New Zealand Classic 2020
15 February - 8 March 2020
New Zealand Classic 2020
15 February - 8 March 2020
An epic route through North and South Islands incorporating roads that are well off the beaten track, World Rally Championship highways and byways, spectacular scenery and luxurious hotels.
A small country with enormous heart, New Zealand is a land like no other. ‘The Land of the Long White Cloud’ is famed for its breathtaking and often unique landscape, rich cultural heritage, top notch wines, fabulous cities, hospitable locals and world famous sporting history. Alongside rugby, cricket, watersports and winter sports, motorsport pulses strongly through New Zealand’s veins and we’re hugely excited to be adding Rally New Zealand to the ERA events calendar from 15 February to 8 March 2020.
Our route maestros have called upon their wealth of personal experience as well as drafting in essential local knowledge to ensure that this adventure delivers on many levels.
The first two weeks of the event take place on North Island and we start off with a familiarisation day in Auckland. Our hotel is situated just a short walk from the city’s stunning waterfront and of Auckland’s many must-visit attractions, one of the most breathtaking is the 328-metre high Sky Tower which offers eye-popping views of up to 80kms in every direction.
The first few days of the event take the cars and competitors 300kms north into largely uncharted rally territory from Auckland to Northlands’ only city, Whangarei. The route passes through remote areas with gentle rolling hills, serves up a decent portion of super-smooth gravel and pleasingly, there’s not a tourist in sight!
Because the sub-tropical Northland region is such a wonderful place, our route will take in a day loop north of Whangarei to let us explore the truly remote and dramatic roads of the area. Our hotel is situated opposite the Whangarei Town Basin and is just a short stroll from the city centre where you can take in the museums, art galleries, gardens, bars and restaurants. And if beaches are your thing then you should definitely head to renowned Ninety Mile Beach (actually, it’s only 88 kilometres long but who’s counting?) to experience its spectacular sunsets and general all-round magnificence.
Days four to eight take us from Auckland south to Hamilton (watch out for Hobbits) where we swap the smooth, twisty, gravel roads for rural farmland and rolling countryside as we head towards geothermal Rotorua, home of explosive geysers, bubbling mud pools and more than a whiff of sulphur in the air! We then head further east from Rotorua to Gisborne and hope to take in all 47km of the Motu Road Gorge which rallying aficionados believe to be the sport’s toughest and most challenging road.
Having mastered the Motu, we head back west to Taupo and stop off for a blast around the Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park race track before heading to our overnight halt and subsequent rest day at beautiful Lake Taupo, which is renowned for its fishing.
Fully rested, we head off on our final few days on the North Island, travelling south-east to the Hawke’s Bay town of Napier. Every February, Napier celebrates its 1930s art-deco heritage with a celebration of vintage cars, fashion and music, so some of us will definitely be in the right car and place at the right time!
From Napier we head west to Ohakune, south to Palmerston North and then south again to Wellington which is New Zealand’s capital city, gateway to the South Island and was recently voted ‘the coolest little capital in the world’ by Lonely Planet. On the way we plan to visit an exciting new motorsport facility so there’s plenty of fun on the agenda.
We’ll take a day to rest and explore Wellington before we hop on the ferry across the Cook Strait, setting our wheels on the South Island at Picton, before heading on to Nelson.
Where North Island is all about golden beaches, geothermal activity and lots of fascinating Maori culture, the South Island is quite different. The scenery changes dramatically in super-spectacular fashion with fjords, mountains and glaciers aplenty.
Our first full day on the South Island heads out of Nelson, a hub for artists and crafty folk and then 300kms further south into the resort town of Hanmer Springs through scenery that just gets more and more impressive.
From Hanmer Springs we head west through Lake Sumner Conservation Park/Victoria Forest Park/Paparoa National Park to Punakaiki which is famous for its 30 million year old, ancient limestone stacks, enticingly named the Pancake Rocks. Definitely a feast for the eye and not the tummy!
With the Tasman Sea on our right, day 17 takes us south along the coast road to Fox Glacier… clearly, this part of New Zealand didn’t get the memo about the Ice Age being over! This glacier is one of the most easily accessible in the world and descends 2600 metres from the Southern Alps. Grab your gin and tonics folks, there’s plenty of ice.
From the glacier, we head south again and drive through some of the Mount Aspiring National Park which is home to mountains, glaciers and alpine lakes. Our ultimate destination for the day is Queenstown where we’ll also stop for a day’s rest.
Queenstown offers all sorts of activities from canyon swinging to horse trekking but you might just prefer to grab a book and head for the peace of Lake Wakatipu.
Day 20 takes us from Queenstown through stunning mountains and along the shores of lakes to Te Anau - the scenery will take your breath away. A rest day follows with an optional side trip to Milford Sound, carved from ice age glaciers and pronounced the ‘eighth wonder of the world’ by Rudyard Kilpling.
We then travel from Te Anau to the ‘Edinburgh of New Zealand’, Dunedin, which oozes with Victorian/Edwardian history. Interestingly, it also has the world’s rarest penguin colonies on its doorstep so mind what you p-p-p-pick up!
Our final day is a long driving day and takes us from Dunedin along the east coast to the middle of the South Island and Christchurch, where our antipodean adventure comes to an end. A traditional ERA prizegiving ceremony and Gala Dinner finish things off in fine style and gives us all the opportunity to reminisce on the highlights of this fabulous event.
Locations and venues subject to change following final route reconnaissance.
Tell Me More
To find out more please call Annette, Eleonora or any of the Rally Office team or email us for your copy of the event brochure and entry form. We'll be happy to answer your questions and offer any guidance you may need.
Phone: +44 (0)1235 831221