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 into Sydney was an overall easy experience. 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.
As 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.
Don’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.
Again, 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.
Before 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.
Once 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.
The 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.
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:
The 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!
When 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.
In 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