Update: As of mid 2011, the light rail is now included with a MyMulti ticket. If you choose to buy a MyMulti ticket for your transportation needs, the light rail is freely included.
In 2007 I finally got on the light rail here. I am always happy on a street tram and that is essentially what it is.
As part of the super pass which covers both fare zones on the light rail and also the monorail for $15 per person you can ride as much as you want all day long. The free city guides available at the airport and also the visitor centers have a 20% off coupon for this ticket. So you can also save $3 here. The day you do this take the light rail out to the Fish Market and enjoy an excellent lunch. Then continue on out to Lillyfield just to see the scenes. Glebe is also on the line and worth a walk about with many great restaurants and is also very near the University of Sydney.
The light rail is now part of our trip each time we come to Sydney.
There are also plans in the works to extend the light rail north from Central Station to Circular Quay. This is not set in stone but would be a great thing for Sydney if they can manage it.
The CityRail network is one of the most cost effective, reliable and convenient ways to travel around Sydney and beyond. Whether you're a commuter or leisure traveller, our comprehensive range of services offers total flexibility when it comes to planning your trip.
This site aims to deliver a fast and user-friendly way to get helpful information on all CityRail services.
CityRail's ticket prices are based on the distance you travel and represent extremely good value. You can choose from a wide selection, depending on your needs, whether you're a commuter or leisure traveller.
If you’re visiting Sydney...
Sydneysiders enjoy it every day, visitors make the most it while they can. It's the experience of being in a vibrant city, Australia's premier city, a city known around the world for its beaches, its harbour, its Opera House, its Harbour Bridge and much more.
Because there are so many things to see and do, so many places to visit in and beyond Sydney, CityRail has a range of ticket options to suit different needs. Click here for details – Out & About in Sydney.
Sydney's CityRail is an easy and convenient way of getting around the compact city. There are about 10 separate lines that help you navigate the main tourist areas and outskirts of Sydney.
We used the CityRail a few times around the city as well as from the airport upon our arrival.
Notwithstanding my second picture I highly recommend this service if your final destination in Sydney is within walking distance of a train station.
Catching the train is the fastest way to reach Sydney Airport or to get to the city from the airport. Services run directly to/from the city centre to/from stations located inside the Domestic and International terminals. You can probably go cheaper by bus but for the extra dollar or so I prefer the faster train service. Cost-wise if there are two the cost v.v taxi is less – for three plus take a taxi though that will take 30min plus depending on traffic.
It only takes 10 minutes to travel from Central Station to Domestic Airport Station and 13 minutes to International Airport Station.
On weekdays there are approximately six to eight services every hour from 6.00am until 10.00pm, and then four per hour until the last train. On weekends and public holidays there are four services per hour. Check you web for details timetable - http://www.airportlink.com.au/.
The Airport fare is made up of two components - an airport station access fee (a premium to use the airport stations) of $13.40. The balance is a regular train fare. For the additional fee you 'get' a regular suburban train which can range from modern and clean to disgusting. Other countries that charge additional fees to get to/from the airport are less audacious than Sydney and provide a higher quality/ faster train to justify it - think Hong Kong and London - though at the latter you can also use the regular underground system with NO premium.
All Sydney transport requires you to have an Opal Card (recommended) or to pay an Opal Single Trip fare (not recommended).
The current full fare (Opal Single Trip fare) is A$17.50 single adult to any station in the city (ie on the train you board) plus Kings Cross (change at Central Station) from the domestic airport and $18.50 from the international terminal (Sept 2016). Single Trip fares to other stations – change at Central Station – cost a bit more. You do not need to pay this much if you buy an OPAL Card at the airport.
If you plan on using any other public transport on your visit to Sydney you should not buy the Opal Single Trip fare for the airport train but rather use an OPAL Card, which you can get at the ticket window (not machines) at both airport train stations. While there is no way to avoid the $13.40 access fee the balance of the fare is subject to OPAL card rules meaning it will be between free and $2.36 ($3.38 peak times) for either airport station. So the maximum cost with an OPAL card will be $16.78 from either station to the city. OPAL cards can also bought at various other locations in the airport - WHSmith for one (see list on www.opal.com.au).
For full information on the OPAL card my OPAL Card review. The card itself is free - you decide how much credit to put on it.
Just a little trick for the more agile with lighter luggage. If your intended destination is Town Hall Station you will note that it is marked as the last station on the route (the train actually carries on through to Central Station but that is not relevant here). You can save about 10 minutes if you alight at Central, switch platforms and get any train going in the opposite direction (North Shore line or City Loop) - at no extra cost. While this is not hard its probably not worth the bother.
In the event that you do get a less than welcoming train (second picture) on your arrival into Australia it is not reflective of what this wonderful city has to offer more generally - this you will quickly work out but don't be disheartened. I should also add that the trains to and from the city are safe (as indeed is most of the network at any time of day).
Access to the train station at both Domestic and International terminals is well signposted and a short walk in both instances. Lifts are available for people with heavy luggage.
This is the simplest form of Sydney public transport to tell you about as there is only one line, though as I write (September 2016) construction of an extremely controversial line connecting Central Station and Circular Quay via a track down George Street is underway and will, according to its detractors and other more supportive observers like myself, cause traffic havoc in central Sydney for the next few years! It will also be the world’s most expensive light rail system on a per kilometre basis – if that’s any claim to fame. And that's before the budget blow-outs occur.
I have digressed.
The current light rail system runs from Central Station to Dulwich Hill with a significant detour to take in The Star casino. It operates 24 hours per day with a late night focus on getting punters between the City and the casino. The frequency of trains varies a bit so rather than try and relay the detail here I invite you to visit the website below. Suffice to say that during daylight hours trains run at around 10-15 minute intervals.
From an average tourist perspective you are unlikely to want to go beyond Rozelle Bay (a trip of 30 minutes from Central Station).
In terms of where you might want to go to via light rail, might I suggest, working back in from Rozelle Bay:
Rozelle Bay – to walk back towards the city along a beautiful coastal walk (perhaps take the light rail again at Glebe station)
Jubilee Park – Sze Yup Chinese Temple
Glebe – to explore the trendy suburb of Glebe
Fish Market – Sydney Fish Market
The Star – The Star Casino
Pyrmont Bay – Darling Harbour
While there are stops at Capitol Square (lower George Street for the city) and Paddy’s Market you would be unlikely to want to walk up the hill to Central Station, basically past these stops, to catch the train back down to them! Of course if you arrived at Central Station you could use the light rail to go to these places but given the short distance to them it would be quicker and easier to walk unless you are carrying heavy luggage.
The trains themselves are all relatively new and in good shape.
All Sydney transport requires you to have an Opal Card (recommended) or to pay an Opal Single Trip fare (not recommended).
Light rail fares are based on distance travelled.
0-3kms - Opal Card $2.10 : Opal Single Trip fare $2.60
3-8kms - Opal Card $3.50 : Opal Single Trip fare $4.20
Opal card fares above relate to full adult fares pre any caps/discounts earned. Opal single trip fares attract no discounts, give you no transfer rights, etc.
While officially paper tickets no longer exist for use on Sydney Transport the Opal Single Trip Fare is the (more expensive and restrictive) equivalent. For light rail they are available from machines at certain stops only with some machines only accepting credit cards. In short forget about Opal Single Trip fares and buy an Opal Card.
Please refer to my separate review on the OPAL Card.
In the event that you are using an opal card, ensure that you tap-on (validation) prior to boarding the train and tap-off once you leave the train using the machines you will find on the platforms (similar to the ferry machine one in picture 3). You cannot tap-on or tap-off on the train. If you fail to tap-off you will be charged as if you travelled to the end of the line. If you fail to tap on you will be travelling without a valid ticket and dealt with accordingly.
I need to begin with a big "thank you" to VT member Craic who sent me this photo of the actual vehicle I describe in this tip. (I had orignally included some random train, which made the whole tip kind of confused.) [Q shoots a "thumbs up" to Craic.]
Craic also clued me in to the fact that while this conveyance is officially called the "light rail" and that signs in the street direct passengers to the "light rail," the locals know it as the "tram," and that the stops are, in fact, called "tram stops" both officially and colloquially. Go figure. (At least I'm not alone in my tram/train/rail confusion!)
So without further ado, the tip itself....
The light rail is a transportation network for getting around in the central part of Sydney. It's not a commuter system at all, but it is useful if you arrive in Sydney at the Central Station railway terminal since you can get the light rail from there to a number of stops where hotels are located. And it's also good for getting to some of the green areas at the very back of the harbour such as Federal Park and Jubilee Park.
There are many Train stations around sydney except for the northern beaches side.
At each train station there is a details map of the train lines so you can plan ahead of time were to get off. Like the buses the trains are a very good way to travel around sydney. They are comfortable and there are undercover security officers gurading the trains at all times. The trains run to the early hours of the morning.
Sometimes its easier to take the train rather than your car to the city centre. Parking is expensive in the city vs a train ticket with will cost around AUD$4.00 Rtn
It is the easiest way to get around Sydney and out of Sydney to all the main sights. Simple, fuss free and relatively comfortable. Haven't gone wrong using it so far for myself!
Possibly the most confusing for 1st time visitors to Sydney will be the varieties of types of tickets available. I know I did. Besides the usual day tickets and commuter tickets, it would be easier for visitors to grab the various types of Leisure tickets available:
THE DAY TRIPPER
An all-in-one day ticket for CityRail train, Sydney Buses and Sydney Ferries travel. Also includes fantastic discount offers to Sydney's attractions.
Adult A$15; Child A$7.50
THE CITY HOPPER
Unlimited all day CityRail travel around 11 stations within the city area. They include: Central, Martin Place, Museum, Town Hall, St James, Circular Quay, Kings Cross, Wynyard, Redfern, Milsons Point and North Sydney.
Adults A$6.80(peak) A$4.80(off-peak); Child A$3.40 peak) A$2.40(off-peak)
THE SYDNEY PASS
Available for three, five or seven days. Unlimited travel for any three or five or seven days within an 8 day period for use rail, buses and ferries.
Please refer to site for limitations and charges.
The Network map of Cityrail is available if you click the link.
Situated only about 8kms outside Sydney CBD, transport to and from the airport couldn't be easier. A$11.20 will buy you a ticket to or from the airport on the train, which will take you into Central/Circular Quays (for The Rocks), change for King's Cross & Bondi. Domestic and International are side by side and are served by separate stations.
There is also the airport-to-hotel bus (A$8 one way) but you should be aware that this can take forever, especially if you are staying in the King's Cross area: route tends to be Darling Harbour, CBD, The Rocks, Woolloomooloo, King's Cross, Darlinghurst, Paddington (subject to passengers requirements).
The civic bus service between airport and CBD has been discontinued.
Train travel in Sydney is a good way to get around. Especially if you would prefer not to drive into the city center.
We bought a day pass that covered train and bus travel for the day, and we had 2 ferry trips on the same pass.
It worked out very inexpensive and convenient..
If you are in Sydney, you'll quite possibly want to visit Bondi Beach at some point. I certainly wanted to see this legendary beach while I was in Sydney in April 2006.
I asked the guy on reception at my hotel how best to get from Sydney to Bondi and he told me that the train would be far quicker than the bus. While a bus ride from central Sydney to Bondi would take up to an hour, the train journey would be a mere 15 minutes. However, the train only goes as far as Bondi Junction train station - from there, you will either have to walk 20-25 minutes down to the beach or catch a local bus. The weather was perfect, so I chose to walk.
Trains leave from Platform 24 (Suburban Trains) at Sydney's Central Station and a 1 way ticket costs 2.80 AUD (correct at April 2006).
You can purchase tickets from the counters at the station and you must then use this ticket to operate the turnstiles leading to the platform.
If you are not staying close to Central Station, there are other points where you can catch the train to Bondi. The route is as follows:
Sydney Central - Town Hall - Martin Place - Kings Cross - Edgecliff - Bondi Junction
At the time of my visit, a bus replacement service covered the Edgecliff to Bondi Junction leg of the journey, but signs at the railway station indicated that this was only a temporary measure in force over the Easter weekend.
I used the train to get from the airport to Sydney's Central Station. It didn't take long (15 minutes - give or take), and since I was staying a few blocks from the station it was an easy and no-fuss way to travel into the city.
Just be sure that if you use the ticket machine that you have EXACT change on you, as most machines I came across would only take exact change. To get from the airpot to Central Station cost me $11 (AU).