Getting a Sydney Transport Card (Opal Card)
To get anywhere in Sydney via public transportation, one must first purchase an Opal card. Which leads us to our first question:
What is an Opal card, and where do you get one?
Opal is the electronic ticketing system in Sydney. This card is essential when using any type of public transportation to get in and around the city. There are a few types available but you’ll most likely fall under the “Adult Opal” (16 years old and up). For more details about different types of cards, go here.
You can purchase an Opal card at one of the 2,100 Opal retailers in Sydney. Look for the Opal symbol at shops including newsagents, convenience stores, supermarkets and post offices. To find one near you, go here.
How much is Opal card?
The physical Opal card is free and you only pay for the rides you take. You must “top up” or put money on your card at an Opal retailer or station in increments of $10 via cash or card. You can also top up online, through the Opal app, or via phone. To find a Top Up Station near you, go here.
Prices per trip vary, depending on the distance you travel and mode of transportation you use. Train rides will cost between $2.42 and $8.50, bus rides between $2.15 and $4.61, ferry rides between $5.88 and $7.35, and light rail rides between $2.15 and $3.58. For more information on prices go here, and for a trip planner to see how much a specific route costs, go here.
You can save money by traveling during the “off-peak” times. Peak times for the Sydney Trains network are 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. during weekdays. For the NSW TrainLink Intercity services area, peak times are from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. during weekdays. Traveling outside of peak times, during the weekend or on public holidays will give you a 30% discount (already reflected in the lower prices above).
How to use an Opal card
When using an Opal card, you must always tap on when you enter a station and tap off when you leave a station. If you don’t, you’ll get charged the maximum amount (or distance) possible. If you neglect to tap on at all, you can be fined. To tap on, just hold your card against the reader (the part with the Opal symbol on it) and it will make a sound confirming that you have successfully tapped on. Your balance will also conveniently pop up as well. Do the same to tap off.
Where does the Opal card work?
The Opal card can be used on all Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink Intercity trains, the light rail, all Sydney ferries, the Stockton Ferry in Newcastle and all buses in Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Hunter, and Illawarra.
How to get from Coogee to Sydney CBD
There are a few different ways to get from Coogee to the city center. We definitely recommend taking the bus, as it’s the easiest and cheapest. The other options are the train, Uber, taxi or driving your own car.
Bus from Coogee to Sydney CBD
There are a few bus stops right at Coogee Beach that can take you to the city center. Bus 373 and 374 are the most direct, taking you to Circular Quay and stopping at Centennial Park (stop Australian Turf Club, Alison Rd), Central Station, Hyde Park (stop Museum Station) and the Botanical Gardens (stop Museum of Sydney) on the way. Both 373 and 374 take about 40 minutes to get from Coogee Beach to Circular Quay and you can enjoy a bit of sightseeing on your journey.
Coogee bus stop
The main Coogee bus stop is called “Arden St near Coogee Beach”. It’s located on the main road, Arden Street, right at the center of the beach. You’ll see a yellow and blue sign indicating where the bus will stop. To go into the city center, you’ll head south first and you’ll want to be at the stop on the side of the road next to the beach. To go to Bondi Beach, you’ll be on the opposite side of the road to go north.
Sydney bus timetable
Sydney buses generally run on time. To find all bus schedules, go here. Where it says “Enter a route number”, enter the bus number. For Bus 373, go here and for Bus 374 go here.
Bus 373 is more frequent and runs 24 hours a day. The frequency of departure times varies throughout the day from every 5 minutes (peak hours) to every hour (late night hours after midnight). During most other times of the day, buses depart about every 10 minutes.
Train from Coogee to Sydney CBD
There are two main ways to get to the CBD from Coogee by train. The first way is to go through Bondi first. The second way is to through Green Square Station, near the neighborhoods of Waterloo, Alexandria, and Zetland.
Coogee to Bondi to Sydney CBD
First, take Bus 353 from the main Coogee bus stop. You’ll go 14 stops and get off at Bondi Junction Station – Stand P, which takes about 15 minutes. From here, take the T4 train four stops and get off at Town Hall Station, which takes about 10 minutes. The entire trip, including transfers and walking, takes about 40 minutes.
Coogee to Green Square Station to Sydney CBD
First, take Bus 370 from the main Coogee bus stop. You’ll go 16 stops and get off at Green Square Station, Botany Rd, which takes about 20 minutes. From Green Square Station, take the T8 train to St. James Station, which takes about 5 minutes. The entire trip, including transfers and walking, takes about 40 minutes.
Driving from Coogee to Sydney CBD:
Taking an Uber or a taxi from Coogee to Sydney CBD will cost you about $40 and takes around 25 minutes. This is the most convenient but obviously the most expensive way to get around Sydney. Parking around the city varies and is most difficult in the city center.
Parking at Coogee Beach
If you decide to rent a car or have your own, there is parking available at Coogee Beach. In the map below, you can see which streets have 24-hour free parking, as well as four-hour, two-hour and one-hour free parking from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. Make sure to also check the signage on the streets to avoid parking fines.
Best Sydney public transportation apps
We know that using public transportation in a foreign city has its challenges. Make your trip even easier by downloading one of these apps.
- TripView: See up-to-date departure times for all Sydney buses, trains and ferries. Plan your trip accordingly and find the best routes to take around the city. You can also download this data to your phone, handy for those without Australian SIM cards. Plan your trip at the hostel and you’re set for the day!
- TripGo: In addition to trip planning, TripGo gives details about the fastest, cheapest and most environmentally friendly way to get to your destination. This one is the obvious favorite of Mad Monkey.
- TransitTimes: This app also works for many countries besides Australia, including New Zealand, the United States, and Canada. TransitTimes allows you to download timetables for over 70 cities so you can plan accordingly, even when you’re offline.
Mad Monkey Hostel Coogee Beach
If you stay at Mad Monkey, our hostel is right across the street from the main Coogee bus stop. Just steps away from the sand and surf, Mad Monkey Hostel Coogee Beach is ideally located, and our welcoming staff can help you with any transport questions or needs you have!
More information about using public transportation in Sydney
If you need more help planning your routes around Sydney, check out these other articles:
- How to Visit Sydney Beaches by Public Transport for Sydney Expert
- 10 Tips for Navigating Sydney Public Transportation for The Education Abroad Network
- Getting Around in Sydney by Larry Rivera for TripSavvy