7 day / 6 night tour with stays in Mt Somers, Geraldine, Mt Cook, Ranfurly and Lawrence.
Come and explore the back roads from Canterbury to Central Otago visiting historic sheep stations and meeting the gardeners. From Aoraki/Mt Cook we head down the Waitaki Valley to Danseys Pass following the old route taken by stockmen and miners over to the Maniototo and the goldfields.
What Tracy loves about this tour:
Some farms we’re visiting have stayed in the same family with buildings and gardens dating back to the pioneers. At Erewhon Erin and Colin are passionate about horses and their magnificent Clydesdales plough the fields at the foot of the Southern Alps.
From Christchurch airport we drive to Louise Deans’ Homebush Station near Darfield for lunch and visit their museum, with its treasure trove of Kiwiana, and the magnificent heritage farm buildings and garden developed by the family since the 1850s.
We continue on to the Rakaia River Gorge and stay in Mt Somers village at Stronechrubie Chalets and nearby B&Bs. We dine at Stronechrubie this evening.
What you'll love today
Meet one of the original Canterbury settler families at Homebush Station
Erewhon Station sits at the top of the Rangitata Gorge amid stunning Lord of the Rings scenery. Colin Drummond and Erin Cassie use Clydesdale horses for a lot of their station work and hitch up their team to take us for a wagon ride. We have a picnic lunch in their wool shed before returning back down the road to Lake Camp and Lake Clearwater and stopping at the historic farm buildings at Hakatere.
We stay two nights at Geraldine’s Scenic Route Motor Lodge and dine in town.
Day 3: Geraldine - Orari Gorge Station - Orari Estate Station - Geraldine
At Woodbury Rhododendrons we meet Bernie and Joy O’Keefe and wander their garden and nursery. We meet Rosa Peacock at Orari Gorge Station where we take a tour of the historic farm buildings and the expansive garden.
We lunch with Rosie Morten at Orari Estate Station where a large pond is a special feature of the garden.
We return to Geraldine in time to stroll around the artisan shops specialising in cheeses, preserves and woodworking to name a few.
Day 4: Geraldine - Four Peaks Station - Burkes Pass - Lake Tekapo - Aoraki/Mt Cook
We head to Four Peaks Station to meet Jo and Steve McAtamney and drive out the back of their farm to Sutherland's Hut, built in 1866 it's the oldest shepherd's hut in the high country.
At Burkes Pass we enter the Mackenzie Country and stop to enjoy the views from the Church of the Good Shepherd at Lake Tekapo and at Lake Pukak views up the valley to Aoraki/Mt Cook. We drive up to Aorak/Mt Cook Village to stay at The Hermitage and dine in the Panorama Room with views out to the mountains.
What you'll love today
Visit historic Sutherland's Hut at Four Peaks Station
Day 5: Aoraki/Mt Cook - Station Peak Homestead, Hakataramea - Duntroon - Danseys Pass - Ranfurly
We drive to Omarama then turn eastwards through the Waitaki Valley to Kurow and on to Hakataramea to lunch with and to hear the stories of the Pavletich family who have farmed at Station Peak since 1917.
The gravel road up Danseys Pass was the route traditionally used by stockmen and also miners as a short cut to Central Otago's goldfields. We stop for refreshments at Danseys Pass Coach Inn and drive into Naseby, both were goldrush hubs, before reaching Hawkdun Lodge, Ranfurly where we dine in this evening.
Day 6: Ranfurly - Macraes Flat - Hyde - Middlemarch - Lawrence
We visit Ranfurly's Art Deco buildings and then view the vast opencast gold mine at Macraes Flat, an astonishing sight. We lunch nearby at Stanley’s Hotel built in 1882. The scenery is classic Central Otago along the Moonlight Road and through the golden tussocks of the Rock and Pillar range to Middlemarch.
We take a back road to Lake Waipouri and on to Lawrence where we stay the night and dine in town. The locals have got together to restore their town which was the gateway to the goldfields.
Day 7: Lawrence - Gabriel's Gully - Dunedin - Auckland
We breakfast in town and meet up with our local guide, Barbara, to hear about Lawrence’s history, driving out to Gabriel’s Gully where in 1861 Gabriel Read discovered gold and the gold rush years began.
On the way back to town we visit the Chinese Camp, an historic reserve with stables, a hotel and the Joss House being restored.
Leaving Lawrence we lunch with Sarah Homer at Linlithgow Farm then drive on to Dunedin airport in time for your return flight.