The city of high flyers, high achievers, and high rent. When you think Australian icons, you probably think Sydney – and it’s not difficult to see why. Home of the World Heritage listed Opera House, Harbour Bridge, The Rocks and Bondi Beach, there are many reasons to visit Sydney.
Considered the financial and business capital of Australia with global city status, it is the quintessential FIRE (Financial, Insurance and Real Estate) city. With key players such as Westfield, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, IAG and Scentre Group all based in town it’s the centre of Australia’s business world. It’s a favourite location in the Australian and Asia Pacific region with more than 600 multinational companies headquartered here. With a population of approx. 5.1 million, the city is a bustling business metropolis and is the most popular Australian destination for business travellers.
Whether you’re here for the day or the week, we’ve compiled everything you need to know to make your time in Sydney as smooth and enjoyable as possible.
Arriving in Sydney
Located in the outer city suburb of Mascot, 8km south of the city centre is Sydney Airport. With the title of ‘Busiest Airport’ in Australia (and 38th in the World), it is a hive of activity and it can be tricky to navigate during peak times.
Sydney Airport is also one of the few Australian airports with an overnight curfew of 11pm and 6am preventing any aircraft taking off or landing. The curfew does impact congestion and delays. So, as a rule of thumb when travelling in and out of Sydney, always check flights and allow plenty of time
There are three terminals at Sydney Airport, one international and two domestic.
- T1 is the international terminal, situated in the airport’s northwest sector
- T2 is a domestic terminal, servicing all Virgin Australia, Jetstar, Tigerair and Regional Express travellers
- T3 services all Qantas and Qantas Link domestic travellers
The two domestic terminals can be accessed by foot if you need to switch between them, though you will need transportation between domestic and international. Depending on your airline you may be able to access free shuttle services between T1 and T2/3. Otherwise, the T-bus is a free service that runs between the two terminals every 10-20 minutes (depending on traffic). Trains, taxis and rideshare are also an option for a fee and can easily be accessed from all terminals.
You can access the Sydney airport and terminals maps before you travel or on the go.
Getting into the City
Although the airport is a mere 8km south of the city centre, traffic and tolls can add extra time and expense to some modes of transport. The great news is that there are plenty of options available to get in and out of the city.
Taxi and Rideshare
After getting off a flight, taxi’s and rideshare are a great option, with minimal wait times and the opportunity to catch up on emails, make calls, or have a break while on route to your destination. Supervised taxi ranks are conveniently located out the front of each terminal and offer a smooth flow of taxi’s for all travellers. If rideshare is preferred, you can meet your driver at the priority pick up located outside the terminal. A trip to the CBD will cost you anywhere between $45 and $60 and take around 25 minutes in light traffic. In heavy traffic (peak hour or accidents) you may need to factor in a 40 minute drive.
The Airport Link service offers a fast and convenient way to reach all major transport hubs in the city or outer suburbs. The train runs every 10 minutes and is signposted in all terminals. You can purchase a one-off ticket for $18.70 one-way that comprises of a $14.30 Gate Pass (access fee) and $4.40 for the rail trip. If you’re travelling with one of Sydney’s Opal cards, you’ll have the standard card fee for travel and the $14.30 Gate Pass to access the airport.
With all reputable brands onsite at both terminals, car hire couldn’t be easier and is a convenient option if you are travelling around the greater Sydney area. Follow the rental car signs in the arrivals hall to find the right place. Your dedicated travel manager will be happy to talk through our SMARTdrive options for car hire.
Getting around Sydney
Maps of Sydney
With a reputation for being difficult to navigate and a CBD that resembles a spaghetti bowl rather than your typical grid system, Sydney on foot can be a little intimidating. Though walking is a great way to explore the inner city, and thanks to one-way streets, can often be the quickest way to get to a nearby meeting. Make sure you download the Corporate Traveller mobile app which features a range of local maps, weather and city safe information on your destination.
Sydney’s Public Transport
If walking isn’t your thing, the great news is that Sydney has an extensive public transport network. You can access it easily with the tap on/tap off payment through an Opal Card. Opal cards can be purchased and topped up online, at the airport, at transport stations, convenience stores and other retailers located around the city. Visit the Opal website to buy an opal card online, or view a list of retailers.
An excellent transport option for getting around the CBD, while also servicing airport transfers or trips to Sydney suburbs and beyond city limits. Trains run frequently and up until midnight, so if staying out later, the NightRide bus services are your best bet and stop at or near railway stations.
Ferries are a quick way to get to and from some key Sydney locations with stunning views along the way. With less traffic to worry about, they can be more reliable for running on time. Make sure you’re prepared and check the timetable though, as some routes may not run frequently.
The latest addition to the Sydney public transport network, the light rail (similar to Melbourne’s trams) services the CBD, south-east out to Randwick and Kingsford, and inner west areas to Dulwich Hill. These services also stop at popular locations including Paddy’s Market, Pyrmont, The Star, Convention Centre and Chinatown.
Get one step ahead and map out your journey quickly and easily with the Transport NSW Trip Planner.
Best Sydney Hotels for Business
When travelling for business, location and comfort are key. Corporate Traveller has an extensive list of preferred accommodation suppliers in and around Sydney that cater to all budgets. See a few of our hotel partners below.
Rydges World Square
You’ll find yourself in the heart of it all here, located in Sydney’s ‘crossroads of culture’. Shops and restaurants are literally on your doorstep, and those creature comforts we all enjoy are right upstairs – large rooms, comfortable king-sized beds and a separate shower and bath. www.rydges.com/accommodation/sydney-nsw/world-square-sydney-cbd/
Vibe Hotel Sydney
Centrally located and newly refurbished, Vibe Hotel Sydney offers the traveller all the luxuries without the price tag. It is also in walking distance to major transport hubs, attractions and popular dining spots, allowing you to get around easily on foot.
With sweeping views across Circular Quay, the Botanic Gardens and down the harbour towards Watson’s Bay; you will pinch yourself when you wake up each morning. Luxury is a given here with the Intercontinental Sydney paying homage to its old-world charm, located in the beautifully restored Treasury Building of 1851. A premier conference and function venue for the city, there are plenty of options to eat, sleep and work in comfort.
Are you a customer of SMARTStay? Please speak to your Travel Manager to find out how we can help you access great accommodation rates.
Sydney Co-working Spaces
Travelling to Sydney for work and need a small office space? A co-working space can be a great way to establish a home base and network with like-minded people. With no shortage of co-working offices in some great locations, here are a few to check out.
With two central locations (William St, Darlinghurst and Hyde Park); Hub has established a vibrant and ever-growing community, with premium workspace and flexible membership options including daily and monthly passes. They also have spaces in Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, so they’re an excellent option for those who travel the country often.
If flexible memberships are what you’re after, then Desk Space will have a package to suit you. The first co-working space in Sydney, they now have 210 members with success stories such as Airbnb, Deliveroo and Quandoo starting their Australian operations at Desk Space. It is also centrally located on William Street with cheap parking nearby.
Looking to be inspired by your surroundings? Located in the foundations of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, you’ll find this boutique co-working space – Work Inc. You’ll be looking for any excuse to host clients with a café on site and a range of meeting rooms which are available to all members at no additional charge.
Best Sydney Restaurants and Bars for Business
Whether you’re aiming to impress or looking for something a little more casual, you will be spoilt for choice in the harbour city.
Meat & Wine Co, Barangaroo
Looking for the best steakhouse in Sydney? Conveniently located in the hub of Barangaroo you’ll find Meat & Wine Co. With a paddock to plate philosophy and some of Australia’s unique wines, prepare to be spoilt for choice.
As iconic as its namesake, Opera Bar has become an institution, and no trip to Sydney is complete without a tipple on the water’s edge. Offering a wide selection of beer, wine and food – it’s a great choice for an afternoon beverage or a casual meal.
Quay, The Rocks
After a three-month-long renovation, one of Australia’s most iconic restaurants has reopened. At Quay, The Rocks not only has the interior had a complete redesign but so has the menu, now featuring a mid-week six-course degustation. If that doesn’t impress you, the view of the Opera House will.
Although small in size, Bulletin Place makes up everywhere else! This 45-seat space has become one of Australia’s most awarded bars – ever. Recognised globally for its creative cocktails, Bulletin Place’s menu changes daily and is written on butchers’ paper behind the bar. Feeling spontaneous? Order the ‘Bartenders Choice’ and brace yourself for a pleasant surprise.
Need to cater for a group? You can’t go wrong with share plates and eastern Mediterranean flavours. Recently opened on Kensington St to rave reviews, Bazaari offers set menus to cater for all budgets.
Escape the Rat Race
If you’re lucky enough to have some spare time while in Sydney, then jump on one of the 32 ferry services connecting the city. There is no better way to explore this world-famous harbour, beautiful bays and golden beaches.
A 30-minute trip from Circular Quay is Manly, with the ‘Corso’ connecting the wharf and the beach, you’ll find it very easy to navigate this seaside playground by foot. So close to the city, yet far enough away.
Historic walking trails, celebrated seafood restaurants, iconic beachfront bars – the list goes on, and Watson’s Bay delivers. A popular destination for all ages, this ferry service also stops at other well-known harbour bays including Rose Bay, Double Bay and Darling Point.
Located between Barangaroo and Pyrmont is a jewel in Sydney’s crown, it is easy to lose track of time here with the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, National Maritime Museum, Powerhouse Museum, Chinese Garden of Friendship and Madame Tussauds. If travelling from Circular Quay, this trip will also take you under the Harbour Bridge.
Situated in the middle of Sydney Harbour, you will find the world heritage listed Cockatoo Island. A location steeped in history, it dates all the way to the first settlement and has played a significant role in the establishment of Sydney. If you wish to stay longer, a range of accommodation is available. A visitor centre and tours are also onsite.
Fun fact: It’s also a favourite for televisions series, including Australian Ninja Warrior, MasterChef and The Biggest Loser being shot on location here.
Surf the waves, not the internet
We couldn’t finish off a Sydney destination guide without listing two of the most iconic seaside locations in the country. The best part? If you’ve got your walking shoes on you can visit both in the one day.
If you haven’t visited Bondi Beach yet, make sure it’s high on your list. If you’re staying over the weekend in Sydney, catch a bus to the beautiful Bondi beach. Famous for its white sands, blue/green water, and its starring role in several TV shows, it is no wonder that Bondi beach draws a crowd. Swim on the beach or in the nearby salt-water ocean pool, say hi to the lifeguards and stay safe to avoid a feature in the next Bondi Rescue episode. With restaurants and shops nearby, you won’t be stuck for things to do at Bondi beach.
Bronte Beach & Baths
A little further down the coast, you’ll find another iconic spot, Bronte beach and baths. Home to one of Sydney’s stunning ocean baths, you can go for a relaxing swim with amazing views without the worry of venturing out into the waves. With a 50-metre pool ideal for lap swimming and a smaller pool for children, you can swim knowing you’ll be watched by qualified lifeguards. Visit this iconic ‘Instagrammable’ spot for beautiful memories.
Plan for success
Whether you’re a new business traveller to Sydney, or just looking for something new to do when you are in town – preparation is key to an enjoyable and successful business trip. Need help planning your trip? Contact your dedicated travel manager today.