For High Flyers and Aviation Fans

Only 4km east of Ashburton township (130km south of Christchurch), the Ashburton Aviation Museum is steeped in history, nostalgia and inspiration.

Here's our Ashburton Aviation Museum highlights (with special thanks to Noel - for taking the time).

Going back in time

Yes the museum itself is about history, but the personalised tour is about a whole different pace - think 1964. Slowing down isn't something any of us get to do often. The hangars are a relaxed environment where local volunteers who man the museum welcome you with warmth and will share their own memories - without the rush. Step in, slow down and just listen. An hour later you'll leave knowing more and rushing less.


On 31 March 1972, the Russian space vessel Soviet Cosmos 482 broke into four parts, two of which remained in low orbit and eventually rained down on Earth - on Canterbury to be exact. At 1am on 3 April, four red-hot 13.6kg titanium alloy balls landed within a 16km radius of each other, just outside Ashburton. The 38cm-diameter spheres scorched holes in crops and made deep indentations in the soil, but no one was injured. You can visit the spaceballs today at Ashburton Aviation Museum. Intense curiosity around the balls means they are firmly chained up to discourage temptation.

Local pride

Photos of Ashburton men who served in the Second World War adorn the museum's walls. When a community looks after its heroes by remembering them, it tells a lot about the place and the people.

The passion

Local museums often run on gold coin donations and the passion of keen volunteers. Noel Waters was our welcoming host. Noel shared local aviation history, and a glimpse of how much pride has been taken in the preservation of aircraft and the protection of memories. "It's a commitment I've made. I don't have to be here every day. I'm sort of drawn to it." - Noel Waters

Visit Ashburton Aviation Museum and get amongst the jump jet and harrier, F8 and tiger moth.

There are so many ways to Experience Mid Canterbury - fantastic places to stay and people to meet.

It’s easy to book accommodation and plan your visit – find Mid Canterbury visitor information here.