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Getting to and from Canberra International Airport
While officially called Canberra International Airport there are currently no international passenger flights to or from the airport.
As with most airports, airport transport options are limited. The airport is approximately 10kms from the city centre (Civic).
Note that the airport is currently being expanded and departure points listed below are subject to change.
Airport Express bus
Departs from just outside the arrivals hall – less than 100m walk straight ahead when you exit the arrivals hall. The service is limited in early morning, over lunchtime and non-existent post 6.50pm (Mon-Fri) or 6.12pm (Sat – Sun) with a very restricted service at weekends. Transfers cost A$12 per person each way - A420 return.
Canberra Airport Express operates every day except for Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Christmas Day, Boxing Day & New Years Day
Further details including timetables can be found at:
ACTION Bus – Local Canberra bus service
Local buses do not service the airport though do service the nearby Brindabella Business Park – about 500 metres walk. This might be an option if you have no luggage – check:
https://www.action.act.gov.au/routes_by_suburb.html and look at Brindabella Business Park. Cash fare $4 – various passes, etc available – check my separate tip on Canberra buses . (coming soon)
To the Airport
When traveling to the airport you should always book a taxi in advance and allow yourself enough time to get another taxi should the first one not arrive – not an infrequent occurrence in Canberra.
From the Airport
A taxi rank is located to the right (about 100m walk) as you exit the arrivals hall. Delays regularly occur at peak times or when a few flights arrive close to each other. To speed things up you may be invited to share a taxi with others – there is no compulsion to do this (though it gets you to the top of the line quicker and works out marginally cheaper).
In addition to the metered fare an airport charge will be added ( to cover the cost of “taxi commissioners” who provide no service whatsoever).
Average return taxi fare (extracted from the airport website). Based on my experience they are on the low side and would certainly require a clear run traffic-wise.
See below average return taxi fare costs from the Airport to central destinations in Canberra.*
6am – 9pm
Mon-Fri ex public holidays
All other times
* The above are estimates only, taken from www.canberracabs.com.au as at 7 June 2012. Your actual fare will vary depending on pick up point, destination and time of service.
Hire cars and limousines
All services must be pre-booked and your driver will meet you inside the terminal. Details : http://www.canberraairport.com.au/travellers/parking-transport/hire-cars-and-limousines/
Six car rental companies are represented at the airport (baggage hall on arrival). Details : http://www.canberraairport.com.au/travellers/parking-transport/rental-cars/
They are all much of a much. I recommend you book in advance.
Airports and fogs don't mix
Unfortunately, because of a combination of its position in a valley and the temperature inversions which develop inland in calm conditions, Canberra is prone to fogs on winter mornings: sometimes lasting until noon. This can cause havoc with airline services to and from Canberra, and is most likely in the period from May to August, on up to one day in three or four depending on the weather conditions.
The weather criteria for aircraft to land are somewhat more stringent than for departures, so often the aircraft which have overnighted at Canberra are able to depart when the fog lifts a little, while other aircraft remain unable to land. If the fog persists as low stratus cloud, flights can be considerably delayed.
This means that when you are planning airline travel to and from Canberra, it is wise to avoid bookings on morning flights and, in any case, discount seats are usually more readily available on mid-afternoon flights. If you must make a morning departure, try for the earliest flight because it is probable the aircraft will at least be on the ground and able to go when any fog lifts.
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Canberra is well serviced by airline flights by Virgin Blue and Qantas to Brisbane and Melbourne, with somewhat fewer flights to Adelaide. Qantas and Virgin have flights to Sydney. The locally owned Brindabella Airlines has flights from Canberra to Newcastle, Albury and Traralgon. Jetstar does not fly to Canberra, probably the only large destination it does not visit in the country (ask it's owner Qantas why). The new discount airline, Tiger Airways, also now flies between Canberra and Melbourne.
The airport bills itself as 'Canberra International' but technical limitations would confine any international flights to relatively close destinations. In any case, no airlines currently provide international services from Canberra to even New Zealand, though the option is available to them.
Updated 27 March 2008
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"international" in name only
We Canberrans love to laugh at our city's weaknesses. Our airport is "international" in name only. You cannot fly directly into Canberra on an international flight, unless you are Bill Clinton, in which case they will clean up the extreme ends of the runway to ensure Airforce 1 can land safely.
To get into the city from the airport you have three choices: airporter bus (15 min trip departing hourly, stops at city hotels, $7 one-way $12 return); taxi ($20); or get collected by your friends (priceless). Canberrans generally choose to get collected.
There is no train network in Canberra. Local buses operate to all suburbs, but not the airport. You can connect to the buses from the airporter stop in the city.
Flying is the cheapest Option
Funny that Canberra Airport is labelled as International Airport. You would at least expect a good selection of international flights, direct domestic flights from many airports and shuttle buses that also operate on the weekend... Anyway...
If you do not travel by car or campervan I highly recommend to take the airplane to get to Canberra. It does not only take much longer to get to Canberra by train or bus, it is also more complicated and expensive.
Domestic flights from Sydney and Melbourne take about one hour and cost about AU$ 100. With Virgin Blue you get direct flights only from Melbourne (from AU$ 75). You cannot makes changes to those cheap flights. If you do not book well in advance or want flexible tickets you pay a lot more (about AU$ 250).
Online bookings on:
Canberra Airport (CBR)
Canberra is by design a little isolated from the rest of the world in terms of air travel. Whether by design or not, it is not a publically international airport, meaning there are not flights landing here from the US or mainland Asia.
Connections to Canberra can be made through Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane to most other countries. Internal Australian flights travel throughout most of the country however.
The airport is basic and utiliatarian, but then again when in Canberra, you probably are not going to be staying for a long layover, so there is not much to it by design.
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