US to Auckland and Sydney airport info

Old Feb 24, 18, 6:29 pm
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US to Auckland and Sydney airport info

Hello! My fiancé and I will be traveling to Auckland from Detroit, Michigan this September. It will be our first international flight and I could use a little info regarding baggage, layovers and customs.
Our flights there are from Detroit > LAX > Sydney > Auckland
There is a 3 hour layover on the way there in Sydney. Will I have to go through customs and baggage check at Sydney for my short layover? The flight is operated by Delta from LAX to Sydney and then Virgin Australia from Sydney to Auckland. Do I need a transit visa if I’m just passing through without leaving Sydney airport?
The return flight is a little different. We have an 18 hour layover in Sydney and want to stay the night and sight see for the day. Our flight lands at 5 PM. I believe I will need a transit visa for this stop as I am leaving the airport. How long can I expect it to take through customs/immigration? Any help for this trip would be appreciated! It’s exciting and daunting at the same time.
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Old Feb 24, 18, 7:14 pm
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Ashley Williams Welcome to FT

Originally Posted by Ashley Williams View Post
Hello! My fiancé and I will be traveling to Auckland from Detroit, Michigan this September. It will be our first international flight and I could use a little info regarding baggage, layovers and customs.

Our flights there are from Detroit > LAX > Sydney > Auckland

There is a 3 hour layover on the way there in Sydney. Will I have to go through customs and baggage check at Sydney for my short layover? The flight is operated by Delta from LAX to Sydney and then Virgin Australia from Sydney to Auckland. Do I need a transit visa if I’m just passing through without leaving Sydney airport?

The return flight is a little different. We have an 18 hour layover in Sydney and want to stay the night and sight see for the day. Our flight lands at 5 PM. I believe I will need a transit visa for this stop as I am leaving the airport. How long can I expect it to take through customs/immigration? Any help for this trip would be appreciated! It’s exciting and daunting at the same time.
We assume USA to NZ & NZ to USA is all booked as 1 PNR/reservation.
If Aust NZ is a separate ticket the answers are very different.

Have a read of the wiki in Airport info SYDNEY (SYD) - amenities, transfers, transport Click to open the wiki

Do both of you have USA passports? Passports make a difference.

On the way, if 1 PNR/reservation, you do not need formally enter Australia, so no immigration & customs or baggage to deal with.

For Sydney on the way back you may a full visa. A transit visa is only if you stay air side and do not formally enter Australia or only enter for 72hrs. A few nationalities need an airside transit visas. Click the Australian government info link in the wiki

At 17:00 will take about 30min-60min for the exit formalities. SYD airport T1 is not busy at that time. Early morning 06:00 to 08:00 SYD international arrivals is very busy

Last edited by Mwenenzi; Feb 24, 18 at 7:36 pm
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Old Feb 24, 18, 7:55 pm
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We do have USA passports. The flights are all booked on one reservation through Delta

and thank you for the other information!
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Old Feb 24, 18, 10:01 pm
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Originally Posted by Ashley Williams View Post
We do have USA passports. The flights are all booked on one reservation through Delta
OK. Will not be a problem.
After Detroit the next time you will see your baggage is Auckland.
Note that NZ & Aust are very strict on food imports.
Carry on baggage on NZ & Australian airlines is less is than common practice with USA airlines.

September is a good time to travel.
Enjoy Kiwiland
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Old Feb 24, 18, 10:38 pm
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Apply for your Australian ETA visas at least 8 weeks before travel to avoid any problems. https://www.eta.immi.gov.au/ . For a typical US citizen an ETA will work and be approved within 24 hours, but there are exceptions so best to apply early in case you find out you need another visa. Since it is good for 12 months, no real issue applying early. It is not a transit visa but the easiest and cheapest way to get into Australia. It will allow multiple entry, so if you did have to enter Australia on the way out (say due to a flight cancellation, etc), you can.

Your outbound should be straightforward, your bags should take care of themselves from DTW all the way to AKL. Just make sure they are tagged all the way to AKL when you check them in Detroit. You won't have to go through immigration until you arrive in NZ. Review how the 'smart gates' work in NZ before you arrive, because you might be a little out of it after that long journey!

On your return trip, you'll obviously enter Australia at SYD using your ETA visa. Then when you arrive in LAX, you will go through immigration and pick up your bags, before going back through security for your final flight to DTW.

I'd advise you not to bring much, if any, food products into Australia or NZ. If you do, you'll need to declare them. If you accidentally have some leftover snacks from the plane, just dispose of them in the quarantine bins before customs so you won't have to declare them. There will be sniffer dogs, and they find everything!

Last edited by CPMaverick; Feb 24, 18 at 10:43 pm
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Old Feb 25, 18, 4:21 pm
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Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
Carry on baggage on NZ & Australian airlines is less is than common practice with USA airlines.
This just means that your Virgin flights are likely to have a 7 kg weight limit on the carry on (which includes the bag itself). The DL flight will be fine and Virgin in Australia usually let you get away with a little more if it looks light.

You will have to follow the international transfer desk signs once you land in Sydney on the way to Auckland. You may or may not have lounge access but a three hour layover may not require lounge access.

On the ETA if you booked your flights through a travel agent they should also be able to get it for you, it should cost around $30 per person.
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Old Feb 25, 18, 5:09 pm
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Originally Posted by Nugget_Oz View Post
On the ETA if you booked your flights through a travel agent they should also be able to get it for you, it should cost around $30 per person.
Or AUD$20 if you do it yourself as the link in post 5.
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Old Feb 25, 18, 9:34 pm
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The food some are referring to is fresh fruit and vegetables. Yes declare everyting, but if you are used to brining bars, or nuts or snacks, that should be no problem. Also, if you have a passport with a chip, you can use the smargate electronic readers in Australia and NZ... faster, sometimes, but no stamp in your passport. I would do the ETA yourself, its very easy, just make sure you are on the official Australian government site, and not a visa provider, who will charge you more. Where are you going ... both are wonderful and different enjoyable experiences. Enjoyed them both many times.
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Old Feb 25, 18, 10:07 pm
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The food I was referring to was any food. Yes, fresh food is forbidden, but there are more items than just that which are not allowed (honey for example). I just recommend to not bring any food. Yes, most sealed food will be OK,, but any type of food has to be declared. So just don't do it. It isn't worth the hassle. The food in NZ is better than the USA anyway, just eat the food there.
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Old Feb 26, 18, 12:19 pm
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I think I'll avoid traveling with food just to be on the safe side. I don't want any possibility for a hold up through customs. Also, for my one day in Sydney on my return trip, will my bags be checked all the way through to Detroit, or can I inform them that I want to claim them in SYD?

We are doing a self-drive tour through both the North and South island of New Zealand for 15 days! Any recommendations on must do's? As for Sydney, we'll only be there for a night really, so I imagine I'd check out the Opera House and grab dinner somewhere. Although, I'm not sure if I should stay at the airport Hotel, or I was looking into a the Holiday Inn Old Sydney.
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Old Feb 26, 18, 12:31 pm
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Originally Posted by Ashley Williams View Post
I think I'll avoid traveling with food just to be on the safe side. I don't want any possibility for a hold up through customs.

Also, for my one day in Sydney on my return trip, will my bags be checked all the way through to Detroit, or can I inform them that I want to claim them in SYD?

We are doing a self-drive tour through both the North and South island of New Zealand for 15 days! Any recommendations on must do's?

As for Sydney, we'll only be there for a night really, so I imagine I'd check out the Opera House and grab dinner somewhere. Although, I'm not sure if I should stay at the airport Hotel, or I was looking into a the Holiday Inn Old Sydney.
Your bags will only be checked through to SYD. You will not get the SYD-LAX boarding pass at AKL

A lot of threads on New Zealand for XX days. 15 days is not a lot. On the day of arrival & day of departure you will not do much. More to see in the South Island, but depends on what you want to see/your interests. It will take more time to drive between destinations than you first think.

Have you booked a rental car? Most rental cars companies do not allow cars to be taken on the Cook Straight ferry. Drop off & pick up another on the other side. Most people go north to south, so always a surplus of rental car at southern depots.
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Old Feb 26, 18, 1:36 pm
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I'm working with a self-drive tour company in New Zealand for arrangements. They will have everything finalized when I confirm what I want to do, including securing the rental cars and ferry transfer. The longest drive I think will be Rotorua to Wellington but then I have the next day off from driving anywhere far. The final few days of the tour will be spent in Queenstown before I depart for home. I'm hoping that I won't be overtaxed within my time frame...
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Old Feb 26, 18, 4:09 pm
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Originally Posted by Ashley Williams View Post
I'm working with a self-drive tour company in New Zealand for arrangements. They will have everything finalized when I confirm what I want to do, including securing the rental cars and ferry transfer. The longest drive I think will be Rotorua to Wellington but then I have the next day off from driving anywhere far. The final few days of the tour will be spent in Queenstown before I depart for home. I'm hoping that I won't be overtaxed within my time frame...
For your drive there's the usual on the North Island, Coromandel, Taupo, Napier and Hamilton are really nice too. There are a lot of side trips in the South Island, I presume you're taking the ferry to Nelson and doing the West Coast first. If you have the time Dunedin and Invercargill get overlooked sometimes. The one thing I would say is that your driving times will be different to what you can do in North America so budget for lesser mileage a day.

On your way back just make sure they don't tag the bag all the way to DTW. Even though it is meant to come out for collection the baggage handlers do sometimes mess up

For your one night spend the Holiday Inn Old Sydney is good choice. For dinner if you can afford it maybe Aria, the restaurant called Bennelong at the Opera House or Cafe Sydney have great food and good views.
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Old Feb 26, 18, 9:31 pm
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Originally Posted by Nugget_Oz View Post
I presume you're taking the ferry to Nelson and doing the West Coast first..
The ferry goes to Picton, not Nelson.
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Old Feb 26, 18, 11:40 pm
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Originally Posted by CPMaverick View Post
The food I was referring to was any food. Yes, fresh food is forbidden, but there are more items than just that which are not allowed (honey for example). I just recommend to not bring any food. Yes, most sealed food will be OK,, but any type of food has to be declared. So just don't do it. It isn't worth the hassle. The food in NZ is better than the USA anyway, just eat the food there.
(My bolding).

That's not actually correct. The landing card lists the types of food that must be declared in questions 6, 7 and 8. The question used to be much more broad and require all food be declared, but they've relaxed it. I think it was around the same time they brought back the "nothing to declare" line at customs.

Landing card is here...

https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/Enter...ipc-sample.pdf
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