OVERVIEW

Sydney is well connected with plenty of options for flights. Taking the train, coach or driving are all viable options too.

Choices for accommodation in Sydney are endless, with everything from stunning and expensive harbourside hotels down to centrally located backpackers, and even some decent camping spots like on Cockatoo island, right in the middle of the city.

Take a look below for all the details on how to get to Sydney and where to stay.

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How To Get To Sydney

Flights To Sydney

 

Every major airport in Australia has a flight to Sydney with the Melbourne to Sydney route being one of the busiest routes in the world.

 

There is only one airport(for now), Kingsford-Smith airport, which is located 8km south of the CBD.

Domestic Airlines flying into Sydney include Qantas, Virgin, Jetstar and Rex.

Note: The following is an indication of flights at the time of writing. Due to snap border restrictions, this information may be incorrect. Similarly, if restrictions are eased, expect the number of flights to increase.

From Tullamarine airport, currently Jetstar, Vrigin, Rex and Qantas fly up to 40 times per day between them. Jetstar also have some flights from Avalon airport. 1hr25min flight time.

From Brisbane

Up to 30 flights per day arrive from Brisbane through Qantas, Virgin and Jetstar. 1hr30min flight time.

From Gold Coast

Over 20 flights per day all 4 main airlines. 1hr20min flight time.

From Adelaide

There are currently up to a dozen flights per day through Virgin, Qantas and Jetstar. 2hr10min flight time.

From Perth

Up to a dozen flights with Jetstar, Virgin and Qantas. 5hr flight time.

From Hobart

Several flights per day through Virgin, Qantas and Jetstar. 2hr flight time.

From Darwin

A hand full of flights per day through Jetstar and Qantas. 4hr30min flight time.

From Canberra

A dozen flights a day are offered through Rex and Qantas. 1hr flight time.

From Regional Towns

Flights are scheduled from the following regional centres: -

Albury, Alice Springs, Armidale, Ayers Rock, Ballina, Bendigo, Broken Hill(via Dubbo), Broome, Coffs Harbour, Cairns, Dubbo, Griffith, Hamilton Island, Launceston, Lord Howe Island, Sunshine Coast, Mildura, Moree, Merimbula(via Moruya), Narrandera, Orange, Port Macquarie, Prosperine, Snowy Mountains, Tamworth, Townsville and Wagga Wagga.

Getting from the Airport to the city

There is a train station at the airport that is part of the metro network and is the easiest and quickest way to get to the CBD - just 13minutes. The fare is between $16 and $19.

This fare includes an extra charge for entering at the airport. To avoid this, you can walk 20 minutes to another station - Wolli creek or Mascot.

If there are 3 or more of you, a taxi/uber will probably be a little cheaper but the drive may take around 25 minutes.

More information at sydneyairport.com.au/info-sheet/transport-options-domestic

Sustainability Tip

Avoid flying at all costs and take the train instead. If you have no choice but to fly, offset your carbon emissions.

Read our 'How to travel sustainably' guide for all the tips and information.

Sydney train travel

Train at Central Station, Sydney © Luke White

Trains To Sydney

 

You can avoid flying and take the train to Sydney from several cities and many regional centres of NSW.

There is a day time and an overnight XPT train operated by Transport NSW, each taking around 11 hours from Southern Cross station. The overnight train offers the most convenience as you arrive before 7am, so you can maximise your time in Sydney. Sleeper cars are available but pricey at around $250 per person.

More info here.

From Brisbane

XPT trains run from Roma Street twice per day - once during the day, then another around 2pm that travels overnight and arrives early in the morning. The journey takes 14 to 16 hours.

More info here.

From Canberra and Regional NSW

There are several lines that run across NSW with daily trains. Destinations include Canberra(4hr), Broken Hill, Griffith, Dubbo, Armidale and Moree.

Network map here.

From Other Cities

The luxurious Indian Pacific train offers a spectacular way to arrive from Adelaide or Perth. Otherwise, Sydney can be reached by traveling via Melbourne or Brisbane.

For information on train travel throughout Australia, try Seat61.

Coach To Sydney

 

Regular coach services are run by several companies to Sydney from Melbourne (via Canberra) and Brisbane.

Firefly

Operate a day time run from Melbourne, starting at $35 and taking around 12 hours.

Greyhound

Have routes from Melbourne via Canberra and from Brisbane. Fares start at $100 and it takes around 12 hours from Melbourne and 17 hours from Brisi.

Premier Motor Service

Run a service from Brisbane that takes around 18 hours.

Murrays

Usually runs a service from Melbourne but currently only offering a service from Canberra (via Sydney airport) that takes 3hours 30min.

 

Within country New South Wales

Transport NSW has a network of routes for coaches that depart from country train stations. See this map here for all the options.

Drive To Sydney

 

Getting to the edge of the city is easy enough but the traffic when you arrive is notoriously bad - possibly the worst in all of Australia.

Note that there are several toll roads in Sydney that require an electronic tag that you can buy before arriving or pay later via their website.

More info here.

Parking in the CBD is very expensive, so consider parking near a train station on the outskirts of the city and travelling by metro train.

Cruise ship docked in Circular Quay, Sydney © Travel Unpacked

Cruise Ship

 

Sydney is one of the main places to take a cruise in Australia, with several making it their main departure point and many including Sydney as a stop off.

 

The great part about cruising to/from Sydney is the location of the port - directly in the middle of Circular Quay, between the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, so you are sure of a spectacular entrance.

Destinations/arrivals include New Zealand, South Pacific Islands, the Australian east coast, or even longer cruises that go to/from Asia or around the world.

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Where To Stay In Sydney

Hotels In Sydney

 

Most attractions are located in Circular Quay/The Rocks, Darling Harbour or the CBD, so these areas are the most convenient to save time and they all have good public transport links.

Large parts of the CBD can feel a little quiet after office hours however, and are slightly lacking in restaurant options, so this area may be of lesser value to you.

 

Darling Harbour on the other hand is very touristy and has lots of eating and shopping options.

If you want a view, you can't beat Circular Quay and The Rocks where, if you're willing to pay for it, you can have a glorious view of the harbour bridge and opera house.

If beach life is your thing, Bondi is the most popular beachside area and has plenty of accommodation options. Just south of here is Coogee, which is much quieter. On the northern beaches, Manly is the most popular and has a fast ferry service directly to Circular Quay, so it's the most convenient too.

Pier One Hotel, Sydney © Travel Unpacked

Air BnB

 

A greater variety of accommodation can be found on Air BnB and they are located in all areas.

Backpackers

 

There are a few hostels close to the cbd near central station, plus plenty of others in Kings Cross, Bondi, Glebe and Haymarket. The youth hostel in the Rocks is also well known for the archaeological site underneath it.

Camping

 

The number of campsites in Sydney is fairly limited.

Two are located within walking distance of a train station, so very convenient for visiting the city.

Discover Parks Lane Cove is in the northern suburbs, nicely situated amongst trees and is a short walk from Ryde metro station.

Sheralee Tourist Caravan Park, located in Rockdale(not far from the airport), is only a 10minute walk to the train station that takes you straight to the CBD.

Sydney lakeside holiday park is nicely situated near the beach in the northern suburb of Narrabeen, but it requires a bus ride of 75+ minutes to get to the CBD.

Cockatoo Island offers a unique camping experience, where you can stay on the otherwise uninhabited island, and get great views across the water. More info here.

Need the detailed information? Go to the third page of our guide for all the 'Essential info' like getting around, food, shopping, and much more.

Or go back to page 1 to discover all the 'Things to do'.

AUTHORED BY

Christopher Jubb, Founder of Travel Unpacked

More information available on our About page

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