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Welcome Aboard HARS Aviation Museum, Albion Park

Home > Wollongong > Museums | Hobbies | Fun Things To Do | Exhibitions | Tours
by Phoebe Hackett (subscribe)
Freelance writer and photographer living in Sydney. To travel is to live. ― Hans Christian Andersen
Published November 2nd 2018
It’s Plane to See What all the Hype is About
HARS museum, aviation, sydney, albion park
Welcome to HARS


Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to sit in the cockpit of an F-111 Fighter Jet? Or experience a seat in Business Class on a Qantas 747? How about exploring every nook and cranny of a Neptune Submarine Hunter? Put yourself in the picture and get a closer look at these aviation marvels.

Impressive aviation displays surround the building, including a plane jutting from its exterior. We walked through the entrance - made to resemble an engine - and into to HARS - Historical Aircraft Restoration Society. Located only 1.5 hours south of Sydney CBD, and 20 minutes south from Wollongong CBD, this is your next weekend adventure.

Once inside, we saw the First Class check-in reception area, where we each paid $20 for a full museum tour with a guide. Check out the many tours on offer and prices here

HARS museum, aviation, sydney, albion park
First Class Check In Reception


Our admission included a guided tour of the premises from an expert. There were no barriers or ropes separating us from the aircraft, which continues to be a major drawcard of the museum. It is an operational hangar, so this is the reason for the tour guide. These guides are passionate volunteers, giving their time and expert knowledge while delighting visitors year-round. Anyone wishing to volunteer and take part in recording and preserving Australia's national aviation history can find out more here.

To the side of the reception area is Café Connie. Here they serve coffee, tea and café-style treats and sandwiches with plenty of tables and chairs. There is also seating outside if you prefer. Open 9:30 am - 3:30 pm every day.

cafe connie, sydney, HARS, aviation
Enjoy a coffee at Cafe Connie


Opposite Cafe Connie's was the gift shop, full of miniature collectable craft, clothing and souvenirs. Further past the gift shop were displays of aviation memorabilia lining the rear wall.

aviation, gift shop, sydney, HARS museum
Take home a souvenir to remember your visit


We met our tour guide and headed into the hangar with an impressive display of planes of all types. We were guided from one craft to the other. From a De Haviland Tiger Moth, an open tandem biplane used for training, to a CA25 Winjeel Basic Trainer. Be prepared to learn a lot about the planes on display.

One of the highlights of the hangar is the opportunity to sit in the cockpit of an F-111 fighter jet. This jet can reach speeds of up to 2,500km/h.

F1-11 fighter, HARS, aircraft, sydney
Get into the cockpit of an F-111 Fighter jet


HARS, museum, fighter jet, albion park
F-111 jet engines


You'll never know what you'll find in the hangar - We chanced upon a stunning Learjet, however, it wasn't a part of the regular display and only a temporary visitor – Still, very impressive. We also got up close to a DC-4 and a DC-3. (The DC-4 is currently being restored to be the only flying DC-4 in Australia.) This place was packed with must-sees.

dc-4, dc-3, aviation museum, HARS, sydney
Get up close to a DC-4 and DC-3


Our guide led us outside, where we climbed aboard the Neptune Submarine Hunter. (This was my favourite) The AP-3C Orion travels up to 700km/h. Used for submarine hunting and maritime surveillance, up until two years ago in RAAF service, now demilitarised. HARS is the only museum in the world to have one of these in an airworthy condition. It was also this particular aircraft that located Tony Bullimore after his yacht capsized in 1997.

HARS, sydney, air museum, albion park
On board the Orion AP-3C


This was such a fascinating aircraft, we didn't want to get out - however, the Qantas plane was next up, so we continued on our tour.

We arrived at the Qantas 747-438, and walked up the stairs into the huge body of the plane.

qantas, HARS, aviation museum, sydney
Head up the stairs into a Qantas plane


We toured economy, premium economy and business class (there's no first class on this plane). We peered into the tiny spaces where staff would have slept on their shift breaks. We looked behind doors, curtains and panels. Perfect for anyone who has ever wondered what's behind the business class curtains, or inside the cockpit.

We learned about the day this Qantas plane landed at Albion Park Airport on 8th March 2015 to massive crowds and aviation enthusiasts. The plane had 4 crew, no passengers. Because of the shorter runway, crew underwent simulator training to land. They also reduced the tyre pressures to make the landing easier.

qantas, aviation, plane, wollongong
Qantas 747 at HARS


Once we were out of the plane, we had the chance to walk underneath the belly of this massive jumbo jet, a rare experience for such a close-up view.

You might not arrive an aviation buff, but you'll leave as one. It's a special place where you can immerse yourself into the history of many fascinating aircraft. A visit to HARS is a lesson in history and genius design and there's something for all ages to be discovered.
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Why? A unique experience for the whole family
When: Open every day (except Good Friday and Christmas Day). Guided tours are available any time between 9:30 am and 3:30 pm.
Phone: (02) 4257 4333
Where: 54 Airport Road, Albion Park Rail, NSW, 2527
Cost: Guided Tours: $20/adult, $15/senior or student concession, $8/child (5 - 14 years) or $55/family
Your Comment
What a fascinating museum!
by Amanda I (score: 2|525) 45 days ago
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