Monday 13 April 2020

Tips for Sydney travelling holidays

Sydney CBD

Travelling to Sydney? Australia's most populous city offers so much to travellers and I highly recommend a visit if you love city life.

A tourist hotspot, it's easy to get caught up in the lights and glamous of the Harbour and the CBD. But there's plenty more to see in and around the city, such as the many beaches (not just Bondi!) and, of course, the incredible Blue Mountains.

If you're planning on visiting, I've put together some tips based on my last visit. I stayed in hostels and Airbnbs during my time in Sydney which, as a solo traveller, allowed me to meet different people from all over the world and make some new friends. It had a few downsides, too, but it was a mostly positive experience! These tips are based on my solo travelling experience...

1. Bring some 'nicer' clothes and shoes.

There are so many lovely restaurants and bars in Sydney, and some of them have certain dress codes. You'll get away with ripped denim shorts and flip flops in the day, but if you're going out in the evening, keep in mind that some places ask that guests are a bit less casual.

2. Ask your hostel for an Opal card. 

An Opal card is a card that you use to travel on Sydney's public transport (like London's Oyster cards). You can use it on trains, buses and ferries.

If you're staying at a hostel, ask the reception if they have any leftover Opal cards. Most hostels don't officially give them out, but a previous traveller is bound to have left one at the desk with some money still on it, and the reception may give it to you for free or for a small donation.

If your hostel doesn't have one, ask a fellow traveller if you can have theirs before they leave. If all avenues have been exhausted, you can just purchase one from an Opal retailer - they're located all over Sydney.

3. Try and travel with friends or as a couple. 

It's ironic that, in locations with more people, it can be so much harder to make friends. For Sydney I recommend cutting out the hard part and travelling with people instead. It's a pretty big city that doesn't have the same communal atmosphere as smaller towns (I'm sure it does if you're a resident, but from a traveller's perspective, it's more difficult to meet people in big cities), so if you're already travelling with a group of friends - maybe even people you met at a previous destination - you don't have to put in the extra effort.

That links to my next point...

4. Don't stay at YHA Sydney Harbour if you're looking for friends or parties. 

It's not a party hostel, and a lot of people that were staying there during my trip were families, couples and older people. Stay at one of the more central hostels like Wake Up! or YHA Sydney Central, or a smaller hostel if you're looking for more of a community atmosphere.

I'm thankful that I stayed in several different locations in Sydney, so I experienced the city from a few different perspectives.

5. Be aware of alcohol restrictions and bar closing hours. 

It's no secret that us Brits love going on a mad one and staying out until the wee hours, but Sydney is very different to London in that respect.

In Sydney's CBD (Central Business District), and many other suburbs in the city, it is illegal to drink on the street and your alcohol will be confiscated if you are caught doing so.

In a designated area within Kings Cross,Sydney and Newcastle CBD there is a lockout at 1.30am. This means that you can't enter bars after that point, even if you've just left for a walk and want to come back in. Last drinks are at 3am. There are restrictions on what can be served after midnight. For example, liquor cannot be served neat - so if you want a round of shots for your group, order before midnight.

6. Visit further afield destinations on a Sunday.

If you want to visit Manly or the Blue Mountains, I recommend travelling on a Sunday. This is because Opal cards are capped at $2.80 for any travel on a Sunday, compared to the weekday cap of $16.10 (figures as of April 2020).

7. Avoid the Sydney airport travel fee.

If you want to save money, you can be smart with your travel and avoid paying extra for the Sydney airport travel fare. The cost to travel to Sydney Domestic or International terminals starts from around $14 for a one-way ticket from Sydney Central. 

You can avoid this if you get off at Mascot station (one stop before the airport) and walk the 1.7km to the airport. You could also look at getting the bus instead, which is easier if you have less luggage.

I'll be honest with you - I just got an Uber. There was an extra $4.20 on top of the normal Uber fare, but it was worth it to skip public transport, queues and walking.

I hope you enjoy your trip to Sydney! Let me know what you're looking forward to most in the comment section below!


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