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SYDNEY SEAPLANES: Sydney to Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra

SYDNEY SEAPLANES: Sydney to Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra

Australia’s first international airport was at Rose Bay, on Sydney Harbour. It was the landing place for the Royal Mail route starting in London. The first passengers created the original ‘Kangaroo Route’ started in 1938 with over 30 stops along the way.

The Jet age saw the death of the seaplane on this route. It cut down the number of stops, upping the speed, and reducing the duration of the trip.

Today, the main function of Seaplanes on the Harbour according to the SMH is scenic flights, or to go to restaurants in Sydney’s north; Jonah’s at Whale Beach, Berowra Waters Inn and Cottage Point Inn.

The Empire Lounge and Bar is also the Sydney Seaplanes lounge
[Sydney Seaplanes Website]

Sydney to Canberra by Seaplane

Sydney Seaplanes – the company running the service, has been conducting tests. It needed to see whether take off and landing is feasable on Lake Burley Griffin in different weather conditions. The lake is a central feature of this land locked seat of government and the nations capital, Canberra.

There is a lot of traffic between Sydney and Canberra, about 10 million trips per year back in 2019/20. Mostly by car, with only 6% of them by plane.

Sydney Seaplanes wants a piece of this action. The carrot is that you can check in only 15 minutes before the flight. That will cost AU$300 to AU$400 per flight. That’s about twice what you would pay on a service out of Sydney Airport on Qantas or Virgin Australia.

That shorter check-in time and commute to Rose Bay from the CBD, might make it tempting city based consultants. It won’t be as comfortable or as quiet as travelling on a jet, or a Dash 8, or even a SAAB SF 340 which Virgin Australia uses. A Cessna Caravan (12 passengers) or a de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver (7 passengers) won’t be very work conducive.

Two planes of Sydney Seaplanes, a Cessna and a de Haviland
[Sydney Seaplanes Website]

Wouldn’t be for me

In a former life, I was a regular commuter between Sydney and the national capital as a supplier of design services to various government bodies. I used to dred the trips, nearly always at the last minute. You would spend more time on the commute than you would in Canberra presenting or reporting to a department or minister. And those last minute airfares would always cost a fortune, and consume a very long day. Bookings were also tricky for those less than one hour flights, with everyone trying to avoid the Dash 8’s, and make sure they caught the ‘jet’ meaning the Boeing 737s.

The route is somewhat seasonal, with jets only operating usually during parliamentry sitting weeks, when the most action is on in Canberra.

At least you could get some work done, or shoot off a few emails on a jet with wifi. Canberra has a very nice Qantas lounge now too. The presence of The Empire Lounge at Rose Bay might go some way to compensate for facilities on the plane.

The Empire Flying boat Airport at Rose Bay, Sydney
[Sydney Seaplanes Website]

2PAXfly Takeout

With a by-road commute of 4 hours, and the airline trip door-to-door taking about the same time, if the Seaplane can get you there quicker and more conveniently, then the expense might be worth it for the high earning executive or busy politician.

Personally, I think of it more as a novelty.

Any regular Canberra commuters who would find this attractive?

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