The National Transport and Toy Museum in Wanaka, New Zealand, is a fascinating museum set in aircraft hangars boasting the Southern Hemisphere’s largest private collection of toys and cars. We visited this museum on a cold, rainy day in Wanaka on our recent family holiday.
We weren’t entirely sure what to expect from the museum. It cost us NZ $45 to enter as a family of 5, and we were told we could come back to explore the museum on an alternate day, providing we could show the sticker given upon entry. I had thought surely it can’t be that big to explore on another day?! But the collection certainly proved me wrong. You can read about the history of the owner here.
The museum is set near Wanaka airport and each hangar/building and the outdoor surrounds offers an array of transport vehicles from over half a century.
While the private collection features rare and unusual aircraft, cars, trucks, motorbikes, fire engines, military vehicles and even tractors, our interests were piqued with the toy museum.
My husband and I became nostalgic as we walked through the rows of toys from our childhood.
Meccano, Minibrix, Star Wars and Thunderbirds were just some of the toys my husband remembered from growing up in the 80’s, early 90’s.
‘I had one of those’ was commonly outburst as we came across another collection of toys.
The museum boasts one of the biggest collections of Sylvanian Families I’ve ever seen.
The Barbie collection was pretty epic too. My girls loved looking through the Barbies, asking if I could buy one for them. I explained they weren’t for sale, and even if they were, I’m not sure I’d be able to afford to buy one anyway.
Which made me wish I had kept some of my toys from my childhood because maybe I could have made a fortune selling them?! If only!
It was intriguing to see toys collected from the late 1800s.
And who knew a collection of erasers would one day be curated into a collection at a museum?!
Does anyone remember playing with these brass toys as a child? I remember playing with these at my grandparents house.
The pedal cars brought memories of when I played at my Grandma’s house. They were the toys my dad played with when he was a boy, and my grandparents kept them for when the grandchildren came along. Seeing them in the museum brought a rush of memories to my mind. There were many afternoons I would pedal the car down a concrete path under the back staircase at Grandma’s house. Seeing the cars also brought a longing of wanting to talk to my grandparents just one more time.
The museum stirred up memories of toys we had long forgotten. I have no doubt it brings back childhood memories for everyone who walks through it’s aisles.
I think it’s a wonderful way to show kids the toys from our childhood era.
If you ever do visit Wanaka, it’s certainly worth a visit. It will stir up memories you may have long forgotten.