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Best ways for visitors to pay

For tourists traveling in New South Wales, here are the best ways to pay for public transport:

Sydney and surrounds

Within Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, the Hunter and the Illawarra you can use an Opal card or use your contactless credit, debit or mobile device to pay for travel. See the Opal network map

Contactless payments 

Adult fares only

If you have an American Express, Mastercard or Visa debit or credit card or a linked device, you can use it to pay for travel. Available on metro/train, bus, ferry, and light rail services. You'll never pay more than the Daily or Weekly travel caps, no matter how much you travel.

Note: If you use a credit card that was issued overseas, your card issuer may charge you a foreign transaction fee. This will be one charge per day, not each time you travel. Please check with your card issuer.

How to make a contactless payment.

Opal cards

Adult, Child/Youth, Concession, Senior/Pensioner fares

Opal cards remain the cheapest option if you are eligible for concession fares. Opal cards are smartcard tickets you keep and reuse to pay for travel on public transport. Once you have yours, just add value, then tap on and tap off to travel. You'll never pay more than the Daily or Weekly caps, no matter how much you travel.

  • You can buy from any Opal retailers.
  • An Adult Opal card is pre-loaded with $20 of credit, while a Child/Youth has $10 of credit.

Eligible ACT secondary students can travel with a Child/Youth Opal card when carrying a valid proof of entitlement card. Find out more

If you are an interstate senior or pensioner, you may be eligible to apply for and use a Gold Opal card. The application process for all Gold Opal cards takes 7-10 days, including the time for the card to be posted to you.

Check if you are an eligible pensioner and apply.

Check if you are an eligible senior and apply.

Top up your Opal card before you travel or top up on the move.

You can make one off top ups:

Some retailers require their customers to pay minimum transaction values or a service fee to cover credit/debit card merchant fees.

When you top up through the Opal Travel app, online or over the phone:

  • Allow up to 15 mins for your card balance to update or one hour if using a bus.
  • Tap on at an Opal reader within 60 days, or the top up amount will be refunded to your account.

We recommend registering your Opal card. Registration offers various benefits, including:

  • Your card’s balance will be protected if it’s lost or stolen
  • Recovering any unused balance within 90 day from when your card expires
  • Check your travel history for up to 18 months

Registering your Opal card

Opal single tickets (back up option)

Adult and Child single ticket fares

You can buy Opal single trip tickets from top up and single trip ticket machines at selected metro and train stations, wharves and light rail stops. Designed as a back up option, they are only available for metro/train, ferry and light rail. It is usually cheaper and more convenient to tap on and tap off with a contactless card or device, unless you need a Child ticket.

Find out more about Opal single tickets

Regional NSW

If you are travelling outside of the Opal network then you can use NSW TrainLink regional trains and coaches, however you will need to book a ticket on these services.

There are also regional buses that run within and between regional centres and towns with a separate ticket and fare structure

Travelling with us

If you are coming by plane, there are public transport options to get to and from Sydney Airport.

If you are travelling in a group, each person will need their own Opal card, single ticket or use a contactless payment to travel.

Find out more about group travel.

If your child is under 4, they can travel free on all public transport in the Opal network.

If your child is aged 4 to 16, they may be entitled to child fares.

Eligible secondary students aged 16 years and older also pay concessions fares with their proof of entitlement

If eligible, you can get a Child/Youth Opal card or purchase Child/Youth Opal single tickets to travel.

Find out more about child fares.

When traveling with Opal, contactless payments, or a single trip ticket:

  • Always tap on and tap off for a valid ticket.
  • Opal card users need sufficient balance.
  • Contactless devices must have sufficient battery.
  • No valid ticket may result in fines.
  • If you forget to tap off, default fare applies (highest fare for your Opal card type, but you'll never be charged beyond the Daily Travel Cap.

Authorized Officers can request ticket inspection anytime; failing to show one may lead to fines.

If you are travelling with a Child/Youth, Concession or Gold Opal card, you must carry a valid proof of entitlement card. If not, you must pay for an Adult fare. Otherwise you may be fined for travelling on an invalid ticket.

If you have credit remaining on your Adult or Child/Youth Opal card you can keep it until your next visit or lend it to friends or family.

You can get a refund on your Gold Opal card balance if you apply within 90 days of your Gold Opal card expiry. You'll need to complete the form, return it with your Opal card to Transport for NSW and have an Australian bank account and address.

How to get a refund on your Gold Opal card