Talk to us arrow

hipchat Call
text.skipToContent text.skipToNavigation

Transportation in Australia – Getting Around on Local Transport

As an international student, you can’t relish the feeling of getting admission in an Australian university for long. After scaling all the academic and immigration obstacles, when you finally land in Australia, you face the overwhelming challenge of adapting yourself to the new environment to what would be your home for some years.

Many students take care of their accommodation before flying to Australia. However, everyday commute is one thing that you can’t sort out in advance. You can only get yourself accustomed to different means of transportation as you spend more time in the country.

If public and road transport in Australia is a thought that is constantly worrying you, rest assured, the commute there is as convenient as Europe and the US, if not more. Australia’s coastline hosts large metropolitan centres, and your university could be situated in any of them. There, you will find various means of commute.

Whether you want to travel from suburbs to downtown, traveling from one state to the other, or going from your lodging to the campus, you will find the relevant public transport to travel. Let’s quickly learn about the common means of transport in Australia that you can use as a student.

What are the main methods of transportation in Australia?

Australia has a developed public transport system that offers four main options: train, bus, ferry and trams. In fact, not every city has a river or harbour network, thus ferries aren’t available everywhere. Additionality trams aren’t available in all cities either.

How much is public transportation in Australia?

Public transportation costs depend on the distance in most cities. In Sydney, a single adult fare starts at $2.10 up to $4.50 with ferries being more expensive.



As an international student, it is very unlikely that you can afford a car to manage your daily commutes. However, having a private car is the preferred choice for the majority of Australians. This is the reason why it has one of the highest numbers of vehicles per capita. As of 2018, Australia has 730 cars for every 1,000 citizens. If you are planning to stay in Australia after the completion of your studies, make sure a vehicle is on top of your want list.

Cars might not be the best option for a student’s daily commute. Still, they are certainly a great option to travel around and explore Australia during your college days. If you have an international driving license, you can rent a car at a reasonable sum. Australia has a vast landmass with one of the most intricate and developed highway networks in the world. By traveling via car with your friends, you are in for visiting the countryside and smaller towns that you will miss otherwise.

However, keep in mind that the intercity distances in Australia can be much more than what you expect. For instance, traveling from Sydney to Adelaide via highway can take more than 15 hours because you have to traverse across the length of the country and the continent. Traveling from Sydney to Melbourne via car is also a long journey of roughly 10 hours.

Bus, Trains, & Trams:

Bus Train Tram-min.jpg

For a majority of Australian city centres, the public transport system comprises buses, trains, and trams. International students and the general public in Sydney, Newcastle, and New South Wales generally depend on the rail system for daily commutes. It offers the most convenient and reasonable intra-city traveling.

If you have to travel every day, then it is better to purchase a monthly travel card. These cards are charged electronically and deduct fares automatically depending on the distance you have travelled. Every city has its own card system with some minor changes. In some places, you can also enjoy student discounts on your daily commutes.

For instance, Myki Card is a public transport currency in Melbourne. You can use it for hopping on to any of the intra-city trains, buses, and trams. The best thing about Myki Card is that it doesn’t just offer discounts to local students.

As an international student, you are also eligible to get fare discounts for up to three years. You only need proof of your admission to an Australian university, along with your ID. Take it to the ticket office, and you will be issued a separate travel card.

Irrespective of their home countries, university students can also get the same public transport concession in Australian cities while using the respective travel cards. Some of these city-based travel cards are:

  • Metrocard in Adelaide
  • SmartRider in Perth
  • Opal Travelcard in Sydney
  • Green Card in Tasmania
  • MyWay Card in Canberra
  • Go Card in Brisbane

It is very unlikely that you get admission in any university in the Northern Territory. However, if that’s the case (Charles Darwin University has programs for international students), you can use public transport with AU$1 concession on every single ticket that remains valid for three hours. For now, no travel smart card is used in the Northern Territory.



Yes, the ferry is part of public transport in Australia as long as you are traveling within Brisbane. Brisbane River flows through the city and has 24 terminals at different destination points. Brisbane City Council has a fleet of 30 ferries that operate the intra-city commute through waters. Some private ferry services are also operating alongside this government-subsidized public transport.

It is worth mentioning that the University of Queensland has its own ferry stop. So, if you are enrolled in the UQ, you should know how to get there besides roads. Go Card, the smart travel card in Brisbane, is also valid for ferry commutes.



Using a bike for daily commute is common in many European countries. For example, Netherland has more bikes than people. However, given the enormous size of every city in Australia, a bike might not be the best means for traveling to your campus. However, if your campus is near your residence and you are in a city like Perth, where nearly every inner-city road has bike lanes and paths, you should certainly choose a bike for your daily commute.

Using a bike is cheap, eco-friendly, and healthy. And with pleasant summer breeze of the Indian Ocean, you will like the bike rides even more.

To sum it up, train and buses make up the large chunk of public transport in Australia. As an international student, they offer you the most convenient and cost-effective way to travel around.

Does Australia have subways?

Sydney is the only city in Australia with a rapid transit system that consists of one line that was inaugurated on 26 May 2019. Another line, Sydney Metro West, is also currently in planning stages.

In fact, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth’s commuter systems are all partially underground and reflect some aspects of typical rapid transit systems.

Recommended Articles


People and culture in Australia

Depending on where you are in Australia, you might look out your window to see a desert, a tropical rainforest, a mountain range, a country town or a modern city. It’s a country made up of many different landscapes, which you will hopefully get the chance to explore.


Preparing to go

So, you’ve chosen your course. Now it’s time to get ready for your life-changing international education experience. There are many things to consider when making the move to your new country

Survival tips for international students in the first year

You are about to start your life-changing experience of studying abroad. It’s a dream come true, but you may feel anxious or worried about how you’re going to survive your first year abroad, away from your family and friends.

Please select a level of study

Enter subject, choose from the list or hit search

  • Start typing, choose from the list or hit search

  • Enter subject, choose from the list or or hit search

Please type and select an institution

  • Type 3 characters of a university name and select from the list

  • Enter a university or school name and select from the list

Please select a level of study

Got any ideal countries in mind?