South Island 4x4 tour options
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.
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