Easter this year for me has been full of action, I spent Good Friday at the 'Warbirds over Wanaka' air show, and then Easter Sunday at the hairaising 'Race to the Sky' at the Cardrona Snow Farm just outside of Wanaka. Pam and John very kindly put me up for the weekend again in their stunning house on the edge of Lake Wanaka, am beginning to feel quite at home there now!
'Warbirds over Wanaka' was formed by aviation entrepreneur Sir Tim Wallis, he held an airshow and country fair in 1988, and it was so successful that he decided to expand it and have it as a regular event. It's now acclaimed as the largest Warbird airshow in the southern hemisphere with over 100,000 people making the trip to the show every other year. What really makes this show I think is the setting - the huge moutains of the Southern Alps create a stunning backdrop. Friday was the practice day for the show with the Saturday and Sunday being the actual show days. But still being on a bit of a budget and not really a huge plane enthusiast, me and Pam decided to go to the show on the Friday when it was a bit quieter. Not knowing really what to expect, both of us were a bit taken aback by the impressive displays that took place throughout the day, rehearsing for the big show on the Saturday and Sunday. We both agreed that even though neither of us were really that into war planes, we had thoroughly enjoyed the day, so much so, that if we were ever here again over this weekend, we would probably go to the actual show days to see the planes run through their routines for real!!
Easter Sunday was the big race day for many competitors at the Cardrona Snow Farm, in the 'Race to the Sky'. It's a 14.5 km car rally up the side of a mountain, along a very windy and dangerous dirt track (135 corners and 9 hair pin bends!!). All competitors are timed individually and the fastest one to the top of the mountain wins! 'Monster' Tajima, a Japanese driver who has already won the race 6 times previously (out of 7 starts), not surprisingly won again! It was quite an impressive race to watch with all the drivers having already done two qualifying runs on the Saturday and Sunday to establish the running order for the final race. The drivers start off at the bottom of the mountain infront of the spectators where they have to drive around a 'figure of 8' track before beginning the dangerous drive up the mountain. Once the drivers get onto the mountain, after the first few bends, it is then quite hard to continue to follow them up the mountain as they get smaller and smaller the higher they get. The best way to track their progress is really to follow the trail of dust up the mountain!