Classic Flyers – Somewhere to Go if You’re in the Bay of Plenty

Something you might not know about the Tauranga/Mount Maunganui area is it has a rather good aviation museum. It’s called Classic Flyers and you can find it at Tauranga Airport. Now I’m not really interested in planes, but, unfortunately for me, my dad is, which is why I found myself there a few weeks ago. Nevertheless, I was pleasantly diverted.


I’d been to Tauranga Airport a few times, picking up my visiting grandfather and attending the Tauranga Airshow, but I’d never been to the museum. It has a surprisingly nice café that’s wonderfully decorated, and the gift shop is a haven for modelling nerds. It’s a very small museum – the size of a hangar, basically, but we managed to spend quite a bit of time there.

It cost $15 each to get in and there was a kid’s birthday party going on when we arrived. I was jealous of them climbing into the gunner tower – what is that thing? Is it called a gunner tower? I obviously wasn’t paying much attention. I was too distracted by the Star Wars music going through my head. You know, this bit:

My dad’s been to Classic Flyers heaps. He was taking flying lessons. You can do that there, and book one-of flights in classic planes. Dad learned how to fly a glider because that was cheapest. I’m sure he’d rather have flown a Spitfire. There’s a Spitfire in the museum, or at least a full-scale replica. I’m sure it’s great if you love old planes. There’s this biggish one you can go in. I hit my head.

There was an awesome temporary exhibit on about the experiences of the local ANZACS – the Australians and New Zealanders sent off to fight in World War I. 2015 is the centenary of the Gallipoli tragedy, so there’s been special emphasis put on ANZAC commemorations this year. The exhibit was beautifully done and worth the ticket price alone.

Uh, what else to say about it? Planes. If you’re travelling around New Zealand and/or looking for something to do in Tauranga/Mount Maunganui, and if you’ve got kids, or you’re especially interested in aviation history… or if you’re looking for a nice café, I suppose… drop in on Classic Flyers.


P.S. I found this in the ANZAC exhibit and simply couldn’t resist… Any Doctor Who fans in? All together now: “Are you my mummy?”

Armageddon: New Zealand’s Comic-Con

Poor as I am, there’s one annual event I always set money aside for, the nerdgasm-inducing convention that is the Armageddon Expo.

My sister (in a medieval dress) posing with the TARDIS

My sister (in a medieval dress) posing with the TARDIS

The Auckland Armageddon Expo takes place every Labour Weekend at the ASB Showgrounds. It’s a sci-fi/pop culture/comic book/anime/gaming convention that is New Zealand’s equivalent of Comic-Con. Everywhere you look there are people in amazing costumes – you would not believe the number of Daenerys Targaryens there were this year! There are celebrity panels and stalls selling Doctor Who merchandise; a Magic: The Gathering tournament and a laser tag area – you get the idea.

I ended up buying a Pokémon bikini because how could I not? I also got a Yoda backpack and a Firefly T-shirt.

Inevitably, it isn’t as good as Comic-Con. Comic-Con gets Matt Smith; we get Sylvester McCoy – and we only got him because he happened to be in New Zealand filming for The Hobbit. The Auckland Armageddon has yet to attract a celebrity for whom I would pay a lot of money to stand in line and get their autograph.

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It’s incredibly crowded. You’re lucky to see the stalls unless you spend ages pushing your way to the front. It gets very hot, especially in costume. But I still wouldn’t miss it.

This year, there was a Dalek hovering around. There was also a TARDIS you could get a photo with as well as Han Solo in carbonite.

Basically, if you’re a nerd and you’re travelling in New Zealand, it’d be a good idea to check Armageddon out. At different times of year, there are events in Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin as well as Auckland.

I’m determined to go to Comic-Con one day, but for now Armageddon is a great way to indulge my nerdiness.

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