Is Sydney safe to visit? A comprehensive safety guide
With a population of over 5.3 million, Sydney, the capital of New South Wales, is one of the largest and most populous cities in Australia. Sydney's location on the Southeast coast of Australia allows for a temperate climate with hot summers, mild winters and abundant sunshine year-round. It's no wonder this top tourist destination is one of the world's most livable cities.
Besides its amazing weather conditions, Sydney attracts visitors from around the globe for its iconic attractions such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House and Bondi Beach. Enjoy the stunning architecture, scenic views and spectacular beaches.
Harbour City is Australia's most visited region, with over 4 million international visitors taking holidays here in 2019. The high season is considered to be from December to February when the weather is warm and the festivals are in full swing, but it's also the most expensive time of the year for flights, accommodation and sightseeing.
Are you planning your trip in peak season or anytime soon? Regardless of the time of the year, accidents happen, which is why you should take a minute to read up on Sydney safety, and learn about potentially hazardous situations, be it from dangerous animals, extreme weather conditions, or visiting unsafe areas. Although criminal incidents are rare, you should always keep an eye on your belongings or, even better, research where to store your luggage in Sydney.
Is Sydney safe to visit right now?
As in any major city, you should always exercise caution. Some of the potentially hazardous situations in Sydney may involve venomous creatures like snakes, ticks and spiders. Shark attacks are not that common, but they are a threat to surfers, which is why it's recommended to swim and surf only on netted beaches and avoid secluded ones.
Other deadly animals and sea life include the southern blue-lined octopus, funnel web spiders and the Australian paralysis tick. The common death adder is one of the most venomous snakes in Australia, recognizable by its triangular head. Getting stung or bitten by these insects and animals can be deadly, and you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
But don't let this discourage you from seeing this incredible part of the world. It's highly unlikely you'll stumble upon venomous creatures in Sydney. Chances are you'll only hear about them. As for the weather, the risk of natural disasters in Sydney, NSW, is low to medium. There is a low likelihood of storms, floods, fires and tsunamis. You're more likely to suffer from sunburns than anything else, so make sure to wear sunscreen and stay hydrated.
As far as crime is concerned, Sydney is generally safe, with Travel Safe Abroad giving the Harbour City a ranking of 80. The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research reports common petty theft, burglary and alcohol-fueled violence.
Although one of the safest cities in the world, one can not be too careful when it comes to security, which is why it's important to read a few articles about the city you're visiting. And while no safety guide is perfect, these safety tips will help you make the most out of your vacation in this exciting city. Whether you're an experienced traveler or not, don't forget to check your government's official travel guidelines before you make any bookings.
Top petty crimes and scams in Sydney affecting tourists
Criminal acts against tourists in Sydney are rare, but you should always take precautions to reduce the chance of an incident happening.
Fake ticket scams
When looking to purchase a ticket for an event or an attraction in Sydney, always purchase from a reputable source. You may come across tickets at reduced prices, but make sure to inspect further. These are often purchased with stolen credit cards by crime syndicates and are not accepted at any entry.
Taxi scammers are common everywhere, and Sydney is no exception. If you do get in a taxi, make sure the taxi driver turns the meter on. If they insist that it's broken, don't take the ride.
Drink spiking can happen anywhere in the world, which is why you should never leave your glass unattended, whether you're in a restaurant or in one of Sydney's nightclubs.
Bird poop scam
Bird poop scammers scam tourists into thinking they have bird poop on their shoulders when it's actually white paste they throw on you when you're not paying attention. Then, someone else comes trying to clean you up but also pickpocket you at the same time. Don't fall for this kind of "help" unless it's an emergency.
To avoid being scammed when walking around Sydney, be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings, or even better, store your valuables with Bounce.
Is Sydney safe to travel alone
Sydney has a low crime rate and ranks as the 4th safest city in the world, according to Go Visa Free. Tourists are highly unlikely to fall victim to criminal activities. However, you should always exercise vigilance and use caution. Avoid walking alone at night on side alleys and neighborhoods that are considered unsafe.
The Harbour City is safe even for solo female travelers, with Australia earning a rating of 24 on the Bounce Women Travel Safety Index. Although safe, people who travel solo should always be alert, drink responsibly, know of common scams, and have emergency numbers on hand in case they need immediate assistance.
Safest neighborhoods in Sydney
Sydney is a safe city, but unfortunately, like most cities in the world, it's not crime free. While in some areas crime rate is low such as Lavender Bay, the Inner West, and the City Center, there are areas with a higher crime rate you should be aware of when booking your accommodation or wanting to explore.
Tourist places such as the Opera House and Sydney Harbour are one of the most secure areas in Sydney, alongside Sydney Airport. However, the safest neighborhoods in Sydney, according to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research's latest reports, are listed below.
Located in the Northern Suburbs of Sydney, just a few miles north-west of the CBD, Hunter's Hill sits on a peninsula and is considered the safest area in Sydney, with plenty of schools, shops, restaurants and cafes.
Mosman is an affluent harbourside area, 5 miles away from Sydney's CBD and Sydney Harbour Bridge. This lovely neighborhood is considered one of the safest in Sydney, boasting parks, playgrounds, boutiques, bistros and waterfront restaurants and the famous Taronga Zoo.
Regarded as one of the most peaceful areas with a village-living lifestyle, Lane Cove is another safe area in Sydney.
Some areas in Sydney, like the western suburbs, are best to avoid. Kings Cross junction is part of the Potts Point suburb and is considered Sydney's red light district. While it's safe to walk in Kings Cross during the day, it can be a bit risky during the night.
Redfern is another neighborhood with a bad reputation, but it's generally safe during the day. Blacktown is listed as the Sydney suburb with the most burglaries. Also, you should avoid walking around George Street and Belmore Park at night.
However, it goes without saying that whichever area you want to explore, you should always be aware of your surroundings.
Is Sydney public transportation safe?
Public transport in Sydney is reliable and safe. You'll notice that police officers patrol the city on a regular basis, which is another reason people feel secure. Security cameras and help points can be found at train stations and on light rail, buses and subways.
To stay on the safe side, avoid riding alone on empty trains at night. If you need transport after hours, taxis are one of the safest means of transport in Sydney. Every taxi cab undergoes safety inspections on a regular basis in addition to random compliance checks carried out by enforcement officers.
Important emergency numbers in Sydney
Australia's international standard emergency number is 000. You can call this number for the fire brigade, police and ambulance. Keep this list of emergency numbers handy and be aware of your embassy's number.
Australia's country code: +61
Sydney area code: 2
Victims Access Line: 1800 633 063
Child Protection Helpline: 13 21 11
NSW Poisons Information Centre: 13 11 26
Sydney is safe and amazing
Overall, Sydney is a safe city, and tourists can enjoy the city's streets day and night. Wondering where to choose safe accommodation? Read Where to Stay in Sydney: The Ultimate Guide to help you make the right decision.
Be aware of your surroundings when exploring Sydney, whether you're a group of friends or a solo female traveler. Avoid walking alone at night, and keep an eye on your belongings in busy tourist areas and on public transport. To learn how to navigate this part of NSW, check out How to Get Around Sydney and do it like a local.
To stay on the safe side, purchase travel insurance prior to traveling to Sydney. If you have to deal with issues such as lost luggage or need medical assistance, the insurance should cover most of the expenses. It will also help to have a first aid kit should you require urgent medical attention.