Frequently Asked Questions
Bill Richardson Transport World is reputedly the largest private collection of its type in the world. Home to over 300 vehicles, a wearable arts collection, children’s play zones, The Grille Cafe and themed bathrooms fast becoming as famous as our vehicles. Transport World has something for everyone.
Today you will find over 300 vehicles and at least 200 petrol bowsers housed within Transport World. The collection is continuing to grow and new vehicles both restored and unrestored find their way into Transport World on a frequent basis. The collection has diversified over the years as Bill’s family have added their own unique influences. Today you will find a mix of both trucks, rare vintage vehicles, racing cars, wearable fashion and children’s entertainment making Transport World well deserving of its tagline the largest private collection of its type in the world.
Bill Richardson always had a lifelong fascination with trucks, so it was only natural that he began to collect them. The passion was ignited in 1967 with the purchase of the remains of his grandfather’s 1933 International truck. From there, he went on to acquire a handful of trucks over the years, but the collection really started to gather pace and rapidly expand in the 1980’s. At the time of Bill’s death in 2005, he had over 150 vehicles (mainly trucks and farm machinery), numerous petrol bowsers and transport memorabilia. Read more about the back story here.
The collection is a mixture of rare and internationally significant vehicles, as well as vehicles and pieces that hold a special connection to the family and HWR business. Some of our most iconic vehicles include:
- Stewart 1 Ton truck (the only one in the world)
- 1940 Dodge Airflow Texaco Tanker (one of only three restored in the world)
- Home to seven (of eight) models of Henry Ford’s early Alphabet Letter Cars
- Early Ford Collection – 1928, 1933-1938, 1941 & 1946
- A pastel-perfect Ford Thunderbird
- Volkswagen Kombis (including one from the last production line ever made)
- More than 30 (and growing) pedal cars from throughout the world
- Extensive vintage petrol bowsers (more than 200 of them can be found throughout the collection)
Bill was quoted as saying “one day I hope someone loves it enough to carry it on”. That someone turned out to be his daughter Jocelyn (Joc) and, under her direction, the Bill Richardson Transport World experience was developed.
Prior to this point, the collection had been open by private appointment only and received around 6000 visitors annually. Knowing that they had something special and, wanting to give back to the region, Joc spearheaded the development of the new extension and experience throughout 2015.
It was a very busy time and an enormous amount of thought and effort went into developing the product you find today. Transport World opened to the public permanently, with great anticipation, in December 2015 and has been welcoming visitors from throughout Southland, New Zealand and the world ever since.
Since immigrating to New Zealand in the early 20th century the Richardson family have always had a keen, industrial eye for business and have been involved in a range of enterprises throughout the years. However, it was Bill who made the decision to diversify into transport. When Bill was in his early 20’s his father purchased his first truck and, from there Bill and his family, grew the business into one of New Zealand’s largest private companies with over 2500 employees and interests in transport, concrete, fuel and more recently tourism.
Aspects of the collection do rotate on a semi-regular basis and we do house vehicles privately offsite. At any given time there will be at least 300 vehicles on display and our most iconic vehicles rarely leave Bill Richardson Transport World. Rotational displays are common within the collection, so one visit is never quite the same as the other. We do also house visiting collections as temporary pop-up displays.
Yes some are, however, there are vehicles housed within Bill Richardson Transport World that will never be restored. As a collection we are conscious to balance the needs of restoration and preservation and believe that our collection is greatly enhanced by housing vehicles in their original condition. To keep up-to-date with what projects the talented Transport World workshop team has on the go, click here.
Yes! We encourage people to take as many images as they please. However, the use of these images for commercial use is strictly prohibited (see our Image Gallery Terms and Conditions). Please feel free to share your images on social media. The #hastags we use are #billrichardsontransportworld and #transportworld and we LOVE to see your content.
The collection is vast (over 15,00sqm) so we recommend you allow plenty of time and wear comfy shoes. We have a limited number of wheelchairs available, free of charge. If you would like to guarantee you will have access to a wheelchair during your visit, we recommend contacting the gift shop on 03 217 0199 prior to your arrival.
Bill Richardson Transport World has disability access. Wristbands are available for those who may want to step out and take a break or have lunch at The Grille – just ask the team at the gift shop and they will help you out. Wristbands are only available for the same day of ticket purchase.
As mentioned above the collection is vast. We don’t want you to be disappointed with your experience and an entry after 4.00pm would not allow you enough time to make your way through the collection. On average guests spend at least two hours with us, some even spend the whole day, so we recommend you allow plenty of time.
Parking is available around the perimeter of the building. Parking is also available for coaches, motorhomes and campervans.
Bill Richardson Transport World is centrally located and is a quick 10 minute drive from the central business district, Invercargill Airport and local information services. We are within close proximity of the local bus service and taxis can be arranged from the gift shop.
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