I was looking at some upcoming events on the New Zealand motorsport calendar and there are some great things happening later in the year.
November 1st-3rd is the Wigram Revival and Lady Wigram Trophy Race in Christchurch. The Canterbury Car Club is using this event to celebrate the 50th birthday of the Powerbuilt Raceway at Ruapuna Park, and it promises to be a great weekend of racing. Expect to see classic Formula 5000, Historic Touring Cars, Pre-65, motorcycles and more. (The program has not been finalised yet, so I’ll update when there is more information.)
The next weekend, November 8th-10th is Round 6 of the Australian GT Series and the brand new Highland Motorsport park in Cromwell (near Queenstown). This spectacular circuit is brand new and already making a big impression on the world of motorsport.
To coincide with these two fantastic events, I have devised an itinerary that passes through some of New Zealand’s best scenery while visiting car, transport and aviation museums along the length of the country. This tour would be perfect for a car loving couple, car collector or a small group of friends, but probably not more than four people. As ever, the first person to book gets my services. Check below for a possible itinerary (which we can tailor to suit):
Day 1 – Friday October 25 – Auckland
Starting out easy with a visit to MOTAT, the Museum of Transport and Technology.
Day 2 – Saturday October 26 – Taupo or Rotorua
Today we have a couple of options.
#1. Go straight to Taupo for some bonus car racing at the Taupo Motorsport Park where racing classes include – Super Mini Challenge, Formula First, Pro 7’s, NZGT, Pre 65’s, NZ Six, GT1/GT2, Porsche Racing Series, NZ Sports Cars.
Day 3 – Sunday October 27 – Taupo or Napier
#1. The second day of motor racing at Taupo or
#2. Drive to the famous art deco city of Napier, and maybe take a city tour in a local classic.
Day 4 – Monday October 28 – Wellington
En Route to Wellington we stop at one of New Zealand’s worst kept secrets, the Southward Car Museum. This place is incredible with a huge collection of cars and motorcycles, as well as some vintage aircraft. Early evening we arrive in Wellington, home to some of the best dining and nightlife experiences in the country. Perhaps you want to stay here (hint, they have motorcycles in the lobby!)?
Day 5 – Tuesday October 29 – Wellington
Today we visit Te Papa – the national museum, which is more fun and engaging than any other museum I have experienced. We also have time to visit the Weta Cave, and take a short tour with the special effects gurus behind Avatar, Lord of the Rings, District 9, Elysium & The Hobbit series.
Day 6 – Wednesday October 30 – Nelson
Crossing Cook Strait in the morning reveals the Marlborough Sounds from the deck of the Interislander Ferry. The crossing takes around 3.5 hours and offers some incredible photo opportunities. From the ferry terminal at Picton we drive directly to Nelson to visit the WOW Museum, and incredible collection of Wearable Art and Classic Cars. If we have time, we may even catch the Nelson Farmer’s Market, which is held downtown every Wednesday afternoon.
Day 7 – Thursday October 31 – Christchurch
We leave Nelson this morning to arrive at the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre when they open at 10am. Featuring some of the finest WWI aircraft in a display built by the same creative masterminds we met at Weta in Wellington. Getting there early allows us to enjoy lunch at one of the many wineries in Blenheim before our drive to Christchurch in the afternoon.
Day 8 – Friday November 1 to Day 10 – Sunday November 3 – Christchurch
Three days of classic car racing action in Christchurch, with the 50th anniversary of the racetrack to be celebrated during the Wigram Revival. This event is a 3 day meet featuring (among other things) classic F5000 open wheelers. There will be many classes running this weekend (I’ll update once more details become available).
Day 11 – Monday November 4 – Lake Tekapo
We take it easy today after a noisy weekend. Driving as far as Lake Tekapo where the night sky is a World Heritage Reserve. If you still need to scratch the car itch today, we could stop at the Geraldine Vintage Car and Machinery Museum (you never know who has a thing for old tractors!).
Day 12 – Tuesday November 5 – Wanaka
On the outskirts of Wanaka is a huge collection of cars, toys, fire engines and military machines (and much more) at the Wanaka Transport and Toy Museum. While at the airport you may indulge in a classic flight – take a plane each!
Day 13 – Wednesday November 6 & Day 14- Thursday November 7 – Queenstown
We will spend 5 nights in Queenstown, and have a couple of days at leisure before the next racing weekend. We have a HUGE number of options here, although you may just want to relax. If not, there is 4WDing, Helicopter flights, Bungy Jumping, Jet Boating, Skydiving, Wine Tasting and so much more.
Day 15 – Friday November 8 to Day 17 – Sunday November 10 – Queenstown
Racing again! With a stop in Arrowtown for breakfast, we are heading to Cromwell today for our first look at Highland Motorsport Park. This is the big one. For their first major race weekend, Highlands are hosting the final round of the Australian GT Series with some of the worlds finest sports and supercars competing. Also featuring is the final race of the South Island Endurance Series. There are more details yet to be announced but you can look here for a taste of the track and the events on offer. Highland Park is also home to the Highlands National Motorsport Museum, and I’m sure we’ll have plenty of time to visit this during the weekend.
Day 18 – Monday November 11 – Invercargill
An often overlooked part of New Zealand is the deep south. I grew up down here and know it is well worth our time. In Invercargill we can visit local hardware store E. Hayes & Sons. It seems like an odd choice but the are quietly amassing a collection of old motorcycles, cars and memorabilia, most famously the “World’s Fastest Indian” motorcycles raced by Burt Munro at the Bonneville Salt Flats and featured in the movie of the same name. There is another impressive transport museum in Invercargill, and possibly a few private garages we can sneak a peek into!
Day 19 – Tuesday November 12 – Dunedin
We’ve covered everything else so it’s time for a train ride! Departing from Dunedin’s historic railway station, The Taieri Gorge Railway is a spectacular four-hour train ride through (you guessed it) the Taieri River Gorge.
Day 20 – Wednesday November 13 – Moeraki
Hidden in a small fishing village north of Dunedin is one of the best restaurants in New Zealand. Fleur’s Place is well know to locals, and I’ve driven 3 hours and stayed the night in Moeraki just to have dinner here several times. Tonight, I will show you why!
Day 21 – Thursday November 14 – Depart Christchurch
All good things must come to an end. A leisurely morning drive to Christchurch before departure that evening back to your point of origin.
- I will refine this information as I keep fine tuning the itinerary. More pics will be added so keep checking back.
- This is a private tour, so the itinerary is flexible. Want to stay longer? No problem. Shorter? This is a great tour and I know somebody will want the full thing. You can come for a shorter time, but I will need a minimum commitment of 15 days to make it worth my while.
- We can arrange accommodation and get some idea of costs once we have discussed your needs and number of people coming.
- Accommodation can be hotel, motel or private vacation home, we have huge flexibility here.
- Car is the same, Since this tour is all about cars, we may want to hire something special for the trip. Again, we can discuss this later.
- Coming alone? No problem, let’s rent a sports car! Coming with family? No problem, let’s rent a van!
Contact me directly if you are interested in joining me for this tour.