South Island West Coast & Eastern Explorer tours

NZ Adventures’ can show you the best of the South Island High Country.

Owned by long time farming couple Robbie and Connie Crickett, NZ Adventures runs tours for like-minded people to drive their own, or hire a vehicle to drive through the spectacular scenery of the South Island.

They are currently offering five different tours of five, six and seven days. Accommodation is in motels, dining at restaurants and some lunches are with run holders on the Eastern Explorer. Picnic lunches, meanwhile, are offered on the West Coast Explorer Tour.

Each vehicle is equipped with quality radio communication and Robbie provides a knowledgeable commentary as the trips proceed.

The great divide

Both the West Coast Explorer and Eastern Explorer are five day trips and each is as different as it is possible to get.

“In fact,” says Robbie, “nowhere is the east/west contrast more notable than on the first day of the West Coast trip when the tawny brown tussocks of North Canterbury, St. James Station and the Western Molesworth are left behind as the trip suddenly plunges into the verdant beech forests that are a feature of the journey.”

Early highlights of the West Coast Explorer include the tracks on St. James, Lake Tennyson and the highest road pass in New Zealand. Overnights on the Coast include two nights in Murchison, a night each in Westport and Reefton, and the last night in Greymouth.

Day two of the tour takes in a bush clad river valley east of Murchison, which is always an adventure.

The Denniston Plateau

A highlight of day three is the visit to the Denniston Plateau and the history and coal mining in this historic and sometimes inhospitable place.

Driving the magical beech-lined tracks near Reefton is the priority on day four.

But for most the absolute highlight of the trip comes on the last day in the forests and farmland inland of Ohaura, where you explore  a tunnel system on a property where a stream was diverted in the search for gold.

“We also look at the unique power system which supplies a new home in a relatively isolated area,” says Robbie, “The overshot water wheel, which the owners constructed, generates electricity through the motors out of a Gentle Annie washing machine.

“Further up the valley into the DOC reserve area of Napoleon Hill we look at various old gold mining operations which include where early miners diverted the original creek through large tunnels to mine the creek floor for gold. Two of the tunnels are drivable with our vehicles – an absolutely  spectacular experience.”

Eastern promise

The Eastern Explorer starts in Geraldine and heads south-east through the mountain ranges of South Canterbury to overnight at Oamaru. The highlight of the first day has  to be the rare chance to drive through Four Peaks Station.

The second day route takes the trip high into the Kakanui Mountains of North Otago and a chance to have a look at the volcanic landforms on the northern edge of Central Otago. Overnight is in Ranfurly.

Day three takes in views of the Oceania Gold mine at Macraes Flat as well as some great 4X4 tracks in the little known Strath Taieri area heading down  to an overnight in Mosgiel.

Day four takes the trip into the Otago hinterland and a mixture of forest and farmland. In the afternoon those on the tour cross the Lammermoor range through the Te Papanui Conservation Park to the overnight stop in historic and quaint Lawrence.

Day five the route follows the Clutha River before turning into the mountains and following old gold mining routes through very isolated and sparsely settled country before arriving at the journeys end in Alexandra.

If either tour sounds a bit of you more details are available in the ad in this issue. You can also check out NZ Adventures’ website at www.nzadventures.co.nz or contact Robbie direct on mob +027 435 4267 or Connie on 027 550 6727 or either on 0-3-218 8569. You can also email them at Robbie@nzadventures.co.nz or connie@nzadventures.co.nz.

To read every story in the July 2017 issue of NZ4WD go to Ziniocom (June 16) or purchase your own hard copy at the Adrenalin store.

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