Up and close at Sydney’s Domestic Airport

Usually the inner sections of airports are closed to non-travellers. I often think that modern airports with their great offers miss out on opportunities when they restrict access to people with tickets on that day only. Imagine: you could go inside London Heathrow’s Terminal 5 and dine a last meal at Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant with your close friend who visited you from Far-Away-Land before their long flight back home. Or imagine the family from Singapore that could enjoy some last moments in the Butterfly garden of Changi Airport’s Terminal 3 with their son departing for an exchange year at a university in the United States.

Well, the good news is that there are airports that do allow non-travellers into their inner core – the post security zone; domestic airports that is. The slightly bad news is that they are often not the most aspiring of places. Nevertheless, they do allow you to drop off or pick up your loved ones directly at the gate.

One such airport is Sydney’s Domestic Airport (IATA: SYD) on the North-East corner of the runways. There, once through the security check, you come down a set of escalators and can then either turn left towards the Virgin Blue gates or right in direction of the Qantas and JetStar boarding gates. Turning right will first lead you to a food court with some usual suspects such as McDonalds, Krispykreme, a Middle-Eastern Outlet, Subway, Sumo Salad and the Australian institutions of Red Rooster and Boost Juice among others.

There are, however, a few more exciting things to do beyond stuffingfilling yourself up prior to your cheap flight where you don’t plan to spend any money on their dry sandwiches. Here are my favourites:

  • Check out some serious outback clothing from R.M. Williams at the “And Beyond” store
  • Buy your kiddo (or some random kid you happen to know…) one of those cool dinosaur eggs that you have to submerge in water for 10 days before a little, wait for it, yes, you guessed it, Dinosaur pops out. You can find them at the well stocked “Kaboom” kids store.
  • Stock up on your SPF 30+ sunscreen for your island trip to Vanuatu (oooops, okay, if you are in the domestic terminal heading for Vanuatu, then you’re seriously in trouble, as that flight most likely leaves from the International terminal, a $5.50 bus trip away). So let’s say your Magnetic Island trip then… You’ll find it in the Pharmacy next to the Kids store.
  • Browse through the ubiquitous Peter Lik Australian landscape photography books and postcards
  • Try on some new boardies in the “Beachculture” shop towards the 31-40 gates
  • The ladies among you might also want to pop into the Mimco store close-by (while we lads wait in the Pub & Winestore called “Taphouse” across from it)
  • Finally, browse through the rather good selection of iconic Australian films at the Virgin Media store

Airport Facts and Ratings

Airport Name Sydney, Domestic Terminal
Website http://www.sydneyairport.com.au
IATA Code SYD
Design LateDeparture.com Plane Award PointLateDeparture.com Plane Award PointLateDeparture.com Plane Award Point
Shopping LateDeparture.com Plane Award PointLateDeparture.com Plane Award PointLateDeparture.com Plane Award Point
Toilets LateDeparture.com Plane Award PointLateDeparture.com Plane Award PointLateDeparture.com Plane Award Point
Overall LateDeparture.com Plane Award PointLateDeparture.com Plane Award PointLateDeparture.com Plane Award Point
Chanel No 5 Eau de Parfum, 100ml at the Duty Free Shop n/a
Bottle of Veuve Cliquot at the Duty Free Shop n/a

[Picture from Flickr – all rights reserved]