Authentic and bespoke New Zealand travel experiences guided by a local southern girl; see and do activities that are off the beaten track and "real".
Looking for a relaxing rural getaway that is both enjoyable and affordable? A farm vacation might be the answer, and it’s only a short drive or flight away. Agritourism is becoming increasingly popular, as farmers recognise the value of their lifestyle to city dwellers. Getting back to nature and away from the hustle and bustle of city life is an experience you won't forget. Spring is a particularly beautiful season for farm visits, with new growth and plenty of animal activity.
Discover the rural farm life in Southland via the Southern Scenic Route as you sit back, relax and reconnect with nature. After you enjoy this rural tourism itinerary you will return to everyday life with a fresh perspective and a better awareness of rural Southland.
1 to 3 Days
325km (one way)
Nestled between the Eyre Mountains and Lake Wakatipu, Real Country provides a variety of thrilling activities. Ever wanted to channel your inner Robin Hood and learn how to shoot a bow and arrow? Keen to hone your skills with some clay target shooting? You can’t leave without giving the whip cracking a go either. This is a one of a kind, out the gate farm experience.
Located in the charming village of Garston, this sweet family business manages the end-to-end product, from beekeeping to retailing their delicious honey and homemade cosmetic lines. Take a hive tour or enjoy a tasting, but don’t drive past without picking up some pure New Zealand honey for your journey.
For more road trip snacks purchase some wild hand-crafted salami and deer sticks from the 2017 Artisan producer of the year. Gathered Game products are made with natural ingredients such as wild deer meat, herbs and spices. Venison is a nutrient-dense super meat that is high in protein, iron, and has a low-fat content so no need to feel guilty when you are chomping down on these delicious snacks. Gathered Game’s award-winning products are made using only licensed sustainable sources from New Zealand’s incredible wilderness.
Eat - Lumsden
Route 6 Café in the heart of Lumsden is where you will find a modern, 1950's themed Americana diner with a Kiwiana touch! Serving up cheeseburgers and the best cheese rolls around, this themed restaurant is a super cool spot to enjoy a meal, a coffee or just have a chat with the friendly staff.
Cycle part of the ‘Around the Mountains’ Cycle Trail
Choose to travel some of your journey between Kingston and Lumsden today via bike or e bike. The ‘Around the Mountains’ cycle trail slots in perfectly with today’s itinerary enabling you to take in some of the finer details of Southland's booming agricultural heartland. Bring your own bike or make use of the tour and hire companies located in Mossburn, Queenstown or Te Anau.
Stay - The Lodge at Tikana
Settled amongst the rich southern landscape on a 100-acre deer stud farm, the lodge’s unusual straw bale construction epitomises luxury and exclusivity. Enjoy the evening snuggled up on the plush couch in the ambience of a wood fire or soaking in the decadent double bath.
Other accommodation options include Dunrobin Valley Farmstay, which offer farm tours and your own private waterhole located just 5 minutes’ walk from your accommodation. Duck Pond Cottage has stunning views from the deck and Crosshill Fishing Lodge has the option of enrolling in a cheese making class.
Make a brief stop at this seasonal fruit and vegetable market for some nutritious snacks for today's travel, and if your accommodation option allows self-catering, some local vegies from here could pair well with some of Tuatapere's famous sausages for dinner.
Sprawled over a generous 3 acres, Tudor Park's garden is quintessentially English and contains a variety of plantings, arbours and pergolas, old shrub roses and a hornbeam hedge. The garden offers a number of vantage points to sit and soak in the stunning environment including the canal and a large pond. Keen gardeners and organisations from all over the world consider Tudor Park a must-see, especially with its listing in the New Zealand Gardens Trust Guide. Please call ahead as viewings are by arrangement only.
Located in Riverton, the Environment Centre is a collective of community-based groups all working to leverage and care for the lush landscapes and friendly people of Southland. It's the type of place where you can drop in to stock up on seasonal produce and health foods or have a chat about gardening, farming and seed collection. Call in to learn more about Riverton's innovative forest garden and heritage orchard project which have been set up by trustees of the Centre.
Eat - Orepuki Beach Café
Situated on 8 hectares of pastureland overlooking Te Waewae Bay and the Longwoods Forest, the Café serves fantastic garden to table food including scrumptious house baked breads and homemade cakes. Their commitment to providing fresh farm products includes growing their own herbs and seasonal greens as well as rearing their own beef and lamb. The cafe is in a grand old house which was built back in 1885 by an English military captain.
Saddle up for an Orepuki Horse Trek adventure. Commencing on a 400-hectare sheep farm, you can choose between two great routes. Follow bush trails into back country Western Southland to be captivated by mountain views and the rich history of years gone by. Alternatively enjoy the farm to beach loop track with unforgettable views of Te Waewae Bay, capturing everything from Stewart Island to Fiordland. With a little luck you might even get to see the rare Hector’s dolphins.
Stay - West Range Station
Situated on the doorstep of Fiordland National Park, West Range Station is a 2300 hectare working sheep and cattle station. Take a stroll through the gardens this evening before enjoying a home cooked meal. You will treasure these memories of relaxing in the completely renovated authentic 1950's country home with spectacular views and peaceful surroundings.
Alternative accommodation options with farm activities on offer include the eco-friendly Kepler Mountain View Cottage with alpacas and its own hot tub or Sou'West Cottages who offer evening animal feeding tours and photo opportunities.
Some accommodation providers offer meal options which is a great way to learn more about the farm and your hosts. If you are staying rural and have self-catering facilities tonight, we recommend the famous Tuatapere sausages from Tui Base Camp with local veggies from Wilson's Vege and perhaps a little sweet treat from Orepuki Beach Café? Be sure to go outside and make the most of minimal light pollution for an unforgettable night sky.
Enjoy a farm experience with your hosts at West Range Station
Make the most of the interactive farm stay experiences on offer at your accommodation, if you stayed at West Range Station, a guided 4WD tour of the sheep and cattle station will ensure you leave knowing decades of operational history as well as getting up close and personal with the cute farm animals. Let your hosts share their knowledge and show you their ‘backyard’. Observe how they work, or just sit on the lawn and be adored (and licked!) by the zoo of attention-seeking animals.
Book in for an interactive and educational farm tour, the team will show you around and introduce you to the lovely, quirky alpacas who love being fed by hand and getting an Instagram worthy selfie! Become best friends with these magnificent creatures before learning even more about them in the Wild Wool Gallery, where you can see and touch processed alpaca fibre, learn about the characteristics of alpaca fleece, and gain an insight into a number of New Zealand farming practices
Te Anau has a variety of dining options to suits all tastes and budgets. Whether you are looking for a quick bite from the gourmet food truck ‘Bao Now’, you plan to dine in and relax at the Fat Duck, or you are going to Redcliff Cafe for their impressive menu featuring some of Fiordland’s finest fare, you are sure to find something to suit you in Te Anau.
Established in the early 1970s by a group of Te Anau history buffs who wanted to preserve the town's pioneering days, the Fiordland Vintage Machinery Museum is home to over 60 functioning tractors. Its broad collection includes a range of early road graders and motorcycles, various early machinery, a fully operational blacksmith shop and exhibits of Te Anau's early history such as the first telephone exchange.
Final night at Dusky Ridges Farmstay
Named for the "ridges and colours" of its epic Fiordland views, Dusky Ridges Farm Stay bed and breakfast is an opulent blend of both traditional and modern farm residence architecture with a Scandinavian influence. Set on 500 acres of classic New Zealand sheep and deer farm in a picturesque location, you will enjoy privacy and possibly the most amazing breakfast provisions of your entire trip. It's peaceful and remote, yet only a five-minute drive to Te Anau's lovely town centre.