Water Splash Muddy puddle


(as per the route on Tour 1)

The High Country - One Day 4x4 Adventure following old gold miners and Maori Greenstone trails.
If you have always had a hankering to get behind the wheel of a 4WD and go "off road" now is your chance - as long as you have held a full license for five years and are over 25.

Drive around the edge of a lake Mustering sheep on the station

On a high country sheep station there is a "4WD only" track for you to drive along surrounded by stunning scenery.

Pastoral view Heading towards the mountains Rolling farmland

Starting the day from the Canterbury Plains we will drive you through farmland and the rolling hills towards the distant mountains. This area is where we live and we like nothing better than to show you our "own back yard" and share a little known jewel in the crown. No tourist buses go where we take you - they would not get there! We guarantee that you will see magnificent scenery and the chances are we will see less than a dozen vehicles all day - and most of those being the people who live in this area.

View to the foothills View into the valley

At the top of a pass you can look back over the foothills to see the way we have come before viewing the route that will take us into this remote river valley. Marvel at the tough men who came this way on foot in their quest for gold on the West Coast.

We travel in half a day what would have taken them weeks, longer if the rivers were flooded as there were no bridges until very recently. We will tell you all the tales of these gold miners on your journey in.

Looking into the valley below is like being in a plane River terraces

We begin the steep descent with aerial views of the river terraces far below as the river winds its way through a gorge. Like being in a plane we gradually "come into land" in the valley below.

Lush farmland on the river terraces Fast flowing waters

Lush farmland gives way to steep sided mountains dense with native forest where we meet the river for the first time as it rushes through the constraints of a gully.

Our route across bluffs and up glaciated valleys Stunning reflections

Our journey is upstream following the routes taken by early Maori in search of Greenstone. We travel through glaciated valleys until we reach the 4WD track around the lake where you may take over.

Misty mountains Lake in spring sunshine Black swans

After morning tea you will begin your drive, around a lake that has many moods. Come rain or shine a great day can always be had. Rain just means the water holes are fuller and your "splash photos" will be even better!

The track through the bush Native bush drive Emerging from the bush

Taking control of the wheel you will drive through the native bush that lines the track at the side of the lake. Emerging from the bush your route follows a series of water holes - some very deep after heavy rain. You now know why the vehicle has a "snorkel"!

Water hole reflection Water hole splash Emptying the water hole

Even the water holes have wonderful reflections which don't last long once we arrive!

Crossing the moraine Rutted track ahead Definitely off road

Crossing a glacial moraine the track ahead leads to more of those muddy water holes.

Jet Boat required? Coming through Better move that camera quick!

The deeper into the mountains we go the more frequent and deeper the water holes become.

Misty moody mountains Crossing 'river of stones' A good place for lunch

Skirting the edge of one lake and sometimes "in it" after heavy rain we cross a "river of stones" to arrive at our lunch stop at the side of the lake. A beautiful lake is the perfect place for a picnic followed by a walk in the native forest. On hot days you may also swim in the lake to cool off or if you prefer you could fish for a while. (Seasonal and by prior arrangement)

Water holes on return journey Reflection about to disappear In the water hole

As there is no through route in this valley our way out is back through those waterholes again which seemed to have re-filled themselves!

Valley reflection Pete and Spaniard Grass Lichen on trees

Leaving the beautiful lakes behind we stop to check out the dangerously sharp Spaniard Grass and the lichen encrusted trees usually have Bellbirds in full song as we pause to take in the aroma of honeydew that seeps from their trunks.

Swingbridge across the river Perry family safely at the other side

We have afternoon tea at the side of the river so those that dare can take the "Swing Bridge Challenge. Other places in NZ charge you to have a go at crossing a swing bridge! Here we challenge you instead!

This wire rope bridge is suspended over the fast flowing river- which moves at dizzying speeds - getting across to the other side is easy - if you hold on!

The challenge - Paul trying to cross Pete almost there Sorry Pete - left hand touched!

The challenge is on the return crossing to make it without holding on! Keeping your balance is not easy and as yet no one has managed it within the time limit!

Track cut out of solid rock by hand River flows towards the sea Track clinging to cliff face

The challenge over, we drive you back via the narrow tracks clinging to the rock faces cut by hand. Following the river once more downstream there is a completely different view from that on our way in. Climbing the pass once again we descend through the foothills and return you to the Canterbury Plains.

Departs Waikari and includes pick up/return (Approx 9am - 5.30pm)

One Day: $375 (including GST) per person (12 years and under half price)
(Based on a minimum fare of 2 adults)

  • includes morning and afternoon tea and a delicious Kiwi style picnic lunch.
  • Limited to 2 drivers per party.
  • License, age and all usual vehicles hire conditions must be fully complied with before departure including a refundable credit card "damage bond".






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