Is It Worth Walking To Sydney Airport From Mascot Station?

Is It Worth Walking To Sydney Airport From Mascot Station?

Getting to the airport in Sydney by train is efficient, but not particularly cheap. Is it worthwhile to get off one stop early and walk to save a bit over $10? Lifehacker decided to find out.

A bit of background: Sydney’s Airport Link train line was originally built with private funding, which meant that there was an additional access charge if you got out at one of the four stations on the line (International, Domestic, Mascot and Green Square). From March 7, that policy changed slightly: access fees were no longer charges at the non-airport stations, Mascot and Green Square. That means that a single ticket from the city to Green Square now costs $3.20, while a single ticket from the city to Domestic Airport costs $15. If you’re on a weekly MyZone ticket, you won’t pay anything extra at all to get out at Mascot.

Given that Mascot is about 20 minutes walk from the domestic airport, there’s a potential cheapskate approach here: taking the train to Mascot and then walking to the airport itself. Is that feasible, and is it worthwhile? Last Saturday, I decided to make the journey and find out. I travel to the domestic airport a lot, so there’s the potential to save quite a lot of money if it’s an acceptable route.

The good bits

Is It Worth Walking To Sydney Airport From Mascot Station?

It’s a straightforward trip. I have a lousy sense of direction, but even I would struggle to get lost on this journey. You turn left when you exit Mascot, follow Bourke St to the end, and then turn right and follow O’Riordan Street to the airport. This took me about 20 minutes to get to Terminal 3; Terminal 2 would take perhaps 5 minutes longer.

The footpaths are traveller-friendly. There’s only one intersection I spotted that doesn’t have proper ramps for easy suitcase wheeling, so it would be possible, if slightly tedious, with luggage. (There’s also a lift at Mascot Station itself.) Every major intersection has traffic lights, so you don’t need to fight unduly with Sydney drivers.

It’s entirely flat. No hills to conquer here.

The bad bits

If it’s raining, you’ll get soaked. Last Saturday was a bad choice for testing this route weather-wise; halfway there, the heavens opened and I was entirely saturated by the time I hit the airport. My fault for not taking an umbrella, but then again, who wants to board a plane carrying a wet umbrella?

It will take 20 minutes longer. If you’re going to sit on a plane, getting some exercise beforehand isn’t a terrible idea — but you will need to allocate extra time for travel, which won’t suit let’s-arrrive-at-the-last-minute types.

The verdict

Is It Worth Walking To Sydney Airport From Mascot Station?

If I had a large suitcase, the weather was nasty or I had a busy working day, I’m sure I’d suck it up and pay the extra $10 or sofor airport train access. But for backpack-only travel on a non-rainy day where the pressures are less, the thought of walking from Mascot is quite appealing.

For public transport airport connections in other Australian cities, check out our 2010 Airport transfers guide. (As the date suggests, we’ll be publishing an update to that list soon.)


  • It might also be possible to flag a near mascot station and get them to take you to the airport. If you have a few people with you, it’d probably save some time and money.

  • The last time I travelled via train to Domestic (going back a fair way here – sometime around 2004-2005) – I ended up getting directed to the local STA bus stop outside central station by CityRail staff. From memory the airport line had been closed at short notice, and replacement cityrail busses hadn’t yet been arranged yet. To say the least, I was shocked to find out the cost of a bus ticket was only a couple of dollars when compared to the $15 gate fee charged on the airport tunnel, especially when travel times weren’t significantly longer to the train anyway. Not being a regular flier (or even a resident of Sydney any more), this is all strictly academic to me now – but should I ever end up travelling to Domestic via public transport again, the bus will get a serious consideration.

  • Good to know about removal of access fee at non-airport stations. This increases options.

    This is only good for Domestic terminal.

    It’s a pleasant 20 minute stroll through a park beside the river from Wolli Creek railway station to the International terminal.

    I’ve done this a couple of times.

    Last time we did this I foolishly acceded to my partner’s suggestion to then walk from International to Domestic. Now that’s a walk!

    It’s no longer an issue for us as the car rental company we always use in Sydney, Bayswater Car Rentals, now offer free shuttle for 2 from Kings Cross depot to airport, not just airport to depot as they have always done in past.

    If you don’t want to walk far but time isn’t a major issue there is also the 400 bus that goes to Domestic and International that has stop at a railway station somewhere west of airport.

    Also, you can get off 400 somewhere not far east of airport, cross road, and then catch another bus into city.

    Andrew Watson
    Carcassonne, France
    Driving from Paris to Romania (and back) from March to July

  • When I fly, I most often travel with my family for jaunts of two to four days. The economics of driving, paying the bridge toll (and ED on the way home) and parking your car in the long term carpark usually works out pretty comparable in cost to the three of us getting public transport.

    It’s super quick, too!

  • Travel to and from Sydney Airport is an absolute joke – taxis are invariably the best way. There is one bus, and one bus only. Having said that, if you have a travel pass, you can get off at Mascot, jump on the 400 and get there for ‘free’. Still a right bloody palaver though, and Melbournite’s – don’t get on your high horse, it’s not *that* much better there!

  • I live in Newcastle and also have the seniors card so when I need to travel overseas I travel by train to strathfield station and then catch the next train to burwood station ( one stop ) and then catch the 400 bus outside the station to the front door of the international or domestic terminals—-about 45 minutes on the bus—–costs from Newcastle is $2.50. or as previously stated catch the airport line train from central and go one station past the international terminal station and get off with the other tight arses at wooli creek———pleasant 20 minute walk from train to the inside of the international terminal——also $2.50 from Newcastle city. I just think the airport line is a ripoff and very poor value to the airport customers——-I refuse to pay for this poor service and feel great beating the system. What should be done is add $1.00 to every plane ticket sold and open the airport stations and fix the car congestion around this airport area or are they making tooooooo much money from the car parking at sydney airport ????

    • $2.50 from Newcastle to the international terminal!!!! It cost us $17 (each) to travel from the International terminal to Sydney Central yesterday. Someone is subsidising someone else, and we’re on the wrong side of it I feel. Last time we took a bus to Sydney International, there was hugely major traffic congestion and we nearly missed our plane home to NZ. Just imagine, if you will, sitting at an intersection without moving for green light after green light after green light. It was a nightmare that I never want to experience again. The train link SHOULD be taken from the hands of the extortionists. Chris Kitson, NZ.

  • its same everywhere, Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne…i have been commuting biweekly for the last one and half year between these three routes. Melb is a tad better as you can get the travel done for 06.50$ out of airport to ‘far end of town’. Peak hours there is no difference if you take a bus, as its slow and in traffic. train will get you to flinders pretty much same time… worst case 15 mins more …. best to have a eBook or a mag …you will never realize the journey. apart from the broad-meadows bludge… its pretty cool . but now, from march 7 i think Sydney ride would be pretty good….especially with the new opal …get down at mascot …hitch a ride on 400…

  • The easiest and the cheapest way to get to Sydney airport would be to take bus 400 that runs between Campsie and Sydney Airport (through Bondi Junction)….the bus is a normal bus and take normal fare and stops on the opposite side of the airport…you just have to cross the road and voila..theres the airport!!

  • Yes, the 400 bus is the best way to get to the airport from Mascot. After you exit Mascot train station, turn left, go up a slight hill, get some food @ Subway, cross the road and hop on the bus. This will take you directly to both terminals. These days the only way to pay for your fares is the Opal Card. The cost is taken from your balance, so no matter which way you travel, the bus is better than paying around $12 for access fees. The 400 bus starts @ Bondi Junction, goes past Mascot, the Airport (both domestic & international), Rockdale, Bexley North, Campsie & Burwood, so basically no matter which rail line you are on, you can get to the airport cheaper than by train.

    • Hi there! Is that means that I can take the train from North Sydney, get off in Marcot and then take the 400 to the international and I won’t be charge with the extra fee right?

      We are 3 and we don’t want to pay $50 just in one way.


  • i travel a lot to domestic as well. recently I found out that there is a bus 400 Bondi Junction from Mascot station opposite to Subway. if you tap off the opal card in mascot and tap on in the bus fare will be transferred and you will only end up paying something like less then a dollar from mascot to domestic.
    I loved this option train from central to mascot and a bus from mascot to domestic for all under 5 dollars

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