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Opal for visitors

About Opal

If you are visiting Sydney and surrounds, you can pay your fares on trains, buses, ferries and light rail with an Opal card or Opal single ticket. Opal is the smartcard ticketing system used to pay for travel on public transport in Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, the Hunter and the Illawarra.

    An Opal card is the most convenient and affordable way to pay for your fares. Add value before you travel and tap on and off to pay your fare.

    If you don't have an Opal card, you can purchase single trip tickets on most services, however prices are more expensive than Opal card fares.

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

      Depending on which card you need, there are a number of ways to get an Opal card.

      Adult and Child/Youth Opal cards are available:

      Opal single trip tickets can be purchased from Opal top up and single trip ticket machines located at most train and light rail stations and ferry wharves. Opal single trip bus tickets can be purchased on board buses.

      There is no charge for an Opal card, however the minimum value is $10 for an Adult Opal card and $5 for a Child/Youth Opal card.

      You can use the minimum value to pay your fare for travel on public transport within the Opal network.

      You can also use your Opal card on some private services where you can see 'OpalPay accepted here'. With OpalPay, just tap to pay with your Opal card for fast, convenient way to pay your fare. However these fares are not standard fares and are set by the private operator and also will not count towards your daily or weekly caps or other Opal card benefits.

      Concession cards must be applied for online, or over the phone. To check which Opal card you need, see ticket eligibility.

      Adult Opal cards and single tickets are for those aged 16 years and over. Child/Youth Opal cards and single tickets are for those aged 4 to 15 years. Children aged 3 years and under travel free.

      NSW residents

      If you live in NSW and are entitled to concessions, check your eligibility to find the right Opal card and ticketing options for you.

      Interstate seniors or pensioners

      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.

      Eligible interstate pensioners can apply for a Gold Senior/Pensioner Opal card to use on public transport in Sydney and surrounding areas. You must have a valid Pensioner Card issued by any Australian state or territory.

      Check if you are an eligible pensioner and apply.

      Eligible ACT seniors can apply for a Gold Senior/Pensioner Opal card. Apply through the process for both NSW and ACT residents.

      Eligible seniors from any other Australian state or territory can apply for a short term Gold Senior/Pensioner Opal card. You will need to apply 2 weeks before you arrive.

      Your Gold Opal card for interstate seniors (excluding seniors from ACT, Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania)  is valid for 60 days from the date of issue – if you’re in NSW for more than 60 days you should submit a new application when your Gold Opal card expires. If you move permanently to NSW from another state you can apply for a NSW Seniors Card and get a Gold Opal card with no set expiry period.

      Check if you are an eligible senior and apply.

      Registering your Gold Opal card

      The Gold Opal card arrives unregistered. But there are lots of reasons to register your Gold Opal card, including:

      • We can remind you when your card is about to expire
      • Your card’s balance will be protected if it’s lost or stolen
      • You’ll be able to recover any unused balance within 90 days from when your card expires
      • You’ll be able to check your travel history for up to 18 months

      Refunds

      You can get a refund on your Gold Opal card balance if you apply within 90 days of your Gold Opal card expiry. Find out more about refunds and fare adjustments.

      ACT secondary students

      Eligible ACT secondary students can travel with a Child/Youth Opal card or Child/Youth Opal single tickets when carrying a valid proof of entitlement card.

      Check if you are an eligible secondary student.

      Proof of entitlement

      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.

      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.

      Find out more about topping up

      Whether you’re travelling with an Opal card or an Opal single trip ticket, you must always tap on and tap off to be travelling with a valid ticket.

      Before you tap on, you need enough balance on your Opal card to cover the shortest trip on that mode of transport. If you have less than the minimum balance, you're not travelling on a valid ticket and you may be fined.

      If you don’t, you’re not travelling with a valid ticket and you could be fined.

      To tap on or tap off hold your Opal card or single trip ticket against an Opal reader until it turns green and makes a sound that confirms you’ve tapped correctly.

      If you tap on at the beginning and then forget to tap off at the end of your trip, you will be charged the default fare for an incomplete trip. A default fare is the highest fare for that service based on your Opal card type. However, you will never be charged over the Daily Travel Cap.

      How to tap on and off.

      If you have credit remaining on your Opal card you can:

      • Keep it until your next visit
      • Lend it to friends or family
      • Get a refund on your Opal card. 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.

      Contactless payments are available on the Sydney light rail and Sydney Ferries service.

      If your credit or debit card has the contactless payment symbol or you have a mobile device linked to an accepted contactless payment card, you can use it to pay for travel when catching a Sydney Ferries service or the L1 Dulwich Hill Light Rail in Sydney. You can tap on and tap off on these services using a contactless-enabled American Express, Mastercard or Visa card, as well as an Opal card or Opal single trip ticket.

      Find out more about Contactless