High Country Stations Of Inland Canterbury 2020
22-29 March 2020Download PDF Itinerary
High Country Stations Of Inland Canterbury 2020
Join us for a unique opportunity to explore some very special and remote areas of the South Island. We concentrate on one region - inland Canterbury, which also allows us to base ourselves in one place for several days. Gardens, homesteads and historic stations take center stage in our Canterbury explore.
We do stress though that this is a back-country adventure so expect to really get in touch with nature. We will be travelling over at times, uneven terrain in 4WD vehicles. A level of basic fitness and mobility, together with a flexible attitude, is strongly recommended.
Sunday 22 March - Travelling to Blenheim
A leisurely start from all destinations today as we are transferred to Wellington and meet at the Interislander Ferry terminal for our mid-afternoon sailing across Cook Strait to Picton.Upon reaching Picton we travel the short distance to Blenheim in the heart of the Marlborough wine region, where we settle into our accommodation at Quality Hotel before dining this evening.
Monday 23 March - Blenheim to Hanmer Springs
Departing Blenheim 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, where we stay at Hanmer Springs Retreat. 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 Queen Mary Hospital or the exotic forests of Hanmer. We dine at a restaurant adjacent to our accommodation this evening.
Tuesday 24 March - Hanmer to Methven: BlackHills and Terrace Stations
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 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, Methven Resort, there will be time to relax and explore our new surroundings, soak in the hot pools or mingle in the guest lounge before we dine in tonight.
Wednesday 25 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 at a popular
Methven Village restaurant this evening.
Thursday 26 March - Ashburton Gorge: Lake 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, featuring delicious cuisine from locally sourced produce.
Friday 27 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.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.
Saturday 28 March - Gunyah Estate and Travelling to Hanmer
Before departing Methven this morning we visit the Methven Heritage Centre.Here we 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 return to Hanmer as we begin the journey homeward.
Sunday 29 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
- 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
- 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
- Methven Heritage Centre: entry
- Gunyah Country Estate: lunch and tour
- Gunyah Country Estate: lunch and tour
- Packed picnic lunch day 5
- Stronechrubie Country Restaurant: dinner
- Ski Time Resort dinner