10 Things You Need To Know About Visiting Sydney

16 Sept 2014

Sydney Opera House Twilight View of Darling Harbour

So you've booked a trip to Sydney and are eagerly awaiting your departure date. Great! So now what? Well, if you're visiting from overseas there are a few things you should know about visiting Sydney that will make your time in the Harbour City easier and safer. However if you're an Aussie who's also planning a trip don't skip over this post because we have some handy hints for you too.

For overseas visitors, our top tips for you are:

1. Alcohol: The legal drinking age in Australia is 18 years of age and identification (such as a driver's license or passport) may be required to purchase alcohol or gain entry to pubs and clubs. It is also illegal to purchase alcohol for a minor (that is, anyone under the age of 18 years).

2. Driving: Australian's drive on the left hand side of the road with roads and major routes well signposted. Speed limits are expressed in kilometres per hour and must be strictly adhered to. Drink driving is a serious offence and is heavily policed so drivers must ensure they have a blood alcohol content of less than 0.5%.

3. Money: All banks offer 24-hour ATMs while branches are generally open from 9.30am to 4.30pm on weekdays. Travellers should consult their bank or card issuer before visiting to ensure money can be accessed while abroad. Travellers cheques are generally not accepted except where signed. Tipping is not mandatory in Australia.

4. Medical: Medical services are of a high level and are available via on-call doctors at your accommodation or at health care facilities. Some visitors may be entitled to free or subsidised medical care however it is highly recommended that all travellers take out travel insurance. If you are currently being treated for a medical condition that requires prescription medication it is advised that you carry a letter from your doctor outlining your condition and treatment.

5. Religion: Although a predominantly Christian nation, Australia is an ethnically diverse country home to many major practising religions and places of worship. To find a religious organisation or place of worship, visitors can consult the telephone directory.

More information on these topics can be found at our Sydney travel & visitor information page.

Now, Aussie travellers we've got some tips for you too:

6. Climate: Depending on when you're visiting, you'll need to pack accordingly. Remember winter in Sydney (June-Aug) can get quite cold while summer temperatures (Dec-Feb) can reach more than 30 degrees C. Even in summer the windy weather out on the harbour can get quite cool so remember to pack a cardigan.

7. Bus & Rail: Sydney has an extensive government-run bus service with frequent city services. The clean, modern blue and white buses display their destination and route number at the front and rear of the bus. The main terminals are at Circular Quay, Wynyard Park, York Street and Central Station. There is also an extensive suburban rail service run by CityRail offering efficient and modern rail service which is a welcome alternative to Sydney's notorious traffic. The most important rail routes for visitors are the City loop, North Sydney, Olympic Park at Homebush, and Parramatta.

8. Car Hire: Rentals are readily available from Budget, Avis, Hertz, Thrifty, Delta and Europcar and vehicles are generally no more than eight months old, with automatic transmission and air-conditioning. Renters have to be 21 or older and hold a current driver's licence.

9. Ferry Services: All services operate from Circular Quay to a large number of harbourside suburbs and are a great opportunity to enjoy the beauty of Sydney Harbour, visiting many suburbs which take much longer to get to by road or rail. Most ferry services connect with public bus services at their destination, though many are within easy walking distance of local attractions.

10. Dining: Sydney is home to an incredibly diverse multi-cultural society whose influences can be seen in the many restaurants found here. A food lover's paradise, Sydney offers clean, fresh food prepared by top chefs at iconic restaurants that continue to push the boundaries. Some of the most notable cosmopolitan cuisine originates from Asia and Japan, fusing excellent local produce with seafood, prime beef and lamb to create unique flavours unlike anywhere else.

There's also more on these tips on our Sydney travel & visitor information page.