For motorsport enthusiasts, there are several tyre-burning events and experiences nearby
Highlands Motorsport Park is a full-on 4.1km motor racing circuit that draws its inspiration from some of the world’s most famous racetracks.
Three major racing festivals are held at the park each year, the highlight of which is the Highlands 101 endurance race. Pitched as New Zealand’s answer to the Bathurst 1000, GT and touring cars compete over 101 laps, or three-and-a-half hours of racing, with a special variation on a traditional Le Mans-style start, whereby co-drivers line up at the end of the pit lane in order of qualifying and run to their respective cars lined up along pit road, handing over a flag to their team at which point the starting driver can set off.
Alongside racing, there are plenty of other activities at the centre, including testing, manufacturer days and experience days, where members of the public can get involved, lapping the course in a V8 Supercar or a Ferrari, enjoying the thrill of a Subaru WRX experience, or taking a ‘taxi ride’ in the circuit’s Porsche Cayenne Turbo.
For the ultimate experience, you could take a hot lap in a 7-litre, V12-powered Aston Martin Vulcan, one of only 24 in the world, and the most expensive production car ever in New Zealand with a $4.2 million price tag.
As well as on track experiences, Highlands Motorsport Park offers experiences off the main racing circuit, including a popular outdoor go-kart track, off road buggy adventure and Jurassic safari. You can also relax in the surroundings of the circuit’s restaurant, indulge in some wine tasting in the Aroma Room, take a stroll through an impressive sculpture park, or enjoy a round of crazy golf on the Bathurst Mount Panorama-shaped course.
Highlands is also the home of the New Zealand’s National Motorsport Museum, which tells the story of the country’s long and illustrious racing history, and has a collection of iconic Kiwi and Australian cars, trucks and bikes, including ex-F1 cars.