Melbourne Intl. Airport Spotting Guide

This review only covers spotting points visible from through security. Spotting and photography can be undertaken from within the terminals with care however I don’t doubt there are better options elsewhere of you have the chance to find them. This website is useful: http://www.rwy34.com/spotting/

Melbourne Airport, also known as Tullamarine, opened in 1970 replacing Essendon Airport and is now the second largest and busiest airport in Australia. It is a major hub for both Qantas and Virgin Australia and the home airport of both Jetstar and Tiger Airways. The airport has 56 gates spread around 4 terminals. Three of the terminals form a single major building housing the majority of the airport’s operations. Aircraft use two intersecting runways.

Written by Richard Stretton / Visited 5 times since 2006 (last in August 2012)

 Rating Movements
Airline Variety
Photo Locations
Weather
 Airport Informations    Runways 09/27 16/34
2.286 m (7.500 ft) 3.657 m (11.998 ft)
Terminals Terminal 1 Terminal 2
Qantas, Qantas Link and Jetstar International Operations
Terminal 3 Terminal 4
Virgin Blue, Regional Express Tiger Airways
 Spotting Informations  Ladder Not applicable
Car Useful for epxloring around perimeter
Restrooms Throughout terminals
Drinks/Food Throughout terminals
Season Good weather all year though very hot in summer
 Runway Usage  09/27 Always in use – mixed traffic
16/34 Always in use – mixed traffic

´ Spot #1 – Terminal 3 Pier A
WHERE Virgin’s terminal has two piers and allows access to the piers through security with only a security check. At the time of visit no boarding pass was required.
WHAT You can get up close to Virgin aircraft at their gates and pushing back through the various windows that look out onto the stands. All Regional Express and Tiger Airways aircraft pass the pier and you can get a view of runway 16/34 at its end. There are multiple obstructions plus the ever present problems of photographing through glass and with heat haze but reasonable shots can be taken with patience.
TIME Best in the morning.
FOCAL LENGTH 50-150 mm
Spot #2 – Terminal 2 – Concourse A
WHERE The original square satellite-esque end of the International terminal (now with concourse B attached to it in a rather ungainly fashion). Only accessible through international security with a valid boarding pass.
WHAT A good view of the immediate international gates and a partial view of one side of Pier 1 in Terminal 1. Also views of one end of runway 09/27. When runway 27 is being used for take-off then much traffic passes in front of the large windows. The views of runway 16/34 have all but been closed off by the addition of Concourse B.
TIME There is reflection at all times but decent shots can still be had through the glass with care.
FOCAL LENGTH 50-150 mm
Spot #3 – Terminal 2 – Concourse B
WHERE Opened in 2011 concourse B is a long thin pier attached at a right angle to the original concourse A end.
WHAT Limited views of both runways and the immediate stands giving a side on profile of some aircraft at the conourse A gates.
TIME There is reflection at all times but decent shots can still be had through the glass with care.
FOCAL LENGTH 50-150 mm
Spot #4 – Terminal 1
WHERE Qantas’ terminal has two piers and allows access to the piers through security with a security check. At the time of visit no boarding pass was required.
WHAT You can get up close to Qantas and Jetstar aircraft at their gates and pushing back through the various windows that look out onto the stands..
TIME There is reflection at all times but decent shots can still be had through the glass with care.
FOCAL LENGTH 50-150 mm

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