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6 Tips for Planning Your Trip to Sydney

So, you are deciding on, or have already planned your trip to Sydney – great choice!

There is a reason 15 million people visit the city every year, and that’s because it’s an incredible city with so much to offer locals and tourists alike.

It is a huge city, with a lot of ground to cover and activities to plan for, so we have taken the stress out of doing so by providing you with everything you need to know prior to your trip!

1. Visit in September-November or March-May

Why these months you may ask? Well, if you want to partake in the liveliness of the city, the events, and the people, all whilst enjoying warm days and cool nights, Spring and Autumn are the perfect seasons for your visit.

If you are festival lover, you should definitely visit in the months of September – November as Sydney will host the following events: Sydney Fringe Festival (September), Festival of the Winds (September), Night Noodle Market (October), and Taste of Sydney (September).

And, the temperature in the spring months of September – November will be around 70-74°F, so you will get to enjoy all Sydney has to offer, at its prime.

In the autumn months of March – May, you can expect temperatures of 77°F in March down to 69.1°F in the month of May.

In these months you can also experience Australian Fashion Week (May), the Sydney International Art Series (April), Vissla Pro Surf Series (March), and the Australian Rowing Championships (March), plus many more events!

If you do plan to visit Sydney in these months, you will also avoid the exceptionally large crowds that populate the city and its surrounding beaches in the summer months.

2. Plan Your Flights

As the country’s biggest and busiest airport, Sydney International Airport is a very popular destination for departures and arrivals on a continuous basis.

Because it is so popular, flight costs are extremely competitive – that’s why it’s important to book your flights well in advance and with particular airlines if you want to save money or travel with a particular carrier.

We have researched flight costs from Melbourne to Sydney in the months of September, October, November, and March, April, May of 2024.

With flights from Melbourne to Sydney being the second most travelled route in the world, book well in advance to save money!

Prices below are for round trips of 2 weeks. Costs detailed are all in AUD. For the months of May, prices from airlines are not yet available at the time of this publication, but should be in the coming weeks.

Melbourne → Sydney Flight Costs

Melbourne Airport Parking

If you plan on driving your car to the airport, and want it kept in a secure location with affordable rates, consider booking Melbourne Airport Parking through Flyparks.

They are a budget-conscious booking platform that offers airport parking at airports across Australia & New Zealand, including airport parking at Sydney Airport, Perth Airport, Auckland Airport, and others.

Rest assured that your car will be left in good hands, and look exactly the same, if not better (some car parks offer servicing & washes whilst away), upon your return!

3. Know Your Payment Options for Public Transportation

Travelling Sydney is relatively easy when you know your options. Upon your arrival, consider purchasing an Opal card. Doing so will give you instant access to the numerous modes of transportation, including Sydney’s trains, buses, light rails, and ferries!

You can purchase an Opal card at various retailers around the city such as at any registered gas station, light rail stop, or convenience store, just pop in a store and ask if you can purchase one there. You don’t have to pay for an opal card, but do need to have a minimum balance of $20, and can top up your balance as you go at any payment station you see along the way of your route. You can also top up your balance at the Opal official website.

If you don’t want to buy an Opal card, but still want to acquire the perks of having one, you use the tap method with your debit or credit card (only American Express, Mastercard, and Visa are acceptable forms of payment) when on-boarding and off-boarding the different modes of transportation. If you use this option, you will receive the same fares as adults with an Opal card do. To do so, you must use the same physical card at every transaction, or the same digital device that you will use to scan in and out.

With Opal cards, or your AMEX, Mastercard or Visa, you will receive:
• $2 off every transfer taken on one route
• ½ off your travel expenses after partaking in 8 paid journeys in 1 week
• Fares capped every day, week, and weekend
• 30% off your travel on metro, trains, buses, and the light rail outside of peak travel times

Opal cards or paying with a similar payment method as described above are well worth the investment as they offer you the ability to travel as much as you wish within a day, as long as you don’t exceed the daily price cap of $16.80 a day, $50 a week, or $8.40 on Saturday/Sundays plus public holidays.

4. Choose Your Modes of Sydney Transportation

So, now that you know HOW to pay for Sydney public transport, let’s get into deciding which mode of transportation is most convenient for you to take whilst travelling within the city, and a bit outside of it.

Sydney Metro/Train Transportation:

Sydney’s train system is great for those who plan to travel outside of the city, or at least to the suburbs of it. You can use the train for travelling within the Central Business District (CBD), but also outside of the city for short-day trips! Consider travelling to the Blue Mountains, Kiama, Bowral, or Wollongong.

When travelling between 10-20 km on a Sydney Metro or Train, whilst using an Adult Opal Card or similar, you will be charged $4.71 during regular hours, $3.29 for off-peak hours, $5.70 for a single fare ticket, and a daily price cap of $16.80!

If you do plan to travel via Metro or Train, keep in mind that often the routes and arrivals/departure times are subject to delay due to technical difficulties and or staff shortages.

Sydney Light-Rail Transportation:

Choose to take the Sydney Light Rail if you want quick and easy access to several destinations within the CBD, or neighborhoods that are located out towards the West – the light rail is a great choice to get you there as it runs daily from the Central Grand Concourse to Dulwich Hill, 6 am – 11 pm Monday through Sunday and until 12pm on Fridays. The Light Rail is Sydney’s newest form of public transportation, so the routes it runs aren’t as extensive as the other options of transportation. However, there are 46 stops with the light rail, so there is no shortage of places to hop on and off as you go.

To travel 3-8 km using the light rail and your Opal Adult Card, you can expect to pay $3.93, $2.75 during off-peak hours, and $4.70 for a single fare ticket.

Sydney Bus Transportation:

Buses in Sydney run until 4 am, so they are a great choice for the late nights or early mornings (whatever your style is, we don’t judge!). You can hit all of Sydney’s beaches via the bus, hop aboard its busiest route from Circular Quay to North Bondi, or even hop-off westwards at Blacktown.

There may not be air conditioning on the bus you get on, but the low fees of travelling 3-8km with your Opal Adult card for $3.93, $2.75 during off-peak hours, and $4.70 for a single fare ticket make up for it!

Sydney Ferry Transportation:

Operating since 1861 and departing every half an hour, Sydney’s ferry is great for traveling to the north seaside or for island hopping! Feel like exploring Cockatoo Island, Sydney Olympic Park, or Manly Cove (a must-do, by the way)? The ferry will get you to these destinations and more in an hour or less, depending on your destination.

During the weekdays, you can find the ferry running from 5 am until their last service of around 12/1 a.m. For exact opening and closing times, check the NSW official transportation page. To go 0-9 km on the ferry with your Opal Adult Card, expect to pay $6.43, and $7.70 for a single fare ticket.

5. Choose Your Sydney Accommodation

Now that you know all about how to get to and around Sydney, it’s time to prepare for where you should stay.

As you probably know, Sydney is not a cheap city; the average cost for a four-star hotel room is $103.

But, whatever your budget may be, there is an accommodation to suit it. Below you can find various hotels, airbnb, and hostel prices and ratings, so you can make your choice of where you want to stay, a breeze!

6. Choose Your Activities

With so much to do in Sydney, it may be hard to narrow down what to spend your time and money on, don’t fret – we have you covered. From visiting the Opera house to finding the perfect speakeasy, Sydney has something for everyone.

• Visit Bondi or Coogee Beach at least once, but if you don’t fancy the crowds, head to Manly or Palm!
• Visit the Blue Mountains during Sunset
• Museum of Contemporary Art Australia at the Rocks – specifically for the contemporary art lovers!
• Take a group surf lesson for $45-75 with Manly Surf School
• Visit Glebe Market for trinkets and Peakhurst Foodies & Farmers Market for produce and bites
• Luna Amusement Park
• Go to Maybe Sammy or Bar 83 in CBD
• Go to a show in Sydney’s Opera House
• Go Paddle Boarding at Watson Bay
• Climb the Harbour Bridge
• Visit the Chinese Garden of Friendship & stay for bottomless bites
• Try Hydrojets at Sydney International Regatta

Whether you are travelling for 2 weeks or planning on staying 2 months, Sydney is one of the best destinations in all of Australia to visit. We hope to have given you enough guidance to soak in every second of your trip and have a wonderful time doing it!