I can imagine the quality varies with each individual bus trip but, if the one I went on was anything to go by, it is probably worth a miss and may not be suited for elderly and disabled passengers (of which I am the latter). From what I can tell, the audio recordings are done in advance and not live (which almost certainly happens on some of these types of hop on and hop off tours but, not for example, for the one I took in Philadelphia, which had a live tour guide). Sometimes the audio guide seems to be a bit vague on the places at which the bus stops so this can lead you to get off at the wrong stop. But, worst of all on our tour, the audio system broke down and the commentary was cut off mid-stream without warning and when we arrived at some of the stops, it wasn't even announced that we had stopped and there were no directions as to give those disembarking an idea of where they should go (and the bus staff didn't seem helpful). Additionally we waited at some of the stops for an excessively long time without any feedback from staff as to why we were waiting so long and then finally a staff member told us after about the fourth time it had happened -in barely coherent English -that the bus had broken down and another bus was coming. We had to wait for ages for another bus to come and there wasn't any help getting off the bus (the steps seemed quite uneven getting off) and I had a nasty fall and am still feeling considerable pain and discomfort. Even on the new bus, the audio system kept failing to work properly
Unique Suggestions: Don't get me wrong -the hop-on, hop-off tour is a great way to learn some of Sydney's history and for easy access to some of the major tourist attractions in Sydney (they also have some passes for some of the historical sites) but it does not compare to the hop-on, hop-off tours I've done in other countries, If you are elderly, disabled or a small child, you may struggle to cope both embarking onto the bus and climbing up to the top deck on some of the older buses that are used because the steps can be quite uneven and steep (and staff aren't always around to help you). If you are on the top deck, it can be quite cold in winter so make sure you bring something warm and watch out for branches from overhanging trees!
Several guidebooks mention the Sydney Explorer Pass as a tool to reduce the expenses of getting around Sydney. You can buy these passes online (www.sydneypass.info) or at booths at the Circular Quay. They're not cheap, and they are a waste of money.
Through the pass you can use myriad means of transportation while in Sydney - the ferries, buses, airportlink trains - as well as get discounts on major attractions. However, the pass is "activated" after you use it for the first time and will last for however long you have purchased it for (currently 3, 5, or 7 days). Even if you use it once, it will automatically deactivate itself after the preset time, regardless of how much money is left on it.
The ONLY way you recover the exorbitant cost of this pass is if you are a maniacal tourist with the boundless energy to see 20 sites each day (I exaggerate a little, but you get the idea). You are much better off purchasing transportation seperately.
These Taxis look kinda cool, coz they resemble a mix between water versions of New York taxi cabs and giant Jet Skis, but don't bother. They are much more expensive than the proper Ferries, and the one we took couldn't even stop at Lunar Park coz it was too choppy. We ended up going over to the Opera house instead but it was hardly what we'd expected.
Fun Alternatives: Use the normal Sydney ferries. They are chearer, more relaxed, and less bouncy.
if flying out of new zealand you have to go to the airport, of course. but how to get there? you'll find several options. taking the bus might be a good one. it costs you about 8 AUS-dollar. if you prefer to take the more agreeable train you pay about 3.60 dollars to a station very close to the airport, but more than 11 to the airport itself.
Unique Suggestions: instead of taking the train, take the bus or share a taxi.
Fun Alternatives: you also can take the ticket to the station next to the airport and do the 15 min. walk from there if you don't have too much luggage.
Not really a Tourist Trap... although it could be if you're thinking of driving yourself around, and you don't know the City very well...
Unique Suggestions: If you do come here by Car, at least leave it somewhere safe, and do your touring by other means.
Fun Alternatives: Public Transport... Trains, Buses, Taxi... or better still... WALK!!! You will see so much more of the city that way.
Cheapest way for a solo traveller I have found of getting to the Intl & Domestic airports is the number 400 bus from Bondi Junction , going to Burwood, about $3.50 without using a bus card. The route takes your through Randwick. Make sure the bus is going to Burwood.
Roadways, although congested in peak hour times, are generally well planned and driving is not too harrowing an experience.
Unless visitors to Sydney are specifically seeking out friends in outlying areas, most will have no real need to travel too far away from the central city area and the harbour.