Big kids behind the wheel at Invercargill’s Dig This – a heavy vehicle theme park designed to fulfil childhood dreams

Can you dig it? Well yes, if you’re lucky enough to visit Invercargill New Zealand’s newest dusty attraction.

First there was Las Vegas, now New Zealand’s southernmost town brings in the big toys on the ultimate giant playground for great big kids.

For Dig This, imagine an adult sand box (or sandpit in the southern hemisphere) filled with dirt and gravel inhabited by giant machines – a real-life theme park dedicated to heavy machinery matched with fun activities.

Ever wanted to dig a trench, ride a bulldozer over that pile of dirt or crew on a construction site? Then, you should put Dig This in poll position on your South Island to-do list.

Big and boisterous, this giant machinery playground is like a larger-than-life sandbox and created with big kids in mind. As the engines fire up, you’ll feel the power of mastering a six tonne excavator while stacking giant tyres, or deftly picking up a basketball with the digger claws.

Southland local Ed Mumm pioneered the first Dig This in Steamboat Springs Colorado in 2007 before he moved the attraction to Las Vegas, and now he’s thrilled to bring his ultimate stomping ground for big machinery back home to New Zealand.

Mumm, who grew up and learned to love the land in southern New Zealand, says Invercargill is emerging as New Zealand’s premier motoring destination.

He fell in love with diggers when he was building his own house and reckons that there’s a digger out there for everyone, regardless of gender, age or personality type.

Wanting to release a little inner rage? Then you’ll need the aggression session – an opportunity to let off steam by smashing a car to pieces.

If your insides are already Zen, or precision is more your thing, challenge yourself to master the complex machines by scooping up various objects and moving items.

Big kids behind the wheel at Invercargill’s Dig This – a heavy vehicle theme park designed to fulfil childhood dreams
A bulldozer powers up and over at Dig This, Invercargill’s newest attraction.
Credit: Dig This Invercargill

If you’re an actual kid, never fear, there’s plenty on offer for you too.  While mum and dad get stuck-in over at the main pit, you can have a go with the Mini Digs. These smaller but real life diggers are available to children over four years old (and any adult not quite ready to get behind the wheel of a larger machine).

Invercargill is New Zealand’s southernmost town, and no stranger to petrol heads and inventive motorists. National speedster icon Burt Munro, the inspiration behind the film The World’s Fastest Indian, lived and raced here, and is celebrated in February with the Burt Munro Challenge on Oreti Beach. It is also home to the Bill Richardson Transport World and Motorcycle Mecca. The latest addition of Dig This will ensure that Invercargill holds its place as the motoring capital of New Zealand.

The digger-mad among us will soon be able to get behind the wheels, levers, and buttons of these behemoth beauties when the park officially opens on Monday, 2 October. If you spent your childhood with your head in the clouds and your hands in the sand, dreaming of the fun that could be had with a bulldozer, then this is the perfect place to realise a few of those childhood dreams.

Dig This Invercargill fun facts

  • New Zealand’s first heavy equipment playground
  • Dig This Invercargill is the only one in the southern hemisphere
  • 9 activities available
  • Activities for anyone from four to 100 years old
  • Drive diggers, bulldozers, skid steers and smash cars
  • The local car wrecker supplies cars in return for unlimited time at Dig This
  • Half the customers at Dig This Las Vegas are women and Dig This Invercargill expects to replicate that

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