Yealands Classic Fighters 2021

10 Days departing 27th March 2021

Tour summary (click to expand)

Classic Fighters

Yealands Classic Fighters airshow is celebrating it's 20th Anniversary and looks like being an outstanding event with a couple of firsts. For the first time ever, the Dangerous Skies hall will be open during the airshow to showcase the aircraft from the John Smith Collection. This will be a unique display for 5 days only. There will also be performances by both the V-1 flying bomb and the V-2 rocket, never been done before at any event in the world.

Join us on our fully escorted 10 day journey to discover the top of the South Island's aviation history and spend 3 days at the Classic Fighters airshow. Our journey will take us through some incredible landscapes and let us explore some of what we treasure in our backyard. We'll explore everything from wonderful displays at the largest polished museums, to new private collections, and share the excitement of the amazing and unique combinations of heritage and other show aircraft.


Ashburton Aviation Museum, Richard Pearse Memorial, South Canterbury Aviation Museum, Route 79, Air Force Museum, Ferrymead Aeronautical Society, NZ Helicopter Museum, Belworthy Family Collection in Cust, Harmons Motor Museum & Diner, The Argosy, 3 days Gold Pass at Classic Fighters airshow and Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre.

Day 1 : Saturday 27th March : Arrival in Christchurch


A seat in coach airport shuttle is included to collect you and transfer you to the hotel on arrival. This evening, join the group for a Welcome Dinner. If you prefer, you can join on day 2 or 3, costs will be adjusted.

Hotel : To be confirmed, 1 night

Day 2 : Sunday 28th March : Ashburton Aviation Museum & Route 79

Christchurch to Lake Tekapo

Heading South, our first visit willl be Ashburton Aviation Museum which has a strong aviation history, being a training base in World War 2. Today there are over 20 aircraft on display and in the workshop, including a Thompson Refueller one of only 9 in the world.

Ashburton Harrier.jpg

We continue to Geraldine and stop at Route 79 Museum, an eclectic collection of all things mechanical.

Route 79 1 (2).jpg

We finish our day on the shores of the wonderful Lake Tekapo 

What you'll love today : The only Harrier in NZ and the immaculate new Route 79 Museum.

Optional : The Dark Sky Project -  with some of the purest skies in the world you might like to make the most of the evening with dinner at the Dark Sky Diner or one of these options

Hotel : Peppers Bluewater Resort, Lake Tekapo, 1 night

Overlooking Lake Tekapo, this relaxed hotel in wood-panelled buildings is a 13-minute walk from picturesque Church of the Good Shepherd

Included : Breakfast

Day 3 : Monday 29th March : South Canterbury AHC, Rangitata Island

Lake Tekapo to Christchurch

On the way to Timaru we stop at the Richard Pearse Memorial and then on to South Canterbury Aviation Heritage Centre. Here we will have a tour and remember flying activity that took place in the early 1900s when Richard Pearse built his first aircraft.

We continue by invitation to Rangitata Island Aerodrome. It is owned and operated by the Brodie family and is home to the Geraldine Flying Group, De Havillands over New Zealand collection, New Zealand Microlight Heritage Museum, Shadows of Hawks World War I replica collection and the Ross Brodie Memorial Museum and Library.

What you'll love today : Early NZ flying history

Hotel : Ibis Hotel, Christchurch, 2 nights

Centrally located in the heart of Christchurch, the Ibis is the ideal base to explore New Zealand's iconic 'Garden City' on foot,  and just a short stroll from the beautiful Botanic Gardens

Ibis CHC.jpg

Included : Breakfast

Day 4 : Tuesday 30th March : Ferrymead Aeronautical Society & Air Force Museum


Our first stop this morning is the Ferrymead Aeronautical Society where we will have a workshop tour and see their aircraft collection including a Mosquito and a Hudson, both with NZ history.

We then head over to the Air Force Museum. The collection here is very diverse and includes objects from the early years through to the present day, occupying huge display areas.

What you'll love today : Restoration projects at Ferrymead and of the biggest aviation museums in NZ.

Optional : Stay in Christchurch for the day.

Hotel : Ibis Hotel, Christchurch

Ibis CHC.jpg

Included : Breakfast

Day 5 : Wednesday 31st March : NZ Helicopter Museum & Belworthy Family Collection

Christchurch to Kaikoura

Our first stop today is at the NZ Helicopter Museum. You'll be surprised here by the collection which also includes about 70 classic cars.

NZ Heli Museum.jpg

After, by special invitation we get to see the private collection of home built aircraft and VW cars owned by the Belworthy Family

We finish our day in Kaikoura.

What you'll love today : Some very unusual aircraft and cars

Hotel : White Morph Kaikoura

Set on the Esplanade in KaikĊura, Heritage Collection The White Morph enjoys commanding views of the ocean and mountains, and is just a 10 minute walk to downtown Kaikoura

White Morph.jpg

Included : Breakfast

Day 6 : Thursday 1st April : Harmons Motors and The Argosy

Kaikoura to Blenheim

Included for you this morning is a visit to Harmons Motor Museum & Bernie's Diner, housing a collection of 50s & 60s American cars and some iconic English Classics owned by father & son tean Geoff and Bernard Harmon. After lunch we enjoy the scenic drive to Blenheim.


On arrival in Blenheim we will gather at The Runway café at Woodbourne, then board the “Merchant Enterprise”  –  Argosy aircraft ZK-SAE  –  for a remarkable virtual flight, complete with inflight entertainment and afternoon tea.  This unique twin-boom aircraft is the last of its kind, and you will be the only passengers anywhere in the world flying an Argosy today.


Optional : Kaikoura is lucky to have whales in the area all year round so you may prefer a 30 minute whale watch flight with Air Kaikoura or a three and a half hour boat experience with Whale Watch Kaikoura, in the morning. Both are subject to availability and the boat trip will be an early early start. Additional cost approx $150

Air Kaikoura.jpg

What you'll love today : Classic cars and the unique Argosy  Experience

Motel : Bella Vista  or 171 on High

Both quality motels are in the centre of town and give you flexibility to self cater or dine out.

Included : No meals


Day 7 : Friday 2nd April : Classic Fighters Airshow

Omaka, Blenhiem

Today is the start of the 2021 Yealands Classic Fighters airshow, 3 days of exciting and unique flying and ground displays. This year, for the first time, the WW-II 'Dangerous Skies' hall at the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre will be open to the public and if all goes well, will include several aircraft from the famous and secretive 'Aladdin's Cave' collection of the late John Smith. Aircraft from the collection that are expected to be on display include the Lockheed Hudson that went on display in its remarkable jungle diorama in late 2019, and hopefully, the Mosquito, the P-40N Kittyhawk 'Gloria Lyons' and time-capsule Tiger Moth (untouched since its last flight over half a century ago). 


Friday includes a twilight show, more details to follow once released.

Our 3-day Gold Pass tickets include an exclusive enclosure with grandstand seating to ensure the best view of all the action, a large marquee with undercover seating, lunch on Saturday and Sunday with tea and coffee all weekend, admission to the displays at Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, and a goodie bag with programme. 

We will have private transfers to and from the airshow daily

Day 8 : Saturday 3rd April : Classic Fighters Airshow

Omaka, Blenheim

Saturday is a full fying day and we look forward to a full line up. The show is themed 1930's and we encourage you to immerse yourself in the "Golden Age" and dress in style. There are plans to present a previously unseen line-up of Fairchilds, classic Beech 17 (the wonderful Staggerwing) and Beech 18, Ryan ST, Waco and that's just from the USA. British machines from the period are also being rounded up to present a wonderful line-up representing a time in history when the profoundly antique was replaced by the glamorous 'swoosh' that saw streamlined styling applied to just about everything!

Sometime over the weekend, we will see the full size V2 rocket with its launch trailer which was demonstrated in spectacular form at Classic Fighters '11, but not since, and the flying V-1 'doodle-bug' replica.

Day 9 : Sunday 4th April : Classic Fighters Airshow

Omaka, Blenheim

Sunday is a full airshow day and a chance to see anything you may have missed.

Anson Omaka.jpg

This evening we enjoy our farewell dinner.

Meals : Farewell Dinner

Day 10 : Monday 5th April : Tour Ends

Depart Blenheim

Our tour ends after breakfast and you can depart for home at leisure. An airport shuttle in included for you at a time to suit you

Please ask if you would like to stay on.

Costs and inclusions

The details


Tour Cost per person $2750 twin share

Single Supplement $795



3 to 5* Accommodation including breakfasts, except in Blenheim where it is self catering.

Welcome and Farewell Dinners, two lunches at the airshow, one afternoon tea

Arrival and departure airport shuttles

Private coach travel, daily shuttles to the airshow and back

3 Day Gold Pass Airshow tickets 

Entrance costs and all attractions in itinerary unless otherwise stated.

Full tour host

Printable Itinerary and Terms & Conditions

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Aviation Tours - Terms & Conditions

Tour costs are based on a minimum number of 14 passengers. Should numbers not reach 14 we reserve the right to cancel the tour and a full refund will be made. There will be no further obligation on the part of Aviation Tours NZ.

For passengers travelling alone, a single supplement is payable, or there is the possibility of a same sex room share. If you cannot be matched, the single supplement is payable.

A reasonable level of fitness is required to make the most of the museums and sightseeing. Due to the nature of some of our hotels you may be expected to manage a set of stairs, however, there will be porterage for your luggage on these occasions. Some hotels have showers over the bath. Twin rooms will have separate beds, but these are sometimes still quite close together.

If improvements can be made to the itinerary or circumstances beyond our control make it necessary to make any changes, we reserve the right to do so.

General Cancellation

Notice of cancellation must be in writing. Changes to any flights ticketed will incur charges.
After final balance has been paid, the following scale of charges will apply.
Cancellation periods as follows
Up to 12 weeks from departure – no loss
12 to 8 weeks - 50% loss
Within 8 weeks - 100% loss

Covid Cancellation       

Due to Govt restrictions prior to departure - no loss – fully refundable. Any flights booked are subject to airline policies

Due to Govt restrictions imposed during the tour - if the tour is cut short due to Govt restrictions, we will help repatriate you to your hometown or nearest airport. We will seek refunds for the unused arrangements and return these to you less any repatriation costs we may have incurred to get you home.

If you test positive to Covid 19 before departure, or are ill and can’t travel and later test positive to Covid - we will seek a full refund.

For cancellations, we regret that we are not able to make refunds against any unused part of the tour. It is therefore essential that you have enough insurance to cover your loss. We strongly recommend a complete and comprehensive domestic travel insurance policy. Be sure to obtain medical certificates and documentation to support any claim you may need to make. We accept no responsibility for any loss caused through insufficient or lack of insurance cover.

For domestic travel only photo id is required. Overseas visitors are responsible for passports and visas for coming to New Zealand


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Aviation Tours NZ operate as part of the Travel Managers Group who are IATA bonded and part of Flight Centre.

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