After a 4am wake-up, a lockdown border and a three-day 450km journey, a group of Whanganui's most dedicated tractor drivers rolled into the city on Tuesday afternoon.
They'd had a wild two-and-a-half weeks travelling Northland in aid of mental health.
The group was part of a campaign dubbed the Big Feelings Tractor Trek, which was originally involved in a Bluff to Cape Reinga journey with Mike King's I am Hope charity last year.
The group made it to New Plymouth before Covid-19 lockdown hit, and put the journey on hold.
Instead of finishing the original route, they decided to travel to Northland on Valentine's Day, led by mental health advocate Cat Levine who presents her Big Feelings mental health talk to schools.
"We visited rural schools - 40 kids up to 500 kids," Levine said.
"They were just blown away that despite being out in the wop wops, they got a visit."
The talk centres around mental health, and focuses on giving children the tools and strategies to manage their emotions, develop empathy and build resilience.
"Some of these kids have a lot of struggles, so to have someone from outside come in with the added attraction of tractors is pretty cool."
At its peak, the convoy reached a total of 12 tractors, including a Ferguson skippered by Whanganui man Warrick Huthnance who said that being involved in the trip was a rewarding experience.
"It's very rewarding. We went to some quite hard schools, and it's great to put a smile on the kids' faces."
During the trip, the convoy travelled up the east coast of Northland, travelling back through the middle, stopping in at multiple schools along the way.
"We went all over the place."
But it wasn't all smooth sailing.
Huthnance said the Whanganui-based members of the group got quite a shock after the Prime Minister's Covid-19 alert levels announcement on Saturday night, and quickly hatched a plan to get back home before the beginning of the seven-day lockdown.
"This last Saturday we got back to Auckland and one of the family members rang up and said 'you better look at the TV'.
"We had to get up at quarter to four so we could get south of the Bombay Hills before they shut the border."
With most of the tractors travelling at around 30km/h with open tops, Huthnance said it can get cold, but the trip was always enjoyable.
"In the mornings it can be quite cool. You've got to vary your clothing as you go.
"It can actually be quite peaceful. You certainly see the countryside. You do see a lot of other things around you don't see when you're driving a car."