Route One from Burnham to Ashburton – 56kms
Return on Route 75 from Akaroa to the Christchurch area to meet up with Route One. Easier than going through the city take the turn off left at Tai Tapu through Lincoln and Springston till you reach Burnham on Route 1. Turn south. You will cross the Rakaia, Ashburton and Rangitata Rivers. This is salmon fishing country. These rivers host the returning ocean salmon on their run up river to spawn where along the banks eager fishermen await their progress. Some extremely large weights are recorded.
You will pass through the town of Ashburton that is about an hour's drive south of Christchurch. Have you noticed a lot of sheep in the fields? Just read in the paper New Zealand had over 40 million ewes alone with a 123% lambing rate. Now that's a lot of lamb racks.(Sorry vegetarians). Through the flat plains of the Canterbury area you begin to see a lot of deer farms, alpaca farms, ostrich farms, horse ranches. All over New Zealand there is quite a variety of farming. There is a real story about how deer farming began here.
After crossing the Rangitita River turn right on Route 79 and visit the town of Geraldine. One of our favourites. This is a place I feel shouldn’t be missed. Doesn’t take long to get there just about 15 minutes after the turnoff on Route One. A must if you are going into MacKenzie Country.
From Geraldine south take the road back to Route One at Winchester if continuing south
down the east Coast of the South Island.Route south to Timaru – 20kms from Winchester (Route One)
There are two choices at this point. If you are in a hurry and need to go on south missing the Mackenzie Country leave Geraldine on the direct road south back to Route One (11 kms) connecting at Winchester turn south. Next town is Temuka (7 kms).
A very interesting side road tour of just a few kilometres west. Take the road to Pleasant Point (10kms) turning off Route One west at Arowhenua just south of Temuka. A strange type rail car is the major feature but there is also one of the best butchers and he is open on Sundays. A few kilometres out of Pleasant Point to the north is one of the secrets of the area the Opiho Winery. Worth a stop for a taste or a bite to eat. Also the home area of New Zealand's rare native bat colony and a river outside of town where we parked by one day and I sighted two brown trout of at least 5 lbs. each. Both spotted me before I did them so I got to watch as they disappeared not to return. I will have another look with more caution next time.
From here a return on Route 8 out of Pleasant Point back to Route One and south. (12kms)
By going this route you get to visit Timaru one of the camper van friendly towns in New Zealand. Just pror to Timaru you will see an advertisement to the Shephard's Quarters a cafe and gallery not to miss. Turn left for a couple of kms.
[u]or perhaps you can go Geraldine to the Fabulous Mackenzie Country and Mt. Cook
Leave Geraldine after a stop at the EasyWay Cafe, one of the best in the South Island, take Route 79 west to Fairlie (46kms) where you meet up with Route 8.
You may want to stop at the Farm Barn on the right at the top of the hill just before Fairlie for a bite or a look through their gallery.
Now for the fabulous area known as Mackenzie Country the New Zealand high country. It is one of the most spectacular regions in the world for traveling. Passing by Lake Tekapo (42kms), Lake Pukaki (47kms). Photo opportunities abound.
Turn left on Route 80 (55kms) to the foot of the world famous Mount Cook where you can stay the night.
(click here for more Mt Cook details) (page provided)
from Mt. Cook to Omarama (38kms) and back to Route One at
Oamaru - 118kms and on to Moeraki – 34kms
Return from Mount Cook to the turn off to the right on Route 8 through Twizal and on to Omarama.
If you want to sample the high country salmon stop by the Salmon Farm.
From there go east( 2 hr drive) on Route 83 until you reach the coastal Route One again north of Oamaru the town famous for the beautifully carved stone. Artists throughout New Zealand have used Oamaru stone for exquisite work. You might get there in the evening when a colony of little blue penguins come ashore to their hillside nests.
Oamaru details (page provided)
Now the landscape and terrain start to become more interesting.
On south (34kms) on Route One the next stop will be Moeraki Boulders and Moeraki. Make sure you check these details out.Moeraki to Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula –101kms
Just south of Moeraki on the coastal cliffs are two good rest stops one with a toilet. The next place to see I probably shouldn't even mention as it has not been exploited and sometimes I feel I will cause this to happen. if you do go there please respect the area.You come upon the turnoff to the left to Shag Point. Take that road out to the end where you get one of the best up close looks at the large fur seals basking the day away. Just don't disturb them. No one likes to be awakened during their sleep period. The history of the place is interesting. I will leave that for you to read on the information plaques.
Our next have to stop town is Palmerston. This is a surprise place for its size as it has a top class restaurant at the DeRail Cafe. Bryan Jackson and family do a quality job in everything they provide. They have worked hard to build their own smoker and succeeded. Do try their smoked salmon and or anything else they have smoked. They know their coffee too.
Heading south (80kms) on Route One to the fabulous city of Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula. The road after the descent into Blueskin Bay then begins its hard core up and down the hills until you actually get into the city. The fields around are covered with the yellow gorse. This is where it all began. Now let's go into Dunedin and on to the Otago Peninsula.
Leaving Dunedin is very easy from downtown. Just take Route One, the major route. Before leaving town on the left is a Mobil station with easy access to fill up. On over the hilltop and away. 211 kilmetres to Invercargill by Route One through wide valleys and rolling farm land covered wih sheep it seems ever field manicured to glf green looking meadows by munching sheep. Love the early trip we do ni September when everywhere you see the new born lambs their antics hilarious. Dunedin, the Catlins, Lawrence, Gore and Invercargill
Back out to Route One and on the trail south to more exciting adventures. They are just beginning.
Route One from Dunedin to Balclutha, the Big River Town straddling the Clutha River,(63kms)and the turnoff to the left to the Catlins. (alternate if the weather is miserable is to bypass the Catlins staying on Route One to Invercargill(217kms - 5 hrs).
A full side trip may be in order depending on your desires and time frame. I recommend this way if you have been through this way before actually. Will add more to this in time to come but for now his route encompasses the art deco town of Ranfurly, one of the most impressive communities if St. Bathans and its haunted pub (don't miss this place and drive down to the lake across from the pub too), Alexandra where you take Route 8, Roxburgh where you can find orchard after orchard of fresh fruit in season and then Route 90 to Gore. Take a look at the map and decide your alternatives.
Gore is known as the Brown Trout Capital of the World by the way and has the Hukonui Moonshine Museum plus is the Country Music Capital of New Zealand. Busy little place at various times of the year. The Green Room Cafe is our favoutite stop in town.
At Gore you also have an alternative route depending on your time frame or what direction you may wish to travel. Route One on to Invercargill or Route 94 west directly to Te Anau missing most of Southland. We never go this way as we have called Riverton our southern "home" on the circle of the South Island always staying at the Globe Backpackers (best pizza in NZ) and stopping at the top Southland cafe and coffee at the Beach House Cafe, Rocks Highway, Riverton. Be sure to go on to the Riverton Rocks.
When you get to Gore either way you go Route One or Route 94 make the ten minute drive north on Route 94 to the Moth Restaurant and the Croyden Airfield where they have bi-plane flights and restore Gypsy Moth airplanes. The restaurant has a wall full of awards for its culnary efforts. Beautiful ambience along wih it.
A place not very well known off the beaten track is one of our favourite overnight stays. Probably regret telling everyone this one as we may not continue to enjoy the lack of other people but I guess that is what this is all about so here goes.........
Taking Route 94 again toward Te Anau just a few minutes out of Gore (11kms) on the left is the turnoff of 8kms (or a road just as you leave town on the left both signposted) to a very hidden and absolutely beauiful secenic reserve known as Dolarmore Park. 95 hectares of the largest broadleaf/podocarp forest in Eastern Southland surrounds a large area of well maintained and exotic planted park where the morning songs of bellbirds and Tui greet you. Next to the 80 hectare Croydon Bush Reserve it is the starting point for several great short walks ranging from 10 minutes to four hours. Fabulous playground for children in the park. A night walk will also reveal the glowworms population.
The manager is Vic Herring and is proud of the place especially the 500plus rhododendrons planted on the place. A great story he tells of how that happened. The place is manicured and lovingly cared for.
The Park provides toilets, shower, dump station and twelve power points, electric BBQ's and a kitchen block for only $5 per person with school children free.Just make sure you get in before dusk when the gate closes. There I have done it! See you there.
Map of Dolamore Park and the Croyden Bush Reserve with walks on my website.
Another shorter side route is to take a right at Milton on Route 8 to the town of Lawrence (34kms) one of the major gold areas of early New Zealand days and wondefully restored and maintained.
Be sure to have a look at Gabriel's Gulch where gold was originally discovered here.
If off to the Catlins get an early start so you can enjoy the day in the region
You might want to stay the night or go on to the city of Invercargill.
There is more complete travel information with photos on my website
at New Zealand Travel Guide
to help you....