Sydney Airport Spotting Guide

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By Sam Chui-Reviewed 1/2012

  An Aerial map Courtesy of SACL


Spotting Map Point Reference



Spot 1 - Rwy16R landing


How to get there? This spot can be access by walking from the domestic terminal a 10 minutes walk heading west. You can also drive along Qantas Drive east/southbound until you saw a small gate on Qantas Drive.

When? Good from early morning 6am-11am

For which Runway and wind? Runway 16R (Southerly wind)

Most International arrivals and a portion of domestic will land on this runway. This is currently one of a few spots in Sydney you can take planes landing shot.  A B747-400 on approach need 70 mm lens, a B767 need 120mm lens, etc. The only downfall to this spot is many interesting domestic and regional plane lands on the parallel Runway 16L.

Sample picture taken from Spot 1:


Spot 2 - This spot is closed as of 2006. Please use Spot 6 for viewing.



Spot 3 - Beach afternoon / Car Park old control tower



This is the best spot for afternoon spotting year round.

How to get there? You need a car and this time you need to cross the airport tunnel on route 1 General Holmes Drive (Rockdale, Brighton Le Sands bound) After you have crossed the tunnel, you will see a road sign turn left for Airport views/Cooks River! Turn left there and drive up to the end of the car park, park the car and walk in for about 5 minutes. You will come very close to plane action. You can also choose to watch planes from the car park itself.

When? 1pm-sunset

Runway in use? Good for all directions. You come very close to the plane on the taxiway alpha!

(a B747-400 need 18 mm lens, a B767-300 need 35 mm lens on the close taxiway, 80mm on 747 on Runway)

See a sample picture below taken from Spot 3:

A shot from the car park:


Spot 4 - Runway 07 Golf Course


How to get there? You need a car, drive on Qantas Drive westbound heading Rockdale, then turn left into West Botany Street. Keep going until you see a Barton Golf Course billboard entrance, enter there and drive up to the end. You come to the end of rwy07!

When?  From 10am-5pm, except early morning and late evening.

Runway in use? This spot is only good for everything landing on Runway 07. Also it may be possible get some heavy lift up from Runway 25 takeoffs.

A B737-800 need 100mm lens.

Sample Pictures:

Spot 5 - End of Runway 25 (East/West Runway)


How to get there? You can walk from the Domestic Terminal for 15 minutes! From outside of Domestic Terminal, heading to Crispy Creme and McDonalds and the General Aviation area. Keep walking until you see Rwy25 in sight. You can also drive and park your car near the end of the runway.

When? All day except very early morning and late afternoon.

Runway in use? Only for runway 25, but this spot can get airplane landing and planes taxiing for takeoff.

A A310 needs 150mm lens, A B747-400 need 60mm lens on the taxiway.

Sample Pictures:



Spot 6 -- Tower Mound (Sheps Mound)


Spot 6 is actually right under the tower. Spot 6 can be reached from General Holmes Drive City bound. After you drove past the airport tunnel, exit left at the BP Service Station (and McDonalds), you will see the Avis Rental Car yard, another left and you will see the Control tower, keep straight for 100m, you can park the car under the tower.

Alternatively, you can reach the Tower  Mound from the General Aviation area, just follow the perimeter road around, past the Heliport and long term car park, then the Avis/Hertz car yard and head straight to the tower.

Light is good for Morning till 12pm for photos. You can also watch planes all day from this spot. 200mm is enough for most of the things on the runway and only 35mm for full frame a B737 on domestic taxiway. Beware you may get a small portion of the fence in your picture. It is a good spot to meet up other spotters.

Sample Pictures:


International Observation Deck


You can reach the deck through the Italian Restaurant located near Qantas check in Row B and C, near Qantas ticket office in the Int'l terminal. Deck opens from 0630 to 2230 all day. It is good for photographing from 1pm to sunset. From the Observation Deck, you get a good view of the field. It is a good place to monitor the plane traffic. For photos, it is good for long haul Runway 34L takeoff or anything taxi to Runway 16R or landing on 16R.

There is no entrance fee to the Observation Deck but you may have to pay to park your car at the terminal.

A 747 taxing in front of the deck need 100mm, a takeoff 747 on Runway need 180mm.

Sample Pictures


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