I am flying Bangkok to Christchurch, NZ. I have a 6 hour layover in Sydney so I have a visa to go out and explore for an hour or two. Both flights are Qantas so I don't need to check my luggage out.

  1. What time do I need to check myself back in before my flight?
  2. How long does it take to get through security/passport control and out of the terminal at SYD?
  • 1
    As for check-in, typically you will have your boarding pass issued at the beginning of the first leg, such that you don't need to check in again after the layover. All you need to do is show up at the gate before it closes. I can't answer how long the security and passport control lines would be (and even those with local knowledge would probably need to know when in the day and week we're speaking about). – hmakholm left over Monica Feb 8 '15 at 15:05
  • Thank you!! So we won't need the 3 hour international check-in or 2 hour domestic check-in as usual then? So if we left it 1 hour to get from train to plane, you reckon that should be ok? I will arrive in Sydney at 08:45 on a Thursday – MissSpoons Feb 8 '15 at 15:24
  • You certainly won't need to be back at the airport 2 or 3 hours before departure. I, being a worrier, would aim for being at the gate at the boarding time printed on my boarding pass (typically 20-40 minutes before scheduled departure time), but you probably won't be turned away unless you dally longer than 10-15 minutes before scheduled departure. So your main issue would be to have enough time for waiting in the security line. If no better information turns up, a strategy might be to walk over to the security checkpoint before leaving the airport to see for yourself how busy it is. – hmakholm left over Monica Feb 8 '15 at 15:43
  • You can't see the security/immigration areas before leaving the airport. They are in a completely sealed off area. – Doc Feb 8 '15 at 18:04
  • ok, thanks doc ... i'll check with someone but will make sure we have over an hour to check-in. Still better than 3 hours :) – MissSpoons Feb 8 '15 at 18:12

Sydney airport varies, if you're fast (run!) to immigration, you can get through pretty fast if no other flights are arriving at the same time.

From there, it's a train ride to the city. Takes about 25-30 minutes to Circular Quay (where the Opera House etc is).

Coming back, for a flight to Christchurch you have to be checked in at the latest 90 minutes before hand (source: I flew from Sydney to Christchurch last night, and do it often). However there's sometimes a queue, so aim for 2 hours to give yourself a buffer.

Getting through immigration to exit Australia is pretty fast, it's the security area last night that took me about 20 minutes - bit of a line at the x-ray machine. After that it's 5-15 minutes to your gate. I was at Gate 60, probably the furthest from security.

If you can, check in online for your flight, that'll save you time when you're back at the airport.

As an aside, in Christchurch run as well. 3 planes arrived last night at the same time, and while passport and baggage were quick, the customs line took a good while...

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