Getting Around Syndey and Using the Opal Card

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Walk with ChaMike in Sydney Transportation.

It was such a breeze going around Sydney. Mike and I enjoyed traveling because Sydney has an excellent transport system. Trains, Buses and Ferries are the major transportation used when going around the city and these three were all experienced by ChaMike.

First and foremost before introducing you to Sydney's transport services let me introduce to you the Opal Card and its functions. 

Opal Card vs Single Journey Tickets
Opal Card is a universal smart card ticket used in major transport services like trains, buses and ferries. Using an Opal Card will save you time and money, time because you don't need to buy a single journey ticket every time you ride a train or ferry, money because it offers so many benefits like:

Daily Travel Cap |  Travel all day for no more than AU$15 per day (Monday- Saturday)
Sunday AU$2.50 Travel Cap |  Travel all day on Sunday for no more than AU$2.50
Weekly Travel Reward | Take 8 paid journeys from Monday- Sunday and enjoy free travel for the rest of the week
Off-peak Train Fares | 30% off peak discount on scheduled trips

*for more about these visit

Opal Card

How to Purchase an Opal Card and Top up

There are several retailer that sell opal cards. We purchased ours at the International Airport right before we took a train going to our hotel (Wynyard Station). Take note that most retailers only accept credit cards (like in the airport and at the customer service center of Circular Quay). You can load your card in several denominations from AU$10 to AU$120 depending on the store. I consumed a total of AU$60 for our 5-day stay in Sydney. You can top up or reload your card in most of the train stations.

Opal Card station at the Airport

Credit Card only

How to Use Your Opal Card
Just tap on and tap off your card at the beginning and end of every trip to compute the correct fare. If you fail to tap on or off your card, fines will be applied. 

Tap on your Opal Card

Wait for the light and the turnstile to open

When you tap off your Opal card check the Opal reader display screen for the deducted fare and available balance of your card.

Tap off your card. Some stations have no turnstile so always remember to tap off.

When you tap off your card, the deducted fare and available balance will be posted

*The only exception for a "tap off" is at Manly Ferry as it only has one possible stop.

Single Journey Tickets
Use this for single journey transactions. We got ours at our last day when we went to the Airport as our Opal cards ran out of load and we didn't want to use our credit cards to reload it again. Getting a single journey ticket is the same as getting any train ticket.

Single Journey Ticket Vending Machine

My ticket to the airport

Now that you know the function of the Opal Card, here are the main transport systems you need to ride in order for you to get around the city.

Trains/City Rail 
This was our most used transport system out of all the rest since most major tourists spots can be reached via train. The City Rail like in most cities we visited consist of several lines but for tourists like us there are only a few stations that are relevant. The six stations that form the main City Circle railway are Central Railway Station, Townhall, Wynyard, Circular Quay, St James and Museum. If you want a hotel at a prime location, better book near these stations especially around Central, Wynyard & Circular Quay (We are booked at a hotel near Wynyard and Circular Quay). Airport can also be reached via train.

City Circle

Central Railway Station is the main hub - suburban, country and interstate trains departs from here
Wynyard Station is the station nearest to our hotel
Circular Quay Station is near the wharf and Sydney Opera House

Suburban Lines
The City Rail services numerous suburban lines like going to Featherdale Wildlife Park and Blue Mountains.

Katoomba Station when going to Blue Mountains. Love the feel of this station

Riding the City Rail Train
Know your destination and look at the screens plastered everywhere at the station to know what platform you need to go. Stations' stops and exact time of arrival are also posted on the screen. If you're not sure of the platform don't hesitate to ask questions from the train station personnel.

Blacktown Station going to Featherdale Wildlife Park

Platform Schedule at Central

Train going to Katoomba at Central

I was aliw every time I rode their trains. I've never seen a double decker carriage before, so riding it was so exciting for me. Plus, the seating arrangement is the most comfortable one I've ever encountered for a train. They have two-seater, three seater and parallel seating arrangement depending on the passenger's need. The double decker feature saves space so more passengers can be accommodated comfortably.

Double Decker Train
The Middle section of Suburban Lines
Middle Section of City Circle Rail

Upper section- the best way to view the city
Lower section - of course we experienced this too

Just a reminder that there are some quiet carriages for passengers who wish to have a peaceful ride. We encountered it once when we went to Blue Mountains.


Another mode of transportation is the bus. We rode about a couple of buses when we went to Bondi Beach, Featherdale and Blue Mountains. Stops and estimated time of arrival are posted on each bus stop.

Bus Stop at Katoomba going to Blue Mountains

List of stops and time are posted

Bus going to Featherdale

Inside their bus

Just keep reminding yourself to tap on and tap off the card every time you ride it.

Never leave Sydney without experiencing one of the Harbour Ferries. ChaMike tried the ferry going to Manly as it was highly recommended. Riding the ferry gives you a beautiful harbor skyline with the two most iconic landmarks in Syndey- Opera House and Harbour Bridge.

Ferry Harbour

Inside the ferry going to Manly Beach

Aside from these three, we also tried riding a cab just once from Grounds of Alexandria to the train station since the walking distance was too long. 

We enjoyed riding all these Sydney transport services as much as we enjoyed roaming around the city.

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