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Transportation

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New Jersey
posts: 67
reviews: 52
Transportation

Is the best way to get around the city via ferry? Is there a subway or train system, how extensive is it?

We are staying in Circular Quay just a few blocks from the ferry terminal. I just want to get an idea of how to get to and from attractions that are not within walking distance.

Sydney
posts: 2,849
reviews: 4
1. Re: Transportation

From Circular Quay you can walk to just about anything in the city proper in less than forty-five minutes.... and that includes Sydney Terminal Station and the Interstate Coach Terminal, which are at the other end of town.

However, if you don't care to walk, there are buses literally every minute (in daylight)leaving Circular Quay and heading through the city towards Sydney Terminal (and, of course, beyond, into the suburbs).

The train service in the city is a subway system which is tiny by international standards (only 6 stations), but it serves all major areas quite well, with the exception of Darling Harbour. If you want to travel west of Sydney, say to Featherdale Wildlife Park or the Blue Mountains, then the train is the way to go, as there are express trains from Sydney Terminal. One of the six "subway" stations (this one is actually above ground) is Circular Quay Railway Station. From there trains head in two directions but both ways go to (and through) Central Station, which is the "local" part of Sydney Terminal. There are two stations in between, in each direction. The journey takes no more than eight minutes.

If you walk across the Harbour Bridge (and you should!), you will find that there is a station virtually on the bridge at the other side: Milson's Point. From there there are trains back to the city... a five minute journey. There are lots of buses traversing the bridge, too.

The ferries are mainly commuter vehicles bringing workers into the city from waterfront suburbs. The sightseeing element is, therefore, rather incidental. However, since those waterfront suburbs are some of the nicest Sydney has to offer -- Hunters Hill, Mosman, Cremorne Point, Watson's Bay, Balmain, Double Bay, McMahon's Point -- it would be worth taking a few rides even if they didn't go straight past the Opera House and, in many cases, under the Bridge. I have lived in Sydney all my life, but I still get a warm feeling every time I decide to spend a day "ferry-hopping", and walking the streets of some of the suburbs mentioned above (you can buy one ticket and stay on ferries all day, if you want).

All those ferry stops are within a twenty minute journey of Circular Quay; in addition, there are two "long-distance" ferries: one is the Rivercat, which goes to Parramatta, just on an hour away. This is not a tourist destination, so I really wouldn't recommend it. The second "long distance" ferry is the Manly Ferry, and this DOES go to a tourist destination. It's the best ferry ride in Sydney (as it traverses the entire length of the harbour), and, while you can get to Manly by bus if you choose, the ferry trip is a "must-do", especially if you get a fine, sunny day.

So, while the ferries actually visit just a tiny fraction of the city, they do visit most of the best parts, and my advice is to use them as often as you can. For just about everything else, walking will suffice -- but, as I said, the train and bus network is excellent if you need it. All are government-run, so a single day ticket (costing $AUD15) will allow you to use all three systems as often as you like and in any order.

New Jersey
posts: 67
reviews: 52
2. Re: Transportation

Thanks for all the info. We are planning on going out to Manly and Blue Mountains. I was planning on renting a car for the day to go out to the mountains and explore on our own time.

united kingdom
posts: 253
reviews: 12
3. Re: Transportation

hi again nikim

good idea to hire a car to Blue Mountains as you can decide when you want to go rather than being tied to a tour company. the reason being is that it can be sunny in Sydney but cloudy/misty in the mountains. so it's worth checking out before you leave for the mountains - you can get the weather forecast from the TV/paper or there's a direct number and you can ring the ranger at the mountain station.

hope this helps

New Jersey
posts: 67
reviews: 52
4. Re: Transportation

It really does help me out. I'm trying to plan as much as possible - I want this trip to be perfect. But then I have to remind myself that the weather may not be sunny everyday :)

New Jersey
posts: 67
reviews: 52
5. Re: Transportation

It really does help me out. I'm trying to plan as much as possible - I want this trip to be perfect. But then I have to remind myself that the weather may not be sunny everyday :)

Sydney
posts: 2,849
reviews: 4
6. Re: Transportation

You will find that renting a car to see the Blue Mountains allows you to go to several choice spots that the tour buses and train travellers don't get to see -- one being Euroka Clearing, at Glenbrook, where you can "eat breakfast with the kangaroos". If you make this an early stop (or a late afternoon one), you will have a good chance of seeing dozens of kangaroos plus assorted other wild life; while the small tour buses are going in there now, the narrow road makes it impossible for any of the large coaches to visit, so there aren't too many visitors to "spook" the kangaroos. The tourist office on the highway at Glenbrook will give you directions -- it's about a fifteen-minute drive off the main road.

The only "down" side on renting a car for the day is the first hour or so of driving. First, you have to negotiate the city traffic from your hotel to the motorwayway, which starts out at Concord, a thirty-minute drive; unless you're pretty familiar with driving on the "wrong" side, you might find this fairly hair-raising, and certainly not pleasant; it's all signposted, but, like just about everywhere else in the world, the signposts only make sense to people who know where they are and where they are going to start with!

Then, when you DO get onto the motorway, you have another thirty minutes of the most boring and non-scenic road you have ever encountered: just billboards and factories all the way to Emu Plains, at the foot of the mountains. When you start to climb, however, the journey becomes much more pleasant and there are plenty of delectable detours, such as the one mentioned above.

The best way to "do" this day, then, would be to take a fast train from Sydney Terminal to Emu Plains (just under an hour's driving), and alight there, where, right near the station, is a branch of Budget Rent-a-Car. If you hire from them, you start seeing the pleasant scenery right from the first minute, and the traffic will be minimal. You could even go a bit further by train.... to Valley Heights (about another twenty minutes), where, once again right at the station, you will see Redicar Car Hire. They have a branch at Katoomba and another at Windsor, so you might be able to work out an interesting trip where you collected the car at one depot and returned it to another, saving some mileage. The train service to and from the Mountains is really quite good, except at weekends (but, then, you wouldn't choose to drive on weekends, either, as you will be sharing the road with every other sightseer on the eastern seaboard, and long delays are common); by using it as well as a hire car, you can get the best of both worlds. If you have an extra day to spare, you could stay overnight in the Mountains and drive out to Jenolan Caves early the next morning; it takes about an hour, but it's an under-visited attraction which is well-worth the effort.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Business Travel, New South Wales
posts: 26,465
reviews: 576
7. Re: Transportation

I agree with AlanJ just hire a car to drive to the Blue Mountains..you can explore at your own pace. Once there it is easy to drive around.

New Jersey
posts: 67
reviews: 52
8. Re: Transportation

Great advice AlanJ! I didn't realize that the car hire was so close to the train station. My husband has never had the experience of driving on the 'wrong' side, but I have. He however has to drive if he is in the car - a male thing. I do like the part of skipping the headache of driving out of the city. We are use to negoiating the streets of NYC and dealing with traffic in our area, but nothing can be more confusing than reading foreign road signs. It will help that I am really good at reading maps and navigating.

UK
Destination Expert
for North Wales
posts: 3,903
reviews: 37
9. Re: Transportation

nikim

there are 'season' tickets available that allow you unlimited travel on buses, ferries and trains with the one ticket within a given zone.

They can be quite economical.

The ferry ride from darling Harbour to Circular key -especially at night will give you a great view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House-lit up at night it is quite breathtaking!

the Green Zone will let you go out to Manly by Ferry -Bondi Beach by bus

you can also jump on the train and get to Circular Quay and all the Ferries depart from there

Pune
posts: 3
10. Re: Transportation

Dear AllanJ,

Can you give more information about:

Euroka Clearing, at Glenbrook, where you can "eat breakfast with the kangaroos"?