Darwin Airport – Spotting Guide

Darwin Airport (IATA: DRW, ICAO: YPDN) is the busiest airport serving the Northern Territory and the tenth busiest airport in Australia. DRW has an international terminal, a domestic terminal and a cargo terminal.Australian companies : Airnorth (EMB120/170, metrojet), Alliance Airlines (F70/F100), Jetstar (320), Qantas (738), QantasLink (717), Tigerair AUS (320), Virgin AUS (738).

International companies : Indonesia Air Asia (320), Jetstar Asia (320), Malaysia (738), Philippine Airlines (320/321), SilkAir (738).

Written by Jeremy Denton, (Last update December 2016)

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Airline Variety
Photo Locations
Airport Information    Runways 11/29 18/36
3,354m (11,004ft) 1,524m (5,000ft)
Asphalt  Asphalt
Spotting Information Ladder Not necessary.
Car Necessary.
Restrooms Available at spots.
Drinks/Food Available at spots.
Hotels Few hotels could be found next to the airport or in the city. But I recommend “The Leprechaun Resort”.
Season It’s pretty difficult to get some good weather as it’s unpredictable. Really humid, hot lots of thunderstorms.
Runway Usage  18/36 Mmostly used by military, small props, the Australian border coast as well and some airnorth aircraft.Runway
11/29 Mostly used by all other aircraft (Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin Australia, etc.)

Spot #1 – The Leprechaun Resort
WHERE From the airport, take the car or the taxi and go to the opposite of the airport (south) and you will find “The Leprechaun Resort” on Stuart Hwy next to a petrol station. Easy to find it.
WHAT The best spotting location to get arrivals runway 36 and take-off runway 18. You are spotting directly from your hotel, next to the swimming pool or your room. Free WIFI is also available all inside the complex of the resort. So you can easily check on FR24 when something is coming. Remind you, that on this runway you will get only small props, some military, Australian border coast (dash8) and sometimes airnorth EMB120.
TIME Approx 1200 to sunset.
MISC. Everything you need could be found at this spot.
FOCAL LENGTH 50-300mm enough
Spot #2 – Australian Aviation Heritage Centre
WHERE From the resort, continue on “Stuart Hwy” direction east for a few minutes then you will see the heritage museum centre on your left side.
WHAT Aircraft park at the museum and you can managed some arrivals and departure on the runway 11/29.
TIME From approx 10am to sunset.
MISC. Open Every Day : 9am to 5pm, closing noon 24 December, closed Christmas Day 25 December. Reopening 27 December at 9am.

Entry Fee : Adults 15$, Seniors/Pensioners 10$, Children (under 12) 7$, Students 10$ and family 35$.

More information can be found directly on their website : http://www.darwinsairwar.com.au/

FOCAL LENGTH 18-55mm for the museum and 500mm for arrivals & departures.
Spot #3 – Terminal 1 (Domestic)
WHERE Go to the terminal, pass the boarding security check on the domestic one. Then find a good spot where you can shot throw the windows. Plenty of opportunities all along.
WHAT Parked aircraft otherwise you are in backlit mostly of the time.
TIME Mostly all day but only when the aircraft are parked otherwise is backlit.
MISC. Everything you need can be find in the terminal.
FOCAL LENGTH 18mm to 200mm is enough.

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3 thoughts on “Darwin Airport – Spotting Guide

  1. Arryo

    Dear fellow spotter, in particular local Darwin spotter,

    Is there any of you did some spotting for RAAF Ptich Black exercise (last time in 2016)?
    Is the hotel suitable for Pitch Black spotting?

    Thank you…

  2. Tyler

    Would like to know, the gas station at the end of runway 29.

    Is it a good place to planespot? Is there some rule against it there. Just wondering, thanks in advance!

    1. JeremyJeremy Post author

      Dear Tyler,

      I’m sorry but we are not aware about this spotting location… I didn’t heard about any rules but to watch out about about snakes, crocs, etc.


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