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Flying to South America from Australia? Here’s the lowdown.

Planning to fly from Australia to South America? While South America can feel a world away from the likes of Sydney or Perth, there are actually quite a few flight options that can get you there before you know it! 

Yes, it's a long way to travel, but with an increased number of direct flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Santiago, you have plenty of options. And once you make it to one of the continent's big hubs, like Santiago or Buenos Aires, it's easy to catch internal flights to wherever you need to go. 

Whether you're venturing down to Ushuaia for an Antarctic cruise or planning to explore the wonders of Rio, Machu Picchu, or the Amazon, here are the best flight options to go from Australia to South America. 

We know it can be a little confusing though, so our friendly team is always here to help - they've made the journey many times and can give you advice based on their own experiences. 


Our national carrier continues to hold the baton in this competitive field, with Qantas offering four non-stop flights per week between Sydney and Santiago and six flights per week from Sydney via Auckland. Chile’s capital has historically been the best springboard for Australians flying into South America, its ideal location making it the perfect ‘stopover,’ no matter where in South America you wish to head to first.

From Melbourne, Qantas offers three direct flights per week to Santiago, via their codeshare partnership with LATAM.

If you're travelling from Brisbane, Adelaide, or Perth, you can fly direct to Auckland and pick up your flight there, or fly to Sydney or Melbourne first. 

QANTAS flight path Sydney Melbourne to Santiago
Qantas flight path


QANTAS is getting some stiff competition from LATAM, a conglomerate formed by Chile and Brazil’s national carriers. 

LATAM brought us the first-ever direct flight from Melbourne to Santiago (via Auckland) and now offer three direct flights from Melbourne per week, also available as codeshare partnerships with Qantas, as mentioned above.

Sydney travellers, LATAM offers three direct flights per week between Sydney and Santiago, or six per week with a stopover in Auckland. If you're coming from other cities, you can either fly to Auckland or Sydney/Melbourne first.

You'll be travelling in a comfortable Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner and service is offered in both English and Spanish, at a minimum. It can be fun to fly with LATAM, as you feel like you're already in South America as soon as you board your plane! That being said, the food and entertainment options with LATAM may be slightly less than Qantas' offerings, but LATAM often has more competitive fares. 


LATAM flight path Sydney Melbourne to Santiago
LATAM Flight Paths


LATAM aircraft

United Airlines

If you don't mind a slightly longer flight, it can sometimes be a little cheaper to fly to South America via North America. With United, you can travel from Sydney to Houston and then onto Buenos Aires. It's around 15 1/2 hours to Houston and then another nine hours from there onto Buenos Aires. 

United Airlines flight path Sydney to Buenos Aires


Loyal to the Emirates brand? You'll be pleased to know that you can fly Emirates to South America, albeit in a slightly roundabout way. You can fly Perth - Dubai - Rio - Buenos Aires, a journey that's sure to boost your frequent flyer miles! 

However, if you're based in Perth, you may prefer this option as an alternative to flying to the eastern states first. Plus, many frequent flyers prefer the high calibre experience offered by Emirates, especially in business and first. 

Emirates flight path Sydney to Buenos Aires

Qatar Airways

Another option for Perth travellers is Qatar, the national carrier for the country. With Qatar, you can fly Perth – Doha – San Paulo – Buenos Aires. 

With so many options, you're sure to find flights that suit your schedule. When deciding on your options, consider your budget, airline status, and departure and arrival times, as some Latin American flights arrive late in the evening. 

At Chimu Adventures, we’ll help you fly to South America from Australia, any which way you fancy! Speak to one of our Destination Specialists today and let us help you plan your once-in-a-lifetime journey, including helping you find the best deals and routes for your flights. 

Written By chimu
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