Things That Tourists Should Never Do in Sydney

Sydney is incredibly friendly – locals love their beautiful harbor city and are happy to share it with people from all over the world. However, there are a few things you should still avoid to make sure you have a safe stay and always support the locals.

Get on a bus without an opal card

The opal card is free and can be purchased from most train stations and convenience stores. The majority of public transport in Sydney requires you to have an opal pass, so don’t be one of the tourists boarding the bus during rush hour and slowing down everyone’s long commute to the line million questions.

Forgot to apply sunscreen

You may be desperate for that Australian tanned skin but beware. The sun in Australia is very strong. The locals always smirk and then they see the bright red, peeling tourists looking heartbreaking. Wear sunscreen to avoid ruining your vacation.

Drink in public

Australia is a nanny state, there’s no hiding it! We have more rules than you might imagine and drinking in public spaces should be one of the more annoying rules. Save yourself a fine or a slap on the wrist and keep drinking at home or at bars.

Going to Darling Harbor

Going to Darling Harbor
Going to Darling Harbor

Many other travel guides might recommend going to Darling Harbor but to be honest, don’t waste your time. Darling Harbor is extremely touristy and has no local feel to it; in fact, most Sydney people avoid it all together.

Root for the wrong group

Australians love their sport and especially hate losing to Kiwi. If you happen to be in a bar in Sydney to watch a match, remember to root the Australian team to avoid unwanted glances.

Say Melbourne better

Sydney and Melbourne had a forever brotherly rivalry – we thought Sydney was better and everyone in Melbourne wouldn’t agree. If you prefer Melbourne (shame you!), Don’t bring it to Sydney.

Sleep in

Things That Tourists Should Never Do in Sydney, Australia
Things That Tourists Should Never Do in Sydney, Australia

Unlike many other parts of the world, Sydney is an early riser city. We are blessed with perfect weather year round and we want to get up and welcome it. At 6 a.m. you’ll see people bustling, and by 7 a.m. most of the cafes are open for business.

Going out too late

As mentioned before, we have a lot of rules and especially in Sydney, one of them is that bars have to close early. Most bars close at midnight, some at 2am and very few at 4am. So don’t hang out too late and miss the nightlife together.

Swim in the harbor

The imposing blue waters of the harbor may look amazing, but don’t be fooled! Water flooded with bull sharks is known to be one of the most ferocious of all breeds. Be careful and only swim between the nets.

Do not swim between the flags

Things That Tourists Should Never Do in Sydney, Australia
Things That Tourists Should Never Do in Sydney, Australia

There’s no doubt you’ve watched a Bondi Rescue episode. The show will act as a reminder to be careful when at the beach! Most of Sydney’s beaches are protected by lifeguards, who raise flags for you to swim in between. Do not swim outside as you run the risk of drowning.

Feeling pressured to tip

Australia pays high wages and the service industry is not as dependent on tips as in other parts of the world. Either way, tell people if you’re really impressed with their service, but you don’t have to.

Use stereotypical statements

‘Putting a shrimp in a barbie doll’ is a phrase that many expats think we say, but I can assure you, we don’t. We don’t even use the word shrimp – we say shrimp. G’day is also another term that is rarely used, especially in Sydney – a greeting that looks great.