Gruesome, sort of, when you think about Aussie diggers wrenching off the boots of a dying (or recently deceased) Red Baron (German). The tenor and trials of conflict is vividly brought to life as you walk through the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre. Omaka challenges the visitor to feel and wonder. Poignancy, dedication and passion is the narrative of a military campaign and Omaka delivers with authenticity and rigour.
You will be immersed in vividly recreated stories of selfless heroism. There is pathos as the hero is inevitably dead by the end of the tale. Discover the behind the scenes work done by the artillary corp carefully building weapons and the nurses who drive into the field of conflict.
Gaze at recreated scenes of the heroic flyers in flimsy planes tackling a new kind of warfare (World War I, Knights of the Sky). Complimenting Knights of the Sky exhibits is the Dangerous Skies story of the battle for sky supremacy during World War II. The terror, the dive bombing plane coming towards you is brought to life with film settings carefully constructed around the authentic, original bullet holes and damaged planes.
Unmissable, the Omaka Aviation Heritage attraction is tucked away on the edge of Blenheim, Marlborough’s airport complex.
Top sights at the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, Blenheim, Marlborough
- Artistry and the imagination of a Oscar winning film maker (Sir Peter Jackson)is very evident. You are immersed in the aviation story as the mood lighting and planes suspended in the skies magic up a major visual impact for visitors
- Brilliantly captured is the sheer terror, the military casualties, the dogged determination to take the fight to the skies in World War I (and II). Wander through the centre with realistic dioramas crafted by the practised magicians of Weta Workshop and WingNut Films
- Intriguing, the personal stories with medals, authentic uniforms, and the paraphernalia of war adding depth and richness
- the exhibits are open, visitors are not viewing the story of modern aerial warfare through the lens of a plate glass window. Peer closely into the eyes of a recreated gunner
- Forgotten stories of the World War II campaigns in Burma and elsewhere are evocatively told with jungle vines and smashed plane wrecks creating thoughtful moments.
A wow moment as it dawns on the visitor the priceless collection of military aircraft from World War I and II is in a corner of New Zealand, surrounded by Marlborough’s award winning vineyards and grazing sheep.
Personal belongings of Hermann Goering (Nazi, World War II)and the Red Baron (German flyer World War I) make for an encounter like no other. It’s like being invited inside for tea to discuss what it was actually like to fly in the flimsy planes of WWI. And the terror of massive bombing campaigns of WWII.
Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre is unmissable. The massive open spaces of aircraft hangers is an ideal location to grab the visitor by the throat as you take in the enormity of aerial warfare. Extraordinary; New Zealand has Sir Peter Jackson to thank for the world class Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre.
The best time to visit the Omaka Heritage Aviation Centre is year round. It is indoors and not weather dependent. For optimum viewing pleasure pop in as Centre opens and avoid peak times.
Due to the large space and very large exhibition spaces at the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre visitors will not feel crowded. The only queue is to purchase tickets. Purchase beforehand and skip the lines.
There are two major exhibition halls:
Knights of the Sky exhibition World War I aircraft with over 20 planes curated by Sir Peter Jackson.
Dangerous Skies exhibition World War II bombing of Stalingrad with its stunning surround sound visuals of bombing raids, World War II aviation stories and the forgotten stories of the Burma and the Far East war effort.
Is Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre suitable for kids to visit?
The Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre is suitable for kids. While the bullet holes, the wounded flyers and damaged aircraft impact it is not scary. It is thought provoking and could raise the question about military campaigns. The kids will not be bored, that is guaranteed.
- Look for a plane crashed into a tree covered in snow
- There’s a kiwi pilot perched on a wing tip
- Mud, trenches and barbed wire are the background for a crashed plane
- Gaze at aircraft maintenance soldiers busy at work building parts
- Find the Red Baron and look at the souvenir hunters (Aussie Diggers) and the kids will love the story about how the fur boots were eventually reunited
- Dangerous skies surround sound video wraps around the visitor. The air raid is very realistic and smaller children might be afraid as a Luftwaffe pilot creates a massive fire storm. The sound of warfare adds to the drama
Omaka Heritage Centre, Marlborough is #nzmustdo category with at least two hours to immerse yourself in the visual experience of aerial photography, aerial warfare and the personal stories of the men and women on the front lines. There is a cafe within the premises.
What can you do nearby Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre
- Nearby Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre are unassuming aircraft hangers with vintage planes ready to fly visitors for a quick spin around Marlborough. Pop on an authentic styled helmet, squeeze into the cockpit of a WWII bomber and go for a joyride.
- Nearby Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre are numerous delicious wineries including Cloudy Bay, Brancott Estate and Wither Hills. Moa Brewery for those wishing to sample craft brewers. Scroll through Marlborough wine trail for ideas.
- Check out the Marlborough things to do, attractions, places to go and Queen Charlotte track, top 10 things to do one of New Zealand significant walking tracks.
- Or for something sweeter, get to the Makana Confections factory and start drooling. Yes, that handmade chocolate is gorgeous, but you mustn’t miss the macadamia brittle.
- Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre hosts a biennial Air Show at Easter. A wow moment with dozens of vintage aircraft taking to the skies.
Open 9.00 am to 5.00 pm every day except Christmas. In winter, shorter hours, check beforehand to avoid disappointment. Admission charges apply at Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre.
Where is Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre located?
79 Aerodrome Road, Omaka, Blenheim 7272. 5 km from the centre of Blenheim, Marlborough.
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