Exploring Sydney by Bus the 389 Pyrmont to North Bondi

My favourite bus is the 389 because it wends its way past so many fine pubs, restaurants & street cafes on its way from the Quay to Bondi

— Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) August 21, 2015

So 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 North Bondi 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.

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

Maritime Museum Sydney

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.

Sydney Fish Market

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.
Pyrmont Park Sydney

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.
Hyde Park St Marys Cathedral

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.

Messina Gelato

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.

Woollahra – Moncur Street & Queen Street
Queen St Woollahra

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 has included 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.

Queen St Woollahra fish and chips


Oxford St – Bondi Junction Shopping Centre & train

If you can resist shopping at Westfield Bondi, then the next section will take you through the local back streets of Bondi before you reach the beach.

Along the way, you pass some local favourites like the very delicious Israeli-inspired Shuk Bondi, which is a cafe, deli and bakery all in one and the North Bondi RSL which is the perfect spot to grab a beer and take in the view of the beach.

North Bondi – Bondi Beach / Bondi Weekend Market

Your final stop at the northern end of the world famous Bondi beach – just across the road at Bondi Beach Public School is a great Sunday market that is well worth a visit.

Bondi Beach

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 will be horrendous both in the city and along Old South Head Road.

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.

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?

Got a question about this article or anything else about visiting Sydney? Head over to the Sydney Expert Facebook Group, and we will be happy to try to help.


  1. Paula, thank you for sharing what can be explored on this bus route. As you have said there are great options to get around Sydney – I suggest that you should also do a ‘getting around Sydney by ferry series’.

  2. I love the idea of hopping on a bus and exploring its route! Would love to try this out in Sydney, especially now that the weather is so nice!

    • I am sorry if you have experienced delays with the bus. At the moment there is a lot of road construction and this has really slowed traffic down. Hopefully things will improve better. Certainly better to do this outside peak hour.

  3. Thank you for an informative and helpful “blog”-article. We will be visiting [from US] and like a more leisurely way to see a major city, then stop at sights that intrigue us. I particularly like seeing old buildings [often governmental] and churches so this bus ‘tour’ should be a good one. See you in December !

    • Glad you found it useful. If you like old buildings make sure you take a walk along Martin Place and poke your head into the grand buildings that line the pedestrian mall – Most are open to the public and some are rather beautiful.

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