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Sydney - Getting There


Sydney is accessible by air, rail and sea.

The nearest international and domestic airport serving Sydney is the Sydney Airport. The Sydney Airport is also known as the Kingsford Smith Airport after an Australian pioneer aviator. The IATA code for the Sydney airport is SYD. The Sydney Airport is located in Mascot, a suburb of Sydney City, about 8km (just under 5 miles) south from Sydney Central. The Sydney Airport is Australia's busiest airport, with great international and domestic flight connections – some 39 international carriers operate from Sydney Airport's Terminal 1, which serves all international flights. Terminals 2 and 3 are for domestic / Australian flights – Terminal 2 is used by several carriers (for examples, JetStar, Virgin Blue, Regional Express), while Terminal 3 is reserved for use by Australian National Carrier Qantas' domestic flights.

The Sydney Airport is particularly well linked to other Asian cities with good flight connections such as Bangkok, Hong Kong, Singapore, Seoul or Tokyo. Expatriates from the Middle East usually fly into Sydney from Asia. For expatriates based in Europe, there are frequent flights, especially from London via the Australian National Carrier, as well as many other international carriers. There is also a good selection for flights to New Zealand, the west coast of US and Hawaii. Expatriates from South American can opt to fly in via New Zealand or North America.

Points to note about the Sydney Airport: (1) if you are traveling onward from Terminal 1 to Terminals 2 or 3, do factor in some transfer time, as Terminals 2 and 3 are separated from Terminal 1 by a runway (approximate distance is 4km or 2.5 miles). (2) Although the Sydney Airport is a busy international airport, the airport does not operate 24 hours. Terminals 2 and 3 that operate domestic flights are closed after the last flight for the day.

For flight information, dial +61 2 9667 9111 (daily), or you can receive chargeable flight arrival information on your mobile phone at number 199 0 0 747. You will need to text your carrier and flight number to receive the status of that flight.

From the airport, most expatriates with families and luggage opt either to self-drive (there are rental car companies and pick-up points at the Sydney Airport), or take a taxi to their final destination. Taxis are readily available at the entrance of the airport. Taking a taxi is recommended for expatriates who need assistance, and there are staff present to assist in special requests, such as wheelchair assistance, or baby carriers, or a larger taxi (e.g. station wagon or 5-seater) for the extra baggage and/or persons. It is also possible to pre-book for a taxi service. A taxi ride to Sydney City costs around AUD$30-$50. If you are arranging for someone to pick you up from the airport, do note that the person will need to park his/her private car at the short-term car park facilities. There are fines for private cars that wait at the curbside of the Airport's entrance.

Some expatriates prefer to reach Sydney via another Australian city. Reaching Sydney via rail or by car from other Australian cities such as Melbourne or Brisbane are viable options for expatriates who may wish to experience a bit of Australia before reaching Sydney. Sydney is well linked via rail. The rail company CountryLink, operates train services from Australian cities in Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria to Sydney. The Central Station of Sydney is located in Sydney City itself. Visit CountryLink website for more information about reservations, fares and timetables. If you are within Australia, you can dial 132 232 (daily, standard Eastern time, 7am to 7pm for calls within Queensland, and daily standard eastern time 630am to 10pm for all other Australian states). For expatriates looking for a rail experience across the Australian continent, there are longer train journeys that cover Australia's vast interior. The Indian Pacific runs a train service from Perth, Western Australia to Sydney in a train journey that last 4 days. Note that this particular train service can cost more than a domestic flight transfer, with rates starting at above AUD$1,000 per adult. Dial 132 147 (within Australia) or +61 8 8213 4592 (international / overseas) for more information.

Via road, Sydney is accessible from other Australian major cities, such as Melbourne and Brisbane. The drive to Sydney from Melbourne is around 9 hours (non-stop) via the Hume Highway, and around 11 hours (non-stop) from Brisbane via the Pacific or New England Highway. Despite its name, the Pacific Highway does not necessarily offer extensive views of the Pacific Ocean, and can get congested during holidays.


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