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Plane Watching at Canberra Airport?

By ActuAli - 29 June 2011 26

I was thinking of taking my kids for a trip out to the airport to watch some planes landing and taking off.

I know that other airports have viewing areas – does Canberra have one? Alternatively, can anyone suggest good vantage points around the perimetre?

I am aware that we may attract the attention of airport security, but I don’t have a problem with this. I just want somewhere exciting to view planes with a plane/helicopter obsessed 2yr old without paying a fortune in carparking fees at the airport itself.

What’s Your opinion?


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26 Responses to
Plane Watching at Canberra Airport?
Jivrashia 9:24 am 30 Jun 11

What’s wrong with Mt. Ainsle lookout?
It has the entire view of the airport from end to end.

The only shortcoming is that you can’t hear the noise of the jet engines, which is one of the excitement your 2y.o might be wanting.

madamcholet 9:10 am 30 Jun 11

I’d vote for Toys R Us as well – as per a previous comment, the planes often turn off of the runway here after landing and if you are lucky you can get a wave from the pilot. Helps to look at the arrivals and departures schedule though as there are some long periods where nothing happens on a Saturday and Sunday. The other spot is down the other end by Jim Murphys which is just about where the planes start taking off if they are flying out that way. If anything is going on at Fairbairn helicopter wise you’ll get a good view from either location.

My nearly three year old is hard wired to love any type of vehicle, but especially if it flys. We are still having conversations about his plane trips at Easter, down to what he had to eat and drink on the plane. Wish he would pay as much attention to toilet training!

Anna Key 9:35 pm 29 Jun 11

BBP car park is 50c an hour, which is usually plenty for my kids. You get nice and close to the planes taxiing, and get the occasional wave from a pilot. The airport website has arrival and departure times. Around 4pm on a Sunday sees about as many takeoffs and landings in a short period as you’ll get at Canberra. You might also get a few RAAF flights if Parliament is sitting.

JC 8:52 pm 29 Jun 11

EvanJames said :

A lot of plane spotters seem to like the area at the end of the runway, on the road to Qbn. They used to park right at the fence, but the airport built a great big wall there on the fence. It might stop a cessna but I can’t see it stopping anything bigger. So the spotters now park on the river side of the road, where there’s a forest of lights, but I often see AFP vehicles there, either hassling the spotters or being spotters themselves.

good place to be around 4pm onwards on a Friday or Sunday night. Lines of planes landing and taking off.

The wall is a blast wall and is used to deflect the exhaust from jet aircraft away from the road. It was installed when they lengthened the runway towards the south putting the end too close to the road. Without it, it is conceivable that vehicles on the road could get blown away by (big) jets taking off.

Carl 7:29 pm 29 Jun 11

Toys r us is the best, free also. You can see planes leave the terminal, take off and land. And most days they taxi right by on their way to the terminal.

hek62 4:10 pm 29 Jun 11

The 17th tee at the Fairbairn Golf course provides a great view.

troll-sniffer 4:07 pm 29 Jun 11

EvanJames said :

but the airport built a great big wall there on the fence. It might stop a cessna but I can’t see it stopping anything bigger.

It’s not a wall, just a jet blast deflector.

EvanJames 4:00 pm 29 Jun 11

A lot of plane spotters seem to like the area at the end of the runway, on the road to Qbn. They used to park right at the fence, but the airport built a great big wall there on the fence. It might stop a cessna but I can’t see it stopping anything bigger. So the spotters now park on the river side of the road, where there’s a forest of lights, but I often see AFP vehicles there, either hassling the spotters or being spotters themselves.

good place to be around 4pm onwards on a Friday or Sunday night. Lines of planes landing and taking off.

mneuling 3:39 pm 29 Jun 11

The best place I’ve found is the open air two story car park at the Brindabella Business Park:
http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Airplane%20Spotting@-35.312569,%20149.191662
The car park itself is not free but there are some free spots about 100m away from there.

dpm 3:31 pm 29 Jun 11

There used to be a little viewing spot (with BBQ facilities!) near the small private ‘plane sheds along the airport road, opposite Piallago. But that was ~10 years ago and I suspect it may have been removed in the post-911 era! 🙁 Haven’t been out there for ages to check.

What about the 2-storey carpark for Brindabella Business park at the Queanbeyan end of the runway? It’s adjacent to the runway and you should get a good view from the second floor carpark level? Parking prices may be hourly rate (for the BBP staff, so not as scandalous as for the airport itself). Though, you could just stand near you car to view and drive off if the parking inspectors headed your way….

MERC600 3:16 pm 29 Jun 11

Toys r Us would be the best. One of the best in the land is Williamtown airport. There is a aeroplane museum and a little cafe at the end of the runway. You can have a feed while watching the Hornet jets take off.

Disinformation 3:08 pm 29 Jun 11

As long as you’re not illegally parked, you can hang outside the fence all you like, take photos of the planes going over and security are totally powerless to do anything. It’s not illegal to look suspicious. It’s only illegal to do something illegal. Being dead in line with the approach path is great fun if you park near the lights outside the fence. (Being on the gantry that holds the runway lights at Richmond RAAF base as Herc’s go overhead and trucks go underneath can be an interesting experience)

qbngeek 2:50 pm 29 Jun 11

Not sure if you are allowed to stop there, but we normally go to fence line along the road out to Fairbairn.

The fence line near Toys R Us is also a reasonable vantage point.

androo 2:43 pm 29 Jun 11

big carpark at Brand Depot isn’t too bad for what you want

deye 2:43 pm 29 Jun 11

Mount Pleasant would be one of the better places to view from, though you will probably want to take a pair of binoculars.

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