Sydney Airport is one of only two airports in the world that operate tours around the tarmac (the other is in San Diego, USA). I went on the Sydney Airport tour today, and you can get yourself on the next tour through their website.
The tour goes for a little over 2 hours and covers the vast majority of the airport. It is definitely a tour for aircraft nerds, with a ton of statistics and history being relayed by the very knowledgeable driver the entire time. I do think that even non-nerds would enjoy the close up look at an amazing facility that, these days, many dismiss as little more than a big bus stop.
The most interesting parts for me were the hangers with vehicles under maintenance (including the huge Qantas Airbus A380), seeing a Boeing 747 take off at close range and seeing how friendly all the airport employees are. The tower controllers roll up their blinds and wave, all the pilots wave, the ground crew all wave and even maintenance crew are happy to wave while sitting inside a jet engine. It sounds kind of lame, but you really do feel privileged to be part of a close airport community (even if it has 32,000 employees within it’s fences).
I can recommend the tour to anyone, I did it as a Father’s Day present and I think it was perfectly suited to that. They offer daytime and nighttime tours. I did the daytime and it is probably the nerdier of the two (less food, more time on the tarmac). Enjoy and comment! 🙂