Back Country Tracks: Rakaia to Kaikoura Coast

Back Country Tracks: Rakaia to Kaikoura Coast

7 day small group South Island tour

Explore the back roads of Canterbury, the Hurunui, Kaikoura Ranges and Clarence River Valley and onto Marlborough. Visit historic sheep stations in the foothills of the Alps, meet the gardeners and hear the stories of high country life. On our final day in Marlborough we take a private cruise out to the mussel and salmon farms on Queen Charlotte Sound.

WHAT TRACY LOVES ABOUT THIS TOUR: High Country Stations are fascinating places. I can only begin to imagine what it’s like to live and farm in that beautiful yet often harsh environment. It’s an adventure and a great pleasure to go off the beaten track to meet the farmers in the Rakaia Gorge, remote The Lakes Station in the Hurunui, the Clarence River Valley and Bluff Station.

  • $4,290 (NZD) pp twin
  • $4,990 (NZD) pp single

Day 1

Fly to Christchurch – Terrace Station - Cleardale Station – Methven

From Christchurch we head to Terrace Station to meet Kate Foster and hear the history of the homestead and buildings built in the 1850s. In the Rakaia Gorge we meet Bob and Anne Todhunter at Cleardale Station and drive the farm tracks above the river to enjoy the views of the Gorge and Alps.

Over afternoon tea we hear the stories of farming life and how this sheep and beef farm has benefited from genetic investment. We stay in Methven at Ski Time Lodge and dine in this evening.

  • Hear the history of the farm buildings at Terrace Station
  • Tour Cleardale Station’s farm tracks with Bob Todhunter

Accommodation

Ski Time Lodge Methven

Methven - Ski Time Lodge

In Methven you’ll stay at the Ski Time Lodge, just a short walk to the town centre. You’ll enjoy all the creature comforts, an extensive wine list, great food, amazing views and brilliant service. 

What we love most about Methven Ski Time Lodge – it has to be the stunning views of the Southern Alps!

Day 2

Methven – Flaxmere Farm – The Lakes Station – Hanmer Springs

From Methven we take the Inland Scenic route to Hawarden to lunch with Penny Zino at Flaxmere Farm and stroll in her beautiful garden, a six star garden of International Significance.

Then, for a real high country experience, we take a winding, gravel road alongside the Hurunui River to meet Sarah Greenslade and hear about life on The Lakes Station surrounded by mountains, rivers and, true to its name, six lakes. We stay two nights at Scenic View Motel in Hanmer Springs.

  • Lunch with Penny Zino at Flaxmere Farm
  • Travel into the High Country to The Lakes Station

Accommodation

Mountain views from the Hanmer Springs Scenic Views motel

Hanmer Springs - Scenic Views Motel & Drifters Inn

In Hanmer Springs you’ll stay in one of two centrally located, well appointed, family run motels. You’ll be within walking distance of the thermal pools and town centre on our stay in this delightful alpine hamlet. 

What we love most about our time in Hanmer Springs – it has to be the hot pools. Taking a relaxing dip amidst the alpine scenery is the perfect end to an exciting day.

Day 3

Hanmer Springs – Hurunui Farmhouses – Hanmer Springs

A day to explore The Hurunui – a region renowned for stunning farmhouse gardens. Over morning tea we hear the stories of Lou and Tim Davison farming life at Wynyard, for over twenty years this farm was the site of the annual Culverden Christmas Country Fete. 

We join Vicki Collett and Andrew Dalzell for lunch at Coldstream Farm and garden in Culverden. Returning to Hanmer Springs, check out the shops or enjoy a relaxing soak in the hot pools before dining out this evening.

  • Meeting Lou and Tim Davison at Wynyard Farm
  • Lunch with Vicki Colett at Coldstream Farm and garden

Accommodation

Mountain views from the Hanmer Springs Scenic Views motel

Hanmer Springs - Scenic Views Motel & Drifters Inn

In Hanmer Springs you’ll stay in one of two centrally located, well appointed, family run motels. You’ll be within walking distance of the thermal pools and town centre on our stay in this delightful alpine hamlet. 

What we love most about our time in Hanmer Springs – it has to be the hot pools. Taking a relaxing dip amidst the alpine scenery is the perfect end to an exciting day.

Day 4

Hanmer Springs – Leslie Hills – Loch Leven – The Point Farm – Kaikoura

Leaving Hanmer Springs we call by Leslie Hills Station to admire the beautifully restored heritage farmhouse. We lunch with Doreen and Michael Dryden at Loch Leven, enjoying their hospitality and a stroll in their stunning garden.  

We take the scenic backroad via Mt Lyford alpine village to Kaikoura. On the Kaikoura waterfront we meet Doreen’s brother Pete Smith at Point Farm, a fifth generation family farm. We stay two nights at The White Morph and dine out each evening.

  • Lunch with Doreen and Michael Dryden in Loch Leven’s stunning garden
  • Meet Pete Smith at The Point Farm on Kaikoura’s waterfront

Accommodation

Kaikoura, White Morph Inn

Kaikoura - White Morph Inn

Here’s how someone summed it up on Tripadvisor recently: “You can sit and watch the whales from your balcony – town is a 5 min walk away and the views of Kaikoura are stunning. The staff were all very friendly and helpful, nice people all round.”

What we love about the White Morph – The great coffee next door, being right across from the beach and on a quiet street.

Day 5

Kaikoura – Woodbank Station – Waipapa Station – Kaikoura

We drive north to Woodbank Station in the Clarence River Valley to meet Johnny and Robyn Murray and their son Ben who specialise in breeding Angus cattle tough enough to survive the harsh back country environment. 

We lunch across the river with Jane and Derrick Millton at Waipapa Farm and enjoy the wide ocean views. Waipapa was the scene of a memorable image from the Kaikoura earthquake – three cows stranded on a grass island after the hillside fell down around them. We return down the coast to Kaikoura.

  • Meet the Murray family at Woodbank Station
  • Lunch with Jane and Derrick Millton at Waipapa Farm

Accommodation

Kaikoura, White Morph Inn

Kaikoura - White Morph Inn

Here’s how someone summed it up on Tripadvisor recently: “You can sit and watch the whales from your balcony – town is a 5 min walk away and the views of Kaikoura are stunning. The staff were all very friendly and helpful, nice people all round.”

What we love about the White Morph – The great coffee next door, being right across from the beach and on a quiet street.

Day 6

Kaikoura – Kekerengu – Bluff Station – Blenheim

Returning north to Kekerengu we head inland to meet Sue Murray at Bluff Station, a vast high country merino and beef cattle farm that reaches to the base of Mt Tapuae-O-Ueneku, the highest peak in the Inland Kaikoura Range.  

Sue tells the stories of her family’s history on the station as she guides us for an hour along a private farm road out to their workers’ settlement at Coverham where we stop for a picnic. Later in the day we continue  to Blenheim to the Scenic Hotel Marlborough and dine in this evening.

  • With Sue Murray explore back country tracks at Bluff Station
  • The peaks of the Inland Kaikoura Range

Accommodation

Scenic Hotel Blenheim

BLENHEIM - SCENIC HOTEL MARLBOROUGH

Located in the heart of sunny Marlborough, this Blenheim hotel is just minutes walk from the middle of town. This contemporary 4-star plus property sparkles with style and comfort and has signature kiwi-made wool and down bedding. 

What we love about Scenic Hotel Marlborough – You will know you are in the heart of Sauvignon Blanc country with the hotel offering a wine tasting which includes a selection of six of the best wines of the region. Head to the the bar and enjoy.

Day 7

Blenheim – Queen Charlotte Sound – Blenheim – Return flight

We meet Sarah and George Murray for morning tea at Aschworth their rugged, high country farm just 15 minutes from the centre of Blenheim.

In Picton we board “Odyssea” for a private lunch cruise with seafood on the menu, out around the inlets and bays of Queen Charlotte Sound. Returning to Picton, we transfer to Blenheim airport.

  • Meet Sarah and George Murray at Aschworth Farm
  • Lunch cruise on beautiful Queen Charlotte Sound

Next departures

Tour DatePrice (from)Availability
20 Oct 2024 - 26 Oct 2024
$4,290 (NZD)
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18 Nov 2024 - 24 Nov 2024
$4,290 (NZD)
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15 Dec 2024 - 21 Dec 2024
$4,290 (NZD)
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17 Mar 2025 - 23 Mar 2025
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Please contact us if you have any questions about our tour departure dates.

Tour DatePrice (from)Availability
20 Oct 2024 - 26 Oct 2024
$4,290 (NZD)
Sorry it's full
Enquire
18 Nov 2024 - 24 Nov 2024
$4,290 (NZD)
Sorry it's full
Enquire
15 Dec 2024 - 21 Dec 2024
$4,290 (NZD)
Filling up
Enquire
17 Mar 2025 - 23 Mar 2025
$4,290 (NZD)
Sorry it's full
Enquire
21 Apr 2025 - 27 Apr 2025
$4,290 (NZD)
Filling up
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