High Country Stations 2024

11-18 March 2024

Explore the expansive Canterbury High Country and meet the owners who farm this remote and spectacular country, far up in the headwaters of the giant Canterbury Rivers and nestled against the Southern Alps. A horse drawn wagon ride over the moraine landscapes of Erewhon Station and a 4WD adventure up a remote glacially carved valley are unique highlights. This is country that is guaranteed to take your breath away! 

Day 1

Monday 11 March - Travelling to Picton

A leisurely start from all destinations today as we are transferred to Wellington and meet at the ferry terminal for our mid-afternoon sailing across Cook Strait to Picton. Upon reaching Picton we transfer to our hotel, where we settle in before dining in this evening.

Day 2

Tuesday 12 March - Over the Lewis to Hanmer Springs

After a hearty breakfast, we leave Picton, making our way up the Wairau Valley, passing through the village of St Arnaud, in the Nelson Lakes area, and stopping for lunch (own choice and cost) in the country town of Murchison. Our journey continues this afternoon through the scenic Lewis Pass to our destination Hanmer Springs. There should be time before dinner to soak in the natural mineral waters of the thermal pools for which this area is so renowned, or alternatively a wander in the exotic forests of Hanmer. We dine in at our hotel this evening.

Day 3

Wednesday 13 March - Hanmer to Methven: Waihui Garden and Terrace Station

This morning we depart for Rotherham, where we visit Waihui, a country garden surrounded by the broad flats of Hurunui farmland, with the Waiau River nearby. The garden has been landscaped as a series of garden rooms suitable for different conditions which, over the years gardener Meg has discovered works best when dealing with the trials of wind, livestock, rain and snow. We will also learn about the farm operation.

Our lunch stop today (own choice and cost) is in Rangiora. This afternoon we visit Terrace Station at Hororata. Owned by the Foster family, Terrace Station is the one-time hub of an extensive property dating from the 1850s that was established by Kate Foster’s descendants. Most of the farm buildings, including the smithy and woolshed still exist, and a delightful garden surrounds the historic homestead. We will be able to view the front rooms of the homestead, which provide much information on the colonial period, as well as a swaggers hut, a 19th century ploughman’s caravan and a Carriage House with original family horse-drawn vehicles. A cup of tea provided by our hosts will see us on our way as we make our way into the upper Rakaia Gorge, crossing the Rakaia River at this spectacular spot and making our way to Methven. Checking in to our hotel, there will be time to relax and explore our new surroundings or mingle for a pre-dinner drink before we dine in tonight.

Day 4

Thursday 14 March - Ashburton Gorge: Erewhon Station

We travel up the Ashburton Gorge today, stopping to enjoy a Tranzit cuppa at Lake Camp, in the Hakatere Conservation Park. We then make our way up into the vast headwaters of the Rangitata River to Erewhon Station, nestled amongst the Southern Alps. Erewhon is named in honour of Samuel Butler, who wrote the novel “Erewhon”, and farmed on Mesopotamia Station, across the river. The 14,000 hectare Erewhon today is owned by Colin and Erin Drummond who breed Clydesdales and run 5000 merino. We enjoy a very special experience today, taking a wagon ride pulled by a team of Clydesdales over the spectacular terrain of this remote property, and watching a ploughing demonstration with these hard-working animals. We will enjoy a picnic lunch in the Erewhon woolshed and listen to Erin as she talks to us about high country life.

There is much to see in this magnificent, glaciated valley, and time to explore as we travel back down the valley. Mt Sunday was the setting for Edoras, the fortressed city of the Rohan people in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and we pass several other scenic montane lakes. We stop to explore the historic station buildings of the original great Hakatere run, the oldest a stone cottage built in 1860. This evening we dine out at Stronechrubie Country Restaurant, located at Mt Somers and featuring delicious cuisine from locally sourced produce.

Day 5

Friday 15 March - The Point Middlerock and Ben Lea Stations

Today’s tour begins with a visit to The Point Station, a historic farming property at Windwhistle owned by Steve and Teena Richards. Over morning tea with our hosts, we will learn about the property, and can take a tour of the large garden with a glimpse into the historic homestead.

We then move on to Middle Rock Station where we are welcomed for lunch by hosts Lyn and Bruce Nell and their daughter Charlotte Rietveld, who with her father, runs the farming operation. We will have time for a leisurely wander of the large homestead garden framed by panoramic views of the Mt Hutt range, before reboarding the coach to take a tour of the farm. Middle Rock farms over 7,000 sheep producing fine wool and export lamb for international meat markets. We then travel to nearby Ben Lea Station, whose owners Sam and Cathie Bell will share the history of Ben Lea and provide a farm tour of the station’s diverse cropping river flats, including a peek at the magnificent Terrace Downs Resort, a luxury high country retreat and golf course. Afternoon tea back at Ben Lea Homestead ends our day. Returning to our hotel, we have time to relax and freshen up before dining out this evening at a popular restaurant in Methven Village.

Day 6

Saturday 16 March - Lake Heron Station

We will be travelling with a local company in comfortable 4 wheel drive vehicles today as we embark on another memorable adventure. Travelling a short distance again up the Ashburton Gorge we then turn off to beautiful Lake Heron, stopping on the shores of the lake to enjoy morning tea before heading on an off-road adventure through Lake Heron Station. A four generation Canterbury high country run, the station runs merino sheep and Angus cattle. We will be joined by the owner of the station, Philip Todhunter, who will share the history of this magnificent property, and we’ll be hosted by Philip and wife Anne for lunch at the homestead.

Returning to Methven, we dine in at our hotel again this evening, after today’s adventure.

Day 7

Sunday 17 March - Gunyah Estate and Travelling to Kaikoura

Before departing Methven this morning, we visit the Methven Heritage Centre to experience the Alpine and Agriculture Encounter, an interactive collection that will summarise our stay in this region, telling the story of Mid Canterbury – from the mountains to the plains. We then visit Gunyah Country Estate at Hororata, where we will enjoy our last taste of rural hospitality. Gunyah is a grand homestead built in 1912 and which has a historic places listing. Here owner Simonetta Ferrari will share the history of this elegant Edwardian home and property and provide a finger food lunch with silver tea service to see us on our way. This afternoon we continue our travels north to Kaikoura, and settle into our hotel, pleasantly located on the Esplanade. We dine out this evening at a popular local restaurant.

Day 8

Monday 18 March - Travelling Home

Our travels north this morning take us via the Pacific Coast, a scenic and fascinating journey through this much changed landscape. Lunch today is in Picton (own expense) prior to departing on our afternoon ferry sailing returning us to Wellington. Finally, we bid our fellow travellers goodbye before being transferred to our home locations.

The cost of the tour includes

  • Accommodation
  • 2 course or buffet dinners
  • Breakfasts
  • Morning teas on most travelling days
  • All coach travel
  • Cook Strait ferry transfers
  • Waihui Garden; visit
  • Terrace Station; homestead, farm building and garden tour
  • Erewhon Station; horse drawn wagon tour and talk
  • Point, Middle Rock, and Ben Lea Stations; station tours; morning tea and lunch
  • Lake Heron Station; 4WD station tour and lunch
  • Methven Heritage Centre; entry
  • Gunyah Country Estate; lunch and talk
  • Picnic lunch day 4
  • Stronechrubie Country Restaurant; dinner
  • Arabica Restaurant; dinner

Departure Detail

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Pricing Validity

All costs associated with each tour are outlined in full within each tour itinerary. All pricing quoted is valid for the dates of tour when booked.

Reservations and Payments

Bookings for all Tranzit tours can be made through any Tranzit Coachlines Reservations Centre or an approved Travel Agent. Any person making a booking for others shall be deemed to have accepted these Terms and Conditions on behalf of all individuals they are booking on a tour and it is the responsibility of the person making the booking to bring these Terms and conditions to the attention of those individuals booked.

A deposit as stated in the Tour Itinerary is payable to secure the booking.

The balance must be paid in full by the date stated in the Tour Itinerary.

Any reservation made within fourteen (14) days of the tour departure must be paid in full at the time of booking.

Cancellations, Postponements and Alterations

Cancellations by the Customer

Cancellations 45+ days before tour departure date – a cancellation fee valued at 15% of your deposit, plus any other fees charged by other providers such as accommodation, ferry, activities etc.Cancellations 44 – 8 days before tour departure date – a cancellation fee valued at 15% of the total tour cost, plus any other fees charged by other providers such as accommodation, ferry, activities etc.

Cancellations within 7 days before tour departure date – a cancellation fee valued at 25% of the total tour cost, plus any other fees charged by other providers such as accommodation, ferry, activities etc.No refunds will be made for cancellations made within one day of departure or once travel has commenced. Refunds will not be provided for unused portions of a tour, unless the Customer can provide genuine reason and documentary evidence that services were unable to be utilised (and a refund if applicable is available from the other provider) in which case the company will review each request and may provide a partial refund at the sole discretion of the company.

Cancellations of one half of a twin share booking will result in the Customer cancelling being charged the cost of a single booking, if the Company is unable to match the twin share booking with another Customer.

Alterations by the Customer

The Customer may transfer their booking to another person for the same tour and commencement date, but only if the other person satisfies all of Tranzit Tours requirements in relation to the tour and provides us a completed Booking Form. The Customer must notify Tranzit Tours in writing of the intended transfer at least 30 days prior to the commencement date of the tour. A $60 transfer fee per person/per transfer will apply (in addition to any supplier change fees).

Cancellations or Postponements by the Company

Tranzit Tours reserves the right to cancel, reschedule or postpone a tour. With the exception of the Force Majeure section below, Tranzit Tours will:In the event of a tour being cancelled by the company prior to departure and not postponed – refund the total amount paid in respect of that tour or provide a credit, but will have no further liability to the Customer.

In the event of a tour being postponed – rebook the Customer for the new departure date or provide a credit, but will have no further liability to the Customer.

In the event of a Force Majeure event that occurs prior to, or during, a tour such as but not limited to fire, flood, volcanic eruption, earthquake, avalanche, severe weather, power outages, labour disruptions, pandemic, government controls or other events outside Tranzit Tours control that interrupts the ability to operate the tour in full or in part, or if Tranzit Tours determines that the quality of the tour or the health and safety of the Customer would be compromised, Tranzit Tours reserves the right to cancel, postpone, or shorten the tour and will be excused and released from its obligations without liability of any kind. Customers will receive a credit for postponed tours. For cancelled or shortened tours, refunds in these circumstances will be in full less any unrecoverable costs (i.e. expenses already incurred or fees charged by other providers).

The Customer will be advised of any increased tour costs as a result of the postponement. Credits will be equal to the value of the payment made and must be used within 12 months. Customers are strongly advised to take out travel insurance.

In the event of cancellation or postponement by the company, Tranzit Tours is not responsible for any consequential loss incurred by the Customer. Customers are again advised to take out travel insurance.

Alterations by the Company

Before Tour Commencement: If a major change to the tour needs to be made before departure, we will inform the Customer of the change as soon as practicable and will advise of any consequential price increase or decrease.Tranzit Tours reserves the right to alter a tour (including the itinerary) and substitute accommodation facilities should unforeseen circumstances beyond our control make changes necessary. Whilst every effort is made to adhere to the itinerary as provided, the company reserves the right to alter the touring and attractions as dictated by circumstances and conditions outside the company’s control.  Alterations may be made to ensure the smooth running of the tour.  Every attempt will be made to ensure alterations do not adversely affect the operation of the tour.  The company will not be held responsible for weather-based cancellations, or those closures made at the tour provider’s discretion.

Tranzit Tours will inform the customer as soon as practicable and will advise of any consequential price increase or decrease.

Insurance

Tranzit Tours recommend that you purchase comprehensive travel insurance to cover against things like lost or damaged luggage, accident or sickness, loss or theft of personal belongings and documents, or the need to cancel or shorten your tour.  Please note that special conditions will apply for pre-existing medical conditions with all travel insurance policies.

Health and Fitness

Tranzit Tours are generally able to accommodate most fitness abilities; however, some tours may require a certain level of physical fitness for full enjoyment of tour activities. The Customer must inform Tranzit Tours, at the time of booking, of any health or fitness restrictions that may limit participation of tour activities or put the Customer, tour staff or other customers at risk. The Customer acknowledges that their suitability for a tour, or any activity within a tour, is wholly the Customer’s responsibility.

Payment of a deposit by the Customer to secure a Tranzit Tour acts as a warranty that:

o   the Customer is reasonably healthy and/or fit to participate in the tour, and

o   the Customer does not have a health, physical condition or disability that would create risk to themselves, tour staff or other customers, and

o   the Customer indemnifies Tranzit Tours from all actions, claims and demands arising out of any want of health or fitness.

Tranzit Tours reserves the right to decline a booking on medical, health or fitness grounds at its sole discretion.

Tranzit Tours reserves the right to remove a Customer from a tour, or quarantine a Customer on tour, if their health and/or fitness interferes with the tour or staff safety or other Customers safety or tour experience in any way. Any additional costs associated with a Customer’s removal from tour or placement into quarantine, shall be borne by the Customer. Refunds will be made in accordance with these Terms and Conditions. 

Authority on Tour

Tranzit Tours are operated by staff with decision making authority while on tour. By travelling with Tranzit Tours, you agree to accept the authority of the driver/guide and their decisions are final in all matters likely to affect the wellbeing, safety or experience of any customer or staff member on board. Failure to adhere to reasonable requests or any inappropriate behaviour that is degrading the experience of other customers, may result in the Customer being removed from the tour. If a Customer is asked to leave a tour, any costs associated with returning home will be borne by the Customer and any unused portion of the tour will not be refunded.

Responsibilities

Tranzit Tours include goods and services provided by other operators such as hotels, attractions and transportation companies. Customers are advised to familiarise themselves with the terms and conditions on which these services are supplied. Accordingly, Tranzit Tours will not be responsible and will be excluded from liability for any loss, damage, omission or acts being negligent or otherwise, committed by other goods and service providers used in connection with the tour.

Tranzit Tours is not liable for any loss, damage, delay, or injury caused to the traveller or their baggage whilst under the care or control of a third-party provider. A Customer’s baggage and personal effects shall be carried at the owner’s risk as provided for under the Carriage of Goods Act.

Tranzit Tours is not responsible for any losses or additional expenses to the Customer due to tours impacted by Force Majeure events that occur prior to, or during, a tour such as but not limited to fire, flood, volcanic eruption, earthquake, avalanche, severe weather, power outages, labour disruptions, pandemic, government controls or other events outside Tranzit Tours control that interrupts the ability to operate the tour in full or in part, or if Tranzit Tours determines that the quality of the tour or the health and safety of the Customer would be compromised.

Acceptance of Risk

The Customer acknowledges that all Tranzit Tours may be subject to risks and dangers beyond that which might be experienced by the Customer at home. Except as provided in law, the Customer acknowledges that they assume all risk and Tranzit Tours is not liable for misadventure, death, injury, delay or loss which occurs during the tour.

Seat Rotation

For the enjoyment of all travellers Tranzit Tours operates a seat rotation system which all travellers must participate in as a condition of booking.

Photographs

Photographs used to market any Tranzit Tour depict typical scenes experienced, but the subject matter may not necessarily be seen or experienced whilst visiting a destination within a tour.

Whilst on tour, the Customer may be included in photographs and/or film taken by the guide or driver. These photographs may be used for future promotional advertising purposes and by booking on a Tranzit Tour the Customer authorises the use of any images they are captured in to be used without further consent or any payment of any kind. If the Customer does not authorise the use of their image for promotional purposes, they must make this known at the time of booking.

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Any personal information that Tranzit Tours collects about the Customer may be used for any purpose associated with the operation of a tour or to send the Customer marketing material in relation to Tranzit Tour products. The information may be disclosed to our agents, service providers or other suppliers to enable Tranzit Tours to operate the tour. Tranzit Tours will otherwise treat your details in accordance with our privacy policy (available on our website).

Applicable Law

The laws of New Zealand govern these Terms and Conditions to the fullest extent allowable.

Thank you Ali for your professionalism as our tour guide, Steve and I both enjoyed the tour very much. - Pearl, Travel Club Member