Taking Airport Link from the Airport to Circular Quay | Sydney, Australia

Sydney Airport
Sydney Airport

One of my recent trips had me traveling all the way to Sydney, Australia and through Sydney Airport, also known as Kingsford Smith airport. One of the oldest airports in the world and the busiest in Australia, arriving in Sydney was an overall easy experience. Airport parking Sydney with Parkhound was not too bad either. No one wants to pay to park in an airport, as the prices increase depending on the length of the stay, but if that’s the only option people have, what else can be done?

Now I wanted to see if getting from the airport to my hotel, the Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel, would be as simple with Airport Link. The Airport Link project began in 1995 and was completed in 2000 at a total cost of $900 million to prepare Sydney for the Olympics. More than 5.7 million passengers use this train connection annually to travel to or from Sydney Airport with an estimated 73 million+ expected to use the service by July 2013. Airport Link is open from five am through to midnight seven days a week.

null_zps9e5ccbc3As we were flying on Air New Zealand, we were in the International Terminal (T1) and Airport Link is located below this terminal. Walk the length of the terminal until you can’t walk any farther or you’d be inside Gloria Jean’s Coffee and you’ll see McDonald’s nearby. Turn right and keep walking.

null_zps40c4f21eDon’t be concerned about not finding your way to the train as there is plenty of signage throughout the terminal to indicate you’re on the right path for the Airport Link. I chose to follow the man with the guitar.

null_zpsa18e43bc1Eventually, you’ll come upon a desk with signage that says “Airport Link” with corresponding train information on the monitor.

null_zps41ec8f62If you’re not sure what to do, speak with the employee manning the Airport Link desk. You can even buy your tickets here.

null_zps9f319180From here take the lift downstairs to the trains. It’s impossible to miss the big yellow sign above the elevators.

null_zpsa791a046Again, there is an abundance of signage and maps throughout this area to help you find your way along with paper maps that you can take with you. This map even shows the route map and estimated time to your destination.

null_zps0c3df0abOnce you exit the lift, walk straight ahead and if you took one, leave your luggage cart here before going onward to the platform area.

null_zps47e8849aIn case you didn’t purchase a ticket upstairs, don’t panic! You can purchase your tickets from the kiosks here.

null_zpsb6650741With instructions printed right on the machine and easy to use touch screens, the process is a simple and straightforward way to purchase your tickets. Machines accept both cash and credit cards.

null_zpsf2901c56Before you arrive in Sydney, why not take a look at the fare calculator on the Airport Link website to determine what kind of ticket you’ll need. We needed tickets from the International Airport to Circular Quay, which is $17.20 each way. Planning in advance, we purchased our return ticket so we wouldn’t have to scramble to buy a ticket on the way back.

null_zps08182c2eOnce you have your tickets in hand, pass through the ticket machine and find the appropriate platform to wait for your train. You’ll need to put your ticket in the machine and grab it when it comes out before the gate will open to allow you to pass through. We were headed to Circular Quay and so we made our way down to Platform 1. You can take either the escalator or the lift to the train platform, but if you have bags, it’s probably best to take the lift.

null_zps69ad0bf6The train platform was spotless like I’ve not seen anywhere else. It was brightly lit, clean, and comfortable. Certainly as a tourist you should always be aware of your surroundings, but this particular station and the Airport Link in general felt completely safe.

null_zps41018434Make sure you check the monitors to board the correct train and you can also see exactly when the train will arrive.

The train itself is huge! We are talking two levels with a massive amount of seating. As we had been sitting for what seemed like forever, we chose to stand by the doors with our bags. Stations are announced in advance overhead in a clear voice as well as on the digital display inside the train.

The train, like the platform and train station, was clean and well lit. Not only were there people traveling to and from the airport, but there were also commuters traveling between stations so you’ll see a variety of people on the train from tired tourists to busy business men and women.

The Airport Link website also has a quick video showing how the process works:

A5F57E50-2F87-4EE0-AD85-5F009C6F357B_zpsack0brs5The ride from the International Airport to Circular Quay station takes approximately 21 minutes and was only a few stops from the airport. There are lifts and escalators as well as stairs to get from the train down to street level. I could not believe that in a matter of minutes I went from the airport into Sydney and was now seeing with my own eyes the iconic Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. It was so incredibly surreal!

null_zpsa6c97a74When you arrive at the Circular Quay train station you’ll notice that this is a busy station with bus service nearby as well as the ferry terminal to one side. If you’re tired after your flight and want to grab something to eat or drink, you can easily grab a quick bite here from a fast food place like Hungry Jacks, book a tour, or buy something from a souvenir shop. If you’re taking a cruise out of Sydney from Sydney Overseas Passenger Terminal, your ship will be right here as well. Otherwise, if you’re cruising from Wharf 5 you’ll need to take the train to Wynyard Station.

83AC29F9-9224-4B7C-8A6A-E277D3571E4E_zpsgowf5mhsBe sure to hold onto your train ticket as proof that you’ve paid. If you travel from the domestic airport, the fare is set at $16.40 each way.

B257EBFA-C974-42EE-A639-E7B261915FEB_zpsjwgfchocWhen we were returning to the airport, we basically did the same trip in reverse. You can see here how the train is a double decker type train with huge windows.

81F3F6EC-3CE6-43F0-9C13-8BA0EEDD2031_zps8lqzohllThe Circular Quay train station, just like the one at the airport, was clean and safe. Staff is visible and available to answer questions, should you have any.

E4E4D1C7-8C9A-40D0-B75F-4E68D8FBAE2C_zpsygj7ih06I was impressed with the mosaic that was installed on the platform. No trash, cigarettes, or other garbage to look at, but this pretty piece of art was visible.

4701F234-84EF-4393-A58E-E38F098478EB_zpslg9nwaxzI wondered how many people walk right over it and miss it? Another reason to always pay attention to your surroundings and appreciate the little things in life.

BF931035-63F8-4D9D-8BE4-879F81B23013_zpsdkw1vyfwIn no time you’ll be back at Sydney Airport along with the masses so enjoy you’re comfortable ride on Airport Link for as long as you can. While the arrivals hall at Sydney Airport was somewhat quiet, the departures area is a completely different story. Wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to run around loads of people to find your airline.

I highly recommend using Airport Link to transfer from Sydney Airport to your final destination in Sydney and back to the airport. It’s easy to use, affordable, and gives you an opportunity to see more than only tourist areas. Whenever you get a chance when traveling to a new destination, you should consider using public transportation. It’s fun, affordable, and as with Airport Link, completely easy to use.

Airport Link website: http://www.airportlink.com.au
Current ticket price: $17.20 Australian Dollars from the International Airport

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