Five Hour Sydney Layover

Jul 12th, 2006, 10:07 AM
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Five Hour Sydney Layover

I have a five hour layover in Sydney (international airport) in March and was wondering if that gives me enough time to take the train out to see the opera house and wander round for a couple of hours.

I have done a search, but still need answers specific to my situation.

I land on a Saturday (March 24th) at about 6:15 AM and depart at 10:50 AM.

In particular I am trying to estimate how long it would take me to get through customs upon my return, considering I should already have a boarding pass for my onward flight.

I'd hate to have to hang out at the airport all that time. I'm also open to suggestions on other things to do in that time frame.

I've got the same situation on the return leg, fly in at 0830 and leave at 1345.

Thanks in advance.
Femi is offline  
Jul 12th, 2006, 09:00 PM
Join Date: May 2003
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Hello Femi
I did this a couple of years ago and as long as there isn't a huge crowd going through customs and you are not bringing any food or items that will need to be scrutinized (I encourage you NOT to) by customs, you should get through with plenty of time to catch the train into the city. I believe there is a left luggage station available if you need it in the terminal. You won't have a lot of time, but it beats hanging around the airport. It might be cold and rainy, so take a "brolly". Note that security back to the US can take longer than if you go to other destinations, so leave time for that. Good travels.
patfromLA is offline  
Jul 13th, 2006, 03:11 PM
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Thanks. That's the answer I was hoping for.
Femi is offline  
Jul 13th, 2006, 03:23 PM
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Posts: 394

I would decide on the day. Arm yourself with the timetable for trains and allow for a 20 minute delay. Once everything is done see what time the next train is and decide on the spot.

Weekend trains are not as frequent or as punctual as weekdays and sometimes tracks are closed down for maintenance.

Use the same website to check on track maintenance schedules closer to the time.

Select WE for weekend timetable, Airport and East Hills line, Macarthur to Town Hall for outgoing journey and visa versa for reurn journey. You will need to alight at Circular Quay for the Opera House/Bridge Views. You hardly need to leave the station for some postcard views if the weather gods are kind.
Tassietwister is offline  
Jul 13th, 2006, 03:43 PM
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Thanks Tassie! I would never have found that info on my own.
Femi is offline  
Jul 13th, 2006, 08:44 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
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It is a twenty minute trip into town from the airport - cost about $A6. Change at Central for Circular Quay.
Circular Quay railway station is directly under the bridge approach. You will be right at Sydney Cove and the Opera House is five minutes to your right and the bridge is 10 minutes to your left. And the Rocks is 2 minutes away. Why don't you start your day with a coffee at the Italian Village and watch the ferries come in. Sublime!!
sunsurfsand is offline  
Jul 13th, 2006, 09:12 PM
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Also the Museum of Contemporary Art is a little to your left - 1 minute - and there is also Cadmans Cottage - oldest house in Australia (I think).
The Old Sailors Home is now the Information Centre and worth a look.
And good shopping at the Rocks and good restaurants at the Overseas Terminal.
sunsurfsand is offline  
Jul 14th, 2006, 09:42 AM
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This just keeps getting better!

I was dreading the layover, but am now actually looking forward to it! Thanks SSS.
Femi is offline  
Jul 17th, 2006, 05:46 PM
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Apparently I'm the only one that has ever missed a flight trying to do something like this. You do not have enough time to go into Sydney. By the time you get off the plane and get through customs it will be 7:30-8:00am. Add that to the fact that you have to check in at least two hours ahead of time for an international flight you have to be back to the airport by 8:50am. You can't make it into Sydney and back. You'll miss your connection. You have the same problem on the return. 3 hours to get through customs, figure out how to get into Sydney(30 mins each way), walk to the Opera House from the train station and back and hope the train is running on time and then go through airport security is just cutting it too close. Take a book.
cf5657 is offline  
Jul 18th, 2006, 10:56 AM
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CS5657: What you have described is what I was originally worried about and prompted this post.

I'm trying to find out if I will have at least 90 mins to spend walking around.

A mad dash from one position to the next is NOT what I am looking for.

I think Tassie has a good point about waiting until the final moment to make the decision. Trouble is, having had no experience with this exploit, it will be hard for me to figure out what my chances are of returning in time.

Hoping more input from more experienced people will make things clearer.

Femi is offline  
Jul 18th, 2006, 07:23 PM
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Both posters have very good points - sorry if I got your hopes up for the layover.
Is there a possibility your bags could just be stored and then transferred to the ongoing flight? If your declaration forms are filled out correctly, maybe your luggage will just go straight through. Best of luck!
sunsurfsand is offline  
Jul 18th, 2006, 07:30 PM
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If your luggage is checked through - you should have sufficient time.

Bear in mind, though, that Saturday is peak time at the International Airport (although the afternoon is busier).

Without luggage, I've come through and been outside 15 minutes after landing - but there are no guarantees.

The advice about waiting until you see how you go is probably the best.

Good luck!
margo_oz is offline  
Apr 5th, 2007, 09:42 AM
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I'm back to report that I did indeed make it with time to spare.

PatfromLA is correct in that the worst line involved getting through customs. I forget the actual term, but it's the line for inspection to make sure you're not importing bugs/plants/food items.

Thanks to Tassietwister for the train schedule.

I applied for a visa online (5 minutes tops) before I left. The process was so easy, I worried it might be too good to be true, but it went off without a hitch.

Left my carry-on at the storage area (AUD $7), took the metro to Circular key, and even had time for the ferry and bus to Taronga zoo. This turned out to be a bit of a waste, because I went hoping for views from that height, but didn't realise you actually had to enter the zoo.

All in all I was back waiting for my next flight in about 3 hours.

And it DEFINITELY was better than hanging out at the airport for all five hours.

Thanks all!

Femi is offline  
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