The Qantas Founders Museum is located in Longreach, Queensland. This is a small town in the Australian outback with a population of around 3,000 people. The biggest game in town is the Qantas museum located next to the airport.
Several ticket types are available. You would be mad to travel all the way to Longreach and not do the Platinum Tour. This is the most expensive tour available but you get to do everything.
Qantas Founders Museum Platinum Tour
Priced at $160.00 per person, the price seems pretty steep until you see what is included. Your tour group is restricted to a maximum of 6 people which makes it really personal. You meet at 8am under the nose of the Qantas Boeing 747-238B.
Everyone was already there when we arrived so our guide greeted us and gave us a little briefing. From there it is through the gate and straight into the tour.
Outside the Boeing 747
Since you’re already there, the first thing you do is get an explanation of the external bits and pieces of the jumbo. Did you know the example on display here was delivered to Qantas in December 1979? It is also the only Rolls-Royce powered airframe preserved.
Many of the external features are explained such as the various aerials, pitot tubes and more. You then visit the rear cargo hold and then get to stick your head in the tail to see the rear pressure bulkhead. It’s pretty good!
Inside the Jumbo Cabin
A running commentary is provided the whole time by the guide. Questions are also welcome and he always has the answers, thank goodness. Next you go up into the cabin, entering through door 5R.
The tour guide then takes you through the various features of the interior and you end up in the nose. Panels in the roof and flooring has been removed at various points so you can see and be told about the inner workings of the aircraft.
The Flight Deck
Qantas Founders Museum Platinum Tour guests visit the cockpit of the aeroplane. Up here you can see all the various gauges, circuit breakers and controls from a bygone era.
Once explanations are complete, you get to sit in the Captain’s or First Officer’s seat and have your picture taken. Luckily the Platinum Tour includes one free photo print as part of your ticket.
Wing Walking in the 21st Century
Move over, Barnstormers! There’s a new wing walk in town. Perhaps one of the coolest parts of visiting the Qantas Founders Museum is to walk on the wing of the 747. Health and safety has overrun Australia and here is no exception.
It’s into a harness and then out onto the wing where you’re clipped onto a safety line.The view from outside on the wing is really quite cool and you see the aircraft from an angle most people don’t get to see. It is great!
The Beautiful Boeing 707-138B
This aircraft arrived in Longreach to the Qantas Founders Museum in 2007. The full story of the restoration and flight back to Australia is at the excellent VH-JET#1 & Her Sisters web site. You head straight inside when you visit.
After its passenger career, the aircraft became a private jet which is obvious from the photos. There are some colour pictures of the original interior shot in 1960 so you can see how it was back in the day.
How About A Second Wing Walk?
Once again you can go out on the wing, this time through one of the overwing emergency exits. It is the same deal as before, harness, non-slip pads on the wing and a safety line.
While you are unable to access the cockpit of the 707, you can take photos. The tour also opens up various other parts of the 707 interior that are usually off limits, yet another reason to book the Platinum package.
Relaxing in the Restaurant
Since the tour starts at 8am and runs for 3 hours, it is time for brunch once it is over. A $9.95 meal voucher is included with the tour which is very good. Breakfast runs through to 11:30am and costs more than $9.95.
The food is quite alright and later in the day there are other options such as sandwiches and other hot meals. Once done, it’s time to visit the museum proper.
Qantas Founders Museum
One of two replica Avro 504K aircraft is in the main hall of the museum. These were built to the original specifications by Qantas volunteers many years ago. The other is in the Qantas Domestic Terminal in Sydney. You can fly a flight simulator, there are uniforms, various interesting video presentations and lots of other things to see.
You should expect to spend a couple of hours here. Outside, the Catalina has a whole motion and audio show inside so it is like flying on it. Unexpected and very good. Further on there is the Hangar which contains full size replica aircraft and lots of other displays.
I loved the museum and am absolutely delighted I got to visit after wanting to go for so long. It was everything I expected and much more. It is a 2 hour flight from Brisbane to Longreach which is the most convenient way to get there.
Due to the flight schedule, you will need to stay in a hotel. My advice is to go, whether you’re a big aviation enthusiast or not, there is something for everyone. My Dad loved it and he’s not into aviation like I am.
Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please let me know.