7 Day / 6 Night Tour with stays in Dunedin, Invercargill, Te Anau and Queenstown to explore the coast and lakes of the Far South
Exploring the country roads, seaside settlements and undiscovered places of Otago and Southland. Cruise out on Lake Hauroko and hear the stories of the lake and mysterious Mary Island. Another special highlight - the secluded Mavora Lakes and the back road leading to Mt Nicholas Station and our boat ride across Lake Wakatipu to Queenstown.
What Tracy loves about this tour:
It takes commitment to reach the south western corner of the South Island, an isolated region with a rugged charm and a fascinating history, that’s well worth the journey. Special treasures along the way are Dunedin’s Orokonui Eco-Sanctuary, Lake Hauroko and the Mavora Lakes.
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.
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 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.