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Sydney

Getting around

For bus, ferry and train information, timetables and fare deals, call the Sydney Transit Authority's Transport Infoline (STA; 13 15 00) or check www.131500.com.au.

Boat

Water taxi

Water taxis ply dedicated shuttle routes; rides to/from other harbour venues can be booked.

Yellow Water Taxis (9555 9778; www.yellowwatertaxis.com.au; 7am-midnight) Circular Quay to Darling Harbour adult/child $13/8; 40-minute Harbour Tours adult/child $25/15.

Watertours (9211 7730; www.watertours.com.au; 9.30am-11pm) Opera House to Darling Harbour adult/child $15/10; one hour Harbour and Nightlights Tours adult/child $30/20.

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Car & motorcycle

Rental

Expect to pay around $70 per day for a zippy small car. Rates sometimes include insurance and unlimited kilometres; some companies require you to be over 25 years old. At the time of writing petrol cost around $1.45 per litre, and was steadily rising.

If you're looking to hire a campervan, Wicked Campers (1800 246 869; www.wickedcampers.com.au; 5 Tenterden Rd, Botany; 9am-4pm Mon-Fri, 9am-noon Sat) rents out spectacularly painted vehicles with room in the back where you can sleep. The following stalwarts also have vans (and regular cars) at their airport and city branches.

Avis (13 63 33; www.avis.com.au)

Budget (13 27 27; www.budget.com.au)

Europcar (1300 131 390; www.europcar.com.au)

Hertz (13 30 39; www.hertz.com.au)

Thrifty (1300 367 227; www.thrifty.com.au)

The Yellow Pages lists many other car-hire companies, some specialising in renting clapped-out wrecks at rock-bottom prices - read the fine print!

Bikescape (1300 736 869; www.bikescape.com.au; 183 Parramatta Rd, Annandale; per day from $80; 9am-5.30pm Mon-Fri, 9-10am & 4-5pm Sat) rents out well- serviced, low mileage motorcycles and scooters. The savvy staff can also organise tours.

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Bus & tram

Bus

Bookings are essential for the following services.

Kingsford Smith Transport (9666 9988; single/return $10/18; 5am-11pm) Connecting the airport and central Sydney hotels.

Manly Airport Bus (0500 505 800; single/return $30/63; 5am-11pm) A door-to-door service to/from Manly.

Bus

Sydney buses run almost everywhere. Bondi, Coogee and parts of the North Shore are serviced only by bus. Nightrider buses operate skeletally after regular services cease around midnight.

The main city bus stops are Circular Quay, Wynyard Park (York St) and Railway Sq. Buy tickets from newsagencies, Bus TransitShops and on buses. Pay the driver as you enter, or dunk prepaid tickets in ticket machines by the door. Fares start at $1.70; most trips are under $3.50. There are Bus TransitShops at Circular Quay (www.sydneybuses.info; cnr Alfred & Loftus Sts; 7am-7pm Mon-Fri, 8.30am-5pm Sat & Sun), Wynyard Station (Carrington St), Railway Sq (George St), and the Queen Victoria Building (York St).

Bus routes starting with an X indicate limited-stop express routes; those with an L have limited stops. Most buses depart the city on George or Castlereagh Sts, ploughing down George or Elizabeth Sts on the way back in.

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Train

Sydney's vast suburban rail network is the deft way to get around. Lines radiate from the underground City Circle (seven city-centre stations), but don't service the Northern and Southern Beaches, Balmain or Glebe. All suburban trains stop at Central Station, and usually one or more of the other City Circle stations too.

Trains run from around 5am to midnight. On weekends and after 9am on weekdays you can buy an off-peak return ticket, valid until 4am the next day, for little more than a standard one-way fare.

Twenty-four-hour ticket machines occupy most stations but humans are usually available too if you'd rather talk to something that'll listen. If you have to change trains, buy a ticket to your ultimate destination, but don't exit the transfer station en route or your ticket will be invalid.

For train information, visit the CityRail Information Booth (13 15 00; www.131500.com.au; Wharf 5, Circular Quay; 9.05am-4.50pm).

Train

Airport Link (13 15 00; www.airportlink.com.au; single/return from Central Station to domestic terminal $12/18, to international terminal $13/19; every 10-15min, 5am-midnight daily) runs from city train stations; return fares are cheaper after 9am and on weekends. A one-way trip takes about 15 minutes.

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Water

Ferry

Sydney transport's most civilised option - harbour ferries, JetCats (to Manly) and RiverCats (to Parramatta) - depart Circular Quay. Most ferries operate from 6am to midnight; those servicing tourist attractions operate shorter hours. The Circular Quay Ferry Information Office (9207 3170; www.sydneyferries.info; 7am-5.45pm Mon-Sat, 8am-5.45pm Sun) has details. Many ferries have connecting bus services.

A one-way inner-harbour ride on a regular ferry costs adult/concession $5/3. A one-way ride to Manly on the JetCat costs $8 (no concession, 15 minutes, half-hourly). A one-way RiverCat ride to Parramatta costs adult/concession $8/4 (50 minutes, hourly).

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Local transport

Taxi

A ride to/from Circular Quay should cost from $25 to $35; to/from Central Station from $20 to $30.

Taxi

Taxis and cab ranks proliferate in Sydney. Flag fall is $2.80, then it's $1.62 per kilometre (plus 20% from 10pm to 6am). The waiting charge is 68c per minute. Passengers must pay bridge, tunnel and road tolls (even if you don't incur them 'outbound', the returning driver will incur them 'inbound').

Major taxi companies that offer phone bookings ($1.40 fee) include these ones.

Arrow Taxis (13 22 11)

Legion (13 14 51)

Premier Cabs (13 10 17)

Taxis Combined (8332 8888)

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