom along McDougall Street, Kirribilli

Toll roads 

Sydney has a number of toll roads and tunnels, including the Harbour Bridge, Harbour Tunnel, Cross City Tunnel and Eastern Distributor. This is charged via an electronic system. If you have a rental car, it will most likely have an e-tag installed and you will be billed at a later date. If you don’t have an e-tag, you can obtain one from the following websites: 




If you pass through a toll road without a tag, ensure you call the number advertised to pay the toll, otherwise, you may incur a fine. 

The Cahill Expressway leading into Sydney's CBD, Sydney CBD

The Cahill Expressway, Sydney CBD

Car rentals in Sydney 

You’ll find a range of car rental options in Sydney, including car, 4WD, campervan and classic car  hire .     

Electric vehicle charging points 

Electric vehicles charging points can be found across Sydney and NSW. Make sure you check their locations before setting out on your journey. You can find a full list on the  Electric Vehicle Council website . 

Electric car charger at Mountain Ridge Wines, Coolangatta

Electric car charger at Mountain Ridge Wines, Coolangatta 

Taxis & private transport 

Taxis and water taxis are a convenient way to get around Sydney. Rideshare services also operate in Sydney and include Uber, Ola and Didi. 

Legion Cabs : 13 14 51 

Premier Cabs : 13 10 17 

Silver Service Cabs : 13 31 00 

St George Cabs : 13 21 66 

13CABS : 13 22 27 

Wheelchair Accessible Taxis (WATS)  

Fantasea Yellow Water Taxis : 1800 326 822 

Water Taxis Combined : 02 9555 8888 

V.I.P Water Taxis : 0418 847 777   

Majestic Water Taxi : 0439 625 377 

Family enjoying the views aboard a Majestic Water Taxi, Sydney Harbour

Family enjoying the views aboard a Majestic Water Taxi, Sydney Harbour

Travelling beyond Sydney  

Sydney airport .

Sydney Airport  is located about 9 kilometres south of Sydney's city centre in the suburb of Mascot. 

The three passenger terminals at Sydney Airport are: 

T1: International Terminal is used for international flights. 

T2: Domestic Terminal is used by domestic and regional airlines including  Jetstar ,  Rex ,  Virgin Australia  and  FlyPelican . 

T3: Domestic Terminal is used for  Qantas  and QantasLink domestic flights. 

Transport services such as buses, taxis, car hire, rail and shuttle bus services are conveniently located at Sydney Airport. 

Qantas plane taking off from the airport, Sydney Airport

Qantas plane taking off from the airport, Sydney Airport 

Intercity & Country NSW trains 

Trains depart Central Station for many NSW destinations, including the South Coast, Blue Mountains, Southern Highlands, Central Coast, North Coast, Country NSW and Outback NSW. Travelling long distances is easy and affordable on  regional train and coach services .   

Regional bus services 

Private bus companies run daily services along the coast and to regional NSW, as well as to other states from Sydney CBD and Central Station.  

Firefly Express : 1300 730 740 within Australia 

Greyhound : +61 13 14 99 

Murrays : +61 13 22 51 

Priors Scenic Express : 1800 816 234 within Australia 

Sydney cruise terminals 

There are two  cruise ship terminals  in Sydney Harbour. The main  Overseas Passenger Terminal  is on Circular Quay’s western side in the historic Rocks and opposite the Sydney Opera House. The  White Bay Cruise Terminal  is near Anzac Bridge and is best accessed from James Craig Road in Rozelle. 

The Sea Princess cruise liner leaving Sydney Harbour, as viewed from atop the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The Sea Princess cruise, Sydney Harbour

Accessible transport

All ferries, trains and new buses in NSW are wheelchair accessible, providing easy access for prams and other mobility devices. You can ask for assistance boarding or leaving transport. Visit Transport for NSW’s  accessible travel  web page for more information.

People in wheelchairs accessing Barangaroo Reserve, Barangarooo

Opal Card FAQs

How does the opal card work.

Opal cards are essentially smartcard tickets used to pay for travel on public transport in Sydney. To use the Opal card, you must first load value onto it. Then at the start of your journey, you tap on at a designated Opal card reader. When you arrive at your destination, you tap off, in the same way that you tapped on, and the designated Opal card reader will display your fare. The fare is calculated according to the distance you have travelled and it is automatically deducted from the value on your Opal card account (or charged to your contactless payment card). Opal cards are reusable and must be reloaded once your account reaches low figures to continue using public transport in the Opal system network.   

How much is an Opal card?

There is no charge for an Opal card. However, when obtaining an Adult Opal card, the minimum value of $20 must be loaded onto the card. This amount is then used to pay future fares on the Opal network. The minimum value for a Child/Youth Opal card is $10 and this amount can also be used in the same way as an Adult Opal Card, to pay for future fares on the Opal network.

Where can I buy an Opal card?

Opal cards can be purchased over the counter from Opal retailers, this includes convenience stores, grocery stores, newsagents and pharmacies. Look for the Opal symbol at shops in your area to locate an Opal card retailer. 

How do I top up my Opal card?

There are many ways to top up your Opal card. The most convenient way is by logging into your account or through the Opal Travel app, registering your Opal card to your account, adding a debit or credit card and setting up an automatic top up. When your Opal card balance reaches a certain minimum value, it will automatically add a set amount by charging your card. If you prefer to do manual top ups, this can also be done through the Opal Travel app or by logging onto your account. Additionally, you can top up your Opal card over the counter at Opal retailers or the Opal top up machines available at selected stations, stops and wharves. 

Can I use my credit card instead of my Opal card?

Yes, you can use your credit card to tap on and off the Opal network system as an alternative to travelling with an Adult Opal card. American Express, Mastercard and Visa debit cards with the contactless payment symbol are also other accepted forms of contactless payments. Using any of these payment methods, you will be charged the same Adult Opal fare as you would be charged using your Opal card.  

If you have more than one payment method on your mobile device, ensure you use the same card to tap on and off the Opal system to avoid being charged the maximum default fare. 

Can you use your phone as an Opal card?

Opal cards do not come in a digital form, but you can use your iPhone (or other smart device) to tap on and off the Opal system network and pay for the fare from your digital wallets using contactless payments. Select the card you want to charge the fare to in your digital wallet and tap onto the designated Opal card reader. The Opal reader will show a “tap success” message to signify that payment has been accepted. At the end of your journey, hold the same device you tapped on with over the Opal reader until you see the confirmation that payment has been accepted.   

Is there a discount for children using Opal cards?

Yes, there are Child/Youth Opal cards that are available for children aged 4-15 years of age. Child/Youth Opal cards can also be used by full time NSW and ACT students, aged 16 and older, with a current NSW secondary student concession card. Child/Youth Opal cards can be purchased from Opal retailers or can be applied for online. The Child/Youth Opal cards provides children with discounted fares on the Opal system network. Children under the age of three travel for free on the Opal network. Contactless fares are charged at the equivalent of an Adult Opal ticket, even if used by a child or youth.  

What happens if I forget to tap on or tap off with my Opal card?

If you forget to tap on at the beginning of your journey, but tap off at the end of your trip, you will be charged the default fare for an incomplete trip. Similarly, if you tap on, but do not tap off at the end of your journey, you will also be charged the default fare amount.  

The amount of a default fare varies depending on the transportation taken: 

The default bus fare is $4.71.

The default fare on the ferry is $7.51.

The default fare using the light rail is $3.66.

The default fare for trains is $8.69.

Can two people use the same Opal card?

Only one Opal card can be used on one trip at a time. You must not tap on twice with the same Opal card to pay for another person’s trip. Technically, you can share an Opal card as long as you are not riding on the same trip. Two individual cards are needed if you plan to travel at the same time. 

What happens if I lose my Opal card?

If your registered Opal card has been lost, stolen or damaged, you can transfer the balance to another Opal card that is also registered to you. However, if you do not obtain a new Opal card and register it to your account, you will only be able to block the original lost, stolen or damaged Opal card.  

Once you have your new Opal card, you can request the balance from the lost, stolen or damaged Opal card to be transferred to your new card. Call 13 67 25 to request the balance from the original card to be transferred to your new card.

Does Opal offer any discounts?

Yes, there are a number of benefits when you travel in the Opal network with an Opal card or credit or debit card.  

Daily travel caps - travel all day in the Opal network and never pay more than $16.80 a day for Adult, $8.40 a day for Child/Youth and Concession and $2.50 a day for Gold Senior/Pensioner. 

Weekly travel caps - travel all week in the Opal network and never pay more than $50 a week for Adult, $25 a week for Child/Youth and Concession and $17.50 a week for Gold Senior/Pensioner 

Weekend travel cap - travel all day on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays and never pay more than $8.40 a day for Adult, $4.20 a day for Child/Youth or Concession and $2.50 a day for Gold Senior/Pensioner 

Weekly Travel Rewards - if you have paid for eight journeys in one week (Monday to Sunday), your fares will be half price for the rest of the week. 

30% discount with off-peak metro/train/bus/light rail fares - when you travel outside of peak times with your Opal card. 

Opal Transfer Discount - when travelling with more than one mode of transport on the same journey (train, ferry, bus or light rail), a $2 discount (adults) is applied to each transfer, within 60 minutes from the last tap off. 

Travel apps & information 

Live traffic nsw app .

Receive up to the minute news of road incidents and conditions that may affect your journey in Sydney and the NSW regions. 

Download  the Live Traffic NSW App from the App Store 

Download  the Live Traffic NSW App from Google Play 

TripView displays Sydney train, bus, ferry and light rail timetables, showing your next services. By TripView Pty Ltd. 

Download  TripView from the App Store  

Download  TripView from Google Play  

Next Station 

Next Station provides trip planning and timetables, real-time vehicle position and service alerts in multiple languages covering Sydney’s public transport network, NSW TrainLink and NSW regional buses. 

Download Next Station from the App Store  

Download Next Station from Google Play  

Next Station web app  

Sea Cliff Bridge, Wollongong

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Everything you need to know to get around Sydney this year

Tasmin Waby

Nov 5, 2023 • 9 min read

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 21: View on Sydney harbour with ferries in daylight. April 2016

Ferries are the best way to get around Sydney especially in summer © dinozzaver / Shutterstock

Sydney is not the easiest city to get around, but its public transport network is reliable, reasonably priced and way more convenient than driving. But by far, the best way to enjoy getting around Sydney is by taking a ferry or water taxi whenever possible. 

Sydney’s transport network is as complex as its road system, which grew organically, marrying disparate settlements around the harbor. Sydney Harbour Bridge connects the North Shore with the city, taking buses, cars and trains  –  as well as pedestrians and cyclists – across it, and the Harbour Tunnel is an alternative vehicular crossing. 

Over the summer months, you'll find much of it is also air-conditioned, although there's nothing better than standing on the deck of a ferry crossing Sydney Harbour.

Getting into Sydney city from the airport 

You have three options if you’re not hiring a car from the airport : train, shuttle or taxi. 

Trains depart from beneath the terminal, which is well signposted, but the fare is pretty steep for the short journey into the city, considering you’ll then need to travel onwards to your destination. Airport shuttle buses cost around $22 per person and will drop you at your city-based hotel. If you’re in a group, it may be cheaper to grab a taxi. The fare from the airport into the city center and neighboring suburbs is around $50, which is not bad when split between passengers.  

Sydney airport and the city skyline

Get yourself an Opal card on arrival

Sydney's public transport network runs on a ticketing system called Opal . You tap in with your Opal card when you start your trip and then tap out when it's complete. The system calculates and deducts the correct fare. Fares are based on the distance you travel and the mode of transport (ferry, bus, train, light rail). Electronic readers are located at train and metro station gates, inside the doors of buses, on light-rail platforms and at ferry wharves.

Opal cards can be ordered online or bought in person at numerous newsagents and convenience stores across Sydney. They must be loaded with credit (minimum $20/$10 for adult/child; $35 at the airport station, to cover the fee into town). 

Note: you can only get a refund on unused credit to an Australian bank account, so it’s best to keep an eye on your balance and only top up when you need to towards the end of your stay.

Daily (and weekly) fare charges are capped; see the current fare cap online, but in 2023 it's $17.80 on a weekday and $50 for the week. On weekends, the maximum daily fare is half the usual daily fee, which makes weekends the best time to travel further, like Palm Beach or the Blue Mountains .

Friends Laughing Over Something On The Phone

Other ways to pay for public transport

You can use your contactless credit card or smartphone at the electronic readers, but you may incur additional international bank fees for transactions. 

If you’re making a one-off trip, then you can opt to buy a single-trip Opal ticket from bus drivers and at ticket offices at Circular Quay or major train stations. Unfortunately, you need to buy a new ticket if you change to a new mode of transport, so getting a rechargeable Opal card is almost always more convenient. 

The joy of catching a ferry in Sydney

Most Transport NSW ferries operate between 6am and midnight and also use the Opal ticketing system. Most run about twice an hour. You check ferry timetables online.  The standard adult one-way fare for most harbor destinations costs just over $6, but ferries to further destinations like Manly , Sydney Olympic Park and Parramatta are closer to $8. 

There are also private ferry operators running in Sydney, like the Manly Fast Ferry, which makes the trip from Circular Quay to Manly in 18 minutes. Captain Cook Cruises is another private outfit that offers services with several stops around the harbor and all the way to Lane Cove.

Harbour Bridge from Ferry

How about zipping around Sydney in a water taxi?

Water taxis are a fast way to shunt around the harbor (Circular Quay to Watsons Bay in as little as 15 minutes, for example). Companies will quote on any pick-up point within the harbor and the river, including private jetties, islands and other boats. All have a quote generator on their websites; you can add in extra cruise time for a bit of sightseeing. It's often good value for groups.

Look out for companies like H2O Maxi Taxis and Water Taxis Combined . 

Sydney buses are reliable – and air-conditioned

Transport NSW runs an extensive bus network, operating from around 4:30am to midnight, when less frequent NightRide services commence. 

Bus routes starting with an M or E indicate express routes; those with an L have similarly limited stops; all are somewhat quicker than the regular bus lines. 

There are several bus hubs in the city center: Wynyard Park by Wynyard train station; Railway Square by Central Station; the QVB close to Town Hall Station; and Circular Quay by the ferry, train and light-rail stops of the same name.

You tap on when you board, and remember to tap off when you hop off the bus, or you'll be charged the maximum fare. Have your card ready when the bus pulls up and when you’re getting off. 

Buying ticket from vending machine in King Cross train station Sydney

Trains are good, but they don't reach Sydney's beaches

Sydney has a large suburban railway web with relatively frequent services, although there are no lines to the northern or eastern beaches (i.e., Manly or Bondi).

Trains run from around 5am to midnight. You’ll need to find a NightRide bus  in the small hours. These mostly leave from around Town Hall Station and pass through Railway Square at Central Station.

Note that trains are significantly more expensive at peak hours, which are from 7am to 9am and 4pm to 6:30pm, Monday to Friday. If you can travel outside peak hours, you’ll be more comfortable too. 

Sydney's light rail trams are a plus

Light rail tram services are relatively new to Sydney. Okay, that isn’t entirely true. Sydney had an extensive tram network from the 1870s to 1961, when it was disbanded because the trams slowed down cars and caused congestion on the roads. 

Today there are two connecting routes. One runs between Central Station and Dulwich Hill, stopping at Chinatown, Darling Harbour, the Star casino, Sydney Fish Market, Glebe and Leichhardt en route. 

The second runs from Circular Quay through the city centre to Central Station, then shoots east through Surry Hills, heads past the Sydney Cricket Ground and on to Kingsford, with a branch veering to Randwick. Pedestrians should be on the lookout for these light rail trams when crossing tracks, as they're quick and pretty quiet. 

Driving in Sydney has its drawbacks

Sydney’s geography really cuts different parts of the city up. Between the harbor, narrow lanes, and winding hilly roads, no car journey is quick or easy. Traffic can be a real problem. As well as Google Maps, the app Live Traffic NSW gives up-to-date news of incidents and conditions that affect journeys in Sydney.

Parking on the street and in private parking lots is expensive. Most machines take cards as well as coins. The cheapest way to park in the city center is to pre-book online; Wilson Parking has particularly attractive rates. Parkopedia is very helpful for finding the cheapest rates around where you want to park.

There are tolls on most of Sydney’s motorways and major links (including the Harbour Bridge, Harbour Tunnel, Cross City Tunnel, WestConnex and Eastern Distributor). The tolling system is electronic, meaning it’s up to you to organize an electronic tag (e-tag) or visitors’ pass. See the Transport NSW website for the various e-tag options. Most car-hire companies supply e-tags, but they may try to sell you an expensive all-inclusive rate. Read the fine print. 

Cahill express way to the Sydney Harbour bridge across Sydney harbour towards city CBD landmarks in aerial eleveated wide view under blue morning sky tasmin waby @ Getty Images/iStockphoto

Sydney is navigable without a car

The only reason you’d want to hire a car in Sydney is to take it for day trips outside the city . The public transport system gets you pretty much anywhere – even to the Blue Mountains – and catching a ferry across the harbor to Manly beach is one of those must-do Sydney experiences. The northern beaches are less accessible without a car, but it can be done. Similarly, Bondi is a trek to get to via train and bus. But did we mention the traffic? You’re almost always better off on public transport anyway. 

In other road-related news, Sydney announced it is adding dedicated koala crossings along one of its major roads out of the city, Appin Road heading southwest, as part of a long-term goal to double koala numbers in New South Wales by 2050.

Cycling in Sydney is not for novices

Cycling conditions are improving, but Sydney is not the most bike friendly city, and that's not just because of the hills!

Dubbed "the city that hates bikes" in 2010 – partly because of the aggression from car drivers and partly the lack of safe cycling infrastructure – you’re more likely to hire a bicycle for a leisurely cycle around Olympic Park or  Centennial Park than use one to get from A to B at this stage of Sydney’s development. 


Getting around Sydney with a baby

Sydney is reasonably accessible for traveling with a pram or stroller, with most transport, including ferries, offering lifts and ramps to embark. Look out for the wheeler-chair symbol to find the relevant exits and pathways through buildings like the Queen Victoria Building.

You can choose "accessible travel" to plan your journey on the Transport NSW website . Kids three and under travel on Sydney public transit for free. From four to 15 years, you’ll need to get them a separate child Opal card. 

For an extra cost, car-hire companies will supply and fit child safety seats (these are compulsory in Australia for children under seven).

These are the best trips via public transport in Sydney

  • Bus 389 Interesting bus route from Darling Harbour to Bondi Junction.
  • Bus B1 Express bus from Wynyard to the Northern Beaches.
  • City Circle does a loop of city train stations, making it handy for most attractions in the center.
  • T1 is the northbound train line that crosses the Harbour Bridge.
  • F1 is the Manly ferry, a glorious half-hour cruise from Circular Quay.
  • F4 is a picturesque ferry ride that takes you from Circular Quay to Watsons Bay via Rose Bay

Best smartphone apps for using Sydney's transport network

There are several apps available with up-to-date information for Sydney transport. TripView is the app put out by Transport NSW. In addition, you might want to try: 

This article was first published July 2021 and updated November 2023

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Check capacity before you travel.

To help you plan ahead on public transport we have updated the capacity information available. Plan safe and comfortable trips by checking service capacity. Look for the indicators at stations, stops and wharves, in the Opal Travel app , the Trip Planner and Departures .

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Plan ahead and check capacity before boarding the service:

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Estimated capacity information is now available for all metro and train, Opal-enabled bus, ferry and light rail services in the Trip Planner and Opal Travel App to help you plan ahead. Based on previous data, the estimated capacity is used whenever real-time data is unavailable.

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Sign up for Travel Notifications

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The new features allows you to know in advance, plan and see when a service is most likely to have available capacity on board, rather than arriving at the station to find the service is already at full capacity. The notifications will also let you know if your service is running on time or delayed and if it is impacted by a major disruption.


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What we are doing

Transport for NSW would like to thank our customers and staff across NSW for their support and hard work during this time.

We're continuing to do everything we can to make our network as safe as possible to travel on.

Increased cleaning

We have increased the frequency and intensity of cleaning across all public transport, including staff wiping down high-touch surfaces across the network with strong disinfectant every day.

Accessibility and assistance

Help is available for those who need it.

At stations and on buses staff will deploy ramps, help with questions and provide directions.

On the Sydney Light Rail, Drivers will deploy the ramp on L1 Dulwich Hill Line services, while L2 Randwick Line and L3 Kingsford Line are fully accessible. It means you can board and alight services independently. For urgent assistance, help points are available on all platforms and onboard all light rail vehicles.

We have deployed hundreds of extra staff at stations, interchanges, wharves and stops to assist any customer with visual impairments or any other disability.

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Children and customers requiring assistance, such as those with disability, will be given priority access. If you feel uncomfortable and choose to get off, please be patient while waiting for the next service.

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Opal single tickets are no longer sold on bus services across the Opal network. You can use an Opal card, or contactless credit or debit card or device to pay for your travel.

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Other modes of transport

Walking and bike riding.

To help keep yourself and others safe and keep traffic levels lower, we’re encouraging everyone to walk and cycle if they can.

By choosing to walk and cycle to work, school, the shops or for local trips, you are keeping yourself fit and healthy, saving money and staying safe.

Pop-up cycleways

We are working with councils across Sydney and surrounds to open new pop-up cycleways that connect to existing cycling routes and employment hubs.

Speed limits along these cycle routes are reduced to provide a safer environment for pedestrians and cyclists.

Find out more about pop-up transport options and locations .

Plan your walking or cycling trip

You can use the Trip Planner  to plan a bike ride or walking route for all or part of your trip. Select your preference for:

  • walking or cycling
  • how long you want to allow for each option
  • your preferred speed

Pedestrians are reminded

  • obeying signals at crossings
  • crossing at a pedestrian crossing if one is available
  • not walking on the road (unless there’s no footpath or nature strip to walk on)
  • Never assume a driver has seen you or intends to stop
  • Look out before you step out
  • Avoid crossing the road while using headphones or mobile phones
  • Always hold the hand of children when crossing the road
  • Heads up and play it safe around light rail

Automated pedestrian crossings

Automated pedestrian crossings at traffic lights within the Sydney CBD and key health districts across the Greater Sydney area are active 24 hours a day to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

You do not have to push the button at signalised crossings to safely cross the road in the CBD or these health districts.

  • Location of pedestrian crossings within the Sydney CBD (pdf 531KB)
  • See where these new pedestrian crossings are located across NSW

Bicycle riders are reminded

  • Ride on low traffic roads/dedicated bike paths or shared paths if you are a new or less experienced rider
  • wear an approved helmet, securely fitted and fastened
  • use lights at the front and back at night or when the light is poor
  • if you’re riding with children under the age of 16, you can ride on the footpath; however, you must keep left and give way to pedestrians
  • Give yourself plenty of buffer space, look out for car doors opening and leave yourself room to stop
  • Increase your visibility by wearing bright or high-vis clothing
  • Use your own bike if you can and make sure it is well maintained – tyres are pumped, chain is oiled and brakes are working

For more cycling information:

  • Macquarie Park Bike Map – for new/less experienced bicycle riders
  • City of Sydney Bike Map
  • City of Sydney Bike Support and Resources
  • Bicycle NSW

Point to Point - rideshare, taxis, hire car

Face masks are strongly recommended in point to point vehicles (taxis and hire vehicles, including rideshare) and at taxi ranks, which includes any area where persons queue or gather when waiting at a taxi rank.

Some travel advice when using taxis, rideshare and hire cars:

  • Do not travel if unwell
  • Practise good hygiene
  • Cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze
  • Sit in the backseat of the vehicle
  • Use contactless payments where possible
  • Handle your own luggage where possible

Our Point to Point commissioner is working closely with the industry to provide additional advice and support, including new vehicle sanitisation stations in 13 locations across the state.

Drivers are reminded to obey the road rules and take care.

Drivers and motorcycle riders are reminded

  • Continue to follow the Road Rules
  • Watch your speed and always comply with speed limits; lower speeds reduce the severity of crashes
  • Keep a lookout for pedestrians on, or crossing, the road – there are many more around
  • Look out for bicycle and delivery riders – always check your blind spots and remember to observe the minimum passing distance  for bikes too:
  • 1 metre when the speed limit is 60km/h or less
  • 5 metres when the speed limit is more than 60km/h

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ireland

  • Our Ministers

If you’re travelling to Australia, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Security Status

  • Normal precautions
  • High degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Do not travel

Safety and Security

Local laws and customs, natural disasters and climate, additional information, embassy contact, security status.

Normal Precautions

General Travel Advice

Irish citizens require a visa to enter Australia.

A valid passport is required for travel to Australia. It is recommended that incoming passengers have a minimum validity of six months on their passports. Passport cards cannot be used for entry to Australia.

For more information on visas and passports, please see the Additional Information tab.

Visitors to Australia are advised to follow the guidance of national and local authorities and stay fully informed of what's going on by monitoring local news and social media.

Citizens can also follow the Embassy on social media (Twitter@ irlembaustralia , Facebook  and  Instagram ) to ensure access to relevant updates and alerts.

Emergency Assistance

The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

You can contact all emergency services in Australia by dialling 000.

Within Australia, the protection of life and property is a responsibility of State and Territory governments. This responsibility includes the provision of Emergency Services Organisations (ESOs) i.e. police, fire and ambulance service. A number of ESOs provide their own information on what to do in an emergency.

Please use the links below to view the ESO websites in your particular state or territory. This information may help to save your life or property.

Western Australia

Northern Territory

New South Wales

Our tips for Safe Travels:

  • Get comprehensive travel insurance that covers all your planned activities.
  • Register  your details with us so that we can contact you quickly if there’s an unforeseen crisis like a natural disaster or a family emergency.
  • Follow us on twitter  @dfatravelwise  for the latest travel updates.
  • Read our  ‘Know Before You Go’  guide.

Safety and security

The Australian Government National Terrorism Threat Level is at ‘possible’. While Australia remains a potential terrorist target, there are fewer violent extremists with the intention to conduct an attack onshore.

Crime remains relatively low in Australia but you should take sensible precautions.

  • Do not carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.
  • You do not legally have to carry your passport with you at all times in Australia so leave it in a safe place unless absolutely necessary to avoid loss, theft or damage. Leave a copy of the biography page (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
  • Always get local advice about safe places to socialise. If you are staying in cheap accommodation, be aware that the good value may be due to an undesirable location. Be careful in certain ‘party’ areas in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth and take sensible precautions.
  • If you are arrested or detained, you are entitled to request that the local police notify the Embassy or Consulate General of your detention. 

Lost or stolen passport

If your passport is lost or stolen while in Australia, the Embassy in Canberra, Consulate General in Sydney or the Honorary Consulate in Perth can, in emergency situations, issue an emergency travel document or temporary passport. You will need to submit a completed application, duly witnessed and with all supporting documents and the appropriate fee. Proof of identity and citizenship will be required.

Reporting crime

If you're a victim of a crime while in Australia, you should report it to the local police immediately. If you need consular assistance, contact us at the Embassy or Consulate. Each State and Territory have their own Victim Support helplines.

Australia’s primary emergency call service number is Triple Zero (000), which can be dialled from any fixed or mobile phone, pay phones and certain Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services.

Reporting sexual assault

In the event of sexual assault, the Australian Police have specialised sexual assault teams, and many hospitals have dedicated sexual assault units. There’s also a national 24-hour telephone counselling service for cases of sexual assault and domestic violence – 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).

Personal responsibility

As well as protecting yourself against crime while in Australia, you have a responsibility to ensure that your own behaviour is orderly and respectful and does not bring you to the attention of the police.

Despite Australia’s reputation as a laidback and relaxed country, the police and the courts take a very strict approach to law and order. The laws on ‘street offences’ such as public nuisance, drunk and disorderly behaviour, and on common assault are thoroughly enforced. You should follow the instructions of Australian police officers immediately and without argument.

A significant number of Irish nationals (particularly in the 20 to 30 age bracket) come before the Australian courts each year. They should expect no flexibility or leniency to a foreign national not familiar with Australian law.

Road traffic accidents are the most common cause of death and serious injury to Irish visitors in Australia so if you’re planning to drive, remember the basics:

  • Traffic drives on the left.
  • Bring your full Irish driving license and carry it with you – this is compulsory for all drivers in Australia.
  • Make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance on your vehicle, especially if it’s borrowed. Some ‘open’ Australian insurance policies carry age restrictions and may cover only certain drivers.
  • Be aware of Australia’s traffic laws, such as speed limits, which are generally lower than in Ireland; and street parking, which is strictly regulated. These laws are strictly enforced and hefty on-the-spot fines are applied.
  • Check road conditions before beginning your journey; stay with your vehicle if it breaks down; and avoid travelling in extreme heat conditions. Sudden storms and strong winds can make driving difficult.
  • Random breath testing of a driver’s blood alcohol and drug level is a common occurrence.

The Tourism Australia website has extensive information on travelling around the continent. The Australian Government’s Health and safety information for travellers - Tourism Australia also contains comprehensive travel safety advice on Australia. 

Safe driving

Driver fatigue is a major cause of death on Australian roads. Always carry water and take rest breaks every two hours while driving long distances.

It’s also important to check the roadworthiness of your vehicle before travelling long distances in remote areas. Petrol stations could be few and far between and you may need to carry an additional petrol supply.

Watch out for signs warning of local wildlife, which may be present on the roads and can cause serious injury in a collision. Be particularly careful when driving at dawn and dusk when animals such as kangaroos are on the move.

In rural areas, roads may be unsealed and impassable after heavy rain. It’s a mistake to rely solely on GPS to plan itineraries.

Hiring a vehicle

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged). If you’re planning to drive on unsealed roads, it’s essential that your hire car insurance policy has adequate cover.

Safe swimming

The Australian surf can be dangerous, with strong rip currents challenging even the most experienced swimmer. You should only swim on beaches that are patrolled by lifeguards, and always swim between the red and yellow flags. The position of the flags highlights the safest part of the beach to swim. These are generally moved daily to take account of rip currents or other hazards.

As well as rip currents, some areas may present risk of stings or bites from local marine life, up to and including shark attacks. Always check the signs and pay attention to local information.

Never swim after drinking alcohol or taking drugs, and avoid swimming alone.

Safety in the Outback

Australia is a vast country with great distances between many major cities and centres of population. Some parts of the Outback are extremely remote and can present unexpected hazards. If you intend to travel to these areas, plan your trip with care and listen to local advice.

Prepare thoroughly if driving in remote outback areas, which can present unexpected hazards. Ensure you have a roadworthy vehicle fitted with GPS and two spare tyres. Take good maps and extra food, water and fuel. Plan your route carefully and seek local advice before you set out. 

Check road conditions before beginning your journey; stay with your vehicle if it breaks down; and avoid travelling in extreme heat conditions. Sudden storms and strong winds can make driving difficult. Take particular care when driving on unsealed roads, 4WD tracks and desert/beach roads. 

In very remote areas, you should notify relevant local tourist authorities or police of your departures and return times. Many national parks have beacon locators that the authorities ask hikers to take with them so that they can be more easily found in case of emergency.

Mobile phone coverage, though generally good in towns and cities, is often not available in remote areas. It’s a mistake to rely upon mobile phones or on real time internet maps if travelling in the Outback or even in some relatively well-populated rural areas.

Marine stingers are present in the tropical oceans around northern Australia from November to May. During this time,  - you can only swim within stinger-resistant enclosures, which are set up on the most popular beaches. You will also need to wear protective clothing when swimming, snorkelling or diving on the outer Great Barrier Reef. Always observe warning signs. When bushwalking or hiking, you can avoid snake and spider bites by wearing protective footwear. If bitten, seek immediate medical attention by phoning 000.

Australia is known for its spiders, some of which are dangerous. Common venomous spiders in Australia include funnel-web, mouse, redback and white-tailed spiders. Since the introduction of anti-venoms in 1981, there has been only one death from a spider-bite.

Local laws and customs

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal.

Illegal drugs

Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms.

Law enforcement

The police in Australia are strict in their implementation of the law and you should not expect any flexibility in respect of speed limits, parking restrictions or public order regulations.

What might pass in Ireland for friendly banter may be interpreted in Australia as a refusal to follow the orders of a police officer.

Disrespectful language or physical contact, especially from people under the influence of alcohol, is not tolerated.

Visa Over Stays

The Australian Border Force has stepped up its operations with regard to the deportation of foreign nationals who overstay their Australian visa.

If you believe you have overstayed your visa, it is best to engage with the Australian Border Force as soon as possible to try and work out a solution and hopefully avoid being detained. The Australian Border Force operate a confidential service, the Community Status Resolution Service , which allows people to call to discuss their situation. The number to call is 1300 853 773. Further details can be found on the Department of Home Affairs website .

Each situation is dealt with strictly on a case-by-case basis. However, Australian Border Force advise that if you cooperate with them to resolve your immigration status, you may be granted a Bridging visa E. This lets you stay in Australia for a short time while you finalise your affairs. The Australian Border Force regularly conducts compliance activity to locate people living in the community unlawfully. If you are found in the community without a visa, you could be detained and removed from Australia. You could face a three-year re-entry ban from visiting Australia again.

If you have over stayed your visa and are picked up by the police or Border Force you will likely be detained at an Immigration Detention Centre while your deportation is arranged.

Please see the link here for more information about what you should do, when your Australian visa  is expiring. Please see the link here for more information about what you should do if your Australian visa has expired.

Natural disasters and climate

The Australian climate can be extreme. Drought in one area can be paralleled by severe flooding in another. The north of the country gets a wet and a dry season, and much of the centre of the country is desert or semi-arid. While the climate is generally temperate in the south-east and south-west corners, even here the summer heat can be intense.

The weather between different cities may vary widely at certain times of the year. If you are planning on travelling around Australia, it is important to stay aware of the weather in each place you intend to stay. Up to date weather forecasts for all areas are available at the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology.

There is a wider risk of tropical cyclones which occur mainly in Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia between November and April. -You should monitor the progress of approaching storms and follow the advice of local authorities, including the state emergency services and Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology .

The sunburn index is very high in Australia during both summer and winter months and the country has a high rate of skin cancer. High factor sun protection should be reapplied frequently and we highly recommend wearing a hat. For more information about sun safety, read the Australian Cancer Council’s “SunSmart” tips .

Due to the dry conditions in many parts of Australia, it is important to be alert to the possibility of bush fires. Each state has specific information and services available to help you plan ahead, stay informed, and stay alert to the possibility of bushfires. These services are listed by state here .

If there is a fire in your area, stay tuned to local radio for updates or download the ‘Fires Near Me Australia’ app. Know what to look out for and observe total fire ban warnings where they are in place. Find out what bushfire safety plans are in place in the area where you are camping, caravanning or renting accommodation. Bush fires have devastating effects and there are heavy penalties applied for breach of the rules.

During times of minimal rainfall, usually from October to April, intense bushfires can occur. Follow the advice of local authorities, and avoid affected or susceptible areas.

Consult the website of the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology for information on weather conditions.

Depending on the season, flash flooding can occur in many areas. Floods in recent years have led to loss of life and cut off whole towns and communities so pay attention to local warnings. It’s dangerous to try to cross swollen creeks or other flood waters; their power and depth may be deceptive.

Some unsealed roads (common in rural areas) may not be passable after heavy rain even if you’re travelling in a 4 x 4 vehicle. It’s important not to rely solely on GPS when planning a route. Local advice is usually available and should be sought out and heeded.

Additional information

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

You will need a visa in advance to enter Australia. You have to be pre-cleared and issued with an Electronic Travel Authorisation. Travel agents, the nearest Australian Embassy or the Australian Immigration website can provide further details.

Always respect the terms of your visa. It’s an offence to overstay a visa and doing so will likely incur a sanction, which can include up to a three-year ban on entering the country.

Immigration law is very strictly enforced –do not be under any illusion on this point.

For up to date information on visas to enter Australia, please check on the Department of Home Affairs website.

Travelling to Australia on a working holiday visa

If you are travelling to Australia on a Working Holiday Visa (subclass 417) and planning to extend your visa for Second and/or year under the same visa category, you should read the following link here carefully to ensure that you are complying with the conditions of your Working Holiday Visa. You should be aware of your rights as employees in Australia and how to report any concerns about unfair or unlawful treatment. For more information please visit Workplace discrimination - Fair Work Ombudsman   website.

Always get comprehensive travel insurance. The Reciprocal Health Agreement between Ireland and Australia will cover citizens and residents of Ireland for emergency care only. For more information, please see here .

You do not need a pre-departure COVID-19 test to enter or transit Australia regardless of your COVID-19 vaccination status. Please see the Australian government’s website for advice on COVID-19 and travelling, and be aware that COVID-19 restrictions can change with very little notice.

Mosquito-borne diseases

Visitors to northern Queensland, the Northern Territory and the north of Western Australia may be exposed to mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever and Ross River fever. Take suitable precautions and use insect repellents and sleeping nets.

There have been reports of cases of Murray Valley Encephalitis (MVE), a potentially fatal mosquito-borne disease, in the Northern Territory and north Western Australia, with occasional cases in Queensland, New South Wales, central Australia and the central regions of Western Australia.

Moving to Australia for an extended period

If you’re thinking about moving to Australia for an extended period as a family unit, the most important thing is to fully research the visa class you intend to travel on. Get a clear and accurate picture of what entitlements will or will not apply for you and your family.

Take the time to research the state and city where you plan to relocate. Find out about issues such as childcare and school fees before you arrive.

Cost of living

The cost of living in Australia is high. Good accommodation in the major cities can be difficult to find and is very expensive by Irish standards. This applies in particular to Sydney and Melbourne, where there is a significant shortage of suitable accommodation, with rental prices reflecting the high demand.

Schools/child care

There may be long waiting lists for schools and child care in certain areas and you may have to apply for places before you leave Ireland. Take note that the Australian school year begins in end January/February not in September as is the case at home.

In some states, notably New South Wales and Western Australia, temporary residents may have to pay significant fees for public primary schools and they may not be entitled to benefit from Australian tax rebates for child care expenses.

Medical treatment

Emergency hospital treatment for Irish people legally resident in Australia is covered by the Reciprocal Health Agreement between the two countries. This doesn’t cover the cost of ambulances and follow-up care. Temporary residents are not generally entitled to Medicare (Australian public health rebate system) and as such may have to pay in full for childhood vaccinations and other medical bills. Temporary residents are not generally entitled to social welfare (Centrelink) payments. The system is structured differently in Australia so you may not be entitled to any child benefit payments and even if you were entitled to a medical card at home you will be required to pay for medical appointments and related services in Australia.

Embassy contact

If you require emergency assistance from the Embassy, please contact us on +61 2 62140000 and follow the prompts. If you call outside normal working hours at the weekend, you will be given instructions to call another number to speak to a Duty Officer.

Embassy of Ireland 20 Arkana Street Yarralumla ACT 2600 Australia

Tel: +61 2 6214 0000

Monday to Friday 9:30am – 12:30pm and 2pm – 4pm

Consulate Contact

Consulate General of Ireland Level 26 1 Market Street Sydney NSW 2000 Australia

Tel: +612 9264 9635

Monday to Friday 10.00 - 13.00

Honorary Consulate Contact

Mr Martin Kavanagh Honorary Consul of Ireland Kavanagh Lawyers WA Level 3 165/580 Hay Street Perth Western Australia 6004

Tel: +61 8 6557 5802

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Get travel and medical insurance

Before travelling, the Department  strongly recommends  that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.

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Contacting us

  Contact our Embassy in Canberra for assistance

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