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Highlands’ epic birthday celebrations, the Festival of Speed, and Paddon Rallysport moves in



We’ve recently been called the friendliest classic meeting in NZ – here’s your chance to come and see for yourself! The Highlands Festival of Speed returns – with an amazing selection of historic and classic vehicles battling it out on the world class Highlands circuit.


The guest of honour on Saturday is Hayden Paddon, the only New Zealander to win a World Rally Championship event. Hayden will show off his skills in his Hyundai AP4 Rally car as part of the lunchtime entertainment on Saturday. As part of the demonstration, he’ll have a crack at the lap record around Highlands. He’s unlikely to beat the current record of 1:28.910 set by Liam Lawson in the Toyota Racing Series event in January, but he’s certain to set the fastest lap time ever by a rally car around Highlands. Hayden will join the competitors for the Burgers and Beers Function at the museum on Saturday night which will feature an informal Q & A with Hayden.

The Festival of Speed is renowned as one of the most popular classic events in New Zealand for both competitors and spectators.

It’s a weekend packed with some of the best modern classic racing you will see in New Zealand. Featuring the Pre 65 Racing, Mainland Muscle, Formula Libre, Highlands Modern Classics & Highlands Nostalgic Classics. This is a weekend of true blue Kiwi racing starring some of New Zealand’s most well-known racing legends.

Entry is only $30 or a three day pass for $50, kids under 16 free. This includes entry into the Highlands Museum.  Great value for a terrific family day out.  Purchase your tickets now!

At lunch time, you will have a chance to book a ride in the Fast Dash Ferrari or Porsche GT3RS (limited numbers, book on the day) And of course, no visit to Highlands is complete without a race with your mates on our Go-Kart track! You can wander through the pits, have a yarn to the competitors or stroll through the Vehicle Show featuring over 200 vehicles on display. Vehicles are not limited to cars – we welcome caravans, boats, motorbikes – anything that fits the theme ‘Festival of Speed’.  See below for more details.

Catch 5 different categories of racing in just two days at the Festival of Speed


If you have a special vehicle that would be worthy of showing our motor-racing fans during the Festival of Speed on the 6th and 7th of April, then we want to hear from you!

Registrations are now open for the Highlands Festival of Speed Vehicle Show.  Two days of exceptional racing will be complimented by a fantastic showing of classic cars, trucks, boats, bikes and whatever else we can get our hands on.  So bring all those hidden treasures out of the shed and let our race fans admire them!

If your vehicle is accepted we will extend you one complimentary weekend pass for the Highlands Festival of Speed (any additional tickets can be purchased at the ONLINE).

Click HERE to register now!


Another year at Highlands has absolutely flown by and we are about to celebrate our 6th birthday!!!

We like to draw out the celebrations for as long as we can and once again we will be in celebration mode for the whole month of April.

FESTIVAL OF SPEED – Kicking the month off is our Festival of Speed on the weekend of the 6th and 7th April.  This is such a great way to not only see some fantastic racing on the track but to also enjoy the atmosphere and beauty that is Highlands.

SCHOOL HOLIDAYS DEAL – New Zealand school holidays start on Saturday 13th April and we are giving you the presents with free museum entry to all school age children (they must be accompanied by an adult).  To top this off, kids single Go Karts are half price**.  That’s a HUGE saving of $22.50 per kart!  You can book this online now by booking a Kids Single Kart on our website and use the Promo Code KIDSKARTS.  This special deal is valid for all bookings from Friday 12th – Thursday 18th April.

** (Children must meet the age and height requirements for the single Go Karts.  See our website for further information).

EASTER TRACK LAPS BREAKFAST – April sees the Track Laps Breakfast move to Saturday to make room for the Easter Bunny!  Mark Saturday 20th April in your diary and come on down to Highlands to enjoy the most scenic track in New Zealand.

ANNUAL FREE EASTER BUNNY HUNT – Easter falls smack bang in the middle of the school holidays and Sunday 21st sees the Easter Bunny descend once more on Highlands for the Annual Free Highlands Easter Bunny Hunt!!  Our dinosaurs have migrated from the forest and left us for pastures new so this year we will be holding the hunt in the area surrounding the museum.  And you don’t want to miss seeing how the Easter Bunny delivers his eggs this year. It promises to be exceptional! Be at Highlands at 8.30am so you don’t miss out on any of the action.


Wheels at Wanaka is a new “Vintage & Classic Car, Tractor, Truck, Machine, Motorbike and Earthmoving Extravaganza” to be held at Three Parks, Easter weekend 20 & 21 April, 2019.   Rotating every odd-year with Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow, they expect up to 15,000 people to attend the first show.  With over 50 acres of entertainment Wheels at Wanaka, will be huge and fun for the whole family.

Highlands Motorsport Park and Wheels at Wanaka have partnered to deliver the Highlands Parade Ground.
Highlands GT Members have been invited to showcase their special vehicles in a special roped off VIP section.

If it’s got wheels or tracks it will be on display! Anyone can enter their unique wheels at via the WEBSITE


We round the month out on 27th and 28th April with Rounds 3 and 4 of the Highlands Sprint Series.  This is grassroots racing at its best and is your opportunity to come and see these passionate racers hard at work on the track.  It is absolutely free to come along to Highlands and watch all the action.  There is prime viewing from the seats at the cafe so bring along some friends and settle in.


This year brings a new era for Paddon Rallysport as the team behind Kiwi rally star Hayden Paddon embarks on fresh plans with an international focus from their new base at Highlands Motorsport Park in Central Otago, New Zealand.

The first step has been for the team to lease a state-of-the-art workshop at Highlands, right near the pit straight of the world-class racing circuit. The 500 sq m workshop’s location means Paddon Rallysport has great testing facilities literally on their doorstep in one of the most visually-spectacular regions of the world.

“Paddon Rallysport has been in operation for 12 years since we started our first full New Zealand Rally Championship campaign,” says Paddon. “The move to our new facilities at Highlands signals a massive step forward for the company as we embark on some new projects and new objectives. The modern facilities here mean we have a fantastic place to base our team for the future and give us great opportunities to develop and expand in the coming years – eventually with a goal to take our Kiwi team international.”

Josie Spillane, Highlands’ Chief Operating Officer, is equally pleased to have the high-profile Kiwi team onsite. “We are incredibly excited to welcome Paddon Rallysport to Highlands. It’s yet further acknowledgement that what we’ve created here is very special. As the technology makes the global economy ever more accessible, you can work virtually anywhere in the world now, so why wouldn’t you choose Central Otago and Highlands?

“Hayden has got some very exciting plans, and we are keen to do what we can to help realise his vision. We love getting behind people who aren’t afraid to put in the hard yards, take a risk and use the infamous Kiwi #8 wire mentality to get things done.

“Paddon Rallysport is now an anchor tenant in our Highlands innovation and technology park, and we look forward to beginning yet another chapter of Highlands’ legacy with him and his team.”

Paddon Rallysport continues with a domestic competition programme this year – with the exact events being contested in New Zealand with the Hyundai i20 AP4 car being confirmed in coming weeks.

However, their main focus will be new projects and new technology being developed with key commercial partners. To help achieve these goals, five or more personnel will be working full-time for the team, which is also launching a new division called On-Track Racing to provide service and repairs for the competition cars used by Highlands Motorsport Park members.

“My life always has and always will be devoted to rallying,” says Paddon. “Our new venture is a way to continue that, while also taking us in some new exciting directions. We have some big ambitions and we have some good people involved in these projects who bring the same passion and vision. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can achieve in the next few years, so watch this space!”

From a professional point of view, Paddon has recently announced he’ll contest the inaugural season of the Global Rallycross Europe Championship which commences in June. He is working on other options to compete in Europe and hopes to announce more about these possibilities within the next month.

More information about Paddon Rallysport can be found on their Facebook page or by emailing


Holden Street Smart is a world-class, cognitive based driver programme that aims to positively influence the lives of young kiwis across the country. The programme has been developed with the involvement of world-renowned road safety expert, Peter Sheppard. In addition, passionate road safety advocate, Greg Murphy, is our programme Ambassador.

Offering a practical hands-on learning experience, Holden Street Smart is a programme that aims to add to, and compliment, the great work already undertaken by NZTA, NZ Police and others in the area of road safety and driving training.

Holden Street Smart is a one-day event providing young drivers and their parents/caregivers the opportunity to undertake supervised driving practice. There is a focus on developing good decision-making strategies  for safe driving, including assessing themselves, reading the road environment, resisting peer pressure, managing or eliminating distractions and planning ahead.

The Programme takes place in safe, controlled, off-the-road environments, under the watchful eye of qualified coaches plus the parent/caregiver. This provides the parent the opportunity to also assess themselves, in order to be a better coach and mentor to their teen.

Holden Street Smart will be delivering it’s programme throughout these next School Holidays at the following venues:

Highlands Motorsport Park
Friday 26th April 2019 (one day only so be in quick)

Registrations are open at a cost of only $49.

Holden Street Smart is a programme that equips young Kiwis with the tools needed to safely drive our roads, well prepared and confident.

Registrations can be completed via the easy to use pages on the Holden Street Smart website.


More than 120 people are polishing their vintage MG (initials of Morris Garages) cars in preparation for the 22nd Pre ‘56 National MG Rally in Cromwell from March 3 to 8. And you can see them at Highlands!

The Concours d’Etat is a beauty contest where the cleaned and polished vintage cars were on display for judging at Highlands Motorsport Park on March 4th. “It’s not often that such a large gathering of all models of early MGs will be assembled,” said Billee Marsh.

If you want to see these beauties up close, come down to Highlands on Thursday 7th March (from 9am) and see the cars out on track, grab a coffee in the cafe and watch from the deck!


This year the 6th running of the Pork Pie Charity Run will see Minis from across the country making their way down New Zealand in a bid to be the first Mini to make it to the finish line in Invercargill and raise a huge amount of money for KidsCan!

All in the name of charity, these intrepid travellers will travel the length of New Zealand starting in Kaitaia and after 6 days and 7 nights, “only the best prepared, the fittest, the strongest, the desperate, cunning and most courageous will arrive in Invercargill!

During their travels, we are lucky enough to have them making a pit-stop at Highlands on Monday 22nd April on their way to Alexandra.  Up to 60 cars will be descending upon us between 1.30pm and 2pm where they are parking up for a Show ‘n’ Shine before taking to the track for a couple of controlled laps behind the famous Highlands Taxi.  The public are more than welcome to come along to see the cars and have a chat with the drivers about their travels.

Click here for more information about the Pork Pie Charity Run or KidsCan


Highlands needs your support to vote for the photo of our Vulcan for the people’s choice award.

Tourism Industry Aotearoa are holding a photo competition where you are invited to submit a photo taken by a staff member or customer and this week our Vulcan features in an amazing shot taken by our very own Andrew Waite!  If you would like to throw a vote our way, please click the link below and simply like our photo.  The photo with the most votes before March 8th is crowned the winner!!

There’s no time like now, so head on over to the TIA Facebook page and “Like” our photo!

Thanks race fans!


Have you booked your spot for the March Track Laps session?

We reserve the 3rd Sunday of every month for our Track Laps fans to come on out and experience 2 controlled laps of the track followed by a delicious breakfast while basking in the morning sun overlooking the most scenic race track in NZ.

Sunday 17th March marks your next chance to take to the track so book online now and go into the draw to win a Ferrari Supercar Fast Dash!

Check out some of our February participants on our Facebook page.  The cost is only $49 for Tracklaps and breakfast or just $19 for breakfast only.

Click here for more information

LAPD Sheriff's Police Car
Meet Crown Vic – isn’t she a beauty?


Los Angeles Sheriffs Patrol Car 2003
This particular car is a fully complete Los Angeles patrol car.  These cars are not sold compete with the lights and the electronics which you can see inside the car.  It has been slowly built up to be fully complete – parts have been bought at separate auctions over the years by its original owner and built up to how you can view it now.

The Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor (colloquially referred to simply as the CVPI, P71 or Crown Vic) is a four door body-on-frame sedan that was manufactured by Ford from 1992 to 2011.  It is the law enforcement version of the Ford Crown Victoria.  From 1997 to 2011, the Ford CVPI was the most widely used automobile in law enforcement operations in the United States and Canada.  They were also used for this purpose on a more limited scale in other countries.

For the 1998 model year, the Ford Motor Company restyled the Crown Victoria, eliminating the “aero” look that the first generation had from 1992 o 1997; adopting the more conservative styling of the Mercury Grand Marquis.  Both cars included restyled front and rear end components.  The 1998 police package P71 had a chrome grille, chrome door handle trim, chrome bumper strips and a chrome=trimmed flat back rear fascia with the “Crown Victoria” badge.  At this time, the car was still known as the “Crown Victoria P71”.

The year 2003 brought a minor redesign.  The interior door panels and seats were freshened, with side-impact airbags becoming an option.  The 2001-2004 CVPI’s all look the same on the exterior; the way for one to tell the 2003 – 2011 cars apart from the 2001 and 2002 models is by examining the wheels.  The suspension, brakes, steering and frame all were redesigned for the 2003 model year.  Because of the new underpinnings, the wheels for the newer cars have a much higher offset.  They look almost flat compared to the concave wheels on the older models.  Along with a new wheel design, new hubcaps were introduced.  Lastly , the 2003 model year was the last model in the second generations of CVPI’s to feature a cassette player in the stock head unit.  However, the 2011 model did include an optional player.

Come and see this beauty in the museum today!



This deal was so popular during February that we have decided to extend the deal into March.

Come on in to Highlands and you can grab two sessions of Go Karting for only $60!  That’s two 10 minutes sessions for only $30!  A saving of $30 off our full price karts!  The more you spend, the more you save.  (The same person must complete both sessions of Go Karting.  Can not be used in conjunction with any other offer.)

This awesome deal is available has been extended for the entire month of March and you can BOOK online or by calling our friendly team on 0508 444 452.  Grab your mates and get down to the track today!

Here are some dates for upcoming events at Highlands…

Sunday 17th March
Saturday 20th April
Sunday 19th May
Sunday 21st April
6th and 7th April
27th April 2019- Round 3
28th April 2019 – Round 4


Due to a private event, all activities and the museum at Highlands will be closed on Saturday 30th March.  The doors will be open again from 9am on Sunday 31st March and the team look forward to welcoming you then.


For 5 long years, the Highlands staff have valiantly taken part in Cromwell’s Summer Social Netball League.  There have been plenty of spills and thrills, ups and downs, wins and losses (some ears there were a lot more losses!).

In 2014, when we first entered the competition, we lost every single game but proudly came away with the “personality award”! (no stigma there!)

But ladies and gentleman, it is with immense pleasure and pride, that we can now introduce to you the 2018/2019 Cromwell Summer Social Netball winners!!! TEAM HIGHLANDS!!!!

Watch out Silver Ferns – you’ve got competition!

March 6, 2019

Posted In: News