Five museums to visit if you love Australian cars

With Australia Day is here once again we lament the loss of locally built cars – with more than six years now passed since the final Holden rolled off the production line.

While we no longer build our own cars, there are plenty of places around Australia which celebrate our motoring heritage.

Australia loves a museum, and we – like you, hopefully – love cars, so here’s five motoring museums you should visit which put our locally-made cars on a pedestal.

National Motor Museum: Birdwood, South Australia

Camera IconSupplied Credit: CarExpert
  • Where: Shannon Street, Birdwood, South Australia
  • Cost: Adults $22.50, concession $17, children aged five and over $9
  • Opening hours: 10am-5pm every day except Christmas Day and “days of catastrophic fire danger”

Located an hour north-east of Adelaide, the National Motor Museum in Birdwood has been an institution for Australian-made vehicles since 1965.

There’s also an array of imported cars which became local favourites, plus quirky models rarely seen on the road.

Until the end of December 2024, the National Motor Museum is hosting a ‘Holden Heroes’ exhibition, displaying some of the most iconic cars to be built here – and rare prototypes we wish had seen production.

National Motor Racing Museum: Bathurst, New South Wales

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Camera IconSupplied Credit: CarExpert
  • Where: Panorama Avenue, Bathurst, New South Wales
  • Cost: Adults $15, concession $10, school-age children $7
  • Opening hours: 9am-4:30pm every day except Tuesdays

Australia’s most prominent car racing museum is located at the final corner of the country’s most famous circuit, with the car park adjacent to the main straight of Mount Panorama.

A favourite of racing fans, the National Motor Racing Museum largely celebrates Bathurst’s racing history, with hundreds of iconic races happening on its doorstep.

There are a number of fixed displays in the museum, though collectors and racing teams often loan out iconic cars on a temporary basis – meaning no two visits are identical.

Fans of motorcycles can also get their fix at the NMRM, with bikes and sidecars given their own section in the spotlight.

Trafalgar Holden Museum: Trafalgar, Victoria

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Camera IconSupplied Credit: CarExpert
  • Where: Waterloo Road, Trafalgar, Victoria
  • Cost: Adults $15, concession $10, children $5
  • Opening hours: 10am-5pm every day

With the impending closure of the National Holden Motor Museum in Echuca, the Trafalgar Motor Museum now serves as one of Australia’s largest collections of the now-defunct brand’s cars.

However, Trafalgar’s museum houses more than just cars, showcasing items from before Holden became an auto company in 1947 such as buggies, saddles and – eventually – a restored World War II anti-tank gun.

The museum is located about 90 minutes east of the Melbourne CBD, making it an easy half-day trip to see some iconic Holdens.

National Automobile Museum of Tasmania: Launceston, Tasmania

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Camera IconSupplied Credit: CarExpert
  • Where: Lindsay Street, Invermay, Tasmania
  • Cost: Adults $14, children aged 16 or less $7.50
  • Opening hours: 9am-5pm every day

Rev heads in the Apple Isle don’t have to miss out on their fix of iconic cars, courtesy of Launceston’s National Automobile Museum of Tasmania (NATM).

The third NATM iteration, the current location has been open since mid-2019, and houses a number of classic Australian muscle cars, race cars and motorcycles.

Among the list of the museum’s current displays is the “Hall of Muscle”, billed as a “celebration of the Australian muscle car”, with high-performance Holdens and Fords taking centre stage.

Museum of Vehicle Evolution: Shepparton, Victoria

  • Where: Goulburn Valley Highway, Kialla, Victoria
  • Cost: Adults $20, concession $16, children aged five and over $12.00
  • Opening hours: 10am-4pm every day

Victoria is spoilt for choice when it comes to car museums, thanks in part to Australian former brands such as Holden – and current marques like Ford – being based in the state.

Among the collection of Australian-made cars in Shepparton is an impressive display of Kenworth trucks, former police cars, and a handful of racing machines.

The Museum of Vehicle Evolution (MOVE) is a two-hour drive north from the Melbourne CBD, located on the outskirts of Shepparton.

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