Sydney is like any major city (that’s not in the U.S.), it has a pretty comprehensive public transportation system. It’s a combination of buses, trains, and ferries that are super simple to use. Jer and I both love to people watch and public transit is hands down the best place for this!
Here’s how to use it in Sydney:
First things first: download Google Maps and use that. Now that you can use Google Maps offline, you can download an entire city (learn how to here) and the map will update even if you’re not connected to wifi. You can also get very detailed public transit directions when you have wifi and screenshot them for when you’re out and about and may not have Internet access.
Get an Opal card. You can buy the Opal card at any convienece store and it works on buses, trains, and ferries. Start with $20 and gage how much you travel, then top off anytime.
Scan your Opal card when you get on and off buses, and when you enter and exit train stations. Once you’ve taken 8 paid trips in one week, all remaining trips are free!
If you’re lost, ask someone! Australians are painfully friendly and the people in the train station are very knowledgeable about the network so they’ll point you in the right direction.
When using the buses, queue up behind others at the bus stop sign. When you see your bus, signal the driver (just a quick wave will do) and he’ll stop for you. When your stop is coming up, press the red “Stop” button on the handles of the bus and the driver will let you off at the next stop.
Make sure to hang on especially on the bus! I nearly fell in sevearal laps during my stay!
Most of all, enjoy Sydney. You can score some great views on the buses (especially from North Sydney into South Sydney – sit on the left side!) and it’s an easy way to feel local and get the lay of the land.