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Are you looking for the perfect retreat? Sydney’s proximity to the ocean makes for wonderful weather. Imagine yourself spending the holiday on a beach, the breeze in your hair, and the refreshing sea salt in the air. While there is no wrong time, the best time to visit Sydney depends on what you are coming for and how sparsely populated you hope the beaches will be.
September to November and March to May are the ideal travel months because they are just outside the high and low seasons. During these times, you will enjoy comfortable temperatures and minimal tourist crowds. Also, you might find a few cheap flights to Sydney during the non-peak travel months. Peak tourist season is from December to February, which is the time when Sydney has its warmest temperatures too. Sydney’s winter season is May to August, but the temperatures are still comfortable to tour around the city and enjoy a range of activities.
From Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport, trains are the fastest way into the city centre. They run every 10 minutes and take approximately 13 minutes to enter Central station in downtown. From Central station, you can transfer to the suburban services or make your way to City Circle. Train stations are located on the northern end of the international terminal and between T2 and T3 in the domestic terminals. The train charges an airport access fee which is $13 AUD per adult and $11.60 AUD per child. The fare to the city is $2.10 or $4.20 AUD or more if you want to visit a suburban area. Purchase an Opal card if you plan to use public transportation more than one day. You get discounts for off-peak travel times too.
With a group, taxis are the more cost-effective route to travel downtown. Every terminal has a taxi that is managed by airport staff. Taxis cannot pick you up outside the rank. Cabs during peak hours tend to share rides, especially if you are headed in the same direction. The taxi rank manager organises ride shares. The fee to the city centre is $50 AUD. Extra fees include metered fare and airport toll, plus the bridge and tunnel tolls when applicable.
Route 400 stops by the International T1 and Domestic T3 terminals. It is cheaper than the train and shuttle but takes much longer.
Airport Shuttle Service
Some city centre hotels offer free shuttles from the airport to their hotel. When you book your hotel, inquire about hotel transportation. Not all shuttles will meet you when you get off your flight, so you may have to wait for them to arrive. Shuttle buses can be booked on the spot through the transport travel desk in the T1 and T2 terminals.
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Most of the attractions in Sydney are in the central business district (CBD) or around the harbour. If you are staying in the downtown area, you can walk to most of the attractions. The exceptions include Bondi and Manly, which are surfing suburban areas at the south and north areas of Sydney Heads. To explore these attractions, there are plenty of public transportation options you can choose. If you purchase the Opal card to get to and from the airport, you can use the same card for public transportation throughout the city.
The extensive rail network covers most areas within Sydney, and the City Circle network provides you with access to all city stations. Sydney trains are double-deckers and start at Central station moving anti-clockwise.
Buses require prepaid cards from Monday to Friday (you can use an Opal Card) from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. You can purchase them at a convenience store if you do not have an Opal Card. The entire CBD requires prepaid fare from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm; regardless of the day of the week. Most buses run to the North Shore and Northern Beaches if you take them from the York, Carrington, and Clarence Street terminals. To get to Palm Beach, you must take the bus from Stand B.
Travel across the harbour using the Sydney Ferry. Ferries service many of the harbour-side attractions, including the Zoo, Luna Park, Darling Harbour, Manly Beach, and Watsons Bay. All ferries depart from the Circular Quay.
Sydney Light Rail
The light rail system runs from Central station into Chinatown, Haymarket, Darling Harbour, Star City Hotel and Casino, and through the Sydney Fish Market. It continues through the suburbs as well. To ride on this rail, you must use an Opal Card.
There are plenty of sights and attractions to see in Sydney. When you book flights to Sydney, consider some of these attractions for your itinerary:
The zoo has more than 2,900 exotic and native animal species, including all the fan favourites. It is not just a place for kids; the zoo has an overnight experience known as “Roar and Snore“ that starts at 6:30 pm and includes a tent and behind-the-scene activities. Online tickets to the zoo cost $23.40 AUD for children 5 to 17 (under 5 get free entry), and $41.40 AUD for adults. Ticket prices purchased at the entrance gate are slightly higher than online tickets.
Sydney Opera House
The Opera House is always bustling with live performances and arts. You can book a Backstage Tour package with your event ticket. Tours are informative and fun; they are also offered in a variety of languages.
Sydney Harbour Bridge
Also, known as the “Coathanger,“ the Bridge was opened back in 1932. You can walk or ride your bike across the bridge that goes over the harbour or take a BridgeClimb expedition that takes you into the superstructure.
Take a Trail
There are plenty of beachfront trails to choose from, but the more popular trails are off Coogee, Tamarama, and Bronte.
Attend Seafood School or Visit the Seafood Market
Sydney Seafood School at the Sydney Fish Market offers tips on how to cook seafood Aussie style. Classes are between $90 – $165 AUD for a 4-hour class complete with a wine tasting. The Fish Market is a must-see because it is the second largest marketplace for fresh fish in the world. Take a 90-minute tour and explore the fish auction and purchasing system behind-the-scenes.
Etiquette and Sydney Customs
Sydney is very relaxed and open, and if you practice general good manners, you will fit right in. You will notice that Sydney is rich in culture, religion, and sexual preferences; therefore, it is so diverse that no one ever feels uncomfortable. Locals are very friendly people too.
Tipping is not mandatory in Sydney but always accepted. Tips are usually 10 to 15 percent when at a restaurant. Most restaurants only require a casual dress, unless you are in a trendy establishment or a 5-star restaurant (which will have a posted dress code).
Rainfall is quite consistent in Sydney, with 12 days per month seeing some amount of precipitation, so bring along an umbrella or raincoat.