Ask Allan Dippie how many tractors he has in his collection and he shrugs.

"Oh, I don't know, about 150-ish.

"You can't be publishing that, my wife might read the article."

All were in working order and he reckoned that driving them around was "actually quite soothing".

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But the problem was that he could only drive one tractor at a time; and all needed to be driven to Wheels At Wanaka, on April 20-21.

So the call for volunteer tractor drivers had gone out - "it's adopt a tractor" - and there had been a great response.

Mind you, the volunteer tractor drivers were often quite fussy about what marque they drove. International people wanted to drive International tractors and John Deere enthusiasts drove green tractors.

Wheels At Wanaka has the tagline: "If it's got wheels or tracks, it'll be there." That started in the horse and cart days - with everything from horses and carts through to steam engines.

About 500 tractors were expected - "people are driving them from all over the place" - and there were tractor treks coming from Canterbury, Hokitika and Southland.

Mr Dippie reckoned most of the fun for those taking part in the treks would be getting there.

It would be an interactive event, and there would be the old earthmoving equipment from building the dams.

But the most common category "by miles" would be cars. It would be a "great melting pot" of vehicles and it did not matter whether an entrant had a Morris Minor or a Rolls-Royce, they would all be treated the same, Mr Dippie said.

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The event is being held at the Three Paddocks development and it was the inaugural event, being held in alternate years to Warbirds Over Wanaka.

"This first year is a huge experiment but we know lots of people are coming," he said.