A fun first day at Dig This

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Some of the first participants to try out the 15 tonne diggers at Dig This Invercargill. Photos: Petrina Wright

The earth was moving at the official opening of Invercargill’s newest wheels-inspired tourist attraction Dig This Invercargill on Mon, October 02.

Dig This Invercargill manager Lex Chisholm said there had been a lot of apprehension at the start of the day, but that feeling had turned to relief as the opening day was fully booked and everything had gone well.

Dig This Las Vegas founder Ed Mumm (left) and Dig This Invercargill manager Lex Chisholm amidst the fun on the opening day.

Inspired by a similar Las Vegas attraction, Dig This Invercargill is a heavy equipment playground complete with real-sized heavy machinery for customers to operate, ranging from a 20-tonne digger and bulldozers to a skid steer and small static machines, as well as a car smashing area.

Dig This is the third of Transport World’s transport-related tourist attractions. The others are Bill Richardson Transport World and Classic Motorcycle Mecca.

Dig This concept founder Ed Mumm attended the opening. Originally from Dunedin, Mr Mumm operates similar attractions in Las Vegas and Dallas, with plans to open a further one in Los Angeles. Dig This Invercargill is the first of its kind in the Southern hemisphere.

Mr Mumm said he was “stoked” about a Dig This opening in New Zealand, as he had wanted to bring the experience to his home country.

Natalie Gilson of Homestead Villa Motel operates a bulldozer guided by Dig This Invercargill instructor Bill Hicks on the opening day of the new heavy equipment playground on Invercargill’s Otepuni Ave on Monday.

There had been some negative comments on social media about the cost of tickets to the attraction.

Prices range from $20 for 10 minutes on a mini dig to $396 for a two and a half hour Mega Dig experience.

Transport World trustee Scott O’Donnell said compared to the cost of some Queenstown attractions, Dig This was a “medium-priced” attraction.

“Quality comes with a price,” he said.

“We are always going to do everything to the best of our ability. We want to service all customers well, but we are not going to have a low, low price and then offer an inferior product.”

Some of the first to try out the heavy machinery at the new Dig This Invercargill attraction (from left) Natalie Gilson of Homestead Villa Motel, Maxine Hotton of the Invercargill i-Site, Karley Henderson-Te Tai and Ang Simpson of Ascot Park Hotel and Larissa Adcock-Laws of the Invercargill i-Site on the opening day.

Among the first to try out the new attraction were Natalie Gilson of the Homestead Villa Motel and Karley Henderson-Te Tai of Ascot Park Hotel, who were there to familiarise themselves with the attraction so they could on-sell the experience to their guests.

After their session Ms Gilson said – “I loved it. It was awesome. It was intimidating at the start, but it was easy, and the instructors were great.”

Ms Henderson-Te Tai said – “It was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had…just getting out there in the dirt and playing with the excavator.”

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