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Warbirds Over Wanaka

The world-renowned Warbirds Over Wanaka is the largest warbird airshow in the Southern Hemisphere, and features a large contingent of historic and contemporary aircraft.

In 1988 aviation entrepreneur and live deer recovery pioneer Sir Tim Wallis presented an airshow and country fair that attracted 14,000 visitors to Wanaka Airport. Delighted with this success, he decided to expand on the theme and hold a biennial event over the long Easter weekend. As the show grew so did its support and in recent years over 100,000 people made the pilgrimage to Wanaka for their weekend of excitement. Now acclaimed as the largest Warbird Airshow in the Southern Hemisphere, this is the one event not to be missed. It is held at Wanaka Airport, 10 km outside the Lake Wanaka township. Roads are closed and traffic is detoured around the area during the weekend.

Hotels, motels and backpackers around Wanaka are usually booked well in advance (two years ahead). Accommodation is impossible to find if one does not have a booking. A large contingent of historic and contemporary aircraft of note from all over New Zealand and the world converge on Wanaka each second Easter for the air show. Numerous aviation personalities from all over the world attend Warbirds over Wanaka, Gen Chuck Yeager and Buzz Aldrin being the most notable of recent times. The mainstays of the display have traditionally been the aircraft from Sir Tim’s Alpine Fighter Collection, based at the New Zealand Fighter Pilots’ Museum. Release can provide accommodation options during this biennial air show.

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