If you are thinking about buying a Sydney pass to help keep the cost of attractions down, you probably have a bunch of questions. Well, lots of people have been asking in our Facebook Group, so we have gone and done the research for you (and it took ages!). Read on to see what we discovered.
Citywide Passes and Apps
Types of Passes
Two main passes offer visitors discounts across a range of attractions both in the city and in other key tourist spots like the Blue Mountains and Illawarra.
- iVenture Card (33 attractions/tours or meals)
- Go Sydney Pass (25 attractions/tours or meals)
The cards offer similar conditions:
- Once you activate Flexi passes are valid for 30 days
- Both offer apps for paperless use or vouchers you can exchange for cards on arrival in Sydney
Then there is the Entertainment App Membership it has over $20,000 worth of valuable up to 50% off and 2-for-1 offers
- Valid June 1 – May 30 following year
- can be installed on up to 3 devices
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What do the passes cover?
It’s essential to consider which specific attractions you want to see rather than choose the card with the biggest number of attractions on offer. There are some key differences between these passes, so we have put them together in a graph. This will help you to compare what’s included in each one quickly and easily.
Attractions on both cards
|Attraction||Go Sydney||iVenture||Entertainment App|
|Taronga Zoo||X||X||X (25% Off)|
|Opera House Tour||X||X||N/A|
|HOHO Blue Mtns||X||X||N/A|
Here’s where the decisions come in.
- If you like walking and culture, you would probably get better use from the Go Sydney card.
- If you like museums or prefer bus tours, then the iVenture is likely your best bet.
- If you plan on dining and are travelling with a family, perhaps the Entertainment App will be the best value.
Attractions only on some passes
|Attraction||Go Sydney||iVenture||Entertainment App|
|Bondi Walking tour||X|
|Kings Cross Walking tour||X||X|
|Sydney with conviction Walking tour||X||X|
|Luna Park 4 ride pass||X||X|
|Bondi surf rental 2 hrs||X||X|
|4 hr Bonza Bike rental||X||X|
|Urban winery tasting flight||X||X|
|Virtual Reality room||X||X|
|Race Car simulator||X|
|Living Museums Pass||X|
|Queen Victoria Building Tour||X|
|ANZ Stadium tour||X|
|Manly half-day bus tour||X|
|Bondi half-day bus tour||X|
|Featherdale Wildlife Park||X||X|
|2 hr Manly Bike Tour||X||X|
|Rocks walking tour||X||X|
How much do they cost?
Both pass operators offer Flexi cards with 3, 5 and 7 attraction options. Go Sydney also provides a 4-day option.
|3 attractions||4 attractions||5 attractions||7 attractions|
|Entertainment App||Valid one year $70|
iVenture has the Sydney Unlimited Attractions Pass that allows you to visit as many attractions as you can in 3 or 7 days
3 day $270 7 day $345
Alternatively, the Entertainment App has a one-year membership for $70
With Go Sydney, you can also choose the build your own pass option where you mix and match whatever attractions you want for a 20% or greater discount rather than the numbered day passes.
The best-known multi-attraction passes are:
- Sydney Attraction Pass*
- Sydney Living Museums Pass
The Sydney Attractions
This pass covers the Merlin properties:
- Sealife Sydney
- Wildlife Sydney Zoo
- Madame Tussauds
- Sydney Tower Eye
You can buy multi tickets to combine any two attractions ($50) three attractions ($60) or four attractions ($70) of these at a reduced price compared to single admissions. You can also buy annual family passes that cover their other Australian locations. These are cheaper booked online either direct with Merlin or with a ticketing site. It will cost you more in person.
You can also bundle them with a bunch of other Sydney attractions including:
Sydney Bonus Pass: 4 Attractions and Captain Cook HOHO Harbour Cruise
Related: Check out our article on the best places to see Australian animals in Sydney
The Sydney Living Museum
This pass is my personal favourite, and if you love cultural history as much as I do you, then you will enjoy it too. Most of these you will probably not want to spend time visiting on a short holiday to Sydney, so I have listed them in order of those I think best suited to visits of less than a week.
- Museum of Sydney – Great spot to learn more about Australia’s Colonial History
- Susannah Place Museum – Fascinating museum that chronicles the changes in the Rocks over the 150 years.
- Hyde Park Barracks – Closed until the end of 2019. My favourite of these and the new design looks to be brilliant.
- Elizabeth Bay House – Good for a short visit if you are in Potts Point
- Justice and Police Museum – Interesting but limited opening hours
- Vaucluse House – choose this or Elizabeth Bay House
- The Mint – Not much to see inside here
- Elizabeth Farm – in Parramatta, pop by if you are in the area
- Rose Seidler House – Likely to be of interest only to architecture buffs or long term visitors
Cost for a pass to entry to all these museums $24 and is valid for one month.
The Entertainment Book App
The Entertainment Book has been sold across Australia for over 20 years. There is both a print and app-based digital membership, offering discounts on dining, travel, shopping, beauty and accommodation from more than 10,000 businesses across Australia.
The books and apps memberships are sold by the city. They are also available for Bali. When you buy a membership for one city, you can purchase another city for a much-reduced rate so these can be great value if you are visiting a few cities.
They are sold as fundraisers for non-profit groups with 20% of each sale going to the charity. The Sydney Greeters group that I manage sells them to cover the cost of our insurance each year. The deals include lots of tourist attractions, sporting events and hire, fine dining and cafes, take away restaurants and even cinemas and day spas.
There are discounts for hotels and car hire too. Generally, there is at least 20% off or buy one get one free (BOGOF). I have personally had one of these for years and get great value out of all the dining options.
Examples of the way you could use this book to save money in Sydney are:
Savings based on two people
Attractions popular with visitors to Sydney
|Attractions||Type of discount||Saving|
|Taronga Zoo||25% (for 4 ppl)||$21 pp|
|Manly Kayak Centre||BOGOF||$45|
|Manly Bike tour||BOGOF||$45|
|Capt Cook HOHO ferry||25% off (4 ppl)||$12.50|
|Fish Market tour||BOGOF||$45|
If you wanted to do all these things you would pay $70 for the app plus $517 a total of $577 = value $1034 which is a saving of $457
Say you had three days
- Taronga Zoo (am) Kayak hire (pm)
- Rocks Walking tour (am) Australian Museum (afternoon) Sydney Tower (sunset)
- Harbour Jet Cruise, (am) Sydney Aquarium (afternoon)
Total cost for two adults without Entertainment App – $535
Total cost for two adults with Entertainment App $267 for two adults – saving – $201
Buy your Entertainment membership now and support Sydney Greeters while you save money.
Related: Read our review of the Sydney Hop on Hop Off bus
Which Sydney Travel Pass/App is best?
So while we may have done some of the work, this is just the starting point. I suggest you use these tables to work out which attractions you want to visit and then armed with that see which pass will be cheaper for your situation.
Personally, and these are our opinions, you NEED to double-check your own needs.
- For families, we think the Entertainment book might be the best bet if you consider the meal deals and fast food savings it can really add up to significant savings. They also have several deals that are valid for 4-10 people so good for groups.
- For people happy to pack in busy days then the iVenture unlimited 3 and 7 days passes can be worthwhile, but you need to have your skates on to really get the value.
- If you are travelling solo, then the buy on get one free model of the Entertainment app will be no use, and the other Flexi cards with their 30-day validity might work out best.
- If you want to do some bus tours, then iVenture is your best option as the others don’t offer these
- If you are into activities like bikes, surfing and walking tours then consider a Go Sydney pass
- Another consideration is the simplicity of the iVenture and Go Sydney options – you can pay for everything before you leave home and not need to worry about currency on arrival.
- You can save money by checking out Groupon and similar sites for individual deals but if you do this read the fine print very carefully – many of these block out public holidays and school vacations.
We hope this helps you determine if a Sydney attraction pass is the best choice for you.
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