Into the ‘Back of Beyond’ with High Country Journeys
Ever wanted to get into the back country and travel through many of the iconic South Island sheep stations and experience the isolation and majestic scenery of the high country in your own time? Then why not join a fully guided self drive or tag-along tour organised by High Country Journeys. High Country Journeys is now run by Maniototo-based John Mulholland who lives near Ranfurly. John has been involved in the 4WD guiding scene in the South for over t wenty years.
Two new tour options
Last season High Country Journeys introduced two new fully guided tour options; the ‘South Island High Country Grand Slam’ and the ‘Great Mackenzie Country and Central Otago Explorer,’ both of which have proved extremely popular. ‘ The Grand Slam’ is a sevenday/ eight-night package that starts in Blenheim and takes in Molesworth Station and the North Canterbury high country then follows the usual route from Lake Coleridge and the Rakaia River area down through the Mackenzie Country to Cardrona/ Wanaka in Central Otago. ‘ The Great Explorer’ is a sixday/ five-night tour that starts in Fairlie or Lake Ohau and takes in the rugged tussock lands and majestic high country of the Mackenzie Country, Lindis Pass, Central Otago and Northern Southland and also ends in Cardrona. John has been absolutely rapt with the response to these tours especially ‘ The Grand Slam’ and as he says “A lot of our clients are coming down from the North Island any way so it was a logical progression to offer them an option to do Molesworth on the way while the other option we started in Fairlie/ Lake Ohau has some incredibly stunning new tracks and is popular with clients who have done some of our other tours before and who might be looking for something a lit tle more challenging.” These two tours are also complemented by the legendary and original six-day/ seven night ‘Heart of the High Country Tour’ that starts near lake Coleridge and also ends in the Cardrona/ Wanaka area.
An adventure and a holiday in one
These packages are an adventure as well as a holiday that combine fine hospitality in very comfortable rural farmstays, good food, farming tales, high country yarns and four-wheel driving through stunning scenery with passionate local guides who really know the country. You will be able to drive your own 4WD vehicle ( or a hired one) and travel at a more relaxed pace from station to station as part of a smaller more personal tour group of vehicles that will have access to many remote tracks, some only available to High Country Journeys. John, who to date has been responsible for guiding over three thousand vehicles through the high country remarks, “Safety is a huge issue for us and one we really concentrate on as we have a huge responsibility to our clients and to the property owners. We equip each vehicle with an R/ T so that they are always in touch with the guide vehicle at all times. “One of the most enjoyable things about the job is the look you see on people’s faces when you take them to a mountain peak at almost 2000 metres ( 6000 ft.) or so with some amazing views. That really gives you a buzz.”
On tour with High Country Journeys.