The Aussie tractors are coming!

Eight 9G Chamberlain tractors ready for the New Zealand adventure. Photo supplied.
Eight 9G Chamberlain tractors ready for the New Zealand adventure. Photo supplied.
Ten big orange tractors have been shipped across the Tasman to take part in a classic Aussie adventure around the South Island to raise money for children with cancer in New Zealand.

The restored tractors, most manufactured in the 1960s, will be the mode of transport for an unusual trek around the entire South Island, organised by a group from the Chamberlain 9G Tractor Club of Western Australia.

The tractors have come from Sydney and Fremantle and arrived in Lyttelton last week. The trek will loop around the South Island, starting in Christchurch on February 19 and heading up the east coast to Havelock then down the West Coast. The trek finishes 25 days and 2500km later in Methven on March 15.

Tractor Trek organiser Ron Bywaters said he had visited New Zealand before and was most impressed.

''We decided that it would be an ideal location to hold a tractor trek.''

''The scenery is spectacular, the people friendly and as our speed will be 30 to 40kmh, we will have time to 'smell the roses.'

''Our club has been raising funds for charitable organisations since its inception and over that time some $140,000 has been raised.

''Our beneficiaries include the Royal Flying Doctor Service and children's hospitals.

''As our children, grand-children and great-grand-children are our future, we concentrate mainly in providing help in that direction.

''With cancer being such a diverse problem area, the Child Cancer Foundation ticked all the boxes for us.''

Most of the group has previous trekking experience around Mainland Australia and Tasmania. Eight also trekked across the USA in 2009, a three-month trip from Los Angeles to Maryland. The Aussies will also be joined by North and South Island Chamberlain 9G owners.

The 9G (named because of its nine-speed gear box), is an icon in the Australian tractor world. The 9G made a name for itself outside the tractor world in 1957 when it took part in an international car rally around Australia and earned the nickname of ''Tail End Charlie''.

Capable of speeds of up to 100kmh, the particular tractor helped broken down and stranded competitors. The rally covered 18,000km in just 19 days. The 9G easily converts from a farm tractor into a recreational vehicle.

The trekkers will stay mainly at holiday parks and will be hosted by Child Cancer Foundation branch members and children along the way.

Other highlights will include breakfast with the McLeans Island Vintage and Machinery Club in Christchurch, a trip to the Westland Industrial Heritage Park and attending the Methven A&P Show. Members of the public can support the tractor trekkers at http://childcancerfundraising.org.nz/event/TractorTrek. Or, to give $3, text ''tractor'' to 206.


TRACTOR TREK ITINERARY
• February 19 Christchurch-Amberley
• February 20 Amberly to Hanmer Springs
• February 21 Hanmer Springs to Blenheim
• February 23 Blenheim to Havelock
• February 24 Havelock to Nelson
• February 25 Nelson to Murchison
• February 26 Murchison to Greymouth
• February 27 Greymouth to Franz Josef
• February 28 Franz Josef to Haast
• March 1Haast to Wanaka
• March 2Wanaka to Cromwell
• March 3Cromwell to Kingston
• March 4 Kingston to Te Anau
• March 6 Te Anau to Tuatapere
• March 7 Tuatepere to Invercargill
• March 8 Invercargill to Millers Flat
• March 9 Millers Flat to Ranfurly
• March 10 Ranfurly to Kurow
• March 11 Kurow to Fairlie
• March 13 Fairlie to Methven
• March 14 Methven
• March 15 Methven A&P Show