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Timings : 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Entry Fee : NZD 20 - Adult
NZD 5- Child

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Southwards Car Museum, Wellington Overview

The Southwards Car Museum in Paraparamu is the perfect place for a day-trip from the kiwi capital of Wellington. It boasts of having a 6000 meter square ft display hall, which holds over four hundred exhibits! These range from an 1895 Benz Volo, to a 1950 Cadillac “gangster special” which was owned by gangster Mickey Cohen. It also has various cars previously owned by celebrities such as Marlene Dietrich’s 1935 Cadillac! The three planes on display also give off their own charm, and stand proud.

Apart from this, the museum also holds special events from time to time, including conferences, weddings and birthday parties! An engineering workshop, a small gift stop and a café are also located at the same premises. Even if you think you’re someone who isn’t into vehicles and motors, the passion and care with which the exhibit has been maintained will surely wow you.

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Location

The museum is located near the small town of Paraparamu, which is in the south-western area of the North Island in New Zealand. It is about an hour’s drive from the kiwi capital of Wellington, and is next to the Kapiti Coast.

The Museum itself is on Otaihanga Road, which is slightly away from the town of Paraparamu. It is very easily accessible by car and other public transport, including buses and trains.

Cost

The cost for admission into the museum is as follows:
  • Adult - NZD 20  
  • NZ Gold Card holder - NZD 15
  • Child (5 to 15 yrs) - NZD 5
  • Family (2 adults, 3 children OR 1 adult, 6 children) - NZD 45  
  • Annual Pass - NZD 40

History

Sir Len Southward had been a huge petrolhead since his early days, and used to work in a motor factory. A few years after this, he and a partner set up their own motorcycle repair shop. In 1953, he made headlines when he became the first man in Australia to travel at the speed of over 160 kmph on water on his speedboat “Redhead”.

His fascination with vintage vehicles only grew, and him and his wife Lady Vera Southward established the museum in 1979. The couple started collecting cars in 1956, a long time before they started to display them.

They started off with a Model T Ford which cost NZD 40 at the time, is still in good condition and is also on display. From there, their collection grew to be one of the largest in the world.

Things to Do

Even if you’re not into motors and vehicles, Southward Car Museum will definitely stun you with its huge display of vehicles, maintained with passion and care. It has a 6000 meter square foot exhibition hall, which hosts a collection of over 400 vehicles, all maintained beautifully.

The collection includes a 1895 Benz Volo, a 1915 Stutz Indianapolis race car, a gull-wing Mercedez Benz, a 1934 Cardillac V-16 Town Cabriolet, a 1950 Cadillac “gangster special” which belonged to gangster Mickey Cohen, and a DeLorean from the Back To The Future movies.

They also have three planes as a part of their exhibits. Not only this, the museum also has an engineering workshop, gift shop, and a small café! You can also see the 474-seat theatre, which features a 1929 Wurtlitzer theatre organ, all in perfect condition!

How To Reach Southwards Car Museum

You can use the following means of transport to get to the museum:

Bus – This is the cheapest way to get to there, though not the most convenient. The nearest bus stop is Mazengarb Rd at Ratanui Rd, which is 2.9 kilometres away from the museum. The bus lines 262 and 280 go this way.

Train – The train line that stops near the museum is KPL.

Taxi – This is the priciest option for coming and seeing the museum. There are plenty of taxis available in the town and cities nearby, which are available for a full-day hire. You could also book one via apps, like Uber, or online.

Car – If you plan on driving down, there is parking space available outside the museum. The museum is located 55 kilometres from central Wellington, and you will take around 50 minutes to reach. This is a convenient way of reaching if you’re coming from Wellington.

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