If you're in a hurry like most of us are, go by airplane. I flew Air New Zealand. That is a wonderful airline that, when I flew it 10 years ago, treated folks in economy class like other airlines treat first class passengers. I hear tell that Qantas has a good reputation too.
That depends on how far out from Sydney you want to go. In town, taxis are the best way to go. Some hotels, like mine, had courtesy vans that would take folks around town either free or for a modest tip for the driver (which is still cheaper than taxicab fare). If you want to travel far and wide, I would recommend hiring a car.
Qantas Airways is Australia's home airline.
It offers flights to and from most places. It also has a Frequent Flyer Program. I collected enough frequent flyer points for 2 adults to Fiji from Sydney. Awesome experience.
I was impressed with both the gate waiting area as well as the very comfortable general waiting area provided to passengers awaiting flights. Surrounded by duty free and other shops, these airports provide relaxing and comfortable areas before you board your flight.
After clearing immigration, you will easily find money changing services inside the airport. Interestingly, they cater to the Japanese visitor with an express line for changing yen to Australian money.
I used both the International and Domestic airports in Sydney. Both were very modern and easy to use. The International airport is farther from downtown but has a wonderful aerial view of the city as the airplane is landing across the bay and onto the runway that seems to be practically built on the water.
Depending upon where your hotel or lodgings are located, it will take you from about 20 minutes to almost an hour to reach your destination - especially if you have to drive in rush hour traffic.
I needed to go to North Sydney, which I now know means across the bay from Sydney downtown, and it took about an hour for my taxi to make that trip. Unfortunately, since I am an American and he was a Muslim from Bangladesh, I was regaled with his negative opinions of the American invasion of Iraq for a solid hour. Luckily, most taxi drivers are very personable and interesting which makes these isolated taxi driver incidents bearable when they occur.
The airlines flying out of these airports seemed to me to be stricter on weight limitations than some of their American counterparts. Since I was on a three-week trip, I had a large piece of luggage that happened to be overweight when I checked in for a domestic flight. I had to remove items from my luggage and place them in another bag in order to meet their regulations.
If you do use either of these airports I think you will find them to be easy to navigate, friendly to passengers and efficient and effective in their operations.
If you have a flight departing Sydney airport do NOT make the mistake of thinking the airport is open 24 hours and has a lounge. The airport closes at midnight and the lounge is a tiny corner of the airport with uncomfortable seating, try to come to day of your flight.
The best (or should I say the only quick & easy ) way to get to Sydney or Australia in general from overseas or in fact from most other places in Australia is to fly there. The airport is just south of the city, and there're numerous shuttles and buses that will bring you into Sydney proper, as well as a dedicated branch of the city's City Rail subway system. If you opt for the subway, it's A$11 one way. There's also a shuttle that will take you in for about $8.
I flew Qantas to Sydney and although the leg space could use a major improvement in economy class the service was very good. Every seat has its own little screen with quite some channels on. There are many recent movies on, aswell as many different series and other programs. The staff was very helpful and friendly and took good care of everyones needs. The food I have to say was also delicious. This was actually the first time I liked the food served very much. All in all I'd say fly Qantas!!
On completion of our brief stay, we watched the Air Niugini Boeing 707 taxi in at Sydney's International Airport, knowing that this was the final stage of our long journey to Papua New Guinea. We flew out on my 30th birthday and I was thinking that, if I had arranged to cross the International Dateline a few days later than we actually did, maybe I could have missed out on it and made myself a year younger! While in Australia, we rented a car and had complete freedom to roam along the coast in the area.
I always fly from Melbourne to Sydney on Virgin Air - book early to get best rates but make sure you do not change your plans as cancellation or changes involve big penalties. It cost me about AUD100 for a one way to Sydney, but if you are looking for better bargains, now and then they have sales.
The airport Virgin has just moved into was the previous Ansett - so much better than months ago - in that tin shade!!! and also proper transit gates.
All European travellers who are flying direct to Aussie will land in Sydney; even if you are going to another place in Australia. There you have to take another plane (depending on your booking with your travel agent) to your right destination. I have flown 3 times to Australia now, and 2 times with Royal Dutch Airlines (K.L.M.) and 1 time with
Alitalia. But they both work together it is just the same. Flying with K.L.M. from Belgium; you will depart in Deurne-South (Antwerp) to
Schiphol (Amsterdam) and from there to
Singapore > Sydney. Flying with Alitalia; depart from Zaventem (Brussels airport) to Malpensa (Italy) and from there to Singapore > Sydney. But with K.L.M.!!! The only different for me is that Antwerp is only 30 minutes drive from my home and Brussels 1 hour (if I aren't unlucky to get in an traffic jam). On the other hand the food you get on Alitalia is much better then from K.L.M., even the crew is the same as flying K.L.M. So, it's a difficult decision. Near at home or further and good food ;-)
A picture of the arrivals level of Sydney airport (international terminal). Samsung has a display with free internet access (near one of the doors to the outside opposite the hotel telephones). In this photo, the free internet machine is to the extreme left.