BNE 7.5 hour layover - logistics & things to do

Old May 19, 19, 9:00 am
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BNE 7.5 hour layover - logistics & things to do

Hello all,
I am going to Australia for work this September, and I am very excited! Since this American never even thought she'd make it down under, I'm taking advantage of this by staying in Australia for an additional 2 weeks after we finish work. I am looking at flights to go from Cairns to Melbourne, and one of them has a 7.5 hour layover in Brisbane. I am trying to decide if it's worth it to spend an additional amount of money (for the plane ticket + transit to/from the CBD from the airport), and I have never left an airport during a layover before. As you can imagine, I'm a bit nervous about doing it, even though it seems like 7.5 hours is ample time to pull it off without missing my onward flight to Melbourne. Before I purchase this ticket, I have a few questions about doing this:
  1. I have no idea how security screenings work in Oz when traveling domestically. In case it makes a difference, I'll be traveling on an American passport with an Australian work visa that's valid for multiple entries until March 2020. In the US, I do have Global Entry (and TSA Precheck which comes with it), not sure if that's helpful in this scenario or not. How much time should I allow to board my flight onward to Melbourne? What time do I need to be back at the airport by (flight to MEL leaves at 8:10PM)?
  2. I am assuming that my checked luggage will be checked through to my final destination (the whole flight is on one ticket, obviously), but I will have a carry on. Everything I have read online says that they have lockers where I can store my carry on bag - is this still accurate? Also are these lockers manned?
  3. Regarding transport to the CBD - is the Airtrain my best option? It seems to be the best "bang for my buck", but want to make sure. I did see something about a "courtesy shuttle", but that does not seem to exist anymore - can anyone confirm this? The website I saw this on is quite a few years old!
  4. What can I realistically see during this layover? I want to make sure it's worth my while to do this before committing (i.e. buying my ticket) to it. I'm open to any suggestions... saw something about "Brisbane Greeters", does anyone know anything about this or done this experience before?
Thank you in advance to anyone who is able to help with these questions!

Last edited by EtoileFilante; May 19, 19 at 9:03 am Reason: Grammar
EtoileFilante is offline  
Old May 19, 19, 4:14 pm
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7.5hrs is plenty of time. You forgot to mention the time/day of the week, but generally Airtrain will be your best bet (check schedules and book online), unless perhaps travelling on a Sunday when trains are less frequent. If you have bulky hand luggage, there are lockers at the airport.

Well worth a walk around Southbank, Botanical Gardens, etc. I often have 12hr stops in Brisbane between international flights and usually take a day room somewhere in town and go for a 10k loop run around the river. Obviously not something you'd want to do at midday on a summer day!
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Old May 20, 19, 11:34 am
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We had a short layover in BNE and were able to uber back and forth to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. Was actually a highlight of our 3 week trip to Australia/NZ.
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Old May 20, 19, 12:34 pm
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Originally Posted by EtoileFilante View Post
Hello all,
I am going to Australia for work this September, and I am very excited! Since this American never even thought she'd make it down under, I'm taking advantage of this by staying in Australia for an additional 2 weeks after we finish work. I am looking at flights to go from Cairns to Melbourne, and one of them has a 7.5 hour layover in Brisbane. I am trying to decide if it's worth it to spend an additional amount of money (for the plane ticket + transit to/from the CBD from the airport), and I have never left an airport during a layover before. As you can imagine, I'm a bit nervous about doing it, even though it seems like 7.5 hours is ample time to pull it off without missing my onward flight to Melbourne. Before I purchase this ticket, I have a few questions about doing this:
  1. I have no idea how security screenings work in Oz when traveling domestically. In case it makes a difference, I'll be traveling on an American passport with an Australian work visa that's valid for multiple entries until March 2020. In the US, I do have Global Entry (and TSA Precheck which comes with it), not sure if that's helpful in this scenario or not. How much time should I allow to board my flight onward to Melbourne? What time do I need to be back at the airport by (flight to MEL leaves at 8:10PM)?
  2. I am assuming that my checked luggage will be checked through to my final destination (the whole flight is on one ticket, obviously), but I will have a carry on. Everything I have read online says that they have lockers where I can store my carry on bag - is this still accurate? Also are these lockers manned?
  3. Regarding transport to the CBD - is the Airtrain my best option? It seems to be the best "bang for my buck", but want to make sure. I did see something about a "courtesy shuttle", but that does not seem to exist anymore - can anyone confirm this? The website I saw this on is quite a few years old!
  4. What can I realistically see during this layover? I want to make sure it's worth my while to do this before committing (i.e. buying my ticket) to it. I'm open to any suggestions... saw something about "Brisbane Greeters", does anyone know anything about this or done this experience before?
Thank you in advance to anyone who is able to help with these questions!
Australia is a great place so great to hear you are spending some extra time. I'll give a few things to consider from a fellow American who does a couple trips down to AU each year.

1. Security in Australia is a breeze compared to what we are used to in the states. Think pre-911 security. You don't need to show your boarding pass, take off your shoes, or take out any liquids (accept aerosols). You can bring through bottled water or any other liquid. You will have to take out any laptops or tablets from your bag. In all honesty, you could arrive 15 minutes before boarding and be just fine. Being an American I usually plan to arrive 1 hour before my flight (Boarding is typically 20 minutes before departure so this give you 40 minutes). This will give you ample amount of time to get through security. Don't stress about this.
2. I flew through BNE a few weeks back on QF. They did weigh my bag and I needed to check it. Pay attention to weight limits at BNE if on QF as they will enforce it. I don't see what airline you are on and am only speaking to QF.
3. I have never used luggage storage at BNE but have used it at other AU airports. They have been always electronic. You pay something like 12 AU dollars for 24 hours of locker storage. It's pretty easy, you choose your size, pay, and then enter a 6 digit number that you use to unlock the storage. There is one time use so make sure you have everything you need before locking.
4. I've taken that air train directly to Brisbane Central Station. If I recall it is something like 36 AUD. I have also done an Uber which is about 36 AUD one way from downtown. Both are fine but Uber is about double the cost but more convenient in my experience.
5. If this itinerary works with your schedule then 7.5 hours is plenty of time to get down to the city and back. It just depends what you want to see. Figure 2.5 hours of this 7.5 hour layover will be free time downtown and you can have a nice stroll around the river, grab some lunch, and just wander around. Do a little research and don't plan to fit too much in.
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