Health & safety in Sydney
Tips on bushwalking safety
Sydneysiders are lucky to live in a city where there are so many national parks and reserves to explore on a bushwalk. If you want to get out into nature while you're here, make sure you are well prepared for a bushwalk by following these simple safety tips. You may also want to know about good bushwalking trails too.
Safe travelling in Sydney and beyond
While Sydney has a reputation as a welcoming and safe city, you may find these tips on how to travel safely helpful. Don't forget, if you have an emergency, dial 000 for police, fire or ambulance services.
If you're a visitor planning on driving in NSW, you may drive using a foreign licence. You must have your licence with you when you are driving; there is an on-the-spot fine for not having it with you. You'll also need a translation if it's not in English. Speed limits are strictly enforced in Australia and it is illegal to drive if your blood alcohol is 0.05 per cent or higher. Find out more.
The sun in Australia is very strong, even on cloudy days. Take care in the sun between 11am and 3pm, wear a hat and sunscreen.
Be careful when swimming at the beach, rockpools or rivers. Check to see if the beach is patrolled by surf lifesavers.
Public hospitals in the city centre include the Royal Prince Alfred (RPA), the Royal North Shore and Sydney Children's Hospital. Australian residents are covered by the Government-run Medicare system, which does have reciprocal agreements with some countries. Check if your country has an agreement here. Travel insurance is recommended.
Safety tips around water
Understanding rips: If you get caught in one of these common strong beach currents, stay calm, float with the current and signal for help, or swim across it, not against it.
- Swim between the flags: Yellow and red flags on the beach indicate that Surf Lifesavers patrol this section of the beach. Swim between the flags at all times.
- Seek advice: If you are unsure of the surf conditions check with a lifesaver.
- Know the depth: Don't jump or dive into waters if you don't know the depth. Even beaches have hidden sand bars which can make water shallow.
- Beware of the critters: Avoid contact with any sea animals. While they may look harmless, some inflict a sting or a bite.
- Rock fishing danger: Take care as rocks can be slippery. Never fish alone on the rocks and always wear a life jacket.
Life jackets on boats: There should be one on board for each person.
Safety tips on the road
- Speed limits are not negotiable: Stick to the clearly signposted speed limits.
Under the influence: A few alcoholic drinks can put you over the legal alcohol limit. Don't drink and drive.
Unsealed roads: Take care when driving on unsealed or dirt roads. You may find them in national parks, state parks or country areas.
Watch out for native animals: Many animals can become particularly active at dusk and dawn. Be alert for livestock that may wander onto roads in the country.
- Off road and outback driving: Make sure you have up-to-date maps, inform others of your route and itinerary, and pack extra supplies including water and fuel. For more information, click here.