Sunday, 30 September 2012

Royal Australian Airforce Museum (RAAF) Point Cook

Old Planes, Very Old Planes, Flying Display and all for Free!

Our little family of four headed down to Point Cook, south west of Melbourne, on a mission to view all things flying.

Our minimen L and J uphold the gender sterotypes of being fascinated by anything with engines, wheels or flashing light. Hubby is pretty happy in this enviroment too, and hey even I won't turn my nose up at a mini free flying display!

Picnic in coolbag we headed out to get there at about 12:30, to give us time to have a nosey round the museum before the little flight demonstration at 1pm.

The museum is actually located within RAAF Base Williams so entry is through the barriers at the base entrance. You drive your car through but adults should take some photo ID as the driver at least will be expected to sign in. (No need to get out of your car there's a gate keeper who'll come across as you pull up to the barrier.)

As you park the main entrance to the museum is just across an internal road, pretty quiet but still some occasional traffic to watch out for. The main entrance takes you straight into a retail opportunity BE WARNED! From there it's through into two big hanger areas full of flying machines. They're mainly from the First World War onwards so there's a real variety on view.

Behind the hanger are some concrete bleachers. I'd suggest getting out there a few minutes early as otherwise you might struggle to find a seat. Not too early though because they're concrete. Which is hard. And cold. Did I mention hard?

We were sitting just the other side of this fence. The pilot gave us a quick bit of chat about the plane and aircraft. Apparently the plane you see varies based on who is there and who is visiting the airport. The display doesn't happen if the weather is too bad, but then you probably wouldn't want to sit out and watch anyway.

The pilot talked us through his precheck then started the engine Very Loudly in front of us which the kids loved.

The display lasted about 15 minutes. Another guy from the museum kept up the commentary while the pilot put the plane through its paces. Upside down flying, barrel rolls and loop the loops performed right under your nose. Well, maybe a bit above them but you know what I mean. Close! Honest, it was a lot closer than it looks in the picture.

After the display we trundled round the hanger where they were restoring some planes, or rather climbed up to a viewing platform to look down in it (don't attempt with a pram or pushchair). Finally another hanger with some odd old planes and helicopters like this one that looks like a converted submarine.

We returned to the gift shop at the end where my minimen were immensely pleased with pencil sharpeners masquerading as planes (and actually they haven't noticed the sharpeners). Also balloon powered helicopters and a pin to add to my collection of places visited. A total of $18 spent.

All in all a good couple of hours, especially as we took advantage of the picnic tables outside to enjoy a bit of sunshine.

RAAF Museum
RAAF Base Williams
Point Cook Road
Point Cook
Vic 3030
Opening Hours (as reported at the time of the blog, check the website for updates)
Tuesday to Friday: 10am–3pm
Weekends and Public Holidays: 10am–5pm The Museum is closed on Mondays, Good Friday and Christmas Day
Yes, free parking across the road from the museum (within the base itself).
Yes, inside the museum, clean and tidy during our visit.
Café/ Refreshments
NO. Definitely room for something here.
Picnic/ BBQ area
Plenty of grass and several picnic tables complete with parasols.
Gift Shop
Yes. Small but with a good variety of items, obviously mostly plane related but something for all budgets. Takes cash or cards.
Make sure you have photo ID, this is a military base and you have to sign in as you go through the entrance.




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