All New Southland
Day 1 —- arrive at the Kingston Motel in the beautiful lakeside village of Kingston which nestles at the Southernmost tip of Lake Wakatipu between the spectacular Hector and Eyre Mountains. Accommodation and meal this evening is included in your trip fee and a chance to meet your Guide and fellow 4WD’ers. Before dinner we will get together for a trip briefing which includes a run down on the itinerary, convoy guidelines such as use of hand held radios, and safety procedures that will be employed during the trip.
Day 2—— Assemble outside Hectors Motel, vehicles lined up ready to go at 8.30am sharp.
Todays track takes us up onto Lorne Peak Station and climbs an impressive switchback out over the Hector Mountains, an extension of the Remarkable Range, to Tenants Peak ( 5000ft ). From the dizzying heights of the Hector Mountains we get a spectacular view out over Lake Wakatipu, the Garvie Mountains, the Old Man Range and the Mataura River famous for its trout fishing.
We then head for one of New Zealand’s largest High Country Stations, Mt. Nicholas, run by the Butson Family. As with much of the topography surrounding Lake Wakatipu the evidence of the age of the Glaciers is everywhere This evening will be spent at the Mt Nicholas Shearer’s Quarters right on the edge of Lake Wakatipu.Bruve and Adrienne will be our hosts this evening and aswell as providing a great home cooked meal a continental breakfast is included the following morning.
Day 3—— assemble outside our accomodation, head for one of New Zealand’s most scenic 4WD tracks, initially we travel along the Lake shore then we will enter Walter Peak Station and an impressive switchback climb up over the Afton saddle at 5000ft into the Cascade glacial valley where there is a great lunch spot beside the Cascade Stream. The return will give us amazing views of Lake Wakatipu, Mt Earnslaw and surrounding mountains.
Our destination this evening is the Manapouri Hotel overlooking Lake Manapouri and complete with a great bar and restaurant where we can relax after a very satisfying day.
Day 4—–Fiordland is one of the least explored regions in New Zealand with huge glacial valleys, streams and creeks flowing out over vertical rocky crags ground out by the glaciers millions of years ago . Fiordland has the highest rainfall in New Zealand measured in metres , not centimeters and the geological structures we see on the Borland Saddle Track today are found nowhere else in the country. The Grebe Valley is home to some of New Zealands rarest birds including the endangered Kakapo and remains as pristine and breathtakingly beautiful as it has for thousands of years.
Tonights accommodation and evening meal are at the Waiau Pub in Tuatepere in the heart of Southland and only a few kilometres from the Southland Coast with views of Stewart Island and the amazing Blue Cliffs Beach with impressive swells rolling in from the Southern Ocean and Antarctic.Breakfast is included at the Pub so we get to feast on the famous Tuatapere Sausages, known to be the best in the country.
Day 5—–Wairaki and Mt Linton High Country Stations at the foot of the Takitimu Mountains named after the first Maori canoe that arrived in New Zealand are our destination today and give yet another perspective on the many and varied types of country that can be experienced within relatively close proximity. It is this quality caused by relatively young formations in geological terms that provide these fascinating contrasts. The Takitimu Mountains are literally an island of Mountains, snow covered for much of the year and surrounded by rich farmland, wetland wild bird sanctuaries, and the indomitable peaks of Fiordland and the wild coast of the far South.
Wairakei Station is owned and extremely well run by Richard and Trudy Slee, Richard has won “ Young Farmer of the Year “ and will often meet us if time allows to impart the farm’s history and a dose of Southland humour.
Our accomodation this evening is at remote Waikawa Harbour in the South Catlins and our meal this evening will be 5Km up the road at the Niagara Café, a lovely old converted schoolhouse.
Day 6—–The Catlins
The South East Corner of the South Island, known as the Catlins, is generally regarded as one of the most uniquely beautiful pieces of coastline in New Zealand and it is here that we will explore and experience sub Antarctic wildlife .
The Catlins District starts twenty minutes drive southeast of Balclutha. Revered by eco-tourists, the Catlins is a place of awesome natural beauty. Dense forest, deep valleys, towering cliffs and rocky coastal bays, inlets, and estuaries where the great Pacific Ocean bites into the land. This is truly a unique place!
Further around the coast is the Nuggets Lighthouse, which first began operating in 1870. This spectacular landform is an exceptional viewing point for wildlife such as the NZ Fur Seal, NZ Sea Lion, many species of sea birds, and the occasional Elephant Seal. Nearby is the aptly named Roaring Bay where from the “hide” above the beach you may see rare Yellow Eyed Penguins in the early morning or prior to dusk as they come and go to sea. Dogs are prohibited at this very special wildlife haven.
Our accommodation and home for this evening will be Gore, where the Scottish accent of the original settlers of Southland is still evident today along with a hospitality second to none promising to make our stay here at Gore memorable one.
Day 7—— Argyle Station
The picturesque Piano Flat and the Wakaia River will be our gateway as we head up onto Argyle Station in the foothills of the Old Man Range, famous for extreme weather conditions which can blast up from the South at any time of year. If the weather is kind we will be rewarded with magic views all the way to the South Coast and Stewart Island.A great drive up the valley to Stranach’s Hut for lunch and then on down past the Deer block to Awatere Farm and afternoon tea with James and Denise Anderson is always a highlight.
A second night in Gore is a welcome respite from packing up every morning and a last chance to sample the famous Bluff oysters.
Day 8 —-Gore to Kingston
The Ardlussa Valley and Cattle Flat areas today will lead us into Nokomai Station owned by several generations of the Hoare Family, James runs his helicopter operation from the Station which we’ll get to see on the way through this remarkable area, flanked by the Old Man and Hector Mountain Ranges, this is a very scenic track traversing one of the most remote locations of Southland.
This evenings accommodation is in Kingston with dinner and prizegiving and a chance to reflect on an amazing trip with new found friends.Contact Steve