My favourite bus is the 389 because it winds its way past so many fine pubs, restaurants & street cafes on its way from the Quay to Bondi
— Malcolm Turnbull – Ex Australian Prime Minister (@TurnbullMalcolm) August 21, 2015
Exploring Sydney by bus on the 389
Updated: 30 June 2019
Based on the high praise of this route by the former PM today I thought I would take a look at the 389 and see if it would make a good trip for visitors to Sydney. I have taken this bus many times, but I have, to be honest, I have never actually paid attention to the journey.
The complete trip from the City to Bondi Junction takes a bit under an hour depending on traffic. As of this month, the route has changed slightly and now instead of starting at Circular Quay, it will begin outside the Maritime Museum at Pyrmont. In my view, that only makes it more appealing as we can now add a couple of new attractions to the route. While it has previously travelled to Bondi Beach these days it terminates at Bondi Junction but don’t worry – here you can just jump onto the 333 or the 380 down to the beach. These services run every few minutes.
One of the big positives of using the 389 to explore the city is that it runs very regularly – approx ten mins apart for most of the day, starting at 5.35am and running till just after midnight, so jumping on and off won’t leave you stranded for long waiting for the next bus.
What you can see along the way
The 389 begins its journey from Pyrmont
First Stop – Darling Harbour – Maritime Museum – Pyrmont
This stop puts you right in the middle of the action at Darling Harbour. Along with the Maritime Museum, you can also visit the Star Casino, Pyrmont Park, Darling Harbour itself or jump on the light rail to connect to the Sydney Fish Market (below) and the inner suburb of Glebe.
Once you leave the museum, the bus heads around Pyrmont Point and past the lovely Pirrama Park, which features a BBQ area to cook up your lunch or a small cafe if you would prefer someone else did the cooking. There is also a great children’s playground. If you are travelling with kids, check out fellow Sydney blogger Seana Smiths review here.
This park is a favourite free spot for viewing the Sydney NYE fireworks. Once leaving the park the bus heads back to the city via the western distributor.
Next – City – Town Hall Park Street
Get off here to visit Hyde Park, St Mary’s Cathedral, The War Memorial, The Australian Museum or to go shopping in Pitt St Mall.
From Town Hall, the bus travels up behind the Australian Museum and around to Stanley Street, Sydney’s first little Italy.
Get off here for a great coffee or a meal at the wonderful Italian restaurant Beppi’s.
Darlinghurst – St Vincent’s Hospital
This stop puts you in Darlinghurst and within walking distance of some great food including guidebook favourites Gelato Messina and Bill’s famous breakfasts. The area is also home to some interesting bars including Li’l Darlin, Darlo bar, and the 1920s inspired Eau-de-Vie in Darlinghurst Rd.
This is also the stop for the very impressive Sydney Jewish Museum
Paddington – The Five Ways
Paddington is one of the best preserved of Sydney’s suburbs with large tracts of early Victorian homes standing today.
From here the bus travels along Glenmore Road to the Five Ways Paddington. Along this section of the route, you will find some lovely homes, built in the early 1900s.
It’s also a good place to get off if you fancy some upmarket shopping or brunch at Sonoma who offers great sandwiches and excellent coffee.
Queen Street is a beautiful tree-lined street with some gorgeous homes, interesting shops, and several very nice lunch options. Among the shops not to miss, especially for foodies, is Victor Churchill’s butcher.
This shop must be among the most beautiful meat emporiums in the world, in fact, Anthony Bourdain was planning to include Victor Churchill in his new food market in New York.
If you are ready to eat Costis Seafood with excellent quality and very affordable fish and chips and the Queen Street Deli, have some tasty picnic options.
Oxford St – Bondi Junction Shopping Centre & train
If you can resist shopping at Westfield Bondi, then perhaps make your way to the Bondi beach bus stops for the 333 or the 380 services to the beach. When you tap your opal you will be charged a reduce fee for changing buses – just a dollar or so usually.
Well, I think Mr Turnbull might have been right. The 389 is a great bus route, so I suggest you grab an Opal card and get to the bus stop. If you get off along the way and re-join the bus within 60 minutes, it counts your stop as a transfer and charges one fare.
Who: Foodies, second-time visitors to Sydney, who want to see a bit more than the main sites.
How much: A one-way trip on the bus is $4.50 without an Opal and a little less if you have one.
When: Best on the weekend – avoid peak hours as the traffic can be horrendous in the city.
I have enjoyed researching this and learning even more about ways to get around Sydney without using a car, so I have decided to make it a series Exploring Sydney by Bus.
Check out one of these other bus routes next:
The 325 Watsons Bay to Walsh Bay – From the cliffs or Watsons Bay to the old wharves of Walsh Bay
The 311 – Exploring Eastside Sydney – From Barangaroo to Elizabeth Bay
Do you ever use public transport in Sydney? Do you have a favourite Sydney bus route to recommend?
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