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Travel and accommodation

Further travel information can be found in the TRAVEL AND ACCOMODATION   page in the WWW area (though it mostly duplicates the information here), or by contacting the Travel Officer ( Bookings can be made through the Travel Officer.

Visa and immigration requirements

Observers who do not travel on an Australian passport
MUST hold a valid visa to enter Australia.

From the UK -

You will need supporting documentation for your visa application, so you should contact the SERC Central Office in Swindon for assistance well in advance of your travel, as it can take up to four weeks to get a visitor's visa from one of the Australian Consular Offices. When contacting the SERC make sure you provide the office with your full name, passport number, its expiry date, the date and duration of your trip, and whether or not there are likely to be other visits in the future. It can take several weeks to obtain both a new UK passport and an Australian visa, so please think ahead.

From elsewhere -

Observers from other parts of the world should contact the nearest Australian Consulate for an appropriate visa.

Accommodation in Sydney

Accommodation in Sydney varies greatly in price (AUS$50 to $120 depending on just how `low' you're prepared to go - but more usually about $70-$100) and location, depending on whether you wish to stay in the city, near the Epping Laboratory or close to the airport. Accommodation within walking distance of AAO is listed in Table 1.2 (see also Figure 1.7). The Travel Officer also has a list of hotels and motels in central Sydney and near the airport which have been tried and found satisfactory. Prices quoted are for a single room per night (unless stated otherwise) as at mid-1991.

For more information please contact the Travel Officer at Epping ( or , who can also book a room for you.

Table 1.2: Accommodation near the AAO Epping Laboratory. These figures may change without notice. Please contact the travel officer for the latest prices.

Getting to the Epping Laboratory

The street address of the Epping Lab is 167 Vimiera Road, Eastwood, NSW 2122. Figure 1.7 shows the area around the Lab, and Figure 1.8 the general Sydney area.

Travelling by car:
Approaching from the city, take either the Harbour Bridge, or Harbour Tunnel, then follow the freeway signs to Epping/Lane Cove. This freeway will continue through to Epping Road (also known as Epping Highway) at Lane Cove. About 8 km further along Epping Road is Vimiera Road. Vimiera Road is a left turn off Epping Road at a set of traffic lights about 2km before Epping. The preceding main cross street is Balaclava Road.

By taxi:
Tell the taxi driver that the Lab is on the corner of Vimiera Road and Pembroke Street, almost opposite Eastwood Rugby Union Football Ground. A taxi from Sydney airport to the Lab costs about $35 at the time of writing.

By bus:
Queen Victoria Building (QVB)/Epping Station buses (288,289,290 and 292) cross Vimiera Road on their way along Epping Road from central Sydney to Epping Station (and vice versa). The one way fare from the city to Epping is about $3-60 (Feb 1996). The fares are about 1/3rd cheaper if you by a `Travel Ten' card which entitles you to ten trips. Details of current timetables and fares can be obtained from the State Transit Authority of NSW, phone (02) 954 4422.

By train:
A train from Sydney to Epping takes about 40 minutes, and outdoor types can cover the distance between Epping Station and the Lab under their own steam in about 25 minutes (head east from the station down Epping Road). Otherwise, the 288, 289 or 290 bus from Epping station stops at Vimiera Road (or you can usually find a taxi at the station).

Figure 1.7: Location of the AAO Epping Lab and nearby accommodation
(Click on the image for a larger version, or click here here for a more detailed colour map of the area(300kb).)

Figure 1.8: The Sydney area
(Click on the image for a larger version, or click here for a more detailed colour version (200kb))

Travel between Sydney and Coonabarabran

Most people travel to Coonabarabran either by air or by car, though other modes of travel (train, bus) are possible for the adventurous or those with time to spare.

By air

The service is operated by YANDA AIRLINES and fly to and from Coona twice per day. Timetables change and it is best to check with our Travel Officer for current timetable. Cheaper flight prices are available for 21 and 7 day advance bookings. Contact for further information on air travel to Coonabarabran

The current price (Feb 1995) for a one-way trip, Sydney-Coona, is AUS$163-80, and the flight time is about one and a half hours. (Cheaper flight prices are available for 21 and 7 day advance bookings. ) The return airfare is exactly twice as much. The taxi trip from Coona airport to the Observatory site costs $50 and takes about 30 minutes. A taxi can be arranged for you if you notify your arrival time when making your Lodge booking.

There are also regular flights to surrounding towns - Dubbo, Gunnedah and Tamworth. Taxis can be arranged to pick you up but prices vary from each place and the taxi journey takes 90 minutes or more.

By car

It is worth reminding observers who travel to or from Coonabarabran by road of the main risks, which are:

It is possible to hire a car in Sydney to do your round trip to site. The prices for the hire car companies vary slightly but for under 5 days $50-60 is about average per day, plus, in some cases, an additional kilometre charge. For more than 5 days the cost falls slightly.  Please contact the Travel Officer who can advise you on which company to choose.

By train:

The CountryLink division of State Rail offer a linked train/bus service to Coonabarabran, this has the longest journey time but the train leg through the Blue Mountains is very picturesque. The service is available on a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, departing Sydney Central Railway Station at 0710 arrive Lithgow 0930, change to the bus in Lithgow arrive Coona 1530. On your return the bus departs Coona at 1300 change to the train in Lithgow at 1825, and arrive back in Sydney 2050. The total cost is $59.40 one way.

Accommodation on Siding Spring mountain

Accommodation on Siding Spring mountain is at the Lodge, which is run by the Australian National University (ANU). Bookings must be made well in advance of the observing run, and you should provide the following details when you book:

It is essential to specify flight times so that a taxi can be booked to collect you from the airport.

The current Lodge tariff is $85/day, including meals, and can be paid in Australian dollar traveller's cheques or Australian currency. Personal cheques drawn on an Australian bank are also accepted. Observers' partners can stay with them at the Lodge for an extra charge (one or two larger double rooms are available), but children are not allowed at the Lodge. Those travelling with children can rent a self-contained cottage on the mountain, but should arrange this well in advance.

Observers have a choice of lunch at lunchtime, or breakfast at lunchtime, but should specify their choice ahead of time &endash; either at dinner the evening before, or by leaving a note on the noticeboard by the "Small Kitchen" before going to bed. A sandwich night lunch is available in place of the 08:30 meal and should be collected after dinner. The Lodge staff are usually able to cater for special dietary needs or preferences if you let them know in advance. A mini-kitchen is also available for astronomers to use. Alcoholic beverages may be consumed at the Lodge, but strictly on a BYO (Bring Your Own  --or buy it in Coona: the taxi driver will stop at the bottle shop on the way from the airport if requested) basis.

The Lodge reading room has a range of recreational reading matter, including the latest newspapers. There is also a collection of videotapes which steers fairly clear of the usual observatory science fiction fixation. A washing machine, dryer, and ironing board are also available.

Mealtimes at the ANU Lodge
Daylight Saving Time
(November to Mid March)
Eastern Standard Time
(Mid March to October)
Lunch/Breakfast 12:30 12:30
Dinner 17:00 18:00

Bookings for the Lodge can be made by contacting the Travel Officer at either Siding Spring or Epping.

next up previous contents index
Next: Shipping equipment to Up: General Information Previous: Schmidt Telescope applications

This Page Last updated: Feb 23, 1996, by Chris Tinney.