You arrive at last: Sydney Australia airport. First duty free, then customs and quarantine. Get Aussie dollars. Find your limo – or a train. What you need to know.
Australia Duty Free
Drinks, tobacco, perfumes and makeup – all the usual suspects are available to buy duty free when you arrive on an international flight.
It’s significantly cheaper to buy your alcohol and tobacco here, rather than downtown. And the prices are very competitive with overseas duty free as well.
So you don’t have to schlep your purchases across the world. Just buy them when you arrive.
If you’re 18 or over you can bring in, duty free:
- 2.25 litres of alcohol and
- 50g of cigars OR tobacco, OR 50 cigarettes.
Go here for the full customs rundown on what you can bring into Australia duty free.
You’ll find Australia duty free shops after customs, before you reach the baggage claim area.
While they also carry perfume, toiletries and sweet things. I wouldn’t bother with those, unless there’s something special you’ve been looking for. There are often better buys out of the airport.
Australia has strict quarantine laws. You may not bring any fresh food, including any
food from the plane, into Sydney. Nor can you bring in seeds or plants. Many other
items must be declared and may need to be fumigated before you can bring them in.
And if you’ve spent time in certain countries, or on farms or in the wilderness, you’ll
probably have your boots and other items fumigated as well.
All this is necessary to protect Australia from imported pests and diseases. While you’re in Australia – in almost any part of it – look out for a plant with a pretty pink and yellow flower which grows wild nearly everywhere. This is lantana, also known as Paterson’s curse.
It was imported by early British settlers who used to grow it in their gardens at home.
Here it smothers native plants, depriving native animals of food and shelter. It is
unbelievably difficult to get rid of and endless volunteer bush conservation groups spend
hours and hours rooting it out.
So please be careful with what you bring in with you. More information on what you need to declare and official advice on what you can bring in to Australia. (Opens in a new page).
Airport Money Exchange
There are several places to change money in the Arrivals Hall of the International terminal. If you’re departing then you’ll find money exchanges both before and after baggage screening stations.
ATMs are located in all domestic and international terminals.
Australian ATMs take cards from almost any country, even some countries that money exchanges don’t cover. We’ve been able to use them to get money from an Indian bank account, something that’s impossible from most other parts of the world.
Freshen Up With a Shower
If you’re waiting between flights, or just want to freshen up before you go on, there are free showers at Kingsford Smith International Airport. They’re on the first floor (departures).
Go towards the Observation Deck – between The ‘A’ and ‘B’ check-in counters. You’ll find them there. Men to the left, women’s’ to the right. They’re free but you’ll need to bring your own towels. Or stand around until you dry off! Some people use the hot air from the hands/hair dryers to speed the process.
There’s enough space in the shower cubicle to take your luggage in with you (and keep it dry).
Flying With Infants and Young Children
Air travel with children can be made easier.
On arrival at Kingsford Smith Airport you’ll find bathrooms, parents’ rooms and nursing facilities right near the baggage collection areas.
There are baby change rooms all through the airport. These have change tables, nursing areas and a microwave oven to heat food and baby formulas.
If you’re flying with young children and need to spend some time in the international terminal there are children’s play areas both before and after bag security checkpoints.
And all bag security screening points have a dedicated queue for families. Just let the screening staff know you’re flying with young children.
Sydney Australia Airport Help
Both the international and the domestic terminals have people to help you.
Volunteers donate up to twelve hours a week to greet visitors and answer their questions. You’ll see them walking around – they all wear bright gold (yellow) jackets. Just stop any one of them and you’ll get a helping hand.
The Gold Ambassador Volunteers can also be found at special help desks at these locations:
Terminal 1 (International) ARRIVALS:
Opposite Passenger Exits A & B
Terminal 1 (International) DEPARTURES:
Between check-in counters G & H, adjacent to the glass lifts
Opposite Check-in counter D near the front entrance
Terminal 2 (Domestic)
Opposite baggage carousel 2
Info Desk: Hotels, Tours, Transfers
You’ll find a travellers information and services desk at the arrivals level in each terminal.
Here you can get brochures, buy maps and make bookings for:
- Sydney Australia hotels
- shuttle transfers
- harbour cruises
- Sydney shows
- limousines and corporate cars
Australia’s a pretty safe place, so long as you don’t go doing stupid things that are asking for trouble – dealing drugs, people smuggling. There are very few no go areas if you behave sensibly and stay away from these netherworlds. As a woman alone I’ve not encountered problems at any time of the day or night, and I’ve often been on the streets alone at very late hours.
Kingsford Smith Airport has all the usual passenger and baggage screening machinery as well as walk through metal detectors and explosive trace detection systems.
Closed circuit television cameras and security patrols also cover all of Sydney Australia airport.
Sydney Airport Shuttle, Cabs, Buses and Trains
Go here for public transport to and from Sydney Airport
Car Rental Sydney Australia
As always, the best car rental deals are off-airport. But if you need a car immediately
on arrival these car rental companies are in all terminals at Sydney Australia airport.
Click on the link to go straight to each website, it’ll open in a new page.
Driving to Kingsford Smith International Airport in Sydney Australia
If you don’t have a GPS system with you – whether in your phone or already in the car, you’ll find that most routes to Sydney Australia airport have the aeroplane symbol on road signs. At intersections they will point you to the most direct way to go. As you get closer to the airport the signs will start indicating domestic and international terminals.
A good road map or Australian GPS is essential for getting around easily. A GPS will also show all Sydney traffic cams – very handy.
Sydney is in the state of NSW and the airport is in the suburb of Mascot.