Sydney hop on hop off
How to see Australia's most exciting city from the open-top Sydney explorer bus
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Sydney is Australia's global metropolis and its beating heart, and one of the world's most exciting and fun cities, with beautiful beaches, fantastic year-round weather, multi-ethnic cuisine, history and rich culture.
It is also a relatively easy city to explore on your own, as it boasts a fairly good public transport system, although it covers a huge area, which means that getting from one spot to another can sometimes be quite time consuming…
That is precisely why joining the Sydney and Bondi Hop-on Hop-off Tour and discovering the city aboard an open-top double-decker bus is, indeed, a truly good idea… Not only does it save you a lot of precious holiday time, but it also gives you an opportunity to enjoy the best cityscape views (including lots of great photo ops) and drops you right at the doorstep of the city's most popular attractions and places-of-interest, so you don't have to bother about walking to and from the station, or changing buses…
The Sydney and Bondi Hop-on Hop-off Tour covers two routes and you are free to hop-on and hop-off at any of the 34 conveniently located stops around the city (25 of which are on the "Sydney Explorer" route, while the other 9 are on the "Bondi & Bays" route: Click here for the list), for either 24 or 48 hours, depends on the ticket you buy.
Rates and special passes
A 24 hours ticket currently costs around US$ 39 per person, and you can purchase a "family pass" which is valid for 2 adults and up to 4 children of maximum 16 years at around US$ 118.
A 48 hours ticket currently costs around US$ 59 per person, and you can purchase a "family pass" which is valid for 2 adults and up to 4 children of maximum 16 years at around US$ 177.
Sydney Route: First tour leaves Circular Quay at 8:30am, there is a bus every 15 – 20 minutes, and the last tour finishes at around 7:30pm
Bondi & Bays Route: First tour leaves Central Station at 9am, there is a bus every 30 minutes, and the last tour finishes at around 7:30pm
Times are subject to change due to local traffic conditions and seasons.
1. Circular Quay, the starting point of the Sydney Route, is one of Sydney's most central locations and boasts a seaside walkway, pedestrian malls, parks and restaurants. This is also where the ferry quays and the bus stops can be found, as well as a main train station, so getting there is really easy, no matter where in Sydney are you coming from.
2. From here, the bus travels along George Street to Wynyard precinct, where quite a few buildings from the city's early days can be seen, including the impressive General Post Office and the Cenotaph (on Martin Place), as well as some great shops (on George Street itself) and a fairly nice park (Wynyard Park).
3. Our next stop is on the corner of the streets George and Market, opposite Queen Victoria Building (A beautiful late 19th century shopping centre that has been restored just a few years ago): There are quite a few shops around this section of George Street, and especially the pedestrian mall of Pitt Street, which is one of Australia's busiest and most cosmopolitan shopping precincts, and is just a couple of minutes' walk from here (via Market Street).
Sydney Tower, one of the city's "must visit" attractions, is located above the new Westfield Shopping Centre, at the corner of Pitt Street Mall and Market Street (Head up to Level 5 and follow the signs from the food court).
You can also visit The Strand Arcade (412-414 George Street), which was Sydney's best retail area by the time it first opened its doors, back in 1892, and continues to be home to some of the finest stores in the city even today.
4. The next stop, still on George Street, is right opposite the iconic 1880s building of Sydney's Town Hall. Other than the town hall itself, you can visit the historic St Andrew's Cathedral and enjoy some pretty good shopping.
5 and 6 At this point we leave George Street and the bus travels via Goulburn Street to the corner of College and William (5), as well as to No. 100 William Street (6): These two stations are an interchange point for those of you who want to move to the "Bondi & Bays Route".
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7. Our next stop is on Darlinghurst Road, right outside Kings Cross Railway Station. Kings Cross (or simply "the Cross", as it is referred to by locals) is Sydney's "wild side" and one of the city's most vibrant entertainment and food district, buzzing with activity 24/7. It is home to Sydney's red light district, as well as to numerous cheap hotels, guesthouses, cafés and bars…
Visit the colossal Coca Cola billboard on the corner of William and Darlinghurst (a few minutes' walk), which has long became one of the area's "landmarks"...
|The Giant Coca Cola billboard in Kings Cross|
8. Still in Kings Cross, our next stop is on Macleay St, just a short drive away, where we can see the El Alamein Memorial Fountain and enjoy some people watching at one of the hip alfresco cafés along the shady street.
9. Onwards we travel with the sightseeing bus to our next stop, on Cowper Wharf Road, where we can visit the beautiful seafront promenade of Woolloomooloo Bay and Finger Wharf: The world's largest timbered-piled building, which was built a century ago and acted mainly as an export point for Australia's wool.
Nowadays the building is occupied by a swanky boutique hotel (You can enjoy your coffee, or light meal, at the Blue Café, which is located in the heart of the restored wharf).
The Art Gallery of New South Wales is also just a short stroll from here, inside the Domain Park.
Woolloomooloo Bay and Finger Wharf
10. Sydney Opera House, our next destination, needs little to no introduction… This architecturally inspiring building was completed and has fast become the city's best known landmark.
11. The Royal Botanic Gardens of Sydney, just a short drive from the Opera House, occupy one of the city's most spectacular positions and are well worth visiting… They are open daily, entrance is free and you can easily explore them on your own (See online guide & map)
12. Our Sydney hop on hop off tour continues to Macquarie Street, where the Parliament House and the State Library of New South Wales (NSW Library) are located, alongside some of the city's oldest public buildings.
13. Some other impressive buildings from Sydney's early days are located around our next stop, on Prince Albert Road (just a couple of minutes' drive), including the Sydney Mint Museum, which was built between 1811 and 1816 and is the oldest public building in the city's Central Business District and the adjacent Hyde Park Barracks, which was built in 1819 to house, clothe and feed convict men and boys (Both are worth visiting). While there, you can also pay a visit to the imposing St Mary's Cathedral and take a relaxing stroll in Sydney's Hyde Park, which houses some historical monuments like the ANZAC War Memorial and Archibald Fountain.
14. The Sydney explorer bus move onwards, to the Australian Museum, the oldest museum in the continent, which enjoys an international reputation in the fields of natural history and anthropology, and displays collections of vertebrate and invertebrate zoology, as well as mineralogy, paleontology, and anthropology.
15. and 16. The sightseeing bus stops in front of the colossal historic building of Sydney's Central Station - Australia's largest railway station (where you can interchange with the Bondi & Bays Route), before proceeding to Harris Street and our next destination, Powerhouse Museum, which is a fantastic science, technology and design museum that covers plenty of different topics and has a lot to offer to kids, teenagers and adults alike…
17. Our Sydney hop on hop off continues down along Harris Street and after a short ride we will get to Sydney Fish Market: A lovely seaside complex that incorporates a working fishing port, a wholesale fish market and a fresh seafood retail market, as well as some shops restaurants and alfresco cafés.
18. The Star City Casino, not far from there, is Australia's second largest casino. Overlooking Darling Harbour, this glitzy complex features two gaming floors, eight bars, seven restaurants and some cafés, shops and nightspots.
19. Just a short drive from there, the Australian National Maritime Museum, one of the country's largest and best museums, is spectacularly located on the Darling Harbour waterfront and features several exhibition spaces, both internal and external, where you can see historic vessels, migrant ships, antique racing yachts, WWII destroyers, jet-powered boats and what not...
You can also take a short walk from here, across Pyrmont Bridge, and visit other major attractions around Darling Harbour, like the spectacular Sydney Aquarium and the Sydney Wildlife World.
20. The Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, just a couple of minutes away from there, is our next stop. This is the entry point to Darling Harbour : One of Sydney's most popular dining and entertainment precincts, which spans along the harbor front and offers lots of attractions, as well as numerous alfresco restaurants and cafés…
21, 22 and 23 The next stops are next to the attractions of Darling Harbour (Which is ideal for those of you who really don't want to walk even a bit… or if it is too hot or rainy…): The sightseeing bus stops next to the Imax/Chinese Gardens (21), then next to the Sydney Aquarium (22) and then next to King Street Wharf (23), which boasts some more waterfront restaurants and bars, as well as some expensive residential blocks…
24. After a short stop at the Overseas Passenger Terminal, the Sydney hop on hop off bus continues to Hickson Road, and to Campbell's Cove, from where you can get a great view of Sydney's colossal Harbour Bridge, one of the city's most prominent features, which is locally nicknamed "The Coathanger" because of its arch-based design…
25. Our last stop, before returning to Circular Quay, is at The Rocks : The historic area where Sydney started its life from, more than two centuries ago… The sightseeing bus will drop you on the corner of George Street and Hickson Road, right at the entrance to the stone paved alleys of the old suburb…
After exploring "The Rocks", pay a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art, near Circular Quay, which is a must-see for art lovers.
- Pubs & Bars @ The Rocks
- The Rocks Discovery Museum
- Virtual Tours of "The Rocks"
- PDF map of "The Rocks"
|A short introduction to "The Rocks"|
Things to do and places-of-interest: Bondi & Bays Route
1. The bus departs from the colossal historic building of Sydney's Central Station - Australia's largest railway station (where you can interchange with the Sydney Route).
2. Our first stop is on the corner of George Street and Campbell, just a few minutes' stroll from Sydney's Chinatown, where you can find a wide array of Chinese shops and eateries.
3. The next stop is on the corner of Park Street and Pitt Street, just a short walk from Sydney Tower and the pedestrian mall of Pitt Street, which is one of Australia's busiest and most cosmopolitan shopping precincts.
4. and 5. From here, our Sydney hop on hop off tour moves onwards to the Australian Museum, on College Street, as well as to 100 William Street (on both these stops you can interchange to the Sydney Route).
6. The sightseeing bus drives from here to Oxford Street and Paddington Town Hall, which was built in the late 19th century and features a distinctive example of European architecture in Sydney.
7. Our next stop is on Campbell Parade, right next to Sydney's world-known Bondi Beach, where you can have a suntan or relax at one of the numerous seafront cafés and just enjoy the view…
8. Next in line is the corner of Campbell Parade and Brighton Boulevard, just a short drive away, which is right near the stretch of North Bondi Beach: Another nice and sandy beach, with plenty of restaurants and cafés.
9. Our Sydney hop on hop off bus drives onwards, to New South Head Road, in Rose Bay: A quiet seaside suburb with a nice and relatively serene beach, from where you can get a lovely view of the city and its harbor.
That's it… The sightseeing bus stops in Double Bay, before proceeding to the Australian Museum, where you can interchange with the Sydney Route and continue exploring the city…
Stop 1 Circular Quay.
Stop 2 Wynyard
Stop 3 Queen Victoria Building
Stop 4 Town Hall
Stop 5 Cook and Phillip
Stop 6 William Street
Stop 7 Kings Cross
Stop 8 El Almein Fountain
Stop 9 Woolloomooloo
Stop 10 Opera House
Stop 11 Botanic Gardens
Stop 12 Parliament House
Stop13 Hyde Park North
Stop 14 Australian Museum
Stop 15 Central Station
Stop 16 Power House Museum
Stop 17 Fish Markets
Stop 18 The Star
Stop 19 Maritime Museum
Stop 20 Convention Centre/ Hard Rock Café
Stop 21 Imax
Stop 22 Aquarium
Stop 23 King Street Wharf
Stop 23a Overseas Passenger Terminal
Stop 24 Campbell's Cove
Stop 25 The Rocks
Stop 26 Circular Quay
Bondi & Bays Route
Stop A Central Station
Stop B Chinatown
Stop C Park Street
Stop D Cook and Phillip
Stop E William Street
Stop F Paddington
Stop G Bondi Beach
Stop H North Bondi
Stop I Rose Bay
Stop J Double Bay
Stop K Australian Museum
Did you know ??? Taking a hop on hop off bus tour is one the best ways to see any large city, as it saves you plenty of precious holiday time and takes you EXACTLY where you want to go... (Not to mention the great cityscape views you can enjoy on the way...). Our "Hop on hop off guides" cover quite a few cities across the world, including Melbourne, Auckland, Wellington, Singapore, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai and many other destinations..... (Click on the links to go directly to the city-guide of your choice, or click here to go directly to our world hop-on, hop-off guide).
Map of the "Sydney Route"
View "The Sydney Route" in a larger map
Map of the "Bondi & Bays Route"
View The "Bondi & Bays Route" in a larger map