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Should I rent a car in Sydney or is the transit good enough to get around?

Gonna be staying in Sydney for 14 days, and wondering if I should rent a car or just get around by taxi, bus or train.

16 Answers

top answer by

Inner city and beaches are easy by train bus and taxi. To visit the blue mountains and national parks you'll need a car. 

I would suggest hiring a car for only a few days and getting around on public transport for the most of your trip.

I've lived in Sydney for 5 years without a car.

9 thanks

answered by
Kelly from Santa Monica

I agree with Ian most of the time you will not need a car. If you stay in the CBD (city) or eastern suburbs there are many buses/trains (although not that cheap, Sydney in general is expensive). Hire a car for a day or two to go far away. Don't forget to get the ferry out to Manlyfrom Circular Quay- sensational views. Suggestions include: Blue Mountains, South Coast ( Jervis Bay, Hyams Beach) or Central Coast ( TerrigalNewcastle (Australia)). 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Manly (city)
  2. Circular Quay (attraction)
  3. Blue Mountains (attraction)
  4. Jervis Bay (region)
  5. Terrigal (city)
  6. Newcastle (Australia) (city)
  7. Hyams Beach (attraction)
7 thanks

answered by
Rob from Costa Rica

Mark, no need for rent a car mate, they are ridiculously expensive, the roads are appalling, parking fees can cost $7-$8 per hour and being a nanny state there are cameras every where to capture your every little move, big-brother is watching you. Sydney isn't a good place to drive. However, the train system is OK but expensive and unsafe especially at night ( e.g.; International Airport to Downtown Sydney is $17, one way! ) the buses are OK. Taxi's are probably the rudest and most expensive in the world if you can find one that actually speaks English. So in short, no. I'd avoid Sydney altogether if I were you.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Sydney (city)
  2. Downtown Sydney (metro area)
5 thanks

answered by
Leisa from Louisville, Kentucky

Hey Mark, Lived in Sydney for over 11 years, hope this bit of info helps.

Here's the first link to check out:, and you can get a pass which allows transport on busses, trains, ferries, and light rail for 24 hours- you wouldn't want to have one of these every day during your trip, e.g. if you are heading up to the Blue Mountains on the train (which I highly suggest) for the day.

But to take a ferry over to Taronga Zoo, and enjoy the harbour sights is magnificent. The transport network covers most everywhere you' want to go and is pretty easy to navigate, but definitely check out prior to heading out- preferably the day before because track work and buses replacing trains are notoriously frequent!

There is also a free CBD bus (the 555) that moves travellers around the city, but a warning, it can get very crowded at night! Here's a link:

And the variety of cuisines and sights throughout Sydney are wide and varied, from the Jewish delights and surfer burgers with pineapple and beetroot slices of Bondi Beach to the perfectly crunchy fish and chips of Watsons Bay to the brilliant vegetarian rice paper rolls and sugar cane juice in Cabramatta to cheap and cheerful Bill And Toni's Italian Restaurant you can't go wrong. And don't miss Lord Of The FriesEnjoy and ask away if you have any other questions. Cheers!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Bondi Beach (attraction)
  2. Watsons Bay (attraction)
  3. Cabramatta (attraction)
  4. Bill And Toni's Italian Restaurant (restaurant)
  5. Lord Of The Fries (restaurant)
2 thanks

answered by

Definitely train and bus. The public transport system is easy to use and reliable. Usually you can catch a train to the general area of where you're going and from there either walk or catch a bus to get there. Taxis are overpriced and unnecessary, car rental would be expensive and inconvenient due to parking. Use for information about how to get places on public transport and prices.

2 thanks

answered by
Klaudia from London

all depends what you want to see. If you are planning to just visit the key attraction on the tourist trail then the public system will be fine for you,  by that I mean the CBD, Bondi and Manly. If you want to get off the mass tourist trail then a car can really open up a different part of Sydney for you. Such as  Chowder Bay  a tiny beach from which you can walk to  Balmoral Beach to take in the harbor views . Or discover northern beaches . Stop for lunch  Dee Why or swim with the locals at  Freshwater Beach. then follow north to  Palm Beach to walk up to the lighthouse. Great local pub in that area is the Newport Arms Amazing to really get what sydney life is about. 

Or if beaches aren't your thing then grab some meat and BBQ  in some of the wonderful parks around to feel like a true local some worth a google might be   Lane Cove National Park or  Kuring Gai National Park

in essence if you want to explore nature get a car if more big sights are your thing then stick to public transport. Parking in the city is expensive so again depends where your base will be. Maybe split it half /half to get the best of both worlds . 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Balmoral Beach (attraction)
  2. Chowder Bay (attraction)
  3. Dee Why (attraction)
  4. Freshwater Beach (attraction)
  5. Palm Beach (attraction)
  6. Lane Cove National Park (attraction)
  7. Kuring Gai National Park (attraction)
  8. Newport Arms (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by
Candy from Singapore

Walk! If you have time, that's definitely the best way to explore Sydney.  Stayed in a hostel along Kings Cross Rd and we walked through  Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney all the way to The Rocks. Only transport we took was a ferry to Manly and back.Unfortunately, we decided to take a cab back from the port to Kings Cross Rd which was the worst decision ever because it cost a bomb and the driver deliberately took a longer route. I've stayed in Sydney for 2-3days and headed to Melbourne which was the only reason why we rented a car. Big brands like Hertz, Avis and Budget are more expensive. Head to Sydney and explore! We settled for Bayswater but I'm sure you can find cheaper options. The Grand Pacific Drive was sooooo good.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Kings Cross Rd (attraction)
  2. Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney (attraction)
  3. The Rocks (attraction)
  4. Manly (city)
  5. Grand Pacific Drive (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by
Michael from London

The best thing about Sydney is the harbour. If you can get accommodation near a ferry wharf, then that is perfect.  Manly, PyrmontDarling Harbour or  North Sydney are good options. Travelling on the harbour is a great way to enjoy the city including  Taronga ZooVaucluse and many other lovely spots.

I agree with the other comments recommending that you hire a car for a few days, when you want to go to the Blue Mountains or anywhere further afield. One of the great spots a little further away is St Albans. Go there on the way to or from the Hunter Valley.

Have a great time. It is a fantastic place.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Manly (city)
  2. Darling Harbour (attraction)
  3. Taronga Zoo (attraction)
  4. Pyrmont (neighborhood)
  5. North Sydney (metro area)
  6. Vaucluse (neighborhood)
2 thanks

answered by
Victor from Blue Mountains

Hey Mark, 

The public transport system in Sydney is pretty good so you can get to most places using trains or buses. Trains are usually quicker if you need to go a more than a few kms as Sydney's road system can get congested with traffic & slow. Buses are fine in the heart of the city. 

2 thanks

answered by
Rory from Taupo

Train, bus and ferry will get you most places, and are reasonably reliable. Ticketing is integrated, you can get passes that work on all three.

2 thanks

answered by
Sir. Andrew from Newcastle

Sydney is a lovely place to get around on public transport with it running well into the late evening/early morning. As a ex-resident I found getting around on a motorcycle hard enough and wouldn't want to rely on a car. Cost, lack of parking, and worrying about infringements will severely limit your utility of any vehicle you get a hold of. Stick to public transport, walking, Uber, and go get lost! As commented on by a few other people trains run far out of the city. A train to Newcastle (Australia) will get you near coach trips out to the Hunter Valley for some leisurely time in the vineyards. However if you are to get yourself a car even for one day the Royal National Park route to Wollongong is recommended, pretty high traffic so you wont by flying through at top speed but the views it offers will have you slowing down even more.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Sydney (city)
  2. Newcastle (Australia) (city)
  3. Hunter Valley (city)
  4. Royal National Park (attraction)
  5. Wollongong (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Lara from Cape Town

Hi Mark

I visit Sydney for a week and lived with family friends outside the city centre. I found it very easy to travel to and within the city using buses, trains and the Manly Ferry

It's cost effective and convenient if you know the timetables so you can plan accordingly.


Lara, co-founder of 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Sydney (city)
  2. Manly Ferry (attraction)
1 thanks

answered first by
Ulrika from Sweden

Hi Mark, 

I depends on how far out you want to travel, there are lots of things to explore within an hour from Sydney and then you may want a car. However, public transport is both effective and cheap. 

Hope this helps!

1 thanks

answered by
Patrick from Rotorua

Public transport is great in Sydney. Traffic is a bit tough and the city is quote spread out so between cabs, trains and trams you should be good. If you have to venture outside if the city, you can always rent a car.

answered by
Kevin from Waukegan

Sydney Public Transportation is outstanding; I would recommend you use the Public Transportation instead of renting a car; traffic is terrible and Public Transportation buses for the most part have their assigned streets away from traffic. 

We stayed at a hotel in Coogee Beach area and it took us about 45 minutes to get to Sydney's main attractions.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Sydney (city)
  2. Coogee Beach (attraction)

answered by

We were there for a few weeks, and we just used the bus and ferries.  I don't think I would rent a car there.

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