With two little transport lovers, just the mention of the words ‘jet’ and ‘aeroplane’ is enough to create a buzz of excitement in our house, so when we mentioned to the kids that we’d be taking them to Fighter World near the Williamtown RAAF base, they were thrilled.
Fighter World is an aviation heritage centre located on Medowie Road at Williamtown and is an enjoyable 30-minute drive from Newcastle. You certainly won’t miss the turn-off as the centre itself replicates an aircraft hangar and the front display, consisting of an enormous radar and four aircraft, is visible from the road. There are plenty of car parking spaces on site.
Before we even entered the centre, our kids, aged 4 and 5, were excited and impressed by the size of the aircraft in the front display.
I loved reading all about the ‘Raymond Terrace Sabre’ having remembered it from childhood in its previous location at Raymond Terrace Lions Park. It was great to see it again, now lovingly restored. The kids enjoyed seeing how high they stood next to the aircraft tail located near the entrance.
Once inside, the displays are impressive.
You’ll see jet-engine aircraft, propeller-driven aircraft and more, either retired and carefully restored or replicas, some displayed on the floor and others hanging from the ceiling.
The signage on each display is interesting and informative, appealing to older kids and adults, but my little ones enjoyed just walking around and looking at the aircraft.
Older kids and adults will enjoy the QR tour, easily accessible by phone or tablet. The QR codes are located on the displays and add an extra element of interaction to the visit.
I really enjoyed the aircraft ejection-seat display and, after we all watched a great short video on the subject, I was surprised by how much interest our two kids took in it. Older kids and teens would definitely enjoy it.
Everyone, from the very young to the very old, will love the model aircraft on display.
We were amazed to learn that one of the model displays, consisting of over 300 entirely handmade models, took one man over 40 years to construct.
There is also some great artwork and vintage media on display around the centre.
Plan to stay for lunch or, at least, morning or afternoon tea as the adjoining Fighter Beans Cafe offers a large selection of delicious hot and cold food and drinks with friendly service. We can recommend the grilled chicken burger and smiley face cookies!
The undercover, outdoor seated area overlooks the runway and is a great spot to sit and watch the planes and jets take off and land but note that the jets fly most days of the week, not normally on a weekend.
Fighter Beans Cafe is accessible without entry to Fighter World and would be a great cafe to visit through the week if you just wanted to sit and watch the jets. Here are some tips if you want to go plane spotting at Williamtown RAAF.
A new section of the heritage centre is currently under construction to allow the display of the F/A-18 Hornets, retired in 2019 and replaced by the F-35A jets.
A great family day out that will appeal to little kids and older kids as well as mums, dads, carers and grandparents, I’d recommend a visit to Fighter World and we’ll definitely be back to visit the Fighter Beans Cafe.
Good to know
Address: 49 Medowie Road, Williamtown NSW
Phone: (02) 4965 1810
Hours: 10am – 4pm every day (excluding Christmas Day).
Cafe: 8am – 3pm weekdays, 10-2pm weekends.
Amenities: Toilets on site including disabled toilets and a baby change area.
Entry: Adults $16, Kids 5-17 $10, Kids under 5 free (family, senior and pensioner discounts available).
Please Note: Due to Covid-19 restrictions, access to sit inside the cockpit on some of the displays (previously allowed) is currently unavailable.
Meg is a born and raised Novocastrian whose interests include gardening, reading and writing poetry. In between writing for Newy With Kids and working casually as a School Learning Support Officer, Meg enjoys camping and travelling with her family and exploring Newcastle and all it has to offer. Meg has two energetic kids and is passionate about kids having the opportunity to be outdoors as often as possible.