Sydney International Airport is 8 kilometers (about 5 miles)
from the city center. The international and domestic terminals are separate, but are
linked by regular free shuttle buses. In both terminals, youll find free luggage
carts, wheelchairs, a post office (open Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm), mailboxes,
duty-free shops (including one before you go through customs on arrival), restaurants,
bars, stores, showers, luggage lockers, and tourist information desks. There is also a
State Transit Kiosk selling bus, train, and ferry tickets; a New South Wales Travel Centre
desk offering cheap deals on hotels; and a Thomas Cook currency exchange. The airport is
Getting into Town Fast and comfortable green-and-yellow Airport Express buses travel
between the city center and both the international and domestic terminals from 5am to
11pm. The number 300 bus runs to and from Circular Quay, The Rocks, Wynyard, and Town Hall
every 15 minutes Monday to Friday and approximately every 30 minutes early mornings,
nights, weekends, and public holidays. The trip to Circular Quay takes about 45 minutes.
Bus 350 runs to and from Kings Cross, Potts Point, and Elizabeth Bay every 20 minutes and
takes around 30 minutes to reach Kings Cross. Both buses travel via Central Station
(around 20 minutes from the International Terminal).
leaves for Coogee, Bronte and Bondi beaches every 30 minutes. It takes around 55 minutes
to reach Bondi Beach from the International Terminal. Bus 352 travels between Central,
Chinatown, Darling Harbour, the Star City casino, the Sydney Fish Markets, and Glebe,
approximately every 30 minutes. The trip time is about 30 minutes to Darling Harbour and
50 minutes to Glebe.
One-way tickets for all buses cost A$6 (U.S. $4.20) for adults, A$4 (U.S. $2.80) for kids
under 16, and A$15 (U.S. $10.50) for families (any number of children). A round-trip
ticket costs A$10 (U.S. $7) for adults, A$5 (U.S. $3.50) for kids, and A$25 (U.S. $17.50)
for families. You must use the return portion within two months. Buy your tickets from the
Airport Express booth outside the airport terminal, or on the bus. The Airport Express
buses also travel between the international and domestic terminals; an interterminal
ticket costs A$2.50 (U.S.$1.75) for adults, A$1.50 (U.S.$1.05) for children, and A$6.50
(U.S.$4.55) for families.
The Kingsford Smith Airport Coach also operates to the city center from bus stops outside the
terminals. This service will drop you off (and pick you up) at your hotel (pick-ups
require at least one hours advance notice; call tel. 02/9667 3221). Tickets cost A$6
(U.S. $4.20) one-way and A$11 round-trip (the return portion can be used at any time in
Privately operated shuttle buses also connect the airport with city center, Kings Cross,
Darling Harbour, and Glebe hotels; youll have no trouble spotting them when you
leave the terminal. These buses depart when theyre full and run from the city to the
airport between 5am and 8pm and from the airport to the city between the first and last
flights each day. Each company requires advance reservations for pickups from your hotel
to the airport. One company to try is Silks Sydney Airport-Hotel Transfers (tel. 02/9371
4466; e-mail: Silksydtransfer@seltek.com.au). The one-way fare is A$6 (U.S. $4.20) for
adults and A$4.50 (U.S.$3.15) for children 5 to 11. These buses are less comfortable than
the government buses and can take much longer since they stop at numerous hotels.
The Bondi Jetbus (0500 886008 mobile phone; fax 02/9487 3554) will deliver you anywhere on
the eastern beaches, including Bondi and Bronte. Tickets are A$8 (U.S. $5.60) for adults
and A$4 (U.S.$2.80) for children. Call when you arrive at the airport, and theyll
come pick you up within 15 minutes or less. The Pittwater Airport Shuttle (tel. and fax
02/9973 1877) will take you to any of the northern beaches. A trip to Manly, for example,
costs A$20 (U.S. $14) for the first person, A$10 (U.S. $7) for the second, and A$5 (U.S.
$3.50) for each subsequent passenger. Shuttles depart the airport around six times a day;
it may not be worth your while waiting around for the next shuttle when a taxi for two to
Manly will cost around A$40 (U.S.$28) anyway. Reservations are essential and must be made
a day in advance; travel agents can make reservations for you.
from the airport to the city center costs between A$16 (U.S.$ 11.20) and A$20 (U.S. $14).
To Kings Cross expect to pay around A$28 (U.S.$19.60).
Money Saving Flights
If you are flying from America, keep in mind that the airlines' low season is mid-April to
the end of August-this is when you'll find the cheapest fares. High season is December
through February, and shoulder season is September through November, and again from March
to mid-April. Keep an eye out for special deals offered throughout the year. Unexpected
lows in airline passenger loads often lead airlines to put cheap offers on the market. The
catch is these usually have a short lead time, requiring you to travel in the next six
weeks or so. Some deals involve taking a circuitous route, via Fiji or Japan for instance.
Canada 3000 has good rates from Vancouver in low season and often has promotional
specials. Austravel (tel. 800/633-3404 in the U.S. and Canada publishes a quarterly guide
to airfares, carriers, stopovers, and flying times to Australia. Some travel agents
specializing in cheap fares to Australia include Austravel (tel. 800/633-3404 in the U.S.
and Canada; www.austravel.net); DownUnder Direct, which is a division of Swain Australia
(tel. 800/22-SWAIN in the U.S.); Goway (tel. 800/387-8850 in the U.S. and Canada;
www.goway.com); and South Pacific Travel Shops (tel. 800/894-7722 in the U.S. and Canada;
Consolidators, also known as "bucket shops," are another good source for low
fares. Consolidators buy seats in bulk from the airlines and then sell them back to the
public at low prices, sometimes even below the airlines' discounted rates. Their small ads
usually run in the Sunday travel section at the bottom of the page. Before you pay,
however, ask for a confirmation number from the consolidator and then call the airline
itself to confirm your seat. Be prepared to book your ticket with a different
consolidator-there are many to choose from-if the airline can't confirm your reservation.
Also be aware that consolidator tickets are usually nonrefundable or rigged with stiff
cancellation penalties, often as high as 50% to 75% of the ticket price.
Council Travel (tel. 800/2-COUNCIL; www.counciltravel.com) and STA Travel (tel.
800/781-4040; www.sta.travel.com) cater especially to young travelers, but their bargain
basement prices are available to people of all ages. Other reliable consolidators include
1-800-FLY-CHEAP (www.1800flycheap.com); TFI Tours International (tel. 800-745-8000 or
212/736-1140), which serves as a clearinghouse for unused seats; or "rebators"
such as Travel Avenue (tel. 800/333-3335 in the U.S. or 312/876-1116; www. travelavenue.
com) and the Smart Traveller (tel. 800/448-3338 in the U.S. or 305/448-3338), which rebate
part of their commissions to you.
You can also search the Internet for cheap fares-though it's still best to compare your
findings with the research of a dedicated travel agent, if you're lucky enough to have
one, especially when you're booking more than just a flight. A few of the better-respected
virtual travel agents are Travelocity (www.travelocity.com) and Microsoft Expedia
(www.expedia.com). Just enter the dates you want to fly and the cities you want to visit,
and the computer roots out the lowest fares. Expedia's site will e-mail you the best
airfare deal once a week if you so choose; Travelocity will email you whenever fares
change. Travelocity uses the SABRE computer reservations system that most travel agents
use, and has a "Special Deals" database that advertises really cheap fares for
those who can get away at a moment's notice.