Come and explore the back roads from Canterbury to Central Otago visiting historic sheep stations and meeting the gardeners. From Aoraki/Mt Cook we head down the Waitaki Valley to Danseys Pass following the old route taken by stockmen and miners over to the Maniototo and the goldfields.
Departs from Auckkland with stays in Mt Somers, Geraldine, Mt Cook, Ranfurly and Lawrence.
17 November 2020
Day 1: Auckland- Darfield - Mt Somers
From Christchurch we drive to Louise Deans’ Homebush Station, Darfield for lunch and visit their museum, heritage farm buildings and garden developed by the family since the 1850s.
We continue on to the Rakaia River Gorge and stay in Mt Somers village at Stronechrubie and nearby B&Bs. We dine at Stronechrubie this evening.
Day 2: Mt Somers - Erewhon Station - Geraldine
Erewhon Station is at the top of the Rangitata Gorge in Lord of the Rings scenery. Colin Drummond and Erin Cassie use horses for a lot of their station work and they will hitch up their team of Clydesdales to take us for a wagon ride in this stunning landscape. We have lunch in their wool shed before returning back down the road.
We stay two nights at Geraldine’s Scenic Route Motor Lodge and dine in town.
Day 3: Geraldine - Orari Gorge Station - Orari Estate Station - Geraldine
At Woodbury Rhododendrons we meet Bernie and Joy O’Keefe and wander their garden and nursery. At Rosa Peacock’s Orari Gorge Station there are historic farm buildings and an expansive garden to enjoy.
We lunch with Rosie Morten at Orari Estate Station, a lovely garden set around a pond, and return to Geraldine in time to stroll around the artisan shops specialising in cheeses, preserves and woodworking to name a few.
Day 4: Geraldine - Burkes Pass - Lake Tekapo - Mt Cook
We visit David and Lois Attwood’s collector’s garden of rare and unusual plants and Bob and Libby Hall’s and Don and Margaret Campbell’s beautiful Geraldine gardens.
At Burkes Pass we enter the Mackenzie Country and stop to enjoy the views at Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki. We stay at The Hermitage and dine in the Panorama Room.
Day 5: Mt Cook - Hakataramea - Duntroon - Danseys Pass - Ranfurly
We drive to Omarama then turn eastwards through the Waitaki Valley to Kurow and on to lunch with the Pavletich family at Station Peak homestead, Hakataramea.
At Duntroon we visit the Vanished World Heritage Centre then drive up the historic gravel road to Danseys Pass. We call into the Danseys Pass Coach Inn which was once at the hub of a thriving goldfield and reach Hawkdun Lodge in Ranfurly and dine in tonight.
Day 6: Ranfurly - Macraes Flat - Hyde - Middlemarch - Lawrence
Macraes Flat vast opencast gold mine is an astonishing sight. We lunch nearby at Stanley’s Hotel built in 1882 and drive the golden tussocks of the Rock and Pillar range to Middlemarch and onto Lawrence to stay the night.
We meet the locals who are getting together to restore their pretty, historic town which was the gateway to the goldfields and dine in town tonight.
Day 7: Lawrence - Gabriel's Gully - Dunedin - Auckland
We breakfast in town and meet up with a local guide to hear about Lawrence’s history, driving out to Gabriel’s Gully where in 1861 Gabriel Read discovered gold and the gold rush years began. We visit the Chinese Camp, an historic reserve with stables, a hotel and the Joss House being restored.
Leaving Lawrence, we lunch with Sarah Homer at Linthigow Farm then drive on to Dunedin airport in time for your return flight.