Hotels, backpackers, transport, banks, cruises

Tips and Taxes 
Generally tips are not expected in Australia, but it entirely up to you, and if you enjoy a great meal or service, then by all means add a tip.   GST (10% Goods & Services Tax) is inclusive within charges, not additional to it, and there are no local taxes that are added to the prices that you pay in shops and restaurants – so the displayed price on a menu is what you should expect to pay.   Some restaurants may charge a Corkage charge (for opening a bottle of wine that you brought with you) or a Service Charge for holiday periods.

You can click on our hotel booking link to book a hotel to stay, but before doing so, here is some general information to help you find the Hotel or place that best suits your budget and needs.   Finding a Hotel that is close to the things you want to see will save you travel time, and there are lots of options in size and price levels, with and without breakfast, parking, wi-fi and other services.

  • To be close to the Harbour, Harbour Bridge, Circular Quay and Opera House – look for hotels located in the Harbour end of the CBD, or Rocks.
  • To be close to Darling Harbour – look for a hotel in Darling Harbour, Chinatown  or Ultimo
  • To be close to night light – look for a hotel  Potts Point, Kings Cross or Darlinghurst
  • To be next to an ocean beach look for a hotel in Bondi or Manly
  • To be close to the airport look for one in or near Mascot
  • To be close to football stadium/Sydney Olympic Park – look for hotels in Homebush
  • To be close to City Race Course – look for a hotel near Randwick. Rose Hill Races – Rose Hill or Parramatta.


At the airport there are buses that will drop you to some of the larger hotels in the City CBD.
In Sydney CBD there is a FREE Route 555 Shuttle Bus that runs from Central Station to Circular Quay via Elizabeth and George Streets. You will also see a red double decker ‘Sydney Explorer’ bus with an open top deck which travels to various Tourist locations in the city and also to Bondi. You can buy a 24 hour ticket and ‘hop on- hop off’ the bus to see the main sites in the city. See Tel: 9567 8400

There are also buses that run out to the various suburbs, and in the CBD you will see buses and bus stops with numbers and destinations on them. Also Sydney CBD has bus lanes marked for the exclusive use of buses to travel on.

there are a number of Taxi companies that operate from the most popular locations where there are also Taxi Ranks.
To phone/book a Taxi – phone one or more of these numbers

  • ABC Cabs  132 522
  • Legion Cabs 131 451 (Cabcharge  131 271)
  • Manly Cabs 131 668
  • Premier Cabs 131 017
  • RSL Taxis 9581 1111
  • Taxis Combined 133 300
  • St George Cabs 132 166
  • Silver Service 133 100

Water taxis –around Sydney Harbour  Tel: 1300 420 829  Tel: 9555 8888 Tel: 0414 708 020  Tel: 0418 847 777 Tel: 9299 0199
It is possible to hire a chauffeur driven car – everything from a stretch limo, Mercedes, Hummer or exotic car. Listed here are some websites of some Limousine companies

Car Hire
car hire can be organised from the airport or city.
NOTE: Cars drive on the left side of the road in Australia.    
These are some of the main Hire Car company numbers. BEWARE: be careful to check the car to make sure that any dents or scratches are noted on the paperwork. Also check the insurance options and what they call ‘the excess’.  The excess is a charge they make if you damage the car – and even if the damage was minor, they may demand the ‘excess’ to pay for it which can be substantial.

Tour Buses
These are some of the main companies offering BUS TOURS out of Sydney – such as to the Blue Mountains

  • AAT Kings Tel: 97000133
  • Andersons  Tel: 9636 6111
  • Australian Pacific Tours Tel: 1300 655 965
  • Dal Myles Special Tours Tel: 9972 0899
  • Fantastic Aussie Tours Tel: 1300 300 915
  • FJ Tours Tel: 9637 4466
  • Gray Line Tel: 1300 858 687
  • Oz Experience Tel: 1300 300 028
  • Sydney Day Tours Tel: 1300 935 532
  • Tours-R-Us  Tel: 9498 4084

Most Ferries and the Rivercat to Parramatta travel to and from Circular Quay wharfs, but Tourist Boats berth at a number of different locations.
Check at Circular Quay for different ferries. There is also a fast ferry to Manly – Manly Fast Ferry Tel: 9583 1199. There is also a ferry that travels to a number of different wharfs around the harbour, where you can hop on or off as you please over a 24 hour period – See Tel: 9583 1199
Water Taxis are also available See Tel: 9555 8888
Tourist Cruises 

  • Tall Ships - Campbells Cove – past the Overseas Terminal in the Rocks. Tickets from Wharf 5 at Circular Quay.  Tel: 1800 825 574
  • Jet Boats – Sydney Jet – Cockle Bay/King Street Wharf

Harbour Cruises

Deep Sea Fishing 

Ocean Cruises
Larger cruise liners (P& O, Cunard, Princess and others )berth at the Overseas Terminal in the Rocks, but also at White Bay Cruise Terminal – near Anzac Bridge.
Banks – ATM machines are located all over the city, and retailers will accept Eftpos, and Visa, Mastercard and in most but not all places American Express and Diners Club Card. The main Australian banks are Commonwealth (CBA), National (NAB), ANZ and Westpac.
Most have offices in the CBD or are represented by affiliated airlines.
Travel agents – the biggest Travel Agency companies in Australia are Flight Centre, and
Sydney has four seasons – Summer being December, January, February; Autumn (Fall) being March, April, May; Winter being June, July, August; and Spring being September, October, November.  It can get hot in the middle of Summer, with some heat wave days, but generally the temperature in summer will be 25? to 30?C. Winter can be colder, but it does not snow in Sydney and while the nights can get below 10?C the days will be generally between 15 and
Water Safety 
Sydney has beautiful sandy beaches along  the coastline and these beaches also have waves. These waves can be small, but also big and dangerous too in rough weather. While surf riders love the big surf and good waves, they also check the wind and the surf conditions each day, they also recognize that the surf can also be dangerous too.
For swimmers if you are not used to waves, the big waves called ‘Dumpers’ can easily knock you over (dump you). There are also sometimes ‘rips’ and ‘strong currents’– where the surge of the water coming to the beach, has a pull back current that can be quite strong, pushing you out or along the beach, making it hard and sometimes impossible to swim against it.
Most but not all beaches are patrolled by surf live savers or life guards – and on patrolled beaches the life savers check the water for rips and each day pick the safest place for swimmers, putting up two red and yellow flags each side of the safest swimming area.  Always swim between these flags, and only go into the water to a depth that you feel safe in.
DO NOT swim in the surf if you see a RED flag (highly dangerous currents or surf) or take great caution if you see a YELLOW flag (indicating dangerous conditions).

A couple of surfing hints 

  • Never try to swim directly against a rip or strong current (you will lose strength very quickly) try to swim across the current to get to calmer water.
  • If a big wave is too big for you to swim over the top of it, dive low under it, and let the wave pass over you.
  • To ‘body surf a wave’ – wait for a biggish rolling wave which is about to break (but hasn’t) and facing towards the beach swim as fast as you can and catch the wave holding your arms out stretched in front of you, then folding your arms (as if holding a water melon), and let the wave carry you forward with your head up to see where you are going. It takes a bit of practice to pick the right waves, and develop your body surfing skills and technique, but it is great fun.
  • Stay close to other people in the surf, rather than swim alone.
  • Keep watch as to where you are in the surf, relative to the safety of the beach. Don’t go further out than your swimming ability.
  • If you have small children playing – keep a close watch on where they are and what they are doing so that they stay safe.
  • IF you do get into trouble in the surf, wave a hand high in the air to attract attention and get help.
  • SHARKS – most Sydney beaches have a shark net across them and are generally safe. If a shark is seen, a shark alarm will ring, and you should immediately get out of the water as fast as you can. Most sharks will feed at dawn and early evening, and these are the least safe times to swim in the ocean. Swimming at night can also be very dangerous.
  • BLUE BOTTLES – sometimes with a high tide or rough weather Blue Bottles can wash onto the beach or be floating in the water. Don’t swim if you see blue bottles in the water. These are like a small 3cm bluish coloured balloon/bottle with bluish threads attached to them, and if they touch you, you will get a very severe sting. The remedy is to clean the stings with vinegar – and life guards will have this available to use. The other way to stop the sting is to rub ‘urine’ onto the sting area!
  • SUNBURN – Even on a cloudy day it is possible to get sunburn, so use suntan lotions and cover up, wear a hat and stay in the shade as much as you can. You will still feel the heat of the day, and have a good time, rather than spend time later with your skin burning. If you do get sunburn, use a cooling Aloe Vera lotion that you can buy from a pharmacy.
  • ROCK FISHING - every year Rock Fishermen get washed off the rocks, when a wave that they didn’t see, or one that is bigger than expected washes them away often to the death. It is essential to wear a life vest if rock fishing.

SURFING can be great fun and it is certainly that is healthy, free and will make you stay in Sydney more memorable.  

Gyms and Sports centres
 a lot of Hotels have their own ones, but there are gyms and sports/fitness centres all over Sydney. See and , but there are many others.

We hope the information above will help you find the things you are looking for.      

Best wishes      

Geoff Stuart

Happy Traveller

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