Every second year, aircraft enthusiasts flock to Wanaka to take in the spectacular Warbird over Wanaka airshow. This event, which has been held on Easter weekend since 1988, is fascinating even for those who don't consider themselves 'aircraft enthusiasts.' Children will be captivated by the aircraft displays and airshow, while adults will marvel at the technology and history of aviation.
This event is the perfect theme for a motorhome vacation in the South Island. The event takes place on Lake Wanaka, just an hour from Queenstown and five hours from Christchurch by car. If you want to attend the airshow, be sure to buy tickets and book accommodation early. Sites around Lake Wanaka tend to book up early - the best spots will book up 2 years in advance!
History of the Airshow
Warbirds over Wanaka was started by Sir Tim Wallis, an aviation entrepreneur, as a day for him to show off his impressive collection of World War II aircraft. The first event in 1988 attracted 14,000 visitors to the Wanaka Airport. Due to the success of the initial event, Tim Wallis decided to expand the event and hold it every second year over the long Easter weekend. With each year, the airshow has grown in popularity and attracts regulars and new attendees each year. Currently, the show averages about 65,000 attendees, making it the largest warbird airshow in the Southern Hemisphere!
The main events of the airshow occur on Saturday, April 19 and Sunday, April 20 this year. On these days, aircraft will be on display and air events will occur throughout the day.
Many people will arrive on Friday, April 18 to watch the practice displays conducted by pilots in preparation for the airshow over the next two days. On Monday, April 21, guests can take a ride in a variety of aircraft, including warbirds and helicopters! This is a favourite event, so book your flights early if you're interested!
New for 2014
Every year, new events and attractions are added to the airshow - this year is no exception! The 2014 airshow will feature jet racing performed by world champion air racers from around the world. Six jets will race through a course of giant inflatable pylons at the Wanaka Airport at speeds up to 640 kmh! The event is based on the Reno Air Race Championships, a similar race held in the United States. In fact, this will be the very first time that this type of jet racing event has been held outside the United States!
This year, there will also be a special event commemorating 100 years since WW1. It will take place over the lake in the afternoon on Friday, April 18.
Want to learn more?
Check out the Warbirds over Wanaka website for additional information, photographs, and more! If you're thinking about attending this year, get in touch with us to see if any campervans or motorhomes are available for your dates. Don't forget, the next event is in 2016 - it's never too soon to start thinking about booking your campervan holiday!
Have you ever attended an airshow or Warbirds over Wanaka? Tell us about your experience in the comments area below!
Warbirds over Wanaka-15 by ToBo, CC-BY-2.0