Visitors traveling to Sydney by air generally arrive at Kingsford Smith Airport at either domestic or international areas.
Transport options to the city centre include:
- Rail: There is a frequent train service between the domestic and international terminals and the city centre. The cost is ~$15 one-way and the journey is ~20minutes. Circular Quay is the stop closest to the conference venue. http://www.airportlink.com.au/
- Taxis: Cost up to $40 for city centre destinations. Make sure you have a clear address and ideally a map print-out with the location of your hotel clearly marked. Some taxi drivers are not so knowledgeable about the geography of Sydney, this can lead to confusion and a fare that is more expensive than it needs to be.
- Buses: There are many shuttle buses that can take your directly to your city hotel, costing from as little as $12.50 one-way. These buses need to be pre-booked. Some companies include:
Currency: The local currency is the Australian follar - $AUS. For current exhcange rates please visit: Australian Foreign Exchange Services
Banking Hours: Generally 9.30am-4pm Monday to Thursday, and 9.30am-5pm Friday, but some banks offer extended hours and some are open on Saturday mornings. Travellers cheques are widely accepted, as are major credit cards VISA, Mastercard and (to a lesser extent) AMEX and Diners Card. Most banks will engage in foreign currency exchange. There are many ATMs throughout Sydney.
Tipping: although it occurs, there is no formal tipping encouraged in Australia because generally wages here are not such that it is required and (especially in the central business district - CBD) prices can be very high. It is also socially expected that businesses treat both visitors and customers with respect and as guests, reflecting the broader Australian hospitality for which the country is famous - for some people tipping may very well be regarded as offensive, especially the further away from the CBD one goes.
Electricity: Australia runs on 240V, 50hz current, make sure the transformers, chargers, and electronic gear you bring can handle it. Plug adaptors with transformers are essential. If you need to purchase a transformer buy it before you depart for Australia.
Post Office: Open from 9am until 5pm Monday to Friday.
Units of measure: metric.
Rail Travel: Australia has an extensive rail network from Sydney connecting cities within New South Wales and throughout Australia. For more information, timetables and fares - Rail Australia
Tourist Refund Scheme: You can claim a refund of the goods and services tax (GST) and wine equalisation tax (WET) when you pay for goods in Australia. The refund only applies to goods which are taken as hand luggage or worn on to the aircraft or ship when they leave the country. For more information on the refund scheme.
Health: Sydney, like most parts of Australia, presents no real health risks for foreign visitors. Tap water is usually safe to drink - though since the recent desalination plant installation, the water taste can vary significantly with a much stronger chlorine taste being present. Restaurants and eating places are required by law to maintain a high standard of food preparation, and the city is generally clean.
Exposure to the sun can result in significant burning and appropriate protection should be put on. Those with little experience in swimming in the surf should be cautious when swimming at Sydney's surf beaches, such as Bondi and Manly, and should always swim between the warning flags (red and yellow) erected by lifeguards. Medical costs in Australia are not exhorbitant like in the United States and Europe, but travel insurance is still recommended.
Sydney Weather: More information.