24th Feb – 3rd March 2023
Day 1 – CROMWELL
Arrive at the Asure Central Gold Motel in the historic Cromwell which nestles at the Southernmost tip of the Kawarau River and the beautiful Lake Dunstan between the spectacular Pisa and Dunstan Mountains. Accommodation and meal this evening is included in your trip fee and a chance to meet your Guide and fellow 4WD’ers.
Asure Central Gold Motel address 24 – 26 Barry Ave Cromwell. There will be a team briefing at 5.00pm in one of the Motel rooms and then we’ll head out to the evening meal venue at 6.30pm.
Day 2 – CROMWELL to KINGSTON
Assemble outside Central Gold Motel, vehicles lined up ready to go at 8.30am sharp.
Todays track takes us up over the Duffers Saddle, the highest public road in New Zealand and entry to one of the most beautiful alpine valleys in the South Island. After numerous stream crossings the track brings us onto Lorne Peak Station and climbs an impressive switchback out over the Hector Mountains, an extension of the Remarkable Range. From the dizzying heights of the Hector Mountains we get a spectacular view out over the Kingston Basin, the Garvie Mountains, the Old Man Range and the Mataura River famous for its trout fishing.
This evening will be spent 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.
Day 3 – KINGSTON to MANAPOURI
Assemble outside our accommodation, then head for the Mavora Lakes track which runs along the shores of the very pretty Mavora South and North Lakes between the Livingston and Thompson Mountains where some of the filming for “Lord of the Rings” took place. The track has some interesting water holes to negotiate on the way to Carey’s Hut where we’ll have lunch right on the Lake edge. 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 with spectacular views down this magnificent valley towards the Western arm of Lake Wakatipu. The return will give us great views of the Von and Oreti Rivers and we’ll get to see the western side of the Eyre Mountains before making our way to Manapouri.
Our destination this evening is the Manapouri Hotel overlooking Lake Manapouri, complete with a great bar and restaurant where we can relax after a very satisfying day.
Day 4 – MANAPOURI to TUATAPERE
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. 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.
Tonight’s accommodation and evening meal are at the Waiau Pub in Tuatepere in the heart of Southland. This is only a few kilometres from the Southland Coast with views of Stewart Island and the amazing Blue Cliffs with impressive swells rolling in from the Southern Ocean and Antarctic. Breakfast is included at the Pub so we get to feast on a great farm breakfast.
Day 5 – TUATAPERE to THE CATLINS COAST
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 centimetres and the geological features we see on the Borland Saddle Track today are found nowhere else in the country. The Grebe Valley is home to some of New Zealand’s rarest birds including the endangered Kakapo and remains as pristine and breathtakingly beautiful as it has for thousands of years.
Tonight’s accommodation will be at Waikawa Harbour right on the waterfront. It’s only 5 minutes drive from Curio Bay, home to the Hector’s Dolphin and if the tide is favourable, a great view of the fossilised trees at the Southern end of the Bay.
Our meal this evening is in the old schoolhouse now converted into the Niagara Falls Café. Sue will be our Hostess dishing out good old fashion Southern Hospitality.
Day 6 – THE CATLINS COAST to GORE
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 a memorable one.
Day 7 – GORE to 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 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
Cattle Flat is our track today accessed up through Cattle Flat Station along the edge of the Mataura River . A very pleasant hours drive up through Mandeville, home to the Tiger Moth museum and the Ardlussa Valley, brings us to Cattle Flat Station owned by the Young Family. A short run along the valley and then we head North West up a great track to Black Peak with excellent views back over Southland and on a good day, Stewart Island. A short walk up to the trig for the best photo shots and then we head back towards the Old Man Mountain Range and out through Lumsden to Kingston to complete the loop and arrive back where it all started 8 days ago.
This evenings accommodation is in Kingston with dinner and prizegiving and a chance to reflect on an amazing trip with new found friends.
Please note all tracks are weather dependant and NZ 4×4 Treks reserves the right to change the itinerary at any time to accommodate adverse conditions which could affect access and compromise Station Owners, safety of vehicles and safety of clients.
We look forward to having you on board and the chance to share one of our great adventures.
Please Contact Steve here for bookings and more information.