Transformed from a paddock into a top-notch 4km racing circuit in just 18 months, this revheads' paradise hosted its first major event in 2013. The action isn’t reserved just for the professionals, with various high-octane experiences on offer, along with an excellent museum.

Budding speed freaks can start out on the go-karts ($45 per 10 minutes) before taking a 200km/h ride in the Highlands Taxi ($129 for up to four people), completing three laps of the circuit as a passenger in a Porsche GT3 ($295), or having a go at the wheel of a V8 muscle car ($395).

If you'd prefer a less racy experience, the National Motorsport Museum (adult/child $25/10) showcases racing cars and displays about Kiwi legends such as Bruce McLaren, Possum Bourne, Emma Gilmour and Scott Dixon. Family groups can opt for the Jurassic Safari Adventure, a trip in a safari van through a forest inhabited by dinosaurs ($99 per family including museum entry). There's also free minigolf and a good cafe.