Locals are the first to admit, rural Southland is the last place you might expect such a considerable mix of cultural and historic nuggets but Gore is increasingly becoming known for its history, heritage and artwork. The region also has plenty of outdoor pursuits for visitor to see and do, with fishing being one of the most popular!
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There are plenty of local fishing guides who can help you land the perfect catch. For your culture fix explore the history of the illicit moonshine whisky distilling in the Hokonui hills at the Hokonui Moonshine Museum. The Eastern Southland Gallery is home to work by leading contemporary artist Ralph Hotere and the international art collection of Dr John Money. There are also interesting museums at Wyndham and Mataura, with the latter being housed in the historic Clematis Cottage.
The Croydon Aviation Heritage Centre in Mandeville, with its display of vintage aircraft, is one of the jewels in Eastern Southland’s crown - if you’re feeling particularly adventurous you can even go for a flight in one of the restored plane
Alongside its trout-filled rivers, the region also boasts a range of scenic reserves including Dolamore Park a great place to take an easy hike through native bush, let the children play, wander through gardens or relax in the sun with a picnic. For garden enthusiasts Eastern Southland features a number of historic gardens like Maple Glen. There are various areas for sport and recreation, including golf courses, mountain biking trails, a BMX track, and the impressive Gore Multisports Complex.
As the hub of the district, Gore offers plenty of variety when it comes to places to eat, from restaurants, cafes, bakeries and bars to suit every occasion. Enjoy a coffee at the Green Room a small eclectic style café beside the SBS St James Theatre. For a distinctive dining experience visit The Thomas Green Restaurant which offers an all-day menu with stylish décor. Or for food on the go grab some delicious pies and treats from Oven Fresh and One Chef Kitchen. Nearby in Mataura there’s Country Cottage Cafe which specialises in home-made food and great coffee, focusing on homestyle hospitality and atmosphere.
Gore offers a range of accommodation to suit any visitor. Heartland Hotel Croydon is a popular choice with their onsite restaurant and central location. While the Reservation B&B and Hokonui Bed and Breakfast provide a unique, intimate experience with locals keen to share their region with travellers.