How To Use The Opal Card: Sydney’s Public Transportation System

Opal Cards Australia


The Opal Card is the key to Sydney’s transportation system. With options such as the train, ferry, and bus, it’s an extremely popular choice for many of Sydney’s population.

While it was very convenient and pretty affordable, it did take a while to learn and adjust to the new system, and the website is an information overload. To try and make things a bit easier for you, here are our tips for navigating with the Opal Card.

Opal Cards Australia


Where To Get An Opal Card:

The Opal Card is available for purchase at many retailers all over Sydney. We never had to search too far to buy and reload cards; many places such as the corner convenience stores always had them readily available.

How Much Is An Opal Card:

You can load money to your Opal Card online, over the phone, or at any authorized retailer that sells them. We found it was easiest to load at retailers, as the minimum is only $10. (Compared to loading them online/by phone where the minimum is $40!)

Your fares depend on how far you travel and what method of travel you used. The ferries generally range from $5-$7 AUD one way, trains $3-$9 AUD one way, and buses about $2-5 AUD. In our opinion it was pretty affordable!

How To Use The Opal Card:

Once you have your card ready to use, it’s pretty easy to navigate with it. You “tap on” every time you get on the train/bus/ferry, and “tap off” when you get off. Simple! It’s important to remember to tap off every time, as your fares are distance based.

What We Thought:

We liked that the Opal Card was readily available and easy to reload. It was also pretty affordable; we spent less than $10 AUD per day per person! (Adults also never pay more than $60 AUD per week, which is a neat feature.)

We did have some issues with our Opal Card though. Jarden’s card kept glitching for some reason, and he consistently had trouble connecting his card. It was pretty inconvenient as we were holding up the line while getting on the bus, and we also were charged more since a lot of times he couldn’t “tap off”, and it’s a distance based fare.

I do think it’s worth mentioning that customer service on the Opal Card is semi-archaic; transferring funds took more than 24 hours in an effort to fix our defective card. In terms of refunds, they could only give me our money back if they deposited money into an Australian bank account, or send a check to an Australia address. Yikes! Overall though, The Opal Card was useful and an excellent way to get around Sydney.

You can find out more about the Opal Card here.