Location: Albion Park Cost: $20 AUSD (£10 /$15) Length: 1.5 Hrs More Details: Click Here
I think the below picture of me standing in front of a retired Boeing 747 probably falls under the ‘geeky’ post section of this blog. Count yourself lucky that you were not my friend, who got dragged on a two hour train journey to the museum, a two hour tour (which he just waited in the reception), and then a further two hour train journey back!!!
It’s my thing, ok. I try to make it to at least one transporty thing when I am abroad.
HARS caught my attention through a great travel podcast I have been listening to called Layovers. They discussed that Quantas had donated it’s first ever Boeing 747 that was delivered direct to the company to the HARS museum. I couldn’t turn down the chance to get a tour of a Boeing 747.
HARS is based at the Illawara Regional Airport, and is easily accessible from Sydney by a two hour train journey from Sydney Central Station to Albion Park train station. The train journey was great; a mixture of stunning forests to scenic beach views.
Whilst I am getting my geeky transport fun out in this post, here is a picture of me inside the drivers area of the train to the HARS Museum. Google Maps let me down, and directed us to the wrong platform. Whilst we were trying to find our way again, I ended up talking to a train driver trainer, who let me in the driver’s area and showed me around.
We arrived at Albion Park train station and the Museum was a 10 minute walk.
I got a tour myself with a volunteer called Bill, who had extensive knowledge of all the aircraft and was an all round great guy. The tour cost $20 AUSD. I also bought a calendar at the end, as the museum is funded by donations and sponsorships.
The tour itself was phenomenal, and definitely worth more than the $20AUSD that I paid. The tour of the museum lasted nearly 1.5 hours. I arrived close to closing time, so my tour was abbreviated but still very good. (Note: This is not the complete Boeing 747 tour which is 3 hours long. This tour focusses solely on the 747, with a pilot, engineer, and cabin staff that guide you through the plane in depth. This is something I would like to do when I return later in the year.)
The tour starts with a walk through of the Boeing 747. You walk beside it, up into the plane and around its two decks as well as a look in the cockpit. Bill shared some valuable insight into the plane and also explained the generosity of Quantas for donating. We then walked outside and got up close to the engines and tyres. I read that last sentence back and realised that it is probably an acquired taste to be excited about seeing tyres!
We then proceeded into the first of two aircraft hangars. This hangar contained, for the most part, completely restored aircraft that are either still able to fly or are static only. The hangar contained aircraft such as a Hawker Huunter; Lockheed C-121C and a General Dynamics F111.
In the segway between the hangars, they have a large display of engines from all date ranges, including a Rolls-Royce Merlin which was used in Spitfires and Lancaster bombers.
The final leg of the tour took us to the second hangar, where the restoration works are carried out. Bill gave me a tour of this area, showing me what works are currently being undertaken. There were probably 7 -10 aircraft in the hangar. It was very interesting hearing the stories of why things are being restored and who is doing the restoring (e.g. ex pilots or engineers of similar aircraft).
I could have spent all day there. Remember i mentioned Bill? Here is a picture of me and the legend just before I left. I think my friend was in a hurry to go which might explain the blurry picture!