Sydney Information

Sydney Location

Country: Australia
State: New South Wales
City: Sydney
Geographical Location: 33° 52' S; 151° 13' E

Sydney Time Zone

The Australian continent is divided into three time zones: Eastern, Central and Western time zones.
Sydney Time: GMT+ 10:00
Daylight Savings Time: GMT + 11:00
Daylight Saving Time NSW (begins): Begins at 2:00 am (Eastern Standard Time) on the first Sunday in October
Daylight Saving Time NSW (ends): Ends at 3:00 am (Eastern Daylight Savings Time) on the first Sunday in April

Sydney's Climate

Sydney's Location, Weather and Climate

Sydney lies within the temperate region and has a moderate climate that, unlike other parts of Australia, doesn’t get too hot or too cold. Seasons

The seasons in the southern hemisphere are the reverse of the seasons in the northern hemisphere.

Being in a temperate zone, the seasons are not as pronounced nor as prolonged as many other parts of the world.

Australia’s official seasons are:
Summer: December, January, February
Autumn (Fall): March, April, May
Winter: June, July, August
Spring: September, October, November.

Average Sydney Temperature and Rainfall

SEASON AVERAGE LOW & HIGH DAYS OF RAIN
SUMMER      
December 17°C (63°F) 25°C (78°F) 7
January 18°C (65°F) 26°C (79°F) 8
February 19°C (66°F 25°C (79°F) 8
AUTUMN (FALL)      
March 17°C (63°F) 25°C (77°F) 12
April 14°C (57°F) 22°C (73°F) 13
May 10°C (51°F) 19°C (68°F) 12
WINTER      
June 8°C (47°F) 17°C 63°F) 11
July 6°C (44°F) 16°C (62°F) 11
August 7°C (46°F) 17°C (64°F) 8
SPRING      
September 10°C (50°F) 20°C (68°F) 8
October 12°C (55°F) 22°C (72°F) 7
November 15°C (59°F) 24°C (75°F) 7

Rainfall

Rainfall is lowest during Spring 74 millimeters (3 inches) per month and highest during Autumn (Fall) with 126 millimeters (5 inches) month.

Average annual rainfall is 1200 mm per year.

Sun Protection

The Australia sun is strong and can quickly cause skin damage. Health authorities recommend avoiding excessive exposure to the sun and using a hat and high-protection sun creams on unprotected parts of the body when out and about. UV-protection sunglasses are also recommended.

Money Matters

Australian Currency

Australian note denominations come in $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 dollar bills while our coinage consists of 5¢, 10¢, 20¢, 50¢, $1.00 and $2.00 pieces. (Note: the $2.00 coin is smaller than the $1.00 coin)

The notes are made of a plastic compound which, with several imbedded security technologies, makes them extremely difficult to forge. They also last much longer than paper notes. This Australian technology is now being used with other currencies.

Note: One and two cent coins are no longer in circulation. Shops still charge odd amounts (e.g. $2.99) but the law requires the TOTAL bill to be rounded to the nearest 5 cents. For example: $1.97 is rounded down to $1.95 and $1.98 is rounded up to $2.00

Travellers Cheques and Foreign Currency

Traveller's cheques are usually only accepted in major hotels and large stores and even more difficult to exchange if the cheques are in a foreign currency. You’ll find it easier (and possibly far less expensive) to cash your cheques at a bank or Bureau de Change. Note: rates may vary from bank to bank. Foreign notes and coins should also be exchanged at banks or bureaus for similar reasons.

Credit and Debit/Charge

Cards Visa and MasterCard are perhaps the most widely accepted cards in Australia. Apart from the usual merchants, many doctors, dentists and service stations accept Visa and MasterCard also.

American Express and Diners Club are also well received particularly in restaurants, department stores and specialty shops. JBC cards are primarily used in hotels and restaurants where there’s a high Japanese customer base.

Note: The American Discover Card is not accepted in Australia. It's therefore advisable not to rely on the lesser-accepted cards alone. Note: Most retailers prefer you to pay cash for small purchases and some may have a minimum purchase limit (e.g. $5 or $10) before they’ll accept a credit card as payment.

Taxes

Taxes are included in the price of goods and services purchased. Some receipts will show the amount of tax paid while others won’t. If the amount of tax isn’t shown, simply divide the total by 11 to find out how much tax has been included in the price. NB: Generally speaking, there’s no tax on fresh foods, education or health care.

Hours and Holidays

Business Hours

Business hours (generally) from 9 am until 5 pm Monday to Friday.

Major Retailers & Department Stores (open 7 days a week-- most city areas/tourist spots)
9am – 5pm Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday
9am – 9pm Thursday (includes late night shopping)
9am – 5pm Saturday and Sunday (weekend shopping)
Medium to Small Retailers:  
9am – 5pm Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday
9am – 9pm Thursday (includes late night shopping)
9am – Midday Saturday (no Sunday trading)
Local Retail Outlets:  
Locally, you can usually find smaller supermarkets, convenience stores and petrol stations opened 18-24 hours 7 days a week.

Post Office Hours

Sydney Central Post Office (Corner of Martin Place & George St)
8.30 am – 5.30 pm Monday to Friday
8.30 am – Midday Saturday
Post Offices – branch offices
8.30 am – 5.30 pm Monday to Friday (no weekend trading)

New Year’s Australia Day Good Friday Easter Saturday Easter Monday Anzac Day Queens Birthday Bank Holiday Labour Day Christmas Day Boxing Day

Driving

Australia uses the British system of driving on the left hand side of the road.

Wearing seat belts is mandatory at all times for drivers and passengers -- including taxis passengers.

The general speed limit in cities and towns is 60 km/h (37 mph) but many local and suburban roads have a 50 km/h (31 mph) speed limit. The maximum speed on highways in New South Wales is 100 km/h. (110 km/h on motorways and freeways)

The alcohol limit is 0.05 g/100ml and police perform regular roadside "Random Breath Testing" (RBT) of drivers in metropolitan and rural areas to enforce this limit. Heavy penalties apply to drivers exceeding speed or alcohol limits.

If you’re a cyclist, you must wear approved headwear when on the roads

For those considering driving when in New South Wales (NSW), you’ll find excellent information for visitors on the state's Roads and Traffic Authority web site.

Etiquette

Tipping Tipping is not as established in Australia as it is in many other Western countries. Most hotel and restaurant staff do not expect to be tipped by everyone (though they may hope for one). Only in the more expensive establishments is a 10-15% tip expected ($2.00 for bell boys/girls).

In most day-to-day dealings, you’ll find pub staff are content with loose change while it’s common to “round-up” the charge to the nearest dollar or two with taxi drivers depending their helpfulness.

Smoking

Smoking is increasingly becoming unacceptable in Australia and is banned in most closed public spaces, on government transport (bus, rail and ferry) and in government and corporate buildings. Restaurants, bars and pubs often have smoking and non-smoking areas.

If you smoke -- look around for signs or ask the staff about their smoking policy before you light up to avoid embarrassment.