Newcastle Airport

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Continent: Oceania Country: Australia Region: New South Wales

Newcastle Airport/RAAF Base Williamtown
Location Newcastle, New South Wales
Airport type Mixed-Use Commercial
Overview map Aerodrome Chart
Tower 118.3
Ground 121.8
127.25 (vehicles)
Clearance 130.35
Approach 135.7
ATIS 134.45

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Williamtown, also known as Newcastle Airport, is located 30 minutes from Newcastle CBD. Newcastle Airport operates one runway, 12/30. RWY 12 is an ILS whereas RWY 30 is a visual approach but the best for taking photos as the aircraft land over the road.

Official Spotting Locations

Medowie Road Car Park

This is the official spotting location at Williamtown. There is plenty of parking to accommodate 100+ cars and a couple of chairs to sit on which face towards RWY 30. This spot is great for visual landings on RWY 30 or take offs from RWY 12; most of the time the wind favours RWY 30 so you get a lot of visuals. The sand dunes out to the east makes for a great back drop when spotting at this location and at sunset the runway lights make for a fantastic picture.

A good focal length for this spot is 50 to 300mm but 50mm is good for directly overhead photos. The best place to photograph from is directly under the flight path. You could mover further up towards Fighter World for angled photos & side on photos.

Sample Photos from Medowie Road Car Park:

Other Spotting Locations

Fighter World

This is a great place for taking pictures of landings on runway 30. The viewing deck faces the 30 threshold and the designated touchdown zone is clearly visible. The recommended focal length for this location is 100 to 400mm although 200 is a good maximum. The best time for photos here is during the afternoon when the light is best but throughout the day there is good lighting.

Entry to Fighter World is $5 for children and $10 for adults so this is not the best option for approach photos but definitely your best bet for landings on 30.

BAE Hanger

The BAE hanger is located on the runway 12 side of the airport and looks over the helicopter pads. This is a great location for taking pictures of departing helicopters due to the fact that you are only 12 feet from the pads. Be aware that you may need a step ladder for looking over the barb wire fence and that you may be moved on by security.

Sample Photos from the BAE Hanger:

Locations to Avoid

The Terminal

There is a fence running along the apron right next to the terminal, and although this is a great place for taking up close pictures of aircraft you will probably be told to move on by security.

Sample Photos from The Terminal:

Update: There is an undercover walkway running parallel to the fence next to the terminal now blocking all shots from this location, although photos can still be taken from the rental car park.

Regular Traffic

Domestic Airlines

  • Jetstar A320 & A321
  • Virgin Australia 737-700/800 & EMB190
  • Brindabella Metro 23
  • Aero Pelican Jetstream 41
  • Qantaslink Dash 8
  • REX Saab 340

General Aviation

  • King Air (RFDS & Ambulance)
  • Cessna Citation
  • Bombardier jets
  • Cessna 172, 206, 180
  • Gliders

Military Aircraft

  • F/A-18 Hornet
  • Hawk 127
  • E-7A Wedgetail
  • PC-9A

Facilities and Transportation

Car Rental

  • Avis
  • Budget
  • Europcar
  • Hertz
  • Thrifty

Dining & Retail

  • Insomnia (coffee shop with foods such as sandwiches, focaccias, sushi, yogurt, fruit salad, and hand-baked biscuits and pastries) - there are two Insomnia stores, one before security and one in the departure lounge.
  • Hungry Jacks
  • Sports Bar & Bistro (also serves coffee, breakfast, lunch and dinner; there are also 5 large plasma screens)