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Getting Around

DRIVING YOURSELF

Don’t be daunted by driving in Sydney, even though the volume of traffic is significant and the lanes are narrow. You’ll be in the driver’s seat if you follow these signs:

* please get yourself a satellite navigation system (TomTom, Navman, etc)

* be alert and courteous (although don’t expect a wave if you do a good deed. Life’s short – people move on…quickly!)

* stay left

* stick to the relevant speed limit (please be aware it changes frequently, ranging from 40km per hour for school zones through to 110km per hour on the interstate…with everything in-between: 50km, 60km, 70km, 80km, 100km!)

* have the appropriate insurance (you’ll need a green slip before you’re allowed to even drive off the lot)

* don’t drink alcohol or consume drugs then drive, and

* don’t dither; be decisive.

You are allowed to drive on your international licence for the first three months following your arrival, then you must secure your NSW driver’s licence. You’ll need to take all your documentation – current licence, proof of identity, proof of NSW address and so on – to the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA). Ring them on 13 2213 or go to: www.rta.nsw.gov.au/licensing/newtonsw/international_drivers.html

www.rta.new.gov.au – licencing and registration info for cars, motorbikes, etc

In Sydney, the National Road Motorists’ Association (NRMA) provides services like vehicle inspections, touring information, insurance, and roadside assistance in the event of breakdown. For more info, call 13 2132 or go to: www.mynrma.com.au

When buying, be aware the purchase price doesn’t generally include registration, stamp duty and compulsory insurance.

www.carsales.com.au – buying a car

www.drive.com.au – buying a car

To check if the former owner owes money on a vehicle, if it is stolen, deregistered or formally recorded as a write-off, ring 13 3220 (and select the REVS menu option) or head to the Registrar of Encumbered Vehicles (REVS): www.revs.gov.au

www.whereis.com.au – finding a street

And don’t forget to shop around for car insurance, including the major banks.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

Park the frustration! Sydney is a big city and its topography, especially with the largest natural harbour in the world, provides challenges in zooming around, especially in peak hour traffic. That’s where public transport comes in.

Coming from a city without a public transport bone in its body we are big fans of Sydney’s public transport and quite bemused by how poorly it is perceived by locals. We rate the buses and trains highly and enjoy our infrequent ferry rides.

www.131500.com.au – Sydney Transport Info (call 131 500 for info as well)

Also, take advantage of the fact Sundays are Family Fun Days in Sydney and surrounds. For just $2.50 per person a family can have unlimited use of trains, buses and ferries. For more info, go to: http://www.visitnsw.com/Family_Funday_Sunday_p3480.aspx

Trains

www.cityrail.info – Sydney Trains

Buses

www.sydneybuses.info – Sydney Buses

Ferries

www.sydneyferries.info – Sydney Ferries

Monorail

http://www.metrotransport.com.au/index.php – Sydney Monorail and Light Rail

Taxis

I will start listing taxi company URLs if I ever regain confidence in them. It’s not a crazy concept is it…booking a taxi and expecting it to turn up?!?

http://www.news.com.au/travel/story/0,23483,23591496-5014090,00.html?dRegion=70380&dCities=Country/City

Tours

Tours abound in Sydney – from shopping, ghost and movie location tours through to one-day or multi-day trips to the mightily popular Blue Mountains and the Hunter Valley. In the heart of the city, the red Sydney Explorer bus circulates past 27 famous attractions, offering a hop-on, hop-off sightseeing experience complete with an on-board commentary. The Explorer ticket also entitles the bearer to discount offers en route. If you want to blitz Sydney’s key icons & activities, check out: http://www.sydneybuses.info/tourist-services/sydneypass.htm

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