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Warbirds Over Wanaka 2026 - a  6  day New Zealand Tour

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Warbirds Over Wanaka 2026

Warbirds over Wanaka was back with a vengence in 2024, offering an amazing best ever show.  This is a must see event for any aviation enthusiast, so get ready for 2026

This new shorter 6 day tour focuses solely on aviation, with a Gold Pass ticket included, you will be in the best location to see all the action at the show. The flying displays and events on the ground will be the highlight of the tour, but we have also included visits to the NZ Air Force Museum at Wigram and the Ashburton Aviation museum.  We base ourselves close to Wanaka for 4 days which allows us to experience all 3 days of the airshow.

With return flights direct from Tauranga to Christchurch, we make the most of our time.

Date TBC - Price $ TBC

DAY 1 - After picking you up from home (all part of the Hinterland service) we arrive at Tauranga Airport to check in for our direct flight to Christchurch. On arrival in the Garden City, we will board our coach for the short journey to the first of our “aviation” themed destinations, the Air Force Museum of New Zealand at Wigram.

Grab a bite at the Contact Café, located alongside the historic aircraft with views across the former Wigram airfield to the Port Hills, before our guided tour. Suitably replenished it's time for an in depth “behind the scenes” tour, which offers access to the restoration workshop as well as the reserve collection of aircraft, vehicles and engines, not normally open to the public.

Departing the museum, its just a short drive to our Christchurch hotel where we will dine together this evening.

DAY 2 - Leaving Christchurch, we head south along SH1 to Ashburton, which has a strong aviation history. The town was a training centre in World War 2 with 50 Tiger Moths based here.  We visit the Ashburton Aviation Museum which houses a collection of over 20 aircraft including the Devon, Vampire, Harvard, Harrier GR3, Canberra B2 Bomber Cockpit, Meteor, Zlin, DC3, Vampire and Tiger Moth to name a few. We will also be able to visit the aircraft restoration workshop. 

We continue to our accommodation close to Wanaka and offering an easy access into and from the dedicated air show coach parking area. We make a stop for lunch in Geraldine at the Barkers Foodstore and Eatery, another NZ icon. Following lunch (your cost) we travel further inland, through Burkes Pass and into the legendary Mackenzie - an area of great wide-open spaces, the highest mountains, awe-inspiring glaciers and vivid turquoise lakes.

We take a break at Burkes Pass – chance to browse the quirky Three Creeks Arts and Crafts Shop - housed in the old General Store. There is also a 1950s service station and a blacksmith shop and trading store. The shops provide a wealth of art works, crafts, giftware, retro collectibles, wooden furniture, and more. Be sure to have a look in the dunnie! 

Our route travels past Lake Tekapo with its famous Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Pukaki where we should have views of Aoraki / Mount Cook before arriving at our hotel.

Day 3 - Today is the practice day of the Warbirds over Wanaka International Air Show (acclaimed as one of the world's top four Warbird airshows), in 2024 it celebrated 36 years of operation. Started by aviation entrepreneur Sir Tim Wallis in 1988, this is now a biennial centre piece of Central Otago’s tourist attractions with around 60,000 attending this amazing showcase of all things aviation.

Our GOLD PASS tickets offer us the best 3-day experience – with great seating in the grandstand situated directly in front of the runway. An attached large marquee and hospitality area offers a range food and beverage options to purchase. Complimentary tea, coffee and water are available to us throughout the show.

GOLD PASS holders also receive an airshow branded bag, gold cap and badge, an airshow programme, a voucher for one free drink. You will also be able to mingle with the pilots, get autographs and walk the flight line on Saturday or Sunday.

The National Transport and Toy Museum is right next to the airshow arena and well worth a look, with over half a century of collecting and striving to preserve pieces from the past, boasts rare and unusual aircraft, cars, trucks, motorcycles, fire appliances, military vehicles, boats and tractors. Now with over 70,000 toys on display, there is something for us all to re-kindle our childhood memories.  Entry cost is $20 pp.

This fascinating museum houses one of the largest private collections in the world, with over 600 vehicles, including classic cars, motorcycles, fire appliances, military vehicles, buses, trucks, tractors, construction gear and boats. There are also 20 civilian and military aircraft from the 1930’s to 1990’s as well as a collection of over 60,000 toys. There is something for everyone, such as clockwork and battery powered toys, dolls, teddy bears, pedal cars, remote control models, money boxes and 1,000’s of scale models.

Friday is practice day so there is no airshow scheduled, but all ground displays are open and Warbirds, civil and military aircraft will be conducting practice displays in preparation for the following days.

Day 4 - Today is Airshow Display Day – which commences at 10.00am. We will make an early start to arrive in good time.  Spend the day making full use of your Gold Pass privileges, really enjoy the amazing flying displays and also get close to the aircraft and displays on the ground. The finale each day is worth waiting for as aircraft attack the ground based enemy - with plenty of large pyrotechnics going off. If you want to keep abreast of the flight program leading up to the show then see the official airshow website.

Day 5 - The final day of the air show.  The program today replicates the one we saw yesterday but there may be a few additional aircraft flying due to operational issues the day prior. 

Or you may want to just relax at the hotel and “do your own thing” today before we meet up again this evening for dinner, our last night in the South Island.

 

Day 6 - Today we leave for Christchurch and our direct flight back to Tauranga. Plenty of time to see sights along the way, maybe enjoy a pie at the famous Fairlie Good Pie Shop. Our early evening flight will give us time in the afternoon to explore Christchurch City before we depart. 

What's Included:

  • 6 days of touring

  • 5 nights quality accommodation

  • Door to door service (Tauranga area)

  • Air NZ flight to Christchurch

  • Quality air-conditioned vehicle

  • Full commentary from your guide

  • All breakfasts and dinners

  • Air Force Museum of NZ - Wigram

  • Ashburton Aviation Museum

  • 3 day GOLD pass to Warbirds

  • Warbirds Commemorative program

  • Warbirds gold hat and gold badge

  • Complimentary tea/coffee/water

  • Flightline grandstand seating

  • National Transport & Toy museum

  • Exclusive food and beverage area

 

Not included:

  • Any lunches unless specified* 

  • Morning/afternoon tea stops*

  • Any alcoholic beverages with meals

 

A single room surcharge of $ TBC applies.

You will see:

  • Christchurch & the Canterbury Plains

  • Wigram Air Force Museum

  • Ashburton Aviation Museum 

  • Barkers Foodstore and Eatery

  • Mackenzie Country & Burkes Pass

  • Lake Tekapo

  • Church of the Good Shepherd 

  • Lake Pukaki and Mount Cook

Veterans Special Area

If you have served in any theatre of war then the airshow has a special "veterans only" area for you and your family.

 

Located in the Gold Pass holders area, a special marquee offers a great place to catch up with fellow veterans.

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