New Zealand Classic

15 February – 8 March 2020

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New Zealand Classic 2020

15 February – 8 March 2020

A small country with an enormous heart, New Zealand is a land like no other.  ‘The Land of the Long White Cloud’ is famed for a 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 the ERA New Zealand Classic to the events calendar from 15 February to 8 March 2020.

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

Email:   [email protected]

Numbered Entry List

Last Updated 06/01/2020

NZC Entry List - 6.1.20

If you have any questions or you spot any wrong information on the above entry list, please don’t hesitate to call Annette, Eleonora or any of the Rally Office team. You can also email us on the address below. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and offer any guidance you may need.

Phone:   +44 (0)1235 831221

Email:   [email protected]


New Zealand Classic 2020

The Route

Clerk of the Course Mark Appleton and Deputy George Mullins spent March in New Zealand surveying over 10,000km of possible routes, checking hotels and rest halts, drinking coffee and generally making arrangements for next February’s event. Shown below is an outline of the route that they have designed.  Many of the arrangements are still subject to final confirmation so some of the detail may change before the time of the event.


The final route for the rally will come in at a little over 7,000km (4,300 miles) spread over 20 “travelling” days with 3 “non-travelling” days.

We have planned over 50 Regularity Sections that will be held on quiet country roads that carry very little other traffic.  These Regularities are predominantly on well-engineered and maintained gravel roads.  Although we have selected the smoothest of these, it is inevitable that there will be some rougher sections particularly after bad weather or use by heavy vehicles (eg logging or livestock trucks).  The weather in February is generally fine (particularly the further north we are), and dry weather will result in dust on these gravel roads so be sure to prepare your car accordingly.

We have also planned 8 Test Sections.  These are all on permanent race tracks – a number of them kart tracks – so the surface is good quality asphalt and the competition will be intense!

Day 1 – Auckland – Whangarei

The first day is a relatively short one to allow for a relaxed ceremonial start – hopefully from an iconic location overlooking the city and harbour.

The morning features two Regularity Sections punctuated by a coffee halt, as we travel north through farmland and forests to our late lunch halt in Matakohe.  Here you will have to choose between taking a long and relaxed lunch on the deck of the Gumdigger’s Cafe, or grabbing a quick snack before exploring the fascinating Museum next door dedicated to the magnificent Kauri Tree, but covering much more.

After lunch we head further north with a Regularity on roads used by the local stage rally (and the Rally New Zealand) then on the outskirts of Whangarei we have the first Test of the event at the local Kart Club.  It is a short drive from there to the night’s Hotel which, although friendly and functional, is not of the highest standard so the group dinner this evening will be at the elegant Marina closeby.

 Day 2 – Whangarei to Russell

A longer day today as we head to the far north.  The morning’s highlights include two gravel Regularities, coffee in an old bank building and some public toilets designed by the Austrian artist and architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser!

We are planning a simple lunch in a golf club in the village of Ahipara that marks the southern end of Ninety Mile Beach.  The Beach (actually only 55 miles long) is officially a public highway so the more adventurous of you may wish to drive onto it but be careful of the soft sand and the rising tide!

From lunch start to turn east and eventually south as we follow the north-east coast on an easy main road.  There is a small diversion from the asphalt for a Regularity Section before we turn towards the Bay of Islands.  After passing the historical site of Waitangi and the tourist hotspot of Paihia our final obstacle of the day is the 10 minute ferry crossing to Okiato (New Zealand’s first capital).  We had originally planned to return to Whangarei this evening, but due to a hotel enlargement, we have managed to secure accommodation in Russell which (then called Kororareka) was the first permanent European settlement in the country.

Day 3: Russell to Auckland

The competition starts early today with a Regularity just 20 minutes from Russell.  We then follow the east coast as we return to Whangarei for a Time Control at the scenic Whangarei Falls before the morning’s second Regularity on one of the area’s classic Rally Stages.

We return to the coast for lunch in a beach front restaurant then continue south along scenic and quiet back roads.  We take coffee at a historical inn that is now frequented by bikers riding out from Auckland before hitting the day’s final Regularity.  We are likely to find plenty of other traffic as we cross the Auckland Harbour Bridge but there will be plenty of time to get into the now familiar Cordis Hotel.

Day 4: Auckland to Rotorua

A slightly earlier start today as we head against the main flow of traffic and leave Auckland by the Southern Motorway which we use all the way to the day’s Test on the Kart Track of the Hampton Downs Motorsport Centre.  We then take easy back roads to a coffee in the cool surfer’s hangout of Raglan before a couple of Regularities on some of Rally New Zealand’s iconic coastal stages.

Looping to the south of Hamilton we have lunch in a delightful cafe nestled among blueberry bushes before a rare Regularity entirely on asphalt roads.  In another departure from routine the final control of the day will not be at the Hotel, but will instead be between Matamata and Tirau.  This was just a normal dairy farm until director Peter Jackson decided to turn it into the set for the home of the Hobbits for his epic film adaptations of the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit.  It is now a popular tourist attraction and any Middle Earth fanatics can book themselves on a guided tour of the set.  If this doesn’t appeal to you, then you will be free to make your way to the geothermal resort of Rotorua where the spring water is warm and the air is less than fresh.

Day 5: Rotorua to Gisborne

Leaving Rotorua to the east we pick up a Regularity on the way to the coast at Whakatane. There’s another Regularity after coffee before some fabulous water’s edge driving beside the Bay of Plenty brings us to a simple lunch halt in the slightly down-at-heel town of Opitiki which nowadays scrapes a living from kiwi fruit and mussels.

The main target of the day comes after Opitiki in the shape of what, during the 1990s, became regarded as the most challenging stage on the World Rally calendar. The Motu Road is 47 km long and we will split it into a pair of Regularity Sections to allow you to conquer the toughest central section in your own time.  You can start to relax when you join the asphalt in the village of Motu and it is mostly downhill from there to the vineyards that surround Poverty Bay and indicate that you are arriving in the town of Gisborne where Captain Cook first set foot in New Zealand back in 1769.

Day 6: Gisborne to Taupo

Although not the longest, this is likely to prove one of the toughest days of the event.  We climb away from Gisborne to a Regularity section along a ridge top road that has become a staple of the Silver Fern Rally in recent years then drop down to the coast for a coffee and to fill fuel tanks to the brim for what lies ahead.  After a diverting Regularity we start to climb towards Lake Wakeremoana and bid farewell to asphalt.  A picnic stop at the lakeside campsite will see crews refreshed ready for the 100km of challenging twisty, hilly mostly gravel road that takes us through the rainforests of the Te Urewara National Park.  By the time that we drop out of the hills you will be ready for the afternoon coffee halt in Murupara.  There is another 100km until we get to the hotel in Taupo and the roads are easy, but the day has one last sting in the shape of a Test at the Bruce Mclaren Motorsport Park within sight of the finish.

Day 7: Taupo Rest Day

After the last few days you will have earned a day off in our wonderful spa hotel overlooking Lake Taupo. If you have time to spare after completing all of the normal rest day chores, there are geothermal pools to explore, jet boats to be ridden and all manner of more athletic activates.  Or you could just opt for a Big Mac in “officially” the World’s coolest McDonalds that is housed in an old DC-3 aeroplane.

Day 8: Taupo to Whakapapa

Suitably rested we have another long day today, although the start and finish hotels are only 100km apart if we were to take a direct route, but since when did we do that?  Instead we will spend the day exploring the Forgotten World Highway.  A couple of Regularities in the morning will see us joining this aptly named road at the top of the Tangarakau Gorge, before passing through the narrow Moki Tunnel (aka The Hobbit Hole) to lunch in the self-declared “Republic of Whangamomona”.

After lunch we retrace our steps back through the Moki Tunnel and descend the full length of the deep Tangarakau Gorge before a relaxing afternoon coffee halt in a small lavender farm.  Shortly after this we stumbled across a deserted kart track in the middle of a farmer’s field so hope to use it for a short Test.  The last action of the day is to climb up to the classic Chateau Tongariro Hotel that nestles on the slopes of Mount Ruapehu – the largest active volcano in New Zealand!

Day 9: Whakapapa to Palmerston North

Barring any nocturnal eruptions we will have the opportunity for a lie-in this morning as we make a leisurely start from the Chateau.  A single Regularity will bring us to the lunch halt in the bustling provincial town of Taihape where “Gumboot Day” is celebrated every year just after Easter.  The pace picks up a little in the afternoon with a pair of Regularities separated by a pleasant coffee halt in the village of Kimbolton.  We pass the Chris Amon Circuit at Manfeild Park then plan a bit of fun at the kart track on the edge of Palmerston North just before we get to the night’s hotel.

Day 10: Palmerston North to Wellington

Our final day on the North Island takes us south east from Palmerston North towards the deserted east coast.  We have two Regularities before a coffee halt in the tiny village of Tinui and then a third shortly afterwards. That is the end of competition for the day as we continue to the fabulous vineyards in Martinborough where the day’s final control will precede a long and leisurely lunch.  When you finally tear yourselves away from the vineyards and their product, you can make the 1½ hour journey into our hotel in the centre of Wellington in your own time.  Once checking into the hotel, be sure to tae a walk to explore the trendy waterfront bars and restaurants of the Lonely Planet’s “Coolest little capital in the world”.

Day 11: Wellington to Blenheim

There is no timing today as we take the ferry across the Cook Strait from Wellington to Picton then the short drive to another centre of New Zealand’s booming wine in Blenheim.  The ferry crossing takes 3½ hours and be sure to get a window seat as the scenery as we navigate Queen Charlotte Sound is stunning.

Day 12: Blenheim to Hanmer Springs

There is action right from the start today as we drop into the Blenheim kart track for a couple of laps on the way out of town, followed by a couple of Regularities that will bring us to the main feature of today.  125km of remote gravel road crosses the Molesworth Station which is the country’s largest farm covering over 180,000 hectares and rearing around 10,000 cattle at any one time.  The scenery is stunning and the driving a pleasure.  We should arrive in Hanmer Springs in time for a late lunch so you can spend the afternoon exploring the thermal pools and spa that have put this small town on the tourist map since the 1880s.

Day 13: Hanmer Springs to Nelson

There are three road passes across the Southern Alps and this morning we take the most northerly one, the Lewis Pass, as we head towards the morning coffee halt which is quickly followed by the day’s first Regularity.  An adventurous but narrow gravel road leads us over the Maruia Saddle and through a number of river crossings before a second Regularity brings us to lunch in Murchison.

The afternoon has a Regularity before an enjoyable run through St Arnaud and Golden Downs brings us to the birthplace of ground-breaking physicist Ernest Rutherford.  There’s a Test at the kart track before we arrive at the day’s final control at the WoW Museum on the edge of Nelson.  This Museum houses a great collection of classic cars alongside a mind-boggling array of “wearable art” which you will be free to peruse before continuing to the overnight hotel in the centre of the city.

Day 14: Nelson to Hokitika

The longest day of the event starts by retracing our route as we leave Nelson behind and take in a couple of Regularities before a coffee halt back at the location of yesterday’s lunch in Murchison.  From here we use fast but scenic main roads as we cross the Island to a late lunch at Punakaiki with a whistlestop tour of the “Pancake Rocks”.

We make another of our familiar kart track Tests before a scenic loop of Lake Brunner and a final Regularity takes us to our overnight hotel in Hokitika in time for the highlight of this area – sunset over the Tasman Sea.

Day 15: Hokitika to Fox Glacier

We start this short day by heading north then making a wide loop around Hokitika picking up a couple of Regularities on the way before a coffee halt in the historic gold mining town of Ross.  From here we are sandwiched between the Southern Alps on our left and the Tasman Sea on our right so there is no alternative but to follow the scenic SH6 along the west coast.  We pass the Franz Josef Glacier before arriving at our destination for the day in time for a late lunch.

The village (and the hotels) at Fox Glacier is nothing to write home about, but the mountain views and the glaciers certainly are.  The best way to get the full experience is to book one of the many flight-seeing trips which we recommend you do well in advance.

Day 16: Fox Glacier to Queenstown

Leaving Fox Glacier we are again restricted to the SH6 which fortunately is an interesting drive through varying scenery with both mountain and ocean views.  We take coffee in the town of Haast and then start to climb to cross the Alps at the Haast Pass with plenty of time to stop and enjoy the mountains, forests and (whilst descending the Pass) the fabulous Lakes Wanaka and Hawea.

The lunch halt is at the Warbirds and Wheels Museum where we may catch the tail-end of the monthly “Cars over Coffee” classic car meeting, but you will certainly be able to enjoy the eclectic collection of military aircraft and classic cars.  There is a Regularity shortly after lunch before we arrive in the fruit growing centre of Cromwell and the day’s final control at the modern and very smart Highlands Motorsport Centre.  After checking through the control, everyone will get a chance to complete a few untimed laps of the circuit before making the final 45 minute run to our wonderful resort hotel on the edge of Queenstown.

Day 17: Queenstown Rest Day

Queenstown styles itself as the Adventure Capital of the World, so there are limitless possibilities to make this day far from restful!  The buzzing  town centre is a 25 minute water taxi ride from the hotel or you may prefer to drive out to stylish Arrowtown, jet boat on the Shotover River or rent a downhill mountain kart in the Crown Range.

Day 18: Queenstown to Milford Sound

An early start today to beat the daily exodus of camper vans and tour buses from Queenstown as we skirt alongside Lake Wakatipu then turn east in search of a Regularity.  With the penalties for the day safely in the bag, we turn back to the west to take lunch in the busy tourist town of Te Anau.  The afternoon’s run is a 2 hour drive along the Milford Road which is rightly renowned for its stunning views of looming cliffs and, if we’re lucky enough to have some rain, its multitude of waterfalls. Our overnight accommodation is a little different tonight as we cruise around Rudyard Kipling’s “eighth wonder of the world” on a pair of cosy and comfortable boats.

Day 19: Milford Sound to Invercargill

After a night at sea we return along the Milford Road to Te Anau to grab an early lunch before continuing south alongside the mighty Fjordland National Park.  Passing the historic Clifden Suspension Bridge we take in a delightful Regularity before afternoon tea in Winton and another shortly afterwards.  We skirt around the centre of Invercargill with an optional stop at E Hayes Hardware store to view the “World’s Fastest Indian” motorbike as campaigned by Burt Munro on our way to the final Test of the rally at the Teretonga Park circuit.  After that final flourish, we pass back through the city to get to our hotel for the night.

Day 20: Invercargill to Dunedin

As we approach the end of the event, the pressure starts to build for both competitors and marshals.  Today we are planning no fewer than five Regularity sections as follow the south coast through the Catlins Forest Park.  We pass the most southerly point on the event just before our morning coffee halt by the underwhelming Niagara Falls.

Lunch is by the beach at the mouth of the Clutha River then we drive up the valley to a Passage Control at the mildly alarming rafter ferry that crosses the river at Tuapeka Mouth.  We’ll take a quick coffee at the historic gold mining town of Lawrence before looping through the classic special stages at Waipori Falls and Kaka Bush.  By the time you reach the Dunedin hotel in the old post office building you will be ready for a rest.

Day 21: Dunedin Rest Day

Despite being the furthest city in the world from Edinburgh, Dunedin shares more than just its name with the Scottish capital.  The Victorian architecture, universities and museums make this a lively and fascinating city.  Nature lovers may like to take the short drive out to the Otago Peninsula with its colonies of penguins, seals and albatross.

Day 22: Dunedin to Lake Tekapo

The second longest day of the event and another with five Regularity sections as we head north through Otago.  The first Regularity is a short and sharp affair on the George King Memorial Drive before a coffee halt in a cosy cafe in Middlemarch and a longer Regularity over stunningly desolate moorland brings us to a Passage Control by the huge hole in the ground that is the McRaes Flat Goldmine.

We have lunch at the historic and delightful Dansey’s Pass Coach Inn before a Regularity over the Pass itself.  There is then a chance to relax as we take easy and fast roads into Central Otago and a coffee halt in Omarama.  The views of Mount Cook across Lake Pukaki are world renowned and you’re advised to stop to take photos before the day’s final Regularity takes us over the mountains to our resort hotel on the edge of Lake Tekapo.

Day 23: Lake Tekapo to Christchurch

During this final day of the event we will be able to wind down, but not before the final pair of Regularity Sections have twisted and turned their way through the maze of roads in the rolling farmland between Fairlie and Geraldine.  From the coffee halt in Geraldine however, it is fast and relaxing driving to a sumptuous lunch in a modern golfing resort. It is an easy final run into the finish at the hotel on the edge of Christchurch’s Hagley Park where champagne will be sprayed, stories will be retold, friendships will be reaffirmed and final farewells will be made.

New Zealand Classic 2020 – What you need to know

Is my vehicle eligible?

The event is open for Vintageant cars built before 1948 and for Classic cars of a type built before 1976. Cars of a later date but unchanged mechanical specification will be considered at the Organisers’ discretion. Classes based on engine size will subdivide these categories.

Do I need previous experience?

The event is suitable for both novice and more experienced crews. An easy to follow tulip route book will be supplied. Our experienced team of officials will be at your disposal at all times to support you and we will provide hints and tips on navigation.

What equipment do I need?

The first requirement is a well-prepared car, which must be fitted with the following equipment:

  • Tripmeter (Monit or similar);
  • Seat belts – full harness for classic cars whilst for the vintage cars we strongly recommend a lap-belt style of seat belt be fitted and used at all times;
  • Rollover bars – it is recommended that all cars have a rollover bar fitted, hoop or full roll cage is preferred;
  • 1.75 litres fire extinguisher;
  • A groundsheet to capture any fluid leaks;
  • Warning triangle, a tow rope, two spare tyres, high visibility jackets and spare light bulbs;
  • A comprehensive first aid kit

Other mandatory equipment may be specified in the event regulations.

What if my car breaks down?

We expect you to carry spares for your car and a tool kit. You should be able to take care of minor repairs yourself, but our mobile support vehicles will follow the rally and our highly skilled mechanics will provide all the extra support you need. The vast experience of our sweeps will keep you on the road; just make sure you bring the right spares for your car.

How do I get my car to New Zealand?

New Zealand have strict quarantine and customs regulations so you will need to ensure that your car is cleaned when you hand it over and no food or drinks are left in or sent with the vehicle. CARS will look the car over and ensure there is no transit mud or dirt in the wheel arches etc. but please ensure the interior of the car has been cleaned. Due to New Zealand’s import regulations and customs requirements, please ensure your vehicle is shipped fully prepared.

You may use any shipping agent you chose, but we recommend CARS Europe who have handled our shipping for nearly 20 years. CARS can efficiently transport your car to the rally start and then back home; they handle all customs and import operations so your car will be ready for collection in a specified location in Auckland. You can contact Melvyn Palmer [email protected] for a free quotation.

Driving in New Zealand

New Zealanders drive on the left side of the road, so if you are European, American or Asian a bit of adjustment is required. You will need your current driver’s licence from your own country and an International Driving Permit (in English text) is highly recommended. These can be easily obtained and are normally valid for a year.

Vehicle Insurance

Vehicle insurance is not included so you will need to make your own arrangements. For your motor insurance requirements one of our partners HERO Insurance Solutions will be able to assist in providing compulsory third-party motor cover and vehicle physical damage cover. Please email [email protected] or contact Andrew Scannell on +44 (0)203 1783327

Travel & Medical cover

A fully qualified medical team will follow the Rally from start to the finish. The medical team will also support your preparation with a list of medications you should bring and a comprehensive first aid kit can be purchased in advance from the Rally Doctors.

The Organisers will arrange travel insurance including medical emergency repatriation for all participants under the age of 75 who are not travelling against doctor’s advice.

Accommodation and Dining

Accommodation for each rally crew will be arranged in a twin/double room for 25 nights, from 13 February to 8 March 2020 inclusive, with breakfast and parking. A group Welcome dinner will be organized for the evening of Friday 14 February 2020. Complimentary group dining is included each evening except on rest days.

The Gala dinner and Prize-Giving ceremony will see all participants celebrate the completion of the rally in Christchurch on Sunday 8 March.

What is the Weather like & What do I wear?

New Zealand has four definite seasons with summers (December to February) being warm in the mid-twenties Celsius (75-85F) and the north being generally warmer than the south. Extreme temperatures are rarely experienced.

Dress casually and comfortably…just take something a little more formal if you wish to visit some top class restaurants and nightspots. Pack a warm fleece for the mountains; a wind and waterproof jacket is recommended as rain can occur at any time of the year but hopefully not for long.

 What else do I need to know?

Further information about any documentation, equipment, suitable clothing and travel essentials, weather, currency, fuel availability, accommodation, travel advice and everything else to help you plan an enjoyable rally will be communicated to all entrants by our regular direct Newsletters. Any forms to fill in are supplied by us and sent to you directly.

You can of course contact the Rally Office at any time if you have any queries or doubts, or if you simply wish to receive some advice; as the organisers of over 70 events worldwide we are always available to help and advise newcomers and veterans alike.

Contact the Rally Office for more information
Phone:   +44 (0)1235 831221
Email:   [email protected]