South Is­land 4x4 tour op­tions

NZ4WD - - NEWS -

NZ Ad­ven­tures spe­cialises in multi-day es­corted 4x4 Tours of the South Is­land high coun­try. The most pop­u­lar, and the only tours Rob­bie and Con­nie Crick­ett run more than once over the sum­mer sea­son are the High Coun­try Her­itage Six-Day and the West Coast Ex­plorer Five-Day. The High Coun­try Her­itage is NZ Ad­ven­tures’ long­est run­ning tour and is of­fered monthly from De­cem­ber through un­til April. Start­ing in Blenheim, this trip takes par­tic­i­pants down the eastern side of the South­ern Alps to fin­ish in the his­toric ham­let of Cardrona near Wanaka. Overnights along the way are of the high­est avail­able stan­dard in Han­mer Springs, Methven, Lake Tekapo, Omarama and Cromwell. Lunches are gen­er­ally on high coun­try sta­tions with ex­cep­tions be­ing a pic­nic lunch high above Lake Ben­more on Day Four and a very nice pub lunch in St Bathans the fol­low­ing day. Tracks cover a mix­ture of sta­tion and DoC-man­aged lands but as the to­tal trip is of over 1200 kilo­me­tres the ter­rain on this trip is not es­pe­cially de­mand­ing.

Big sky coun­try

With the gen­eral ab­sence of trees down the route and the na­ture of the ter­rain mean the vis­tas seem to stretch out for­ever. This is real ‘ big sky coun­try’ across iconic prop­er­ties and into pic­ture post­card places. For any NZ Ad­ven­tures’ trip the only spe­cial re­quire­ments of the ve­hi­cles are that AT-type tyres are fit­ted ( which is gen­er­ally the case any­way) and that the ve­hi­cles have a low-range trans­mis­sion. All ve­hi­cles get a ra­dio and a wide rang­ing com­men­tary and twoway dis­cus­sion is gen­er­ally en­joyed as the trip makes its way down the is­land. The West Coast Ex­plorer is com­pletely dif­fer­ent to the High Coun­try Her­itage and in­deed dif­fer­ent to any of the com­pany’s other trips. The t wo main rea­sons are the dense rain­forests of the west and of course the rain that made them pos­si­ble. Start­ing in Han­mer Springs the West Coast tour which is run twice dur­ing the sea­son very quickly leaves the dry and the tawny tus­socks of Can­ter­bury be­hind as the route takes the trip west to­wards its first two overnights in Murchi­son.

Al­ways spec­tac­u­lar

What­ever the weather this trip is al­ways spec­tac­u­lar and hugely var­ied. Trac­tion is never an is­sue as the tracks are gen­er­ally rocky, while dust is sel­dom present as the route winds through the beech forests. The views are not as ex­ten­sive but there is such a lot of history and at­mos­phere wait­ing in the bush out west that the trip is al­ways a favourite and one we love host­ing. Apart from Murchi­son, overnights on the coast are in West­port, Reefton and Grey­mouth. High­lights of the trip are nor­mally the jour­ney deep into the alpine val­leys east of Murchi­son on Day Two, his­toric Den­nis­ton on Day Three, the bumpy old bush road into Big River on Day Four and the twist­ing track off Napoleon Hill on Day Five. For more in­for­ma­tion of NZ Ad­ven­tures and it tours check out the ad in this is­sue or go to ww.nzad­ventues.co.nz

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