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Sydney has to rank as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It’s a thriving cosmopolitan city with a breathtaking harbor, superb nature, world-class food and a buzzing nightlife. Culturally vibrant with a rich history, there is just so much to see and do!

We all know the main landmarks, the Opera House, Harbour Bridge, etc…but as a visitor how do you experience the real, local side of Sydney?

If you’re lucky, you’ll have a local friend to take you around. However, for the majority of visitors to Sydney that aren’t so lucky and still want to experience the city with a local, there is a new rideshare service just launched in Sydney that’s making waves called toodooloo.

How to Experience Sydney Like a Local with toodooloo

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Toodooloo was started by Sydney-sider Julian Sarkadi earlier this year to provide visitors to Sydney with an affordable way to see the city with a local. They recently launched their Beta website at and the response has been overwhelming.

As Julian explained, “We wanted to give people a way to see the real, authentic side of our city, beyond the main landmarks that tourists frequent”. At AU$38 an hour for standard drivers and AU$45 an hour for luxury vehicles, larger vehicles or professional tour guides, it is certainly great value. Private tour guides in Sydney can charge around AU$500 for 4 hours or over AU$1,000 for a whole day tour! Taxis and other rideshares services (you know the ones) are similarly expensive for longer rides.

Toodooloo’s website contains profiles of local drivers who will pick you up at the location of your choice and show you their city according to your interests and preferences, on an hour-to-hour basis. You can communicate directly with drivers and book and pay in advance online. Driver profiles contain reviews from previous passengers. It’s kind of a combination between Uber and Airbnb!

Website Snapshots

For those visiting Sydney who want to experience the city with a local, there is a new rideshare service that’s making waves called toodooloo.

For those visiting Sydney who want to experience the city with a local, there is a new rideshare service that’s making waves called toodooloo.

For those visiting Sydney who want to experience the city with a local, there is a new rideshare service that’s making waves called toodooloo.

The Toodooloo Difference

So, beyond price and convenience, how does toodooloo differ from other driving or tour guide services? Toodooloo strives to give each passenger a truly customized local experience. Beyond the main landmarks, toodooloo drivers will take you to the places that the average tourist doesn’t get to see, including those hidden away scenic spots that require local knowledge to reach.

As an example, Sydney is a multicultural city; a gourmet’s paradise. You can find top quality Vietnamese, Turkish, Lebanese, Indian, Chinese, Korean, Italians…really anything! However, to find some of the most authentic and tastiest meals you need to travel to Sydney’s suburbs, where the locals in the know go. Toodooloo drivers, using their knowledge, can take you to the local favorites, whether it be fine dining or a discreet and delicious family run restaurant.

But the experience doesn’t stop there. If you want to know where the best boutique shopping is, your toodooloo driver will take you to the inner suburbs, including the weekend markets where you can pick up cutting edge fashions for a song. It just takes some local knowledge!

Benefit From Local Knowledge

After you’ve found your bargain, take a stroll around some of the rich inner-city architecture, drop into one of the trendy cafes and learn about the Sydney of yesteryear. Visit a local pub to have a chat with the locals and to quench your first with a local beer or grab an Aussie pub meal.

The Northern beaches are a favourite for toodooloo passengers, according to Julian. “A lot of people are familiar with Bondi Beach and the Eastern suburbs, but the northern shore also has a lot to offer, and it’s a totally different vibe to the east. Something a bit different”.

beach RF

A Real Taste of the City Through the Eyes of a Local

So, that is just some of what toodooloo does. Julian summed up toodooloo’s goal as follows, “We wanted to give visitors to Sydney a real taste of the city through the eyes of a local. Anyone can see the main sights, but we want to provide our passengers with a unique experience. A lot of our passengers finish their booking feeling like they’ve made an Aussie friend! That’s exactly what we want.”

If you’re planning a trip to Sydney, jump onto to find a driver and guide for a truly wonderful local experience or email them for more information:

While Toodooloo currently operates in Sydney, the overwhelming success of the platform means it will be expanding to other Australian cities later this year. Keep an eye out!

For more information about toodooloo visit their



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Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; a website dedicated to opening your eyes to the wild & natural world.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

If you enjoy getting social, you can follow their journey on FacebookTwitterYouTubePinterest and Instagram.


  1. Looks great Megan! We’ll definitely try it when we’re in Sydney next.

    • Have a fabulous trip! Glad we could introduce you to toodooloo :)

  2. Incredibly cool idea Meg. I like it. We just saw Sydney from the airport. So twas not the real Sydney, but the little town by the airport itself. But even then it was cool to spend a few days in Oz. Because I learned how to order french fries correctly at McDonald’s. When the guy said “chips” I looked like a deer in the headlights. But now I know :)

    • Well you’re not wrong that the airport is a town in itself! Haha and yes our version of French Fries is chips :D

      Hope you have the chance to visit Aus again soon and can carve out some time for Sydney itself :)

  3. Sometimes you need to be guided through a destination with someone who knows the inside stories. This sounds interesting enough to be tried.

    • Totally agree with you – local knowledge gives you a much greater appreciation and insight into the destination you’re exploring, and the experience is much more immersive :)

      If you find your way to Sydney definitely give toodooloo a try :)

  4. What a great post. I never knew what’s a toodooloo. Good to finally find out! I cant wait to visit Sydney. It looks so beautiful.

    • Can definitely recommend toodooloo for your next trip to Sydney – glad we could introduce you!

  5. I’m thinking that 2018 might be my year for visiting Australia (and hopefully New Zealand). My godfather dutifully comes to see me every year in England – he’s now 85, so it’s about time I returned the favour! I’ll definitely be stopping off in Sydney if I do, so this is really useful

    • Awesome Fiona! You’ll love Australia and New Zealand, and yes, Sydney is a great stop to include on your itinerary. What a treat it will be for your godfather to see you! Definitely check out toodooloo :)

  6. Exploring an unknown place with a local is always the best idea and the best way to do it. However, as you mention not anyone will have the luck to find someone to show them around. I’ve always wanted to visit Sydney and Australia in general, so I would have toodooloo in mind once I visit it one day. Thank you for sharing this opportunity.

    • Absolutely Bilyana – local knowledge is priceless! And it’s so nice having a local friend to show you around when you arrive in a new city – I love that toodooloo is bridging that gap for those who don’t know anyone locally :)

      Hope you have the chance to visit Australia soon!

  7. This is a fantastic idea! I like that it truly goes beyond the sites, which most locally guided tours emphasize! While I love learning more about history and sites, I definitely crave a more local experience. This sounds like the best of both worlds! I’ll definitely give this a go when I visit Sydney!

    • Definitely achieves the best of both worlds, I’m glad we could introduce you to toodooloo! Have an awesome trip to Sydney :)

  8. This is a great concept. I usually travel independently in a city but do use local guides here and there. Would definitely give Toodooloo a go!

    Just read more about them and looks like they are expanding to other places outside Australia as well. Cool!

    • Yep, expanding international – I can see the concept being really popular all across the globe :)

  9. First of all, I love the name Toodooloo – does it have a particular meaning? The service seems very reasonably priced and I’m all for using local knowledge! Would definitely check this out if coming to Sydney

    • Isn’t it the best name! It’s so fun to say! I’m not sure re the origins of the name, I’ll dig around on their website and see if I can find out :)

      The service is very reasonably priced, and definitely comes in a lot cheaper than what you would pay for a private tour – very cool that you can book by the hour too … they’re aiming to expand to international destinations soon, so keep an eye out :)

  10. Now I wish I knew this service existed during my first trip to Sydney- that is my kind of tour! Good to hear Toodooloo is expanding to other Aus. cities.

    • Something to keep in mind for your trip back for sure! :)

  11. No matter how many travel guides are published every year, the joy and satisfaction of exploring a new town through the eyes of a local remains unparalleled. And toodooloo seems to have hit the right nail.

    • Totally agree with you – they’ve cultivated something really special here, and it’s an incredible thing to put visitors in touch with a local friend :)

  12. Great to know about toodooloo.
    I like how they take effort to give customized local experience. For a tourist this can be of great help. I am used to doing self planned tours but this sounds try-able.

    • I’m glad we could introduce you! Yes absolutely, the ability to customize your experience is a huge perk – we’re very independent travelers and don’t like big group, organized tours, but if I could have a local friend show me around in every new city I would jump for it. I think they’ve created something really great here :)

  13. This is the type of tourism that I love, being toured by the local and being taken to places where locals go. For that alone, I would definitely use this. I hope that they get to expand to other parts of Australia fast.

    • Absolutely, it’s probably one of the most immersive experiences you can have as a traveler – I love that toodooloo offers people the opportunity to connect with locals even when they may not know any-one at the outset :)

  14. What a brilliant idea! I love the idea of telling a local a couple of things I would like to experience and allowing them to fill in the gaps with some surprises

    • Absolutely – customized experiences for the win!

  15. What a cool idea with toodooloo. I’ve been to Sydney several times but it would be cool to experience it like a local and check out some new places to visit when I’m there.

    • Definitely something to keep in mind for your next trip – glad we could introduce you :)

  16. That is such an interesting way to explore Sydney! We’ve never been there, and will certainly consider checking out toodooloo when we plan our trip to Sydney! Thank you for sharing this!

    • Glad we could introduce you! I can highly recommend Sydney, and highly recommend toodooloo – hope you have the chance to combine the two soon!

  17. We really want to get back to Australia and in particular Sydney. I have quite a few relatives there. The last time I visited was 1992!!

    The website sounds a great idea and a perfect way to really get to know a city. Having a local show you is so much better than any guidebook.

    • It’s so nice being able to travel and reconnect with family and friends – and means you have a personalized tour guide right!!

      If they’re looking for a gig showing tourists around, let them know they can sign up for toodooloo :)

  18. Sydney!! I need to come back! Definitely! For two reasons: 1 because I have a good friend is living there, 2 because the first time I went, I come back home not really happy about Sydney so I wan to give her a second chance. Not happy because the impact was TOO EXPENSIVE. I am from Italy and for us it is a little too much!!!! I didn’t know it was like that so I was not ready too. So second chance in the future!!!

    • Sydney can definitely be an expensive city if you let it! Australia is quite an expensive country in general, mainly because we’re so isolated. But I hope you have the chance to travel back soon, and maybe the second trip will be more enjoyable since you can expect the expense before coming :)

      Happy travels!

  19. I’ve been to Sydney last year, i never know this exist. Anyway, todooloois is kind of expensive for me, but surely a must try.

    • A pretty cheap service for Sydney – I guess Australia is a pretty expensive country depending on which part of the world you’re coming from :)

  20. The opportunity to experience a destination like a local is always a great idea. Love your point about local food often being in neighborhoods, you wouldn’t know unless you had the insider local scoop. First I love the name, Toodooloo and for my first visit to Sydney in the future, I think they would make the perfect guide.

    • Yes local food is always the best! But tourists often don’t have the chance to visit the neighborhoods or suburbs, and get stuck with over priced touristy restaurants instead. So can definitely recommend toodooloo if you’re into your food!

  21. I’ll have to keep this in mind for when I finally make it to Sydney. It’s always better to visit a place like a local, especially for foodie finds. I’ll have to be on the lookout for when they expand outside of Aus.

    • Absolutely re foodie finds – I was just saying to Rosemary in the comments above that tourists often don’t have the chance to visit the neighborhoods or suburbs, and get stuck with over priced touristy restaurants instead. So can definitely recommend toodooloo if you’re into your food!

      And definitely keep an eye out – it looks like they’re rolling out new international destinations towards the end of the year :)

  22. Whenever i visited Sydney, I always relied on my local friends to explore the hidden gems of the city. Now I have an option in the form of toodooloo. Can’t wait to visit Sydney.

    • Awesome Archana! Local friends are the best :) For sure, if they’re out of town on a future trip definitely look up toodooloo – happy travels!

  23. Thanks for sharing this article. Very nice

    • Glad we could introduce you to toodooloo – happy travels!

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