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Sydney is becoming a world city, and it can be frustrating and wallet-draining without knowing the essential ins and outs of this big vibrant city.

This family travel guide contains all the must-know before you go information to help your family travel planning a tad bit easier!

Best Time to Visit

Sydney is warm most of the year, best beach weather is between September to April.

May to August are wet seasons here, with highest rainfall in June. Max. temperature is around 16°C, and night-time rarely drops below 5°C.

Even in the cold days, Sydney is buzzing with life. At the End of May to early June is the annual Vivid Sydney festival.

Getting Around

Sydney is very well connected with buses and trains, with the convenience of cashless Opal Card, public transports are the most cost effective way to travel around. However, if you plan to do coastal drives from Sydney, hiring a campervan would be a dream come true. Alternatively, Uber is quite popular nowadays for spontaneous short trips here and there.

Public Transports

Opal Card

  • Get one from any of the retailers: airport, train station, convenience stores…
  • One card for all public transports. (Privately owned ferries excluded)
  • $2.80 All Day Sunday fare. (Including trains to Blue Mountains, Newcastle…)
  • Daily & Weekly Caps
  • Off peak discounts
  • Easy app to check balance and top up.
  • Take the Airport train straight to Circular Quay for ~$20 – You can get more information here
  • Use NSW Trip Planner to plan your trip.

Ride Share


  • Enjoy the convenience and comfort of an occasional trip.


  • A new concept of hiring private cars, very affordable.
  • Hire hourly or daily.
  • Alternative: popcar

Sim Card

These 2 are by far the best value prepaid SIM cards in Australia. Both have affordable talk & text or data only plans, valid for 30 days, no lock-in contracts.


  • Starting from $24.90, 1.5Gb data, unlimited talk & text.
  • Unlimited calls to 10 international countries!
  • Great app to keep track of usage.


  • Starting from $9.95, 1Gb data, $200 calling, unlimited text.


Tipping is usually not expected in Australia. However, it’s common to tip 10% in upscale hotels and 3 hats restaurants.


The big 4 are: Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), National Australian Bank (NAB), Westpac, ANZ.


Holiday Parks

Holiday Parks are very popular in Australia, usually you can find campsites around the coast and in national parks. Beach & Barbie (barbecue) is the Aussie way of living, so definitely consider camping on your bucket list.

Good sites book out quickly during summer holidays, weekends and public holidays. Glamping is also becoming increasingly popular.


Below is a list of popular websites for hotels. We use all top 3 hotel booking sites, but our favorite is Hotels.com for their rewards system.

Shared Accommodation & Holiday Rentals

Airbnb is a great alternative if you want to experience authentic Aussie living. Especially out of Sydney central, you could meet some very interesting locals.

Gumtree is the most popular classified website here. You can find short-term stays, room shares, house sitting, and long-term stays.

Stayz has a list of short-term holiday rentals.

Flatemates is another share accommodation website.

Short Term Accommodation

Domain & Real Estate are the websites to use for longer stays.


There’s 4 big brands: Woolworths, Coles, IGA, Aldi.
Aldi has the cheapest prices, but bring your own bags, or purchase a reusable one at checkout.
Woolies and Coles are the most commonly found supermarkets in every suburb.

Best Coffee

Australia is known for its cafe culture, depending on where you are, the best coffees are generally found in nearby trendy suburbs just outside of CBD. Below is a list of cafes known for good coffees.

  • Surry Hills: Artificer Coffee, Single O, Sample Coffee, Reuben Hills, Paramount Coffee Project, Neighbourhood
  • Newtown: Campos Coffee Newtown, Brewtown Newtown
  • Marrickville: Coffee Alchemy, ONA Coffee Marrickville

Must Try Food

  • Vegemite on toast
  • Aussie Fresh Prawns
  • Tim Tams
  • Steak & Cheese Pie
  • Anzac Biscuits
  • Fish & Chips
  • Croc & Roo Pizza: Yes crocodile & kangaroo pizza!

Best Beaches in NSW

  • Bondi
  • Manly & Shelly
  • Coogee
  • Bronte
  • Dee Why – Long Reef
  • Freshwater
  • Palm Beach
  • Maroubra
  • Cronulla

Best Day Trips from Sydney

Sydney North

  • Northern Beaches
  • Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park
  • Central Coast
  • Newcastle
  • Hunter Valley

Sydney West

  • Blue Mountains
  • Jenolan Caves

Sydney South

  • Royal National Park & its Beaches
  • Kangaroo Valley
  • Wollongong
  • Illawarra

Sydney East

  • Eastern Beaches

3-5 Days Road Trips from Sydney

Sydney North

  • Port Stephens
  • Seal Rocks
  • Forster / Taree
  • Port Macquarie

Sydney West

Sydney South

Don’t Be A Stranger!

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