For such an isolated country, New Zealand has a lengthier military history than you would expect from the island nation. After all, with its ties to England and the British Commonwealth, the Boer War and both World Wars played large roles in the nation’s history. Though the Auckland War Memorial in downtown Auckland offers a comprehensive look at New Zealand’s battle history, it’s the Air Force Museum in downtown Christchurch that provides the best insight into New Zealand’s flying force.
Home to 28 aircrafts and a realistic flight simulator which flies mock missions over Europe, the Air Force Museum is a must-stop in Christchurch for history buffs and aviation enthusiasts. The detailed history of the Royal New Zealand Air Force which is found inside of the museum offers intriguing parallels between the history of aviation and the military history of a nation. Every part of an aircraft—from the engine components to communication radios to the suit worn by the pilot—is on display for visitors to enjoy in this free and informative museum. You’ll also find parts which have been pilfered from enemies and medals which were won by war heroes. The Air Force Museum is only 15 minutes from the international airport in Christchurch, and is similarly located about 15 minutes from the main Christchurch city center.