Molesworth Station and Rainbow Mountain
Molesworth Station is New Zealand’s largest farm at over 180,000 hectares and supports the country’s biggest herd of cattle.It is divided into two sections and this tour with encompass both areas. The farm contains threatened native plants and animals and land forms. Our tour features Alpine lakes, mountain passes, rivers geological faults, 100 year old homesteads, native flora and fauna plus the wildlife. A truly unbelievable tour.
Tuesday 17 November – Saturday 21 November 2020 (5 days)
Day 1 Tuesday 17 November 2020 – HOME CITIES – BLENHEIM (D)
Today you make your way to our overnight accommodation (own arrangements for flights to Blenheim). Tonight you will meet your fellow travel companions in the hotel restaurant for a group dinner.
Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Marlborough, Blenheim
Day 2 Wednesday 18 November 2020 – BLENHEIM – HANMER SPRINGS (BLD)
After breakfast, we embark on the 4WD Molesworth coach to commence your tour over Taylors Pass (the original stock track) to the Awatere Valley. This part of the journey is a scenic delight with the colourful and swift Awatere River snaking its way down to the East Coast and the high narrow country road wending its way up through idyllic rural life scenes, stock, narrow gorges, rough country and the incredible early pioneer history all explained to you by our experienced and friendly driver/guide. We will call into a well-known Awatere Valley Station for morning tea before continuing our journey on up the Valley to Molesworth Station passing numerous famous high country farms on the way. A stop will be made for a picnic lunch & refreshments at the original Molesworth Cob Cottage before continuing on through New Zealand’s largest farm. Watching cattle and horses grazing, the numerous valleys scattered with native flowers, Vipers Blugloss, pink briar roses, and the ever-present matagouri you realise that you cannot pass through this unique country without thinking about the people like William Acton-Adams, William Atkinson, the Chisholm and the Reid family and the countless young stockmen and rabbiters who all have left their special mark on this relentless country. Moving on into the Acheron Valley we follow the river, its fault lines and unusual rock formations, passing more grazing Angus cattle and numerous birdlife in this unequalled landscape so immense it is almost impossible to comprehend. Taking time out to discover the old Acheron House and its many tales of travellers and stockmen, which are bound up in its clay and straw walls for over 156 years. It definitely feels like another world and you just cannot “pass-through” here without the expert knowledge and experience of your guide who will give you the full commentary of the history and anecdotes that make up this once in a lifetime experience, never to be forgotten. Crossing over the Clarence River and on into the Clarence Valley and we finally descend down the historic Jollies Pass stock track into the tranquil Alpine Village of Hanmer Springs to your accommodation.
Accommodation: Heritage Hotel Hanmer Springs – 2 nights
Day 3 Thursday 19 November 2020 – HANMER – MOLESWORTH STATION – HANMER (BL)
This morning we depart from Hanmer Springs climbing over the 3000′ Jacks Pass to the Clarence River valley and on up to Lake Tennyson, often referred to as the ‘jewel in the crown’ nestled under the spectacular snow-clad Spencer mountains for a stroll and a cuppa. Travel on up and over Island Pass (4550′) the highest through road in New Zealand to see the Wairau River headwaters and the many alpine plants that abound in this area. It is remarkable for the transition from flowing tussock lands where vast screes spill from ridge crest to valley floor to the craggy, beech covered mountains in a lonely landscape split with fast-flowing snow-fed streams and ice cold sparkling lakes. Enter into the rugged Molesworth Station and traverse the Southern Alps through the appropriately named Hells Gates gap to the Rainbow River and the bush lined grazing flats of this remarkable isolated high country farm. Passes in this upper Wairau Valley were part of overland routes used by the early Maori. Later, high country graziers moving large sheep flocks between Nelson / Marlborough and Canterbury built a chain of Cob Houses to accommodate weary travellers in this often hostile land. A stop is made at the old Rainbow Cob Homestead which is one of these buildings. A break in the journey is taken to have a picnic lunch at Cold Water Creek before a return is made into the Molesworth/Tarndale country and the chance to visit the Alpine tarns (lakes) for a stroll and look around. We continue our homeward journey past the historic St. James Station that was once one of New Zealand’s largest private farms until purchased by the Crown in 2007. We take a steep descent down into the Hanmer Basin and the peaceful Village of Hanmer Springs and then it is time to reflect on an amazing adventure through one of New Zealand’s most rugged and historic High Country areas. Dinner tonight is at your leisure in Hanmer Springs.
Day 4 Friday 20 November 2020 – HANMER – CHRISTCHURCH (BD)
After a leisurely breakfast, we will be taken by coach into the village where you will have the opportunity to have a soak in the hot pools. (Own expense) These natural thermal pools are so relaxing – sit and soak in the minerals and soothe your aches and pains as you gaze up at giant redwood trees and mountains towering above. If you’re not taking this as an option you will have time to walk around the village before we continue on our journey to Christchurch. On arrival in Christchurch we will have a brief city tour and visit the Cardboard Cathedral prior to having time to wander around the garden city.
Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Cotswold, Christchurch – 2 nights
Day 5 Saturday 21 November 2020 – CHRISTCHURCH – HOME CITIES (B)
This morning you will be transferred to the Christchurch Airport where you will return back to your home destination (own arrangements for flight home).