Sydney Airport Guide

sydney airport guide

In this section you will find traveller airport reviews as well as our Sydney Airport Guide with info on WiFi, lounges, facilities and services....and yes, even the names of some airport hotels in case you decide that sleeping in the airport is not for you!

It's unbelievable and embarrassing for Australia that there is a charge to transfer between the domestic and international terminals. - a traveller

Airport Overview

sydney airport
photo credit: russavia / Wikimedia

To help you plan your layover or overnight sleepover, we are here to give you the low-down on what travellers have reported to us during their time at Sydney Airport.

What to expect

  • Sydney Airport is made up of 3 terminals: the domestic terminals (T2 and T3) are connected to the international terminal (T1) by a train that costs around 5.50 AUD per person.
  • Sydney is a large, spacious airport. Immigration lines can be chaotic and take a long time.
  • Amenities are average, and considered by many to be "disappointing" considering Sydney's hub status.
  • McDonald's is open 24-hours.
  • Bring ear plugs or noise cancelling headphones and a blanket!
  • WiFi is free and unlimited. See more WiFi information below.

Where to sleep

  • Most benches have armrests, and the marble floor is cold for sleeping.
  • In the international terminal, the “Waiting Area” is the designated area for airport sleepers spending the night. Located near the train station entrance (Landside), the area is poorly equipped with few chairs, electric socks, and one vending machine. Dress warm and make sure you have a blanket, as it gets very cold here at night!
  • Some travellers reported security checking this sleeping area at night for valid passports and plane tickets.
  • The domestic terminal closes at night, so sleeping there isn’t possible.
  • For uninterrupted sleep, this is a hotel located across from the International Terminal. See Airport Hotels below for more info.

Good to know

  • Showers are free, but bring your soap and towel. See Showers below.
  • Economy class passengers can find comfort in one of many airport lounges with the purchase of a lounge pass or membership. See Airport Lounges below for locations and rates.

For more information about the services and facilities available, scroll down to continue exploring our Sydney Airport Guide. Consider sending us your Sydney Airport tips to help us keep this information up to date.


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Sydney Airport Information

In this guide we may refer to locations as "landside" and "airside". Landside is the public area of the terminal located in the non-secure zone, before security. Airside is the secure area of the terminal that you must reach by going through security.

Airport Lounges

If you are an economy class traveller, you can enter these lounges at Sydney airport either by purchasing a lounge pass or through a membership program. Visit the individual lounge page for more details (ie. facilities, hours, pass and membership information):

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Airport WiFi / Internet

Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the airport, connect to the “-FREE SYD WiFi-” network. Additionally, free internet kiosks are available throughout Terminal 1 (Departures level, airside - near Gate 24, 31 and 53), at Everywhere Internet in Terminal 2 (departure level towards gates 31 - 41 ) and Terminal 2 Arrivals level, near baggage Carousel 1.

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Airport Hotels

If sleeping in Sydney Airport does not appeal to you, there are hotels near the airport:

  • Rydges Sydney Airport - Located across from the International Terminal. Free shuttle service to the Domestic Terminal daily from 5:00AM to 10:45PM, on either the Rydges Sydney Airport Hotel shuttle or the Sydney Airport TBus service depending on the time.
  • Ibis Budget Sydney Airport - (5 min walk from the Domestic Terminal) Airport shuttle runs daily from 5:00AM to 11:00PM, AUD $7 per person, each way. Airport picks up at the shuttle bus pick up area between Domestic T2 and T3, and also at the International Terminal Bay 11.
  • Stamford Sydney Airport Hotel - (2 min walk from the Domestic Terminal) Airport transfers provided via Super Shuttle service, AUD $7 per person, each way. Shuttle runs daily, every 30 to 40 minutes from 4:30AM to 11:00PM, and picks up at the International Terminal (Bay 12) and Domestic Terminal (between T2 and T3, at the “horseshoe”).
  • Mercure Sydney Airport - (2 min from the airport) Airport transfers provided via Super Shuttle service, AUD $7 per person, each way. Shuttle runs daily, every 30 to 40 minutes from 4:30AM to 11:00PM, and picks up at the International Terminal (Bay 12) and Domestic Terminal (between T2 and T3, at the “horseshoe”).
  • Pullman Sydney Airport - Located 600m from the Domestic Terminal. Airport transfers provided via Supper Shuttle, AUD $7 per person, each way. Shuttle operates from 5:05AM - 11:15PM. Pick-up at the International Terminal (Bay 12) and Domestic Terminal (between T2 and T3, at the “horseshoe”).
  • Holiday Inn Sydney Airport - (5 min walk from the Domestic Terminal) Airport transfers provided via Super Shuttle service, AUD $7 per person, each way. Shuttle runs daily, every 30 to 40 minutes from 5:30AM to 11:00PM, and picks up at the International Terminal (Bay 12) and Domestic Terminal (between T2 and T3, at the “horseshoe”).

To find a cheap room, there is a list of hotels near Sydney Airport on Tripadvisor that can be sorted by price.

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More Services, Facilities & Things To Do On A Layover At The Airport

  • ATMs / Cash Machines - There are ANZ Bank, Travelex and Westpac ATMs located throughout Terminals 1 and 2. Travelex has 33 multi-currency ATMs throughout the airport.
  • Baby Care Facilities - Baby change facilities are located throughout the airport.
  • Baggage Trolleys - Available for a fee of AUD $4 for departing passengers however once you pass through security, smaller trolleys are available free of charge. Arriving passengers will find free trolleys available in the baggage claim area.
  • Children's Play Areas - Locations: Terminal 1 - Landside, between counters A & B and at the end of check-in counter J / Airside, between Gates 31 & 33 and Gates 58 & 59 in pier C.
  • Children's Cinema - The Kid's Cinema provides a comfortable area for kids to watch kid friendly tv shows. Location: Terminal 1 - Airside, near Gate 33.
  • Currency Exchange - ANZ (Terminal 1 - departures and arrivals levels) and Travelex (Terminal 2 - airside) offer foreign exchange services.
  • Duty Free & Shopping - Yes duty free is available as well as a variety of other shops both landside and airside.
  • Food & Drinks - At the time of this update there were no 24 hour food or beverage concessions available at this airport. You will find a few coffee shops and McDonald’s that open at 4:00AM.
  • Information Desk - Airport ambassadors sporting bright blue jackets are stationed at desks in Terminal 1 Departures (3 locations) and Arrivals (1 location). Hours: Not known.
  • Luggage Storage & Lockers - Location: SmarteCarte - Terminal 1, arrivals level, opposite Blooming Trails Florist (hours: 5:30AM - 9:00PM) • SmarteCarte - Terminal 2, arrivals level, near carousel 6 (hours: 5:30AM - 9:00PM). Rates per item: Small items: $8.00 (0 - 4 hours) • $ 10 (0 - 8 hours) • $ 12 (0 - 12 hours). Large Items: $10 (0-4 hours) • $12 (0 - 8 hours) • $15 (0 - 12 hours).
  • Massage - Mandarin Massage offers reflexology, massages and more relaxing services. Location: Terminal 1, Airside, near gate 34. Hours: 6:00AM - 10:00PM every day.
  • Medical Services - Yes, the Sydney Airport Medical Centre is located on level 3 of International Terminal (T1). Hours: 8:00AM - 5:00PM Monday to Friday.
  • Mobile Charging - Yes. One of our readers found two stations in Terminal 1, landside, near check-in counter B and the eatery • Terminal 1, landside, near check-in counter F.
  • Observation Deck - Location: Terminal 1 - walk through Terrace Bar or use the passageway near check-in counter B to gain access to the stairs leading up to the deck.
  • Pharmacy - Airport Guardian Pharmacies - Locations: International terminal (T1), opposite check-in J (Hours: 6:00AM - 9:00PM) • International Terminal (T1), Airside, on the way to Gate 24 (Hours: 6:00AM - 9:00PM) • Domestic terminal (T2), Airside (Hours: 6:00AM - 9:00PM).
  • Post Office - Australia Post - You can purchase stamps and mail products such as post cards and envelopes, send/receive money transfers (Billpay, Bank@Post, Western Union), purchase insurance and more. Location: International Terminal (T1), oppsite check-in J. Hours: 6:00AM - 8:30PM.
  • Prayer Room - Location: Terminal 1, Airside, level 3 (Hours: 5:00AM - 10:00PM) • Terminal 1, Landside, near the taxi holding area.
  • Showers - Free showers are available, but you need to bring your own soap and towel. Location: Terminal 1, Airside, near Gate 24, Gate 24 and Gate 52. Landside you will find showers available at each end of Terminal 1 (across from the oversized baggage offices).
  • Smoking - There are designated smoking areas in the Terminal 1 Terrace Bar (landside). If you are a transit passenger, there are no designated smoking areas, so you better travel with a patch or lots of gum.

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Airport Hours

The airport is 3:00AM - 11:00PM (Terminal 1) • 4:00AM - 11:00PM (Terminal 2). It is not allowed to sleep overnight in the terminal however if you have a valid ticket for a flight the next morning the airport staff will direct you to a seated area near the train station at the international terminal.

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Airport Transportation: Getting To/From The Airport

Bus

Sydney Bus route 400 offers a scheduled service between Bondi Junction and Burwood, stopping at designated bus stops on the Arrivals Level of Terminals 1 and 3 along the way. A paper ticket or reusable Opal card is required for boarding. For more information on this bus route and other Sydney Buses, go to the Sydney Buses website.

Car Rentals

The following car rental agencies operate onsite in the Arrivals level of both terminals: Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, Redspot and Thrifty.

Hotel Shuttles

See Airport Hotels above for some nearby hotels.

Inter-Terminal Transportation

Terminals 2 and 3 are within walking distance of each other, but transportation is necessary to transfer between Terminals 1 and 2 or 3. There are a few different ways to travel between the terminals:

  • T-Bus - This shuttle bus service runs from 6:00AM - 9:00PM, with more frequent intervals during peak times. Bus stops are located at Bus Bay 1 near McDonald’s (Terminal 1) and the first roadway at the center of Terminal 2. Total trip time is 10 minutes and costs AUD $5 per person, one-way.
  • Taxi - At the time of this update, a 10-minute one-way trip between the terminals costs about AUD $17 - $22.
  • Airport Link - Offers a two-minute train service between the terminals, with frequent departures daily from 5:00AM - 12:00AM. Fare is AUD $5.80 per person, one-way. Discounted service available with the use of an Opal card. Visit the Airport Link website for details.
  • Qantas Seamless Transfer - Available to passengers transferring from a Qantas domestic flight to a Qantas international flight, or vice versa, Qantas Seamless Transfer provides a free service between Terminals 1 and 2 or 3. Buses run every 10 - 20 minutes daily from 6:00AM - 9:00PM. The Terminal 1 Transfer Lounge is located outside of the main building, connected by a covered walkway, and the Terminal 3 Transfer Lounge is located landside at Gate 15.
  • Virgin Australia Seamless Transfer - Passengers transferring between a Virgin domestic flight and an international flight through any of Virgin’s international partners (including Virgin Samoa) qualify for this transfer service. Contact Virgin Australia directly for more information.

Limousine

By law, limousines are not allowed to pick up passengers from the airport without a pre-arrangement. Passengers who have not pre-booked a limousine prior to arrival at the airport can hire a limousine at the Royale Limousines desk in Terminal 1 Arrivals.

Shuttles

Redy2Go provides door-to-door shared ride or exclusive ride service between the airport and the Sydney metropolitan area. Services can be pre-booked on the Redy2Go website or requested at any Sydney Airport Travel Desk located in the Arrivals areas of Terminals 1 or 2.

Taxi

Sheltered taxi ranks are located outside of each terminal, with different types of taxis readily available to accommodate passengers needing baby capsules, wheelchair-accessible vehicles or multi-passenger “maxi taxis”. “Kerbside Supervisors” available on hand to direct taxis and assist passengers in finding the right taxi for their needs. Drivers are required to accept all fares, regardless of distance. Taxis can also be pre-booked from counters in the Arrivals area at all terminals. At the time of this update, the average fare from the airport to central Sydney is AUD $45 - $55 one way.

Train

Sydney Airport is just 13 minutes from central Sydney, and connected by train via Airport Link. Trains run every 10 minutes and stop at both the International Terminal train station, accessible from the Arrivals Level at the northern end of the Terminal 1, and the Domestic Terminal train station, accessible from within Terminals 2 and 3. Trains connect to the City Circle line in central Sydney. Tickets and Opal cards are sold at train stations, with Opal cards offering discounted fares on Sydney trains, buses and ferries. Go to the Airport Link website for more details. For information on Sydney’s city and regional trains, go to the Transport Sydney Trains website.

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Terminal Quick Tips

  • overnight sleepers will be corraled into a crowded and uncomfortable area for the night. You will need evidence of a flight the next day.

Last Updated: 14 March 2016

The information in this Airport Guide is based on information collected and/or received from the airport's and their web sites. The information above is subject to change without notice. Use it for informational purposes only to help you during your stay. To report errors, or to add/change any items mentioned in the guide, please email us at guides@sleepinginairports.com.

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