The Far South: Hidden Treasures

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    12-18 March 2022

    Day 1: Fly to Dunedin – Otago Peninsula – Dunedin

    On arrival in Dunedin we explore along the Peninsula road waterfront to Portobello where we stop for lunch.

    Returning to Company Bay we head to the local landmark, Larnach Castle. Built in 1871 for William Larnach, the castle has been owned and painstakingly restored by the Barker family for over 50 years. Set high on a ridge above the Peninsula the castle is surrounded by a unique collection of special gardens and plants. Dunedin’s Southern Cross Hotel is our home for two nights and we dine in both evenings.

    Day 2: Aramoana – Orokonui Ecosanctuary – Karitane – Matanaka

    We call into Port Chalmers and visit Aramoana at the entrance to Dunedin harbour.

    At Orokonui Ecosanctuary a predator fence protects over 300 hectares of  coastal forest. Walk a short trail to see bellbirds, takahe, rifleman and kaka.

    Truby King’s house is nearby at picturesque Karitane, a favourite holiday spot. At Waikouitai the collection of farm buildings at Matanaka, built by Johnny Jones in the 1840s, are the South Island’s first European buildings.

    Day 3: Dunedin – Balclutha – Bluff – Invercargill

    We head to Brighton and the Taieri Mouth and lunch in Balclutha.

    At Bluff the famous sign at Stirling Point is an irresistible photo stop. Bluff’s Maritime Museum tells the stories of this wild coastline and one of its prize exhibits is the speedy fishing boat “Monica” built in 1909 and usually the first to bring back the oysters on the opening day of the season.

    We stay in Invercargill at the Ascot Hotel for two nights and dine in both evenings.

    Day 4: Invercargill – Winton – Nightcaps – Otautau

    At Bill Richardson Transport World in Invercargill there’s an incredible collection of vintage cars and trucks to browse and petrol pumps too!

    Then we explore the country roads of Southland’s heartland including the century old, and still processing flax fibre, Templeton Flax Mill and Heritage Museum at Otaitai Beach.

    In Otautau we visit the art gallery and meet Allan and Beverley and check out Allan’s Kiwiana collection of vintage camera and sound gear and a model railway.

    Day 5: Invercargill – Riverton – Orepuke – Tuatapere – Lake Hauroko – Te Anau

    We visit Riverton, a popular seaside holiday town and lunch in Orepuke on the coast.

    From Tuatapere farmlands give way to native forest surrounding Lake Hauroko, a hidden treasure deep in Fiordland National Park. Johann and Joyce tell us the stories of this remote region as we cruise out on the deep, crystal clear lake and around mysterious Mary Island.

    On the way to Manapouri, at Clifden there’s an historic suspension bridge to check out, built in 1898 to replace the punt across the Waiau River. We stay at Distinction Hotel, Te Anau and dine in this evening.

    Day 6: Te Anau – Mavora Lakes – Mt Nicholas Station – Queenstown

    From Te Anau we head into the back country to Mavora Lakes nestled in the mountains of Te Wahipounamu South West New Zealand World Heritage area.

    We leave the Southland province for Otago on the stunning drive along the Von River to Mt Nicholas Station on the shores of Lake Wakatipu.

    From Mt Nicholas we cruise across the lake to Queenstown where we stay at Novotel Lakeside Hotel and dine in this evening.

    Day 7: Queenstown – Arrowtown – Fly to Auckland

    There’s time to relax this morning and enjoy a leisurely stroll around the lakefront to the Botanic Gardens and perhaps check out the boutique shops.

    Later we drive up Coronet Peak for the spectacular views and call into Arrowtown and the Chinese miners’ settlement along the banks of the Arrow River. We fly back to Auckland in the afternoon.

    Images courtesy of MoaTours2020