Brisbane Airport, Brisbane
Many people have already commented on the Airtrans line that connects you into the city and allows services to the coasts.
However, the last train is 8pm. After that, taxis can be expensive alternatives, costing ~$40 AUD to the city.
The other option is the Coachtrans shuttle bus. There is a desk in the arrival hall of the both the domestic and international terminals at the airport where you can purchase your transfer ticket, but like most things in QLD, the desk closes early (about 9pm)
Do not worry just yet, because the last transfer leaves at 11:55pm. The service desk will be closed for these late pickups so you must have already pre-booked and paid online by credit card first.
$12 one way to the city, or $22 return to the city.
Check the web page for costs to Gold Coast, cruise terminal, etc.
As with quite a few Australian airports, Brisbane has separate international and domestic terminals. These are separated by a distance of about 1km and movement between the two is by a rail service called the “skytrain” (ie the train travels on elevated tracks).
From both terminals, a lift and escalators connects via walkways to the train platforms – though you might care to note that the lifts are somewhat inadequate when flights arrive and many passengers with bags wish to travel. If you have and can show a Qantas international boarding pass, I understand that the train trip is provided free: if, like us, your international trip is not with Qantas, the fare is $4A for the trip, which seems rather pricey for one km! The alternative would be a taxi, but as I gather that costs about $10, you probably are better off staying with the trains, which run at about an eight minute frequency. Of course, if Brisbane is your destination, the train can take you to the central city – or further on to the Gold Coast.
Main photo: The “skytrain”
Second photo: The escalators to “skytrain” level
Third photo: From the walkway, looking toward the platform
Fourth photo: The distant international terminal (the grey building behind the white/red building, to the right of the light pole).
This is the way to travel if you do not wish to hire a car. I picked up a brochure at Brisbabe airport and here are the details:
Brisbane CBD Adult Au$12 one way, return $22. Child $6 & $11, most important Family is $30 one way, $55 return, ( 2A +2C ).
20 minute travel time, 5 stations dropoff downtown, Brunswick St, Central, Roma St, South Brisbane, Southbank, 4 trains per hour during peak, discounts available online, luggage lockers are available at city stations.
Gold Coast Stations Adult $23 to Nerang, to other stations prices vary. 2 trains per hour. Direct service to Gold Coast Stations.
Take the easy way and book online before you leave home.
There is a really cheap shuttle service run by COACHTRANS Australia.
They will take you door to door from airport to your hotel in the Brisbane CBD for AUS$11
or $18 return
The journey takes about 30 minutes.
The same journey will cost you about AUS$30 each way in a taxi.
I used Coachtrans' airport transfer service to get from Brisbane airport to my accommodation in the Spring Hills area of the city during my visit to Brisbane in April 2006.
These minibuses drop each passenger off right outside their chosen accommodation, so there's no need to worry about finding the right place. Each minibus can hold circa 12 passengers and luggage is carried in a separate cart that is towed behind the minibus.
Minibuses run from the airport to Brisbane approximately every 30 minutes and the journey time is about 25-30 minutes depending on the number of drop-offs and the location of your accommodation.
As at April 2006, the cost of a one-way transfer from the airport to Brisbane was 11 AUD, although, when returning to the airport at the end of my stay I booked this service through my hotel and was charged 15 AUD (I assume the 4 AUD difference was the hotel's commission). By contrast, the Brisbane Air Train would have cost me 12 AUD to Brisbane central station and then I'd have had to pay for a taxi from there to Spring Hills - so this transfer was excellent value for money for me.
Tickets are purchased from a kiosk outside the arrivals hall, next to where the minibuses depart from.
The company also operates minibuses from the airport to the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast. Tickets are bought from the same kiosk as the Brisbane transfer tickets and the minibuses depart (less frequently) from the same point:
Skytrans = airport to Brisbane: Tel (07) 3238 4799
Airporter = airport to Gold Coast: Tel (07) 3238 4700
Saw this little green fellow at the airport recently - a collection box asking for any spare cash for frog research. Made me think about the similar receptacles in airports in Asia - asking for money for the needy PEOPLE causes. He is rather cute though!
Brisbane airport 's domestic terminal is a relatively small one - but is also fairly modern and has shopping and a range of restaurants and coffee stops. Check in is now made much more efficent by getting your own boarding passes from a range of standing computer terminals in the area before the counters. Simply put in your personal and/or flight details, and out comes a boarding pass.
Needless to say, one of the major carriers is Qantas - our famour flying kangaroo.
However, there are budget airlines aplenty available from Brisbane - Virgin and Jetstar.
We flew with Virgin Blue from Perth. This is usually the cheapest airline, however I would check with flightcentre.com.au first as sometimes Qantas is not much dearer and you get a meal included with them.
Brisbane Airport has an excellent, quick and inexpensive rail connection to the city. However, unlike many airport rail systems which run 'every few minutes' so knowing the timetable is not really important, the Brisbane airport service is not quite as frequent and runs only every 30 minutes at certain times of the day. Check their website for the timetable!
Brisbane Airport has two parts - the domestic and the international terminals- and they are some distance apart, connected by bus and by the rail line.
The International Terminal is compact and well laid out, with plenty of obvious signs and hotel/information desks.
However, if you are a foreigner arriving at the peak morning arrival time, expect a wait of over one hour to get through immigration! This is as bad as I have seen anywhere in the world, and it is frustrating for Australians as well, because the luggage carousels get completely clogged up and end up being stopped to wait for the foreign arrivals to 'catch up' with their luggage. I spoke to one forlorn looking Australian who was waiting for his bags by a stationary, but jam-packed luggage carousel. "It's always like this" he said. "I get through immigration in two minutes and then wait most of an hour for my bags to get through". It seems utterly absurd. Not a good image for Brisbane.
Leaving Brisbane was remarkably easy and efficient though. Note that they are particularly strong on the "one carry on bag per economy passenger" though...more so than I have seen anywhere else.
There's an airport train that leaves the airport or central station (whichever way you are heading) every half hour. The adult fare cost AU$10 one way per person.
If you are flying into Brisbane, note that this same train into Brisbane will also take you straight to the Gold Coast if that is where you would like to go.
For a trip into Gold Coast, you can catch the Gold Coast, or Helensvale train (which travels on the same train line). Make sure you stop at Helensvale train station. There are usually several buses that come regularly to take people to different destinations. Some take people into the Gold Coast, and others take people specifically to theme parks like Wet 'n' Wild, Movieworld, Seaworld and Dreamworld.
To go to Mooloolaba, Sunshine Coast, you can take the Caboolture train to Caboolture, and then change trains (get on the Nambour train) and stop at Landsborough train station. There will be a bus link from there to Mooloolaba beach.
Lastly, our new integrated transport system means that you can use the same ticket for buses, trains and ferry.
By plane! No matter where you come from. Virgin Blue offers flights, from all other centres that a genreally cheaper than going by bus...
the skytrain connects with the airport, for everything else walking is perfect.
Brisbane has a good international airport with many daily flights. There is a new train to the city from the airport which is quite convinient.
You can get around with a car easier in Brisbane than in other large Australian cities but I still suggest mass transit. Brisbane has a rail network and a growing number of river ferries. The ferries (the CityCat to be specific) are excellent ways to get around the main city.
Brisbane International Airport is situated about 13KM from the Central Business District. Most international flights will land here. And yes, even if you're heading to the Gold Coast, your international flight will land at this airport.
If you're looking for public transport to and from the Brisbane Airport, you may wish to hop onto the Airtrain, a somewhat new train service providing a direct link from the Brisbane CBD to the airport.
Photo Below: Yes, it's true. For some of us, we visit Australia just so that we can play with the animals.
Brisbane has one of the newest, most impressive airports in Australia. I just can't sing enough praises for Australia's BEST airline - QANTAS.
Their service onboard is excellent... and they really do know how to treat a passenger like a princess!
Once when I misplaced my camera in a cab in Sydney and was feeling reeeeally moody when I boarded my Qantas flight (back home to Singapore), the Aussie steward rounded ALL his buddies on board to try and cheer me up. Yes, they did manage to put a smile back on my otherwise glum face. Hey, it was my brand new camera that I just lost. :-(
Then there was another occasion when I fell gravely ill in Paris and when I boarded my flight the following day, I was pleasantly surprised that the airline had UPGRADED me to Business Class the moment they heard that I had fallen ill (via my travel agent).
So tell me, how can I not sing praises about Qantas??
Brisbane's many tourist attractions and sights are within strolling distance... thanks in part to it being a very compact city. If you are taking cabs to move from place to place, do note that there is no extra charge for luggage. Good news eh?
Oh, and don't even bother to try hailing a cab because it won't stop. You'll need to reserve by phone or walk to a cab stand. ;-)
Photo Below: The city of Brisbane - taken by yours truly from atop Mt Cootha.