Wheels at Wanaka sees record 40,000 crowd

In News2 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineApril 13, 2023

More than 40,000 visitors and 3000 vehicles poured through the gates for Easter weekend’s Wheels at Wanaka, a record for the biennial event.

The inaugural event in 2019 welcomed 12,000 patrons and 2021’s show attracted 24,000, so this year’s 40,000 plus visitors means the biennial event’s attendance has effectively doubled at each iteration.

Wheels at Wanaka general manager Allan Dippie said he was delighted with the event and how quickly it has grown.

“This year’s event felt successful in every way. The volunteers and vehicle enthusiasts’ contributions were exceptional, the sun was shining, we had record numbers through the gate and everyone had a wonderful time,” he said.

“Now we have the challenge of bettering our efforts in 2025, but that’s a wonderful challenge to have.”

With six action-packed arenas across the 60-acre site, patrons got to enjoy and participate in a variety of vehicle-related activities including the Terra Cat Earthmoving Extravaganza, an enduro x motorbike competition, rally and ATV demonstrations by motorsport legends Greg Murphy, Hayden Paddon and Ari Pettigrew, tractor, truck and steam engine pull competitions and a non-stop parade ground programme.

OceanaGold’s refurbished Cat 789 dump truck was undoubtedly an event highlight. Visitors had the chance to photograph, climb and experience the impressive machine as a static display then witness its might and agility as it dumped nearly 200 tonnes of dirt in front of crowds in the Terra Cat Earthmoving Extravaganza and circumnavigated Highlands Parade Ground.

Wheels at Wanaka is a charitable event and a significant proportion of profits will be distributed to a number of causes. While the final tally is yet to be completed, donations and funds raised by local community groups will likely be in the tens of thousands.

Wheels at Wanaka is scheduled to return on 18-20 April, 2025.