Article seventeen: Aviation
Shellharbour Airport is just 15 minutes’ drive from Shell Cove and is not only the fastest way to get to Brisbane or Melbourne, but it’s also the base for a range of adventure operators, pilot training programs and home to some of the most iconic aircraft in Australian history.
The Historic Aircraft Restoration Society, or the HARS Aviation Museum as it’s more commonly known, is arguably one of the most historic museums in the country and has become a major drawcard for aviation professionals, enthusiast and A-listers, with direct links to John Travolta who visited the museum in 2019 (and hoping to return when COVID-19 allows!).
HARS is a volunteer-run organisation with a team of current and former engineers, pilots and enthusiasts making flying fun for all ages and boast the largest collection of airworthy and stationary aircraft in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Museum is open daily from 9:30am to 3:30pm (except Christmas Day) and is a safe, accessible, largely undercover and pet-friendly facility and because planes are their passion, you will be escorted through the museum by an enthusiastic volunteer guide who will help you fully appreciate the wide range of exhibits. With restrictions on visitation and venues, it’s worth calling ahead in advance just to make sure – 4257 4333.
And while it’s not associated directly with the plane, if history is your thing, it’s also worth checking out the Light Railway Museum just down the road!
Not far from the HARS hanger is another iconic South Coast operator – Touchdown Helicopters.
Touchdown has been operating out of Albion Park since 2006 and recently opened a second helipad in the Illawarra to keep up with demand. The Touchdown helicopters are a regular feature in the sky running regular joy flights over the Illawarra and used regularly to move VIP passengers to the South Coast, Highlands or Sydney in style.
And in just a 30minute flight, you can be up and overlooking some of the most scenic sights on the East Coast, including Bass Point, Mystics and as far down as Gerringong to the South or Wollongong to the north.
And it’s worth noting, that joy flights and scenic tours is the icing on this amazing company’s cake because when they aren’t providing memorable moments like this, they are providing waterbombing and fire-fighting services; they’re over our beaches running shark patrols throughout summer and operating marine transfers to the ships docked off Port Kembla. There’s never a dull day!
If you’re interested in booking a tour or finding out more about their huge range of services, visit their website or contact them on (02) 4257 7612.
And finally, for those who’d prefer to launch out of a plane rather than sit in one, Skydive the Beach is for you!
Arguably one of the longest serving tourism operators in our region, Skydive the Beach have been launching people from their planes since 1998..
Departing from Shellharbour Airport daily, the Skydive experience is second to none and will allow you to experience the best of the Illawarra from 14,000ft above.
Landing in Wollongong, you get the full coast experience as you take off from Albion Park, fly up along the coast and take in the expansive views which stretch as far as Otford to Gerringong – assuming you’ve got your eyes open at all!
If you want to find out more or to book a jump, contact their team today on 1300 520 271.