Royal family arrives in Australia

Update: 2.49pm: THE Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the eight-month old Prince George have arrived at Sydney Airport and are on their way to the Opera House.

Initial report: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George are expected to arrive at Sydney Airport at 2.25pm before being whisked away to a reception at the Opera House.

Palace officials have gone to painstaking lengths to ensure the tour goes to plan.

A run sheet of today's schedule details the very moment the family is expected to disembark from the plane - 2.35pm to be exact -via the front stairs.

Waiting on the tarmac will be Prime Minister Tony Abbott, NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell, their wives Margie and Rosemary, Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove and NSW Governor General Marie Bashir.

While all eyes will be on Kate's outfit and the baby prince from the moment they arrive, it will be the Opera House reception where members of the public will have their first real chance to see them in person.

Security has been stepped up around the Opera House precinct where thousands are expected to congregate in the coming hours.

About 400 guests - many of whom are sporting stars headed for the Commonwealth Games - will attend the reception from 3.15pm.

Following the reception, the royals will be photographed with Australian Cricket champions Glenn McGrath and Ellyse Perry before walking down the steps and greeting the public.

Tomorrow, they will tour bushfire-ravaged communities in the NSW Blue Mountains before attending an Easter Service in the Sydney CBD on Good Friday.