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Mangaweka Airport: a must for kids of all ages

April 30, 2010

The road through New Zealand’s North Island is scenic, busy and at times, windy. In summer it is packed with trucks, motor homes, cars, cyclists — and maintenance crews. In summer, driving through the North Island can be hot and frustrating, but there is a place where kids and families can unwind and that place is Mangaweka Airport: an international aiport on many levels.

To those who know and have been following my blog, Mangaweka boasts a busy population of around 100 at the most. Having an airport in a small town is a tad unusual and has nothing to do with logistics. It has everything to do with whimsy and kids love it.

by Cate

This old DC-3 was given a new coat of paint in late 2009 and now the new old blue and white beauty stands proudly on her I-beam, drawing families in for a closer look and a break from the road.

At this point in time you can’t take a look around inside, but you can walk around under her wings, look up and gaze at her propellers; and dream about being an underpaid pilot soaring through the skies in one of those super cool looking uniforms.

by Cate

The DC-3 plane belongs to Mangaweka Adventure Company, which took me on a raft trip earlier this year. It has proven to be a drawcard for families looking for a fun break in their roadtrip. I’ve seen kids of all ages go: “wow, so cool” at the plane before walking inside and ordering an espresso for themselves. Younger kids just stand back and admire the plane in silence, but their grins say it all.

If Eye Spy has worn thin and you need to entertain the family or yourself, keep an eye out for this gorgeous plane on State Highway 1 New Zealand. Even in the rain, you’ll want to stop for a closer look.

by Cate

Another reason to self-drive through New Zealand, you get to see gems like this one.

This is part of Delicious Baby Friday posts.

Caffeinated Traveller

  1. April 30, 2010 2:29 pm

    I really like the Photos, great Post 😉

  2. April 30, 2010 2:37 pm

    What an interesting looking place. Thanks for sharing.

  3. April 30, 2010 2:42 pm

    Great post! Thanks.

  4. Anonymous permalink
    April 30, 2010 2:56 pm

    If I had a choice of which country I could visit, New Zealand would be the first one I would go to…

    Ramona Kent

  5. travelforaircraft permalink
    April 30, 2010 3:04 pm

    I was there about two years ago. The DC-3 had a different paint design on it — after the cookie company “Cookie Time”. The DC-3 painted up as a bunch of choco chip cookies was fun with each “cookie” being a few feet in diameter. It was very well done.

    One day I was waiting to catch the bus there and was pleased that the tiny convenience store there had an expensive restaurant quality coffee machine, so I was able to get a great tall black on a rainy day 🙂

  6. April 30, 2010 3:24 pm

    Smart move on the part of the Mangaweka Company and good for the town. Everyone benefits.

    All the best – Maxi

  7. April 30, 2010 3:24 pm

    When were the DC-3’s in action?

  8. April 30, 2010 6:18 pm

    Great page! I’ve driven through a couple of times and think the new paint job is much better than the Cookie Time one.

    • May 1, 2010 5:33 pm

      I’m surprise how many people who don’t live in NZ know this plane through the Cookie Time paintwork. LOL!! Thanks for all your comments, I’ve had a great read.

      I don”t know when this bird was in flight but I’ll try and find out the details for you. If you haven’t been to NZ, put it on your list and if you’re going soon take a break underneath the wings of this old girl. The coffee and food is good.


  9. April 30, 2010 6:18 pm

    What a cool place to stop for a coffee – for kidsof all ages

  10. April 30, 2010 7:06 pm

    Certainly something interesting.

  11. April 30, 2010 7:34 pm

    You can be the pilot, and you can fly.

  12. April 30, 2010 8:19 pm


  13. April 30, 2010 8:45 pm

    Now that’s cool! I would HAVE to stop for that.

  14. April 30, 2010 8:49 pm

    Great place – cool pictures

  15. May 1, 2010 12:05 am

    Love the old conventional DC-3. Looks like a great attraction.


  16. Songbird permalink
    May 1, 2010 2:41 am

    What a fun idea and place for kids to visit!

  17. May 1, 2010 4:58 am

    Wow, how in good condition is that old DC3. I am giving all my respect to people who are taking care of it and showing their love and hommage to this old “perl”.

    In my country in Finland we still fly them!!! Believe or not.


  18. Andrea permalink
    May 1, 2010 5:13 am

    Great airplane and staircase. This is some place I would love to visit!

  19. Tracey permalink
    May 1, 2010 6:09 am

    Kia ora,

    Last time we visited there it was the Cookie Time paint job. As a family, we often drove past there on our way to and from Wellington. The kids loved being able to have their lunch/snacks inside the airplane.

    The walls had photos and history of the plane itself and I hope when we go back down in a couple of months that it might be open again by then? (fingers crossed – otherwise we’ll go a different route!).

    Thanks for sharing the photos – I like the new paint job!
    Hei konei ra,

  20. May 1, 2010 7:43 am

    nice post. keep blogging!

  21. May 1, 2010 1:04 pm

    looks attractive and nice pictures you have there! Thanks for sharing, I’m thinking about getting there for this summer vacation.. because of this blog post 🙂

  22. statusviatoris permalink
    May 1, 2010 4:42 pm

    I remember it as Cookie Time as well… How things change! I spent three months driving round North and South Island, camping as we went and I loved loved loved it. I’m living in Italy now, which is just as good, but I still have the occasional nostalgic pang for NZ!

  23. Ishraqa permalink
    May 1, 2010 5:32 pm

    Cool place, I’d like to see it someday. Thanks for the pics.

  24. May 1, 2010 8:29 pm

    I would love to go there. I’ve always wanted to go to New Zealand. Nice information!

  25. May 1, 2010 11:31 pm

    What a fun concept. WIll the plane be open for visitors to explore later?

    • May 2, 2010 2:02 pm

      Rosalind @ Fly Girl – don’t think so. I know the owners have thought about it but there is a bit of work to do with afety compliance, and cost, that it’s not worth it at the moment. Although I know I would love to have a cuppa up in the skies.

      Jonathan – right there people seem to enjoy eccentricities and NZ has a lot of it.

      Thanks everyone, this has been a great weekend and to feature on Freshly Pressed that is so cool (and good for hits) !!! I’ve been enjoying all the comments and hope to check your blogs out this week.


  26. May 1, 2010 11:48 pm

    your blog is good

  27. May 2, 2010 1:09 am

    Well I appreciate the place its fun exciting picture you want to take with the family if you never been on a plane before. In New Zealand road in New Zealand at the Mangaweka airport have fun just like we did.

  28. May 2, 2010 3:44 am

    Really fantastic post.
    thank yıu very much

  29. 365days2play permalink
    May 2, 2010 6:53 am

    Nice pictures. Havn’t been there despite 3 trips to NZ. There is a sort of half plane in Taupo too.

  30. May 2, 2010 8:23 am

    Great place! Cool idea to use an old airplane like this. Cool!

  31. May 2, 2010 8:46 am

    we have like this also at my place but different plane and just for looking at it.The fighter plane.
    Nice photo and information.Thanks

  32. May 2, 2010 9:47 am

    I’m not very fond of airports, but I think this one might be fun 🙂

  33. May 2, 2010 10:24 am

    There’s something fantastic about eccentric stuff, isn’t there.

  34. May 2, 2010 3:34 pm

    What a nice blog you have here. I’ll start following you. I love the pics in this post, it looks like a wonderful place to stop for a break.

  35. May 2, 2010 4:09 pm

    Something like that would make a great Bed and Breakfast…

    Ramona Kent
    Author of “Anomar’s Journey”

  36. May 2, 2010 6:14 pm

    Wow, didn’t see this post coming. I can’t say that I’ve heard of an airport being a “must” for kids, but I LOVE it. This sounds really great, and eventhough I’m not a kid persay, I like to think I still am. New Zealand is number 1 on my list of places to see.

  37. Ellen permalink
    May 3, 2010 12:15 am

    I just drove by there two days ago. I like your crisp, clean pictures on this blog!

  38. seocompaniesingurgaon permalink
    May 3, 2010 1:05 am

    unbelievable picture

  39. hvnsdevil permalink
    May 3, 2010 11:53 am

    I’ve gotta admit, if unique is what you seek, this is your airport!

  40. May 3, 2010 1:32 pm

    Wow.This seems nice.I like the picture. It is crisp clean and very beutiful.

  41. May 3, 2010 10:32 pm

    Hey – lovely pictures. You inspired me to post some pics of the most unusual plane I’ve ever seen, and write about the South African creator. I’ve credited you for bringing the idea to my mind here at my blackwatertown blog

  42. May 4, 2010 7:58 am

    That is awesome! And not even tacky, unlike our Big Pineapple…

  43. May 16, 2010 2:30 pm

    This blog is very good. Thanks for this. I will bookmark this page.

    • May 19, 2010 12:29 pm

      Great! Will be seeing you back here.

  44. May 16, 2010 3:38 pm

    Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!


    • May 19, 2010 12:29 pm

      Hi and thank you very much!!!

  45. May 27, 2010 1:18 pm’s done it once more! Amazing post.

    • May 27, 2010 4:07 pm

      Thank you very much Victor!!


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