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Do I Need A Car In Sydney?

Updated on April 16, 2016

Sydney Attractions - Do I Need A Car

Sydney is a large metropolitan city with many wonderful attractions, many of which are accessible by using the free shuttle bus around the CBD, so you really don't need a car in Sydney.

You can save yourself a lot of time by pre planning and learning about the most convenient, the cheapest, and the most environmentally friendly way of getting around a new and unfamiliar city. The free shuttle should answer most of your questions about cheap, environmentally friendly and convenience. There is also a great rail network around the CBD and suburbs.

Whether you are in Sydney on holidays, or are here on a working holiday, I'm sure you'll find the following information saves you time and money.

Transport In Sydney CBD

Free Shuttle Bus!

Sydney city is well serviced with a free CBD Shuttle on Route 555. This service runs every 10 mins and is an excellent way of hopping on and off whenever you want to visit some of the major attractions in the city, so you don't really need a car in Sydney to get around. In fact it would be more of a hindrance in the CBD as parking is scarce.

The shuttle runs in a loop from Sydney’s Central Train Station to Circular Quay along Elizabeth Street and George Street. You can board the bus in either direction, but only at bus stops showing the green shuttle logo. Just wave to the driver as the bus approaches and he/she will stop to pick you up. When you want to get off, just press a 'stop' button on the bus which are located adjacent to various seats.

The free shuttle runs from 9.30am to 3.30pm on weekdays (runs to 9pm on Thursday nights). On weekends the free shuttle operates from 9.30 to 6pm.

Free Sydney CBD Shuttle Bus # 555

Free shuttle bus in Sydney Australia
Free shuttle bus in Sydney Australia

Sydney Bus Timetable, Circular Quay

Sydney Bus Timetable
Sydney Bus Timetable

How to Travel in Sydney on Suburban Buses.

If travelling further afield than the CBD in Sydney you will need to investigate your options. Bus travel is the more popular option as you will see more of the city than if you were on a train. Please be aware that some of Sydney buses are ‘pre-paid’ only. Here’s where you will find all the info you need for suburban trains: http://www.sydneybuses.info/prepay

City Rail Sydney

Central Station is the main hub for Train Travel in Sydney.

Trains leaving from Central Station fan out in all directions. Intercity trains leave from the upper (street) level, and suburban trains leave from downstairs. This is another reason why you don't need a car in Sydney.

The busiest times on Sydney trains coincide with the start of the working day and school sessions, during these times you will probably find the carriages a little crowded and may find standing room only in the middle carriages.

It is a good tip to try the first or last carriage for seats as these are usually less congested. You might prefer to wait for the next train and enjoy a cup of coffee or a cool drink.

For your safety - Always stand behind the yellow line while waiting at a train station. There are emergency help points at train stations or if you feel unsafe you can call 1800 657 926 and a member of the city rail security staff will be on hand to assist. By and large trains in Sydney are quite safe to travel on.

There are no free trains operating in Sydney and trains generally do not operate between midnight and 4.30am. Tickets are available here: http://www.cityrail.info/tickets/which/

Sydney International and Domestic Airport Trains

You don't even need a car in Sydney to travel to and from the Airport. The easiest way to travel from the International or Domestic Terminal at Sydney airport to Sydney CBD is by train. Simply follow the signs to the airport train station after you have checked through customs and collected your bags. The train fare is around $15 into Sydneys CBD and you will need to go to the ticket booth before boarding the train. The friendly staff will tell you which platform to go to.

On your return to the airport, simply go to Central Station and purchase a ticket to the Domestic or International terminal.

Map of Sydney CBD

Sydney Trains

Onboard a Sydney train
Onboard a Sydney train

Sydney Ferries - Cockatoo Island

Sydney ferries are a great way to see the city from a different perspective and much more fun than a car! You may even be lucky enough to catch a free ferry to Cockatoo Island if there is an exhibition showing at the time.

On a recent trip to Sydney we were fortunate to catch a free ride to Cockatoo Island to see the magnificent Biennale Festival which was an amazing collection of art displayed in various unusual industrial buildings. Judging by the number of visitors it was a great success, and we certainly enjoyed the day wandering around the old dockyard complex.

There is plenty to explore on Cockatoo Island, so get an early start to the day if you are heading that way. Be sure to stop at the information office near the pier when you get off the ferry as you will need a map to find your way around. Don't forget to check the time of the last ferry back to Circular Quay!

Cockatoo Island Ferry

Sydney ferries
Sydney ferries

Cockatoo Island Map

Map of Cockatoo Island Sydney Harbour
Map of Cockatoo Island Sydney Harbour

Circular Quay, Sydney Harbour

Ferry Terminal Circular Quay Sydney
Ferry Terminal Circular Quay Sydney

Circular Quay, Sydney

Circular Quay is located in the Sydney CBD.
Circular Quay is located in the Sydney CBD.
Paramatta River Cat
Paramatta River Cat

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney ferry and harbour bridge
Sydney ferry and harbour bridge

Sydney CBD, Circular Quay

Catch a Sydney Harbour ferry, Paramatta River Cat or Water Taxi from Circular Quay
Catch a Sydney Harbour ferry, Paramatta River Cat or Water Taxi from Circular Quay

Parramatta River Cat, Sydney Harbour

Paramatta River Cat Sydney Harbour Ferries
Paramatta River Cat Sydney Harbour Ferries

Sydney Harbour Water Taxi

Water Taxi Sydney Harbour
Water Taxi Sydney Harbour

Cockatoo Island Cafe

Cafe on Cockatoo Island Sydney Harbour
Cafe on Cockatoo Island Sydney Harbour

Have your say!

Did you enjoy your visit to Sydney?

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Please leave a comment, I would love to hear from you!

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    • brittpinkie profile image

      Brittany Doherty 2 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Sadly the free shuttle bus in the CBD is no longer :(

    • profile image

      bushiresydney 2 years ago

      Hi, Sydney airport transport service is low-cost nice service.

      http://cheapbushire.com.au/airport-transfers-sydne...

    • aboutaustralia profile image
      Author

      aboutaustralia 5 years ago from Newcastle, New South Wales

      Hi Airport Transfer Sydney, thanks for leaving a comment. Sydney certainly is full of amazing things to see and do. All the best, Sharon

    • aboutaustralia profile image
      Author

      aboutaustralia 5 years ago from Newcastle, New South Wales

      Hi myihna, Thanks for your patience. I didn't get to take any photos of the Sydney ferries at Christmas time, but we have just returned from a weekend in Sydney where we spent most of our time around the waterfront and on the harbour. Hope you like the photos :)

    • profile image

      Airport Transfer Sydney 5 years ago

      Sydney is great place for adventure. Many captivating places to see. There are many ways to enjoy the trip, not only bus services. There are transport services that will assure your great trip to these places.

      http://www.con-x-ion.com

    • myihna profile image

      myihna 5 years ago from Australia

      Waiting to hear about the Sydney Ferries from you soon.. :) Have a great Christmas holidays!!

    • aboutaustralia profile image
      Author

      aboutaustralia 5 years ago from Newcastle, New South Wales

      Hi myihna, yes Sydney also has a network of ferry services across the harbour which are great for enjoying the views from another perspective. There's some information here: http://www.sydneyferries.info/

      I am off to Sydney on Christmas morning to spend the day with family. I will try to take some photos while I'm there and write a hub just on the famous Sydney ferries! :)

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, much appreciated, Sharon T

    • myihna profile image

      myihna 5 years ago from Australia

      Is there any waterway transportation available in Sydney?