Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre

Top choice museum

in Blenheim

When Sir Peter Jackson has a passion for something, there are no half measures. That's abundantly clear in the 'Knights of the Sky' exhibition, which features the movie director's personal collection of WWI aircraft and memorabilia, brought to life in a series of life-sized dioramas that depict dramatic wartime scenes such as the death of the Red Baron. The other half of the centre, WWII-themed 'Dangerous Skies', is the work of local aviation enthusiasts.

The latter may not be as slick as Sir Peter's section – the backgrounds are hand painted and there are fewer of the hyper-realistic mannequins produced by the Oscar-winning Weta Workshop – but all of these aircraft have been restored and are airworthy, and it includes an eight-minute immersive 'Stalingrad Experience'.

Book ahead to take a flight in a US military biplane (10/20 minutes, $250/380 for up to two people) or a Soviet WWII fighter (20/30 minutes $2300/2599).