It is easy to forget just how big Sydney is once you are away from the city centre and out on the harbour, on one of its beaches, or in one of the many national parks that surround the city. Many tourists just drop in to the city to see the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, possibly take in a harbour cruise or a side trip to Bondi Beach and then jet off. However the city offers so much more for those with a little bit more time and the will to step beyond the tourist spots.


The sprawling city can roughly be divided into five sections – the city centre, the northern suburbs, the inner west and outer west, the south and the eastern suburbs. Each of the areas has its own character, and offers something for the outdoor type.

  1. City Centre

    Even in the middle of the city there are a few places to go to, and activities to do. Hyde Park, the Botanical Gardens and Domain offer large green spaces for enjoying a laid-back afternoon, an easy jog, or even a bit of fartlek.

  2. East

    East of the city lies some of Sydney’s iconic beaches, and the massive Centennial Park. If you’re more inclined to spend your time in or on the water, then the eastern suburbs offer a lot – swimming, surfing, diving, snorkelling and sailing.

  3. South

    As in the north, the southern suburbs have some great beaches, rivers to canoe, and national parks to explore. Australia’s first national park – The Royal National Park, marks the southern border of greater Sydney, and includes a wide variety of landscapes and activities, all accessible by the train stations that border the park.

  4. North

    Crossing the Harbour Bridge and into the northern suburbs can feel like you’re entering a whole new city – the suburbs are leafier, national parks and other park seem to be everywhere, and the beaches are less crowded. The area stretching from the harbour north shore to the Hawkesbury River is massive, and there are times when you could be forgiven if you forget that you’re in a large city.

  5. West

    And then there is the west, a massive area where a large part of Sydney’s population live. It is home to Olympic Park, and all that it offers, as well as the Parramatta River, the Hawkesbury/Nepean River, the Whitewater Stadium for those needing a whitewater rafting or kayaking fix, Australia’s largest climbing centre, some great mountain bikes rides, hikes and camping.

Map of Sydney

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Private interstate and regional bus travellers arrive at the Sydney Coach Terminal on Eddy Avenue, Central Station. Contact: 9281 9366.

There are three main companies that operate out of Sydney:


Sydney’s main rail terminus is Central Station for interstate and regional services. All suburban services also pass through Central Station at some point in their journey.

The government run CountryLink is the operator of the rail services (13 22 32;; Eddy Ave; staffed ticket booths 6am-10pm, ticket machines 24hr). Call for information, reservations and arrival/departure times.


Sydney’s main airport is Kingsford Smith Airport, and is only 10km south of the city centre. Transports to and from the airport is provided by government run train and bus services, as well as taxi operators and numerous private shuttle buses.

The international terminal (T1) and domestic terminals (T2 and T3) are 4 km apart, transport between the terminals is provided by the government trains and buses.

Sydney is a major regional airport and many international carriers fly to Sydney. Domestically, Qantas, Virgin Blue, Jetstar and Tiger Airlines fly to other major cities in Australia, and smaller carriers fly to other destinations in the country.

Sydney has a big harbour in the middle of it, so public transportation is a mixture of trains, buses and taxis, as well as ferries and water-taxis.



For a city like Sydney, the ferry is the most scenic way to travel. Harbour ferries service many locations, the JetCat offers a fast service to and from Manly, and the RiverCat travel to and from Parramatta. All services either start or conclude their journey at Circular Quay. Many ferries have connecting bus services

Water taxi

Water taxis travel along dedicated shuttle routes, however you can book a taxi to take you to other locations on the harbour.

Car & motorcycle


There are many car hire companies serving Sydney, and many of them have offices at the airport and in the city.

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Bus & tram


An extensive bus network services the Sydney region, consisting of both government run buses and private bus companies. Some parts of Sydney – the eastern suburbs and the northern beaches do not have a train service and are serviced only by bus.

Nightrider buses operate after regular bus and train services cease around midnight.

More and more buses are requiring passengers prepay their tickets. Tickets can be purchased at newsagencies, Bus TransitShops and Australia Post shops.

The main city bus stops are Circular Quay, Wynyard Park (York St) and Railway Square.

Bus routes starting with an X indicate limited-stop express routes; those with an L have limited stops.


Sydney has a large suburban rail network that services the city centre, the west and south-western suburbs, the southern suburbs and the northern suburbs. In areas that has no train service a bus service, either government run or privately owned, usually operates.

All suburban trains stop at Central Station, and a few of the other city stations as well.

For government run services the website offers timetables and journey advice.

Local transport


The expensive option in Sydney is a taxi service. Taxis operate in most areas.

The major taxi companies are:

  • Arrow Taxis (13 22 11)
  • Legion (13 14 51)
  • Premier Cabs (13 10 17)
  • Taxis Combined (8332 8888)

Car Hire

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Shop 35, Town Hall Arcade. Corner Kent & Bathurst Streets, Sydney


Paddy Pallin

507 Kent Street, Sydney


Mountain Designs

499 Kent Street, Sydney


The Outdoor Type Guide