Plane Spotting in Brisbane
Does your Brisbane Kid marvel at aircraft flying overhead? Do you have a little aviation enthusiast in the family? There really is something special about flying machines, so it’s not surprising that plane spotting in Brisbane has become a popular hobby for many children.
If you’ve got a couple of hours spare on a weekend, bundle up the kids, pack some thermoses of hot chocolate (or a cool treat in summer) and enjoy quality time spotting planes together.
Places you can go to see planes in Brisbane
There are a number of safe viewing spots for plane spotting in Brisbane that you can drive to for a morning, afternoon or evening of fun. For photography recommendations – which lenses to use and best times to shoot – visit the Brisbane Airport Corporation website.
Acacia Street Loop, Brisbane Domestic Airport: This is our pick of the spots – there is ample parking and you can even spread out the picnic rug. Depending on which runway the planes are using, you can usually get a wave and a grin from the pilots. What a thrill for a Brisbane Kid!
Fire Station on Baeckea St (off Pandanus Ave): This is a great place to see arrivals on touch down and roll out. Keep in mind that this is an area where emergency vehicles need access, so keep the road and gate clear.
Boronia Rd: This spot is great for approaches or departures until 10am. You can even see the undercarriage of the aircraft from this position. However, there are a number of businesses operating in this area, so please be mindful of this.
Approach runway on Da Vinci Blvd: There is room to park your car at this spot and it is a great place to view afternoon arrivals from, especially with the colours of sunset reflecting off the plane.
Domestic and International Terminals: If you are willing to fork out for the cost of parking, you can get a very good view of a variety of aircraft from inside the terminal. In the domestic terminal, you can get as close as the boarding gate (after passing through security), without needing a boarding pass. This is not possible in the international terminal, however, you can still view the aircraft at gates 79, 80 and 81 from the terminal deck. You may even be lucky enough to spot a jumbo jet!
Your own back yard or local park: Spread out the picnic rug, lie down and gaze up at the sky with your Brisbane Kid. When you spot an aircraft, look it up on your phone using a free app such as Flight Aware. This incredible app can tell you how many planes are nearby, the make and model, the airline, and the origin and destination of the flight. It can also show you a map of the flight path.
Plane Spotting Etiquette and Safety
There are a number of dedicated plane spotting enthusiasts who are usually willing to share interesting information and tips with you. However, to ensure that everyone has a good time and remains safe, please:
- Obey all road signage including parking, as well as any security signage and laws while in the airport precinct.
- Wear a hat and sunscreen as there aren’t any undercover areas or much shade at these locations. Depending on the time of day you might need some insect repellent too.
- You don’t want to turn up and stare at an empty runway for hours so check the arrivals and departures page on the Brisbane Airport Corporation website to see when the peak times are. You can also download a monthly timetable.
- Take your camera so you can take some snaps and revisit the memories later, but remember to turn off your flash when taking photos of aircraft.
- Comply with any requests from BAC Security staff or Australian Federal Police.
- Be mindful of other plane spotters and don’t obstruct their view.
Hooked on Plane Spotting in Brisbane?
Queensland Plane Spotting Blog have all the latest in aircraft news and stunning aircraft photography. Your Brisbane Kid may also like to keep a plane spotting in Brisbane journal where they can record the planes they have seen, the airline, the registration number, and any interesting markings the plane has.
More fun with planes
The RAAF Amberley Aviation Heritage Centre allows your Brisbane Kid to get up close to and learn about military aircraft. The Queensland Air Museum and the Caboolture War Plane Museum also welcome children (although these museums are more suited to older children).
For more Fun Activities in Brisbane with Kids, you might like to check out our posts on Brisbane for Train Loving Kids, where to Take Your Little Pirate in Search of Shipwrecks in Brisbane or learn more about Geocaching in Brisbane.