NewZealandAtoZ reviews; Warbirds Over Wanaka 2016
This is always a great weekend for the military enthusiast and families, surrounded by the great scenery, which is the perfect backdrop for the Warbirds show.
What you have to take into account when travelling to the Warbirds is the traffic, the event organisers do the best they can with the location of the event (The Wanaka Airport), on the main road between Cromwell and Wanaka.
We stayed in Cromwell which was a good decision, because you can find accommodation at a reasonable price (if you book early enough), it is very tough to find in Wanaka, and the prices all get "hiked" up during this weekend.
Cromwell is 42km to the Wanaka Airport, but the drive is nice. From the other direction, Wanaka to
the airfield is 11km. On
Friday the traffic was fine at around 9am once you got to the airfield. On Saturday morning we were slowed to a crawl about two km's from the airfield at 9.06am (from Cromwell), the last 2 kms took 25 minutes. Start early, whether coming from Wanaka or Cromwell. Saturday on the other
side of the airport had the cars backed up the 11km to Wanaka (at about 9.30am). There is a back way from Wanaka to the airport which had no traffic. You follow Ballantyne Rd to Boundary Rd onto Mt Barker Rd which gets you to the airport. Parking was easy when you get to Warbirds.
If you are coming from Cromwell leaving at 7.30am is the best advice.
The practice day is Friday when you get a smorgasbord of planes, trucks, food and everything else military, all setting up getting ready for Saturday and Sunday. I went along with my family and was pleasantly surprised that you could bring in all your picnic needs, there was no bag search, no tipping out water bottles, so it felt welcoming from the start. We brought a programme off a young chap selling them fund raising for his Ski Club, so more than happy to give him my $10. It was great to see Sir Tim Wallis out around the crowds enjoying what he created in 1988.
We enjoyed the Friday because we saw all the things we wanted to see and the crowds were smaller. You don't get to see the great pyrotechnic shows and staged dogfights, but we went back for half of Saturday to catch the things we wanted to see, like the Spitfire and BF109 chasing each other around the sky, great sounds and fantastic to watch.
Where to go once we arrived, we just started wandering, visiting stalls and looking at stuff, we visited the museum had some curly fried potatoes on sticks and drank a coffee or two. The amount, and selection of food was good, but take your own water as there was only one water station we could find, and it was hard to find. The kids saw bits of the airshows but all they wanted to do was bounce on the bouncy castle/ Slide and ride the funny bikes (the same things they do at their home school fair). I wish the castle had a better view on the airfield as I spent about an hour there during the day.
Once again the show is a must see if you are into this sort of thing, even if you are not, the sounds and sights are something you must experience during your life.
The only downside for me was no WW1 planes at the show. It is great to see just how slow these planes were compared to the modern machines.
Loved my time at Warbirds over Wanaka.
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