The Museum of Transport & Technology (MOTAT) is a fascinating place if you’re into old cars, planes, trains and steam engines.
This science and technology museum is set on two sites, which are linked by a tram route running vintage tramcars (originally from Melbourne). The museum admission fee includes a return tram trip between the two museum sites. The tram also stops at Auckland Zoo en route between the two museum sites.
MOTAT 1 (the original museum site on Great North Road) was built on the site of a beam engine pump house, which originally supplied water to Auckland. The original beam engine has been restored and is on display along with a collection of other steam engines.
The original museum site is also home to a large collection of over 100 vehicles including trams, trains, cars, buses and fire engines. There is also a display on space travel including a Corporal rocket.
The excellent Pioneers of Aviation exhibit including displays on Charles Kingsford-Smith’s trans-Tasman flight and Jean Batten’s England–New Zealand flight. Parts of Richard Pearse’s aircraft (which made flights prior to the Wright brothers) are also on display here.
The MOTAT 1 museum site is also home to a recreated shopping street depicting life in the 1920s.
Although MOTAT 1 is home to an excellent aviation pavilion, MOTAT’s main aviation exhibits are housed at the museum’s secondary site on Meola Road (MOTAT 2).
Aviation exhibits at MOTAT 2 include the engine from Jean Batten’s Percival Gull (the actual plane is on display at Auckland Airport) as well as displays on the history of commercial aviation including Pan American Airways and Imperial Airways flying boats of the 1930s and TEAL (which later became Air New Zealand) flying boats of the 1940s and 1950s. This site also has exhibits of military aircraft including a collection of Royal New Zealand Air Force aircraft.