The Indian Ocean tsunami (IOT) of December 2004 has demonstrated that the coasts of Australia are vulnerable to tsunami flooding. As a consequence of the IOT, the Australian Federal Treasurer announced in 2005 that the Bureau of Meteorology and Geoscience Australia will jointly develop and implement the Australian Tsunami Warning System. Effective response to tsunami warnings is highly dependent on public awareness and perception of tsunami hazard and risk. At present, no efforts have been made to investigate and publish public awareness of tsunami hazard and risk and as such, emergency managers have little idea of the likely challenges to effecting appropriate tsunami risk management. We develop a short questionnaire survey instrument and trial that instrument in order to investigate its suitability for generating information about the perceptions of tsunami hazard and risk in the Sydney region. We found that the design, layout and format of the questionnaire were suitable for our purpose and should be useful for generating information appropriate to emergency management agencies tasked with the responsibility of developing tsunami education campaigns and risk mitigation strategies in Australia. However, certain limitations, such as individual question design and format, should be considered before a much larger survey of various stakeholders is conducted.