So the thing with plane-spotting is that it’s all about GREAT PHOTOS.

And the thing about great photos? GREAT LOCATIONS.

And I know JACK SQUAT about either of these things. So I’ve set about learning about great locations so I can practice getting great photos.

I started with Sam Chui’s Sydney Airport spotting guide, which is a little bit outta date, but whatevs. The maps, descriptions and sample pics are fricking brilliant for a n00b such as Rah.

Sam’s guide refers to the observation deck at Sydney Airport International Terminal, but apparently that closed earlier this year. I hadn’t checked it out, but turns out it doesn’t matter cause there’s a new option: Rydges Sydney Aiport.

And yes, this is my first PR-facilitated blog post about plane-spotting. SHUT. UP! I’m so excited you guys.

Last month I got an invite to hang out at Rydges and check out thar facilitaahhhhhhhs (it’s all very swish dahling) and check out how their new plane spotting offer works.

Basically, for ten bucks you get access to the rooftop boardroom and balcony with full views of the main runway (I haven’t memorised the technical name yet). You have to jump on their Facebook page to check that the boardroom’s not in use before you go the effort of lugging your camera gear. The ten bucks also gets you a cawfee and half price parking in the international parking station (so you only lose half your right arm, lolz). Added bonus is that you can plane spot in air conditioned comfort, yo! Also: power points to charge your devices that chew the batteries from using flight tracking apps :)

My guided tour started with a suite that overlooks the airport.



The lovely Jessica who was my tour guide indulged me and told me all sorts of stories about planes and spotters and whatnot. I’m only just feeling brave enough to let my full plane crazy out in front of people, and Jessica totally didn’t flinch. She happily chatted away while I took photos and went gaga over the A380 that was parked at the terminal. She only interrupted my babble when she realised the A380 was leaving to take off and we bolted up to the roof to watch.

I walked into that board room and came fac e to face with real-life plane spotters for the first time ever. OH MY GOD IT WAS SO WEIRD. There were about 10 blokes there with massive Canons (literally NO Nikons except for me. Sniff). Turns out that plane spotters are nice guys (IKR?) and are like walking aviation wikipedias. They told me ALL THE THINGS! I lapped it all up, but forgot most of it cause I was in awe of the view:

March 17, 2014 at 0558PM-My new favourite view of Sydney

A380 is my favourite plane. It’s just so huuuuuuge

March 17, 2014 at 0612PM-Shut. UP. #mondayitiscure is an #a380 at #yssy #hashtag

 I mean, that wingspan is frigging crazy, right?


Hashtag best


This is probably an A330 cause it’s Jetstar


The spotters told me to take a photo of this one, but I can’t remember why it’s so spesh.


747 is my second favourite, esp when they have pretty paint jobs


Who ordered a helicopter?


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3 thoughts on “Plane-spotting 101: Locations: Rydges Sydney Airport

  1. There are never ever any Nikons. What an awesome tour x

    Posted on 13 April 2014 at 9:08 pm
  2. Facebook
    There are lots of plane spotting groups on Facebook. Usually state/airport based.
    If you haven’t already joined …..
    – Sydney Aircraft Spotting (ask to join, usually same day)
    – Australian Aircraft Spotters

    People share lots and lots of pics on these FB pages.
    And you can ask questions too. We don’t mind.
    I uploaded a map to Sydney Aircraft Spotting page yesterday which shows almost 20 different spotting places.

    Posted on 20 May 2016 at 11:43 am
    1. Hey Paul, thanks for the tips for those 2 groups – just joined and found your map \o/

      Today’s wind would make for some awesome spotting if it wasn’t for all the rain!!!

      Posted on 5 June 2016 at 1:26 pm