Sydney: What You Need to Know

Getting Around

Sydney Tower and Monorail ILYA GENKIN / Alamy
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The Airport Link rail service connects Sydney's international airport, Kingsford Smith, to the city ($14). It's about a 13-minute ride to central Sydney. Trains operate from 5 a.m. until midnight daily. Taxis to the center of the city cost about $45, depending on the traffic and time of day.

Sydney lacks a metro; public transport is a patchwork of trains, buses and ferries. A DayTripper covering all three costs roughly $15; a weekly Red travel pass costs $35. But this is, overwhelmingly, a city for motorists. You might find it easier to simply hire a car to get from A to B.

Tipping is, if not required, welcomed by waitstaff — more pointedly at uppity eateries and bars. For taxis, round up fares by a dollar or so.

Summer Safety
As the country's alarming skin-cancer rates attest, the Australian sun is fierce, even if it doesn't feel like it. Always wear sunscreen and protective clothing. At beaches, the strength of the surf can surprise those who aren't used to it. Swim between the flags — rip currents are dangerous.

Tax Refunds
A 10% sales tax is included in most goods, but tourists can enjoy refunds on spends of AU$300 (about $275) or more. Keep those purchases in your hand luggage and present them with tax invoices (issued by retailers)at a special airport counter to recoup the tax.

Local Lexicon
You'll encounter less slang in central Sydney than in other parts of the land, but some use "G'day" as a greeting. Abbreviations are rife, like servo for a service station and arvo for afternoon. In pubs (often called hotels, even if they don't offer rooms), beer is sold in schooners (425 ml).

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