Australia Oceania Travel

Using the trains in Sydney

For me, visiting a new place often sparks initial excitement that slowly turns to dread when I realise I have to work out how to get around. I’ve lived my whole life in Sydney, and even I sometimes get overwhelmed by the busses, trains, trams, ferries and numerous other forms of transport zooming around the city.

App for Sydney public transport

In my opinion, the best app for all transport in Sydney is TripView. There’s TripView, which is the paid version, and TripView Lite which is the free version.

The Lite version does everything the paid version does, except it doesn’t save your trips to reference at a later date.



How to pay for public transport in Sydney

First and foremost, what do you need to be able to ride public transport in Australia? You need an Opal Card. This is a pre-paid card that you can pick up from any NewsAgent or Opal Retailer – check out the map here if you’re not sure where to get one. Alternatively, you can order one. The card is free, with a minimum $10 deposit onto the card.

This card is used to ‘tap on’ and ‘tap off’ of each mode of transportation similar to the x in London or Y in New York.

You must tap on and off or you will be charged the maximum freight.

The cost of public transport in Sydney

A general one way fare in and around the city will cost you around $3 – $4AUD. If you want to work it out exactly, you can view the train fares based on kilometres travelled here.

To and from the airport

As the airport is a privately owned line, the cost to ‘tap off’ at the airport is $14.30 for an adult.

Unethical Life Pro Tip: If you let your card dwindle to about $4, you can ‘tap on’, then when you ‘tap off’ at the airport, it will still let you through but your card will just go into ‘negative dollars’ for the next time you top up.

You can just throw it away and get a new one.

Off peak and on peak

Depending on the time you travel, the cost will vary. If you travel between 7am – 9am and 4pm – 6.30pm on weekdays, your fare will be 30% more expensive because it’s ‘on peak’

Using the trains

The map of the network is pretty simple to reference, each train line is indicated in a different colour. For example, if you hopped on the train at Waterfall (bottom of the map) you would be on a train that will terminate at Bondi Junction.

If you wanted to get to Cronulla from Waterfall, you would have to change trains at Sutherland. This is because some trains going south will go to Cronulla, but none of trains going north do not. Make sure you check the screens on the platforms!

So your trip might look like this;

Coming from Waterfall:

Hop on at Waterfall > Travel north to Sutherland > Change trains at Sutherland, onto a Cronulla train > Hop off at Cronulla

Coming from Bondi Junction:

This one’s a little different, as every 2nd or 3rd train from Bondi will go to Cronulla, and the others will head to Waterfall and the south coast; so you have to pay attention to which one you’re getting on.

Hop on at Bondi Junction > Hop off at Cronulla (pretty straight forward if you got on the right train)

Alternatively; Hop on at Bondi Junction > Travel south to Sutherland > Change trains at Sutherland, onto a Cronulla service > Hop off at Cronulla

Not all trains stop at every station. Some of the trains are express, which means they stop at select locations. This is displayed on screens at each station platform.

All trains will stop at the stations with the white bubble indicators, like Central, Town Hall, Redfern, Wynyard, etc. (see below)

Important things to note:
  • Not all trains are on the same line
  • You may have to change trains multiple times
  • Some trains are ‘express’, which means they skip stops
  • You must tap on and off


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