Arriving in Sydney

American Airlines aircraft prepares for take-off at Sydney Airport.
James D. Morgan/Getty Images

If arriving in Sydney on an overseas airline, you will land at the Sydney international terminal of the Kingsford Smith Airport at Mascot in southern Sydney.

You will need to pass through the usual arrival stages such as going through immigration and customs. (There should be free trolleys after Passport Control for your luggage.)

Transportation Choices at the Sydney Airport

If you have a shuttle bus provided by your Sydney hotel, all you need do is locate it and get on it.

Some of the hotels with free airport shuttle service are Stamford Plaza, Holiday Inn, Mercure Hotel, Ibis Hotel and Airport Sydney International Inn.

Otherwise, you have several choices:

  • Take a taxi. It costs about $30 for a taxi from the airport to Sydney Central Station in the heart of the city, but could cost more if caught in heavy traffic. An airport toll of $3 also applies. If the taxi goes through any of the Sydney toll roads, the tolls are added to your fare. The taxi can carry four passengers. Under ideal conditions you should be at Central in 15 minutes. In heavy traffic, who knows?
  • Take the train. There is a railway link from the airport to Central station. The single adult fare from Sydney International Airport to Sydney Central station was A$15.20 in July 2009. This may now have changed. Note that there are no luggage racks on the train which would be a problem if you have much luggage. The trip to Central should take 10-15 minutes. You can take connecting trains (or buses or a combination of trains, buses and even ferries) from Central to your destination.
  • Take the airport shuttle bus. There are several shuttle buses serving Sydney International Airport. Fares depend on where you're going. Inquire at the airport. As an example, the KST Airporter charges $13 one way and $22 round trip from the airport to designated points in the city.

NOTE: All transport costs quoted are subject to change and should be considered the minimum you'd have to pay.

Where Central Is

Central is used here merely for comparison of costs and travel times. Central Station is located at the southern end of the Sydney city center, between George St and Elizabeth St.

The airport train does stop at Central, but with the shuttle buses, you should be able to ask if they can drop you off right at your hotel, especially if it is in or along the way to central Sydney.

  • RECOMMENDATION: For travel from the airport to where you will be staying, the taxi should be both cost-effective (especially for three or four passengers) and convenient in the sense that you can be brought to your exact destination. However, if a shuttle bus is available which will bring you to your place of accommodation, you may want to use a shuttle bus instead. Your shuttle bus cost will remain the same even if you are caught in heavy traffic.

Public Transport in Sydney

During your stay, you will find you can get anywhere in Sydney on public transport (comprising trains, buses, ferries), private or non-government buses, or by taxi.

If you prefer using a taxi, you can telephone for one.

There's no need to dial the 02 area code if you're phoning from within the Sydney area.

If you expect to travel by taxi during busy periods, such as when people are going to work in the morning or returning home in the evening, it may be best to pre-book your cab even the day before. Allow for slower travel times during these busy periods

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