Day 190 on the Road
Fast Cars at Highlands Motorsport Park
Today we are having the supercar experience at Highlands in Cromwell! If you like this video and want more New Zealand bucket list inspiration, then jump on over to our epic YouTube Channel!
Today we’re gonna be driving some of the fastest vehicles in New Zealand. We’re heading to a place called Highlands.
This morning we are going to a petrol head’s paradise it’s the Highlands Motorsport Park. It’s an international grade race track located really close to Queenstown in the little township of Cromwell.
And as soon as we arrive we are registering for go-karting.
Oh my God.
Laura you’re looking gorgeous right here. I have to say that’s the best thing you ever did to your hair.
You tried many things. That’s the best.
Before we hit the go-karting race track we are given some racing helmets to make us look the part we’re also watching a quick safety briefing video and then it’s onto the race.
We get into our go-karts and we quickly shown how to basically accelerate and brake that’s all you really need to know and we have a few people also joining us onto the track so it’s gonna be a full-on race with lots of people it’s gonna be awesome.
Go-karting is just a little bit of a warm up here at Highlands we are gonna be staying the whole day and we have heaps planned. When we are finished with the go-karting we’re gonna be getting onto a Porsche Cayenne and learning all about the race track we’re gonna be with a real pilot who’s gonna give us a lot of tips and then after we’re gonna board a McLaren Mercedes which is a super fast car and we’re gonna be going at full speed all around the circuit. It’s gonna be absolutely awesome.
But for now let’s go back at our real life version of Mario Kart. We are really lucky because there are heaps of people with us on the track so it keeps it really entertaining because Laura is a little bit of a slow snail pace right here so there will not be too much competition if I was just with her but there is a lot of other people there are some old and some younger and I kind of found out that most of the younger ones are actually the best racers. They are passing me super past left and right and as soon as I try to be a little competitive with them it becomes a little bit of a chaos with some really close near-misses.
While Robin is speeding off ahead admittedly, it does take me a while to get the confidence to get some speed. But I am actually surprised by how fast these go-karts go. From the viewing platforms it doesn’t look like the go-karts are going that fast but actually when you’re in it and you’re that close to the ground and you’re swinging around corners it actually feels like you’re going super fast it’s so much fun.
On top of that this is a really awesome go-karting track. it’s 650m long and there’s so many different features to it as well there’s some really sharp corners so it gives people the opportunity to undertake you going onto some long straights which allows you the time to speed back up again and people to speed past you well at least that’s what happens in my case.
There is also a really cool option on this go-karting track is that you can be using a tandem go-kart so you don’t necessarily have to be the driver you can just be a passenger and throw red and green shells at other people or that’s what happens in my mind at least.
So while we are go-karting at high speed or at least I’m go-karting at high speed and Laura is just literally driving around we are also taking the time to embrace the absolutely stunning views. All around us are endless mountain ranges beautiful skies it is just a pristine area. It’s the perfect spot for a race track because there is heaps of space, it’s all super flat and it just looks gorgeous.
Although the go-karting sessions only last about 10 minutes it really feels much longer than that because by the start of the last turn I’m getting pretty exhausted. I’m neck and neck with another driver which I’m pretty sure is a 14 years old kid which is kicking my ass and it’s really a close race. Because I’m trying to pass him so often I’m exhausting myself turning the wheels left and right and because they are real go-karting they are not easy wheels to turn around but by the end he’s winning and Laura and I finish dead last or at least I’m second to last and Laura is last.
But it looks like there is no loser at Highland Motor Park we both get a certificate.
At least my name’s better.
It’s pretty cool though.
Last Lap Laura. I didn’t get a chance to do my last lap though because I did one less lap than everyone else.
But the go-karting track was just the small track here at Highlands Motorsport Park we are now moving onto to the main event which is the international standard racing track.
First up we are hitting the Highlands Taxi experience.
Everything here was built in 11 months and one week, you wouldn’t build a house in that time not something this size.
That building to the left there, that’s a 20 car garage one bedroom apartment.
The Highlands Taxi is a great taste into what it’s like to drive on an international standard race track. For the first lap we’re gonna be doing a slow lap where our driver Andrew is telling us a little bit about the history of this race track as well as the different features of the track and how he’s gonna approach sharp corners, how he’s gonna go under the bridge over the bridge and then it’s onto our second lap which is the fast lap.
Here we can see just how how fast a Porsche Cayenne Turbo can go and from the outside this car just looks like a family car but once you see what it can do around this track it’s absolutely awesome.
As an extra bonus for today’s high speed awesomeness we have our last activity here to enjoy at Highlands which is the Supercar Fast Dash. Robin’s gonna be taking this one alone it only has a passenger seat for one so we’re strapping on his bad boy racer helmet and getting into the supercar.
So I’m boarding the McLaren 650s which is 641hp, 3.8l twin turbo v8 engine and my driver today is gonna be Andrew, his job is gonna be to show me how fast this car can get all around the Highlands circuit.
Ready to go?
As soon as he gets the go ahead from the tower control, Andrew puts his foot on the pedal and the car goes super fast the acceleration is absolutely epic when it goes from 0-100km/h in less than 3 seconds. It’s a 2.5 g force.
I feel like I’m being sucked into the seat because of the force and it’s absolutely crazy how Andrew is behaving like it was a normal day at work. He’s a professional pilot and drives those car every single day and he drivers them with ease. the fact that we are driving right now at over 150km/h around the track is no bother to him so I really don’t want to see what he drives on mainland roads.
The car is blasting through the entire circuit and it’s absolutely crazy how quick we went I really thought that we were going super fast when we were int he Porsche Cayenne but that was something else.
We are done in less than 3 minutes all around the park and coming back to the reception I cannot believe how fast we actually went and I am still shaking as I open one of those crazy looking scissor doors.
Needless to say that our campervan feels even slower than it already is as soon as we hit the road again to make our way to the little township of Twizel.
The journey from Cromwell to Twizel is breathtaking. We’re going through some absolutely amazing scenery as we pass through the Lindis Pass which is said to be the most scenic road in New Zealand. I am absolutely captivated by the views the whole way.
This journey actually marks us leaving the Otago region and going into the McKenzie District where we’re gonna be exploring the likes of Twizel, Lake Tekapo and more. So when we arrive in Twizel we are checking into the High Country Lodge where we’re unpacking our bags and is gonna be our base for our Twizel exploration.
So I’m literally just waiting at the Highlands reception for Robin and maybe about a minute and a half later they return and that just shows how bloody fast they went on that track.