High Country Stations Of Inland Canterbury 2019
15-22 March 2019Download PDF Itinerary
Our original and much loved high country tour, exploring the expansive back country of the central South Island and Southern Alps. This is country that is guaranteed to take your breath away! Stations abound near and far with high country hospitality showcased at its best!
Travelling over the Cook Straight by ferry sees us in Picton for the night before departing for the scenic Pacific Coastal Highway to Kaikoura (lunch stop) and on to Hanmer Springs to soak in the hot springs or wander through the village. Travelling south sees us venture to many stations and delightful gardens which surround these properties. Some station homesteads are even historically listed.
Erewhon Station sees us enjoy a ride by a team of astounding Clydesdale Horses and we can enjoy the views of the spectacular terrain of this remote property. We will be able to explore the small museum, station buildings and pat the foals, as we enjoy a packed picnic lunch in the salubrious surrounds of the Erewhon woolshed. Horsepower of a different kind comes the next day where we find ourselves enjoying the thrill of 4WD Vehicles on Lake Heron Station. A tour visiting many remote locations and experiencing high country hospitality at its best!
Friday 15 March - Travelling to Picton
This morning we are transferred to Wellington where we meet at the ferry terminal for an afternoon sailing across Cook Strait to Picton.Upon reaching Picton we make the short transfer to our Picton accommodation to settle in before dining in this evening.
Saturday 16 March - Picton to Hanmer Springs
Departing Picton this morning, we make 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 will 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 leafy grounds of the historic St Mary’s hospital or the exotic forests of Hanmer. We dine at a restaurant adjacent to our accommodation this evening.
Sunday 17 March - Hanmer to Methven: BlackHills & Terrace Station
This morning we depart for Hurunui, where we visit BlackHills, an historic North Canterbury farm specialising in coloured sheep breeding.This property also features restored cob farm buildings and pioneer farm machinery and we will meet its dynamic owner Bev Forrester. Our lunch stop today (own choice and cost) is in the quaint village of Oxford on the inland scenic route.
This afternoon we visit Terrace Station at Hororata. Owned by Richard and Kate Foster, Terrace Station is the one-time hub of an extensive property dating from the 1850s that was established by Kate’s descendants. Most of the farm buildings, including the smithy and woolshed still exist, and a delightful garden surrounds the property. We will also be able to view the front rooms of the historic homestead, which provide much information on the colonial period including photographs. 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, soak in the hot pools, take a dip in the pool, or to mingle in the guest lounge before we dine in tonight.
Monday 18 March - Ashburton Gorge: Lake and Heron and Erewhon Station
We travel up the Ashburton Gorge today; stopping to enjoy morning tea at beautiful Lake Heron, 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 nearby Mesopotamia Station. 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. We will be able to explore the small museum and station buildings, as we enjoy a picnic lunch in the salubrious surrounds of 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.
Tuesday 19 March - The Point, Middlerock and Ben Lea Stations
Today’s tour begins with a visit to The Point Station, an 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 peak 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 at a popular Methven Village restaurant this evening.
Wednesday 20 March - Glenfalloch Station
We will be travelling with a local company in comfortable 4-wheel drive vehicles today as we embark on another unique and unforgettable adventure.Today our travels take us up the valley of the Rakaia River, another of the great Canterbury Rivers. Up in the headwaters of the Rakaia we find Glenfalloch Station, a 10,000 hectare high country run owned by Charles and Dietlind Todhunter. A drive over the main arterial farm track will take us through terraced grassy flats, tussocky hill country, and over scree slopes fanning their way down valley, and will provide endless views of the Rakaia Basin, and glimpses across the river to the famous Mount Algidus Station. A delicious lunch catered by Dietlind in a special spot on the banks of the river is one of today’s highlights, before we make our way back down river to Methven. We enjoy relaxed dining in this evening after another big adventure.
Thursday 21 March - Gunyah Estate and Travelling to Hanmer
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 an 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 return to Hanmer as we begin the journey homeward.
Friday 22 March - Travelling Home
An early start this morning as we travel north on our way to Picton, travelling via Kaikoura and the Pacific Coast.A fascinating journey but only if weather conditions allow us to travel through this still vulnerable landscape. Lunch today is in Picton (own expense) prior to departing on our afternoon 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
- Ski Time Resort, dinner
- 2 course or buffet dinners
- Morning teas on most travelling days
- All coach travel
- Interislander Ferry transfers
- BlackHills, Hurunui; visit
- Terrace Station; garden, homestead and station building tour of
- Erewhon Station; horse drawn wagon tour and talk
- Point, Middle Rock, and Ben Lea Stations; station tours; morning tea and lunch
- Glenfalloch Station; Station tour and lunch
- Entry to Methven Heritage Centre
- Gunyah Country Estate, lunch and tour
- Packed picnic lunch day 4
- Stronechrubie Country Restaurant, dinner