Public transport is the way to go in and around Sydney, writes Rod Pascoe.

Trains, ferries, buses and light rail are the unsung heroes of New South Wales tourism.

In hundreds of locations, the modes of transport dovetail, so you can get off a train, for example, and the stop for your next bus, ferry or light-rail trip is right there.

And it can be inexpensive, as I found by using the no-fuss weekly MyMulti concession pass, which gives travellers unlimited access to public transport for an all-in-one price.

I used the MyMulti3 pass for A$63 (NZ$68.50) to visit many tourist spots.


The first trip was a quick bus ride to the 309m-high Sydney Tower Eye. Next up was a 30-minute ferry ride up the Parramatta River to Cockatoo Island, a World Heritage site. An early prison, the island served for 134 years until 1991 as a massive shipyard. Much of the infrastructure is still in place, and although it wouldn't be on every tourist's list, it would be a must for those interested in industrial heritage.

From Cockatoo Island, I took the ferry to Darling Harbour. You could spend a whole day here and still not see everything. It's home to the Downunder version of Madame Tussauds, with its wax models of big names in history, politics, sport, cinema, television, music and science. The most popular exhibit featured the pop group One Direction. Heaps of girls (and their mothers!) lined up to have their photos taken with the lads.

Next to Madame Tussauds is the WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo, where the star attraction is an enormous saltwater crocodile. The zoo has all the creatures you'd expect: snakes, kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, wombats, butterflies, spiders, possums and so on.

Then I walked to the Sydney Sea Life Aquarium. The aquarium was huge, and the tunnels through the shark and stingray tanks went on and on. Some of the features - the Great Barrier Reef display in particular - were quite stunning.

I also used the MyMulti3 pass for a two-hour rail journey to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains to visit Scenic World, home of the steepest passenger train trip in the world - 52 degrees, or 64 degrees if you change the angle of your seat. Scary!

Scenic World also has a 720m cableway across a valley and at one point the carriage is 270m above the ground - quite breath-taking. Back in the city, I used the light-rail network to visit the Sydney Fish Market, which runs behind-the-scenes tours. It's interesting to see how the fish auction system works and to check out myriad species waiting for bids.

Many Kiwi tourists prefer to be independent travellers, and in New South Wales, the MyMulti passes certainly make this easy - and cheap.

Rod Pascoe sailed to Sydney on board the Celebrity Solstice and stayed at the Rendezvous Stafford Hotel at The Rocks.