Chocks Away … at Caloundra!

Fans of flying machines know there’s nothing more stirring than the sound of an antique prop plane whirring into life…  

First, there’s that tentative whine… followed by a spluttering cough… before the aircraft erupts into a full-throttle roar!

Consider that awesome sound your personal invitation to visit Australia’s most captivating air museum – where aviation history is in full flight thanks to a squadron of volunteer engineers and guides.

It’s the Queensland Air Museum – and its HQ is at Caloundra, on the southern end of the Sunshine Coast.

There are 99 aircraft – just shy of the century! – on show here:  everything from Tiger Moths to an F1-11 jet that’s on loan from the Royal Australian Air Force.

You can join a guided tour – or wander the hangar and tarmac displays in your own time.

Make sure you visit the museum’s latest acquisition – the mighty AP-C3 RAAF Orion.

This big bird is the largest aircraft on show – and took 2 years to restore. Formerly an anti-submarine and marine surveillance aircraft, the Orion at the museum was among the search and rescue aircraft that swept the Indian Ocean for the missing Malaysian Airline Flight MH-370.

The Queensland Air Museum is at Pathfinder Drive in Caloundra West and it’s open to the public every day from 10am to 4pm.  Head to their website and you can buy your tickets on-line. Proceeds go towards funding the museum’s work.

Of course, nature perfected flight long before people took to the sky.

If you want to check out flocks of feathered aviators, head to Caloundra’s Golden Beach; hire a vessel from Bill’s Boat Hire, and explore the Pumicestone Passage.

The passage is the RAMSAR-listed home to 1,500 shorebirds of 11 species and around 20,000 migratory birds of 24 species – some fly from as far away as Siberia!

Bill’s Boat Hire has been roosting at the same spot since 1956 – so it’s well known to the locals.  You don’t need a boat licence to hire pretty much anything from a kayak to a half-cabin cruiser.

Book a BBQ pontoon boat – there’s one with an 11 person capacity – and set off for adventure on beautiful Bribie Island.

The northern tip of the island is National Park – and an easy 15-minute cruise across from the mainland.

Once you reach the island, it’s just 20 steps or so from the west to the eastern side.

More often than not, you’ll have the whole ocean beach to yourself – for swimming, a picnic, or a game of beach cricket.  Fire up the barbie on board the boat, sizzle some snags and make some fun new family memories!

If you’re craving a seaside escape, less than an hour’s drive north of Brisbane delivers you directly to paradise.

Together Caloundra and the neighbouring town of Kawana form the Southern Gateway to the Sunshine Coast. And while they’re known for their breathtaking coastal location, there’s plenty more to these regions than first meets the eye.

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