Mainland Rendezvous Post-Rally Southern Tour – Monday 13 March to Sunday 19 March 2023

Please read the following tour description and if you are keen to join us, pre-register by completing the form following. NOTE: Places are limited. Please advise prior to the 29th October.

IMPORTANT: The accommodation cap has been reached for this tour, so no further registrations can currently be accepted.  However, if you haven’t registered but would like to go on a waitlist, please fill out the form below.”

The Post-Rally tour has become a regular feature of National Rallies, and provides an opportunity to explore – or revisit – a part of the country that may not always be familiar to many Rally participants.  Immediately following on from the Mainland Rendezvous, the 2023 Post-Rally Tour traverses some of the most stunning and surreal landscape that this special country has to offer.  Planning is still in the early stages, but an outline ‘subject to change’ itinerary is as follows:

Day 1 – Monday 13 March – Rangiora to Geraldine. Travelling via the ‘Inland Route’ of the Canterbury Foothills; taking in Oxford, Sheffield, the Rakaia Gorge, Methven, Mayfield & Orari.

Day 2 – Tuesday 14 March – Geraldine to Tekapo. But first spend the morning in Geraldine, where you can take in any or all of the township’s five museums on offer (including the Vintage Car & Machinery Museum), visit the Barker’s Foodstore & Eatery, and stock up on gourmet cheese and ice-cream at the Geraldine Cheese Company.  Then a steady climb to Lake Tekapo at 710m altitude via Fairlie with time to stop at the Fairlie Bakehouse for a gourmet pie, then a ‘back-country’ route to the iconic 3 Creeks Vintage Garage at Burkes Pass village.  Immediately followed by Burkes Pass itself which is slightly lower than Lake Tekapo at 709m, but don’t miss Dog Kennel Corner as you admire the ‘Big Sky’ of the McKenzie Basin for the first time.  Finally trundle into Tekapo Village for some R & R.

Day 3 – Wednesday 15 March – Tekapo to Twizel.  Lots to see and do in Tekapo first, including a visit to the Church of the Good Shepherd and the nearby sheep dog statue, a walk along the lake-front followed by a soak in the hot pools at Tekapo Springs.  Then climb Mt John (walk or drive!) and chill out in the Astro Café which boasts one of the best views of any eatery in the world, and is surrounded by the ‘Dark Sky’ observatories.  The route to Twizel will take in some ‘roads less travelled’ including Lake Alexandrina and the Braemar Rd to the milky blue Lake Pukaki – and (weather permitting) your first view of the ‘Cloud Piercer’: Aoraki/Mt Cook.  Then follow the lakeside and hydro canals to Twizel township: the ‘capital’ of the McKenzie Country.

Day 4 – Thursday 16 March – Twizel to Lake Ohau Lodge via Aoraki/Mt Cook Village Today is Aoraki/Mt Cook day…weather permitting!  Backtracking a little towards Tekapo, and just before Lake Pukaki turn left off SH8 to follow the lake some 55km to Aoraki/Mt Cook village.  Here the options are numerous: you can spend a relaxed day exploring the village including The Hermitage, the Sir Edmund Hilary Alpine Centre, the highly informative DoC HQ, and the famous Old Mountaineers Café.  Or take on NZ’s best day walk: the outstanding 3 hour Hooker Valley track which takes you to Hooker Lake in the shadow of Aoraki/Mt Cook.  Or a short drive then a 30 min walk to view Tasman Lake at the foot of the Tasman Glacier.  Then back to SH8, pass by Twizel and stop to ‘feed the fish’ at High Country Salmon just past Lake Ruataniwha.   Just a few more km’s south, turn towards Lake Ohau and today’s destination: the famed Lake Ohau Lodge.

Day 5 – Friday 17 March –  Lake Ohau Lodge to Wanaka.  The last ~150km of the tour takes us over the 971m Lindis Pass.  But not before visiting the historic Quailburn Woolshed and the surreal Clay Cliffs near Omarama (“Place of Light” in Te Reo), followed by a refreshment stop at the Glider Café.  The Otago side of the Lindis winds gently downhill to Tarras – of ‘Shrek the Sheep’ fame – with a short detour to the historic Lindis Pass Hotel en route.  From Tarras, it is just 35km to the alpine resort town of Wanaka: our final destination, and where (up to) two nights’ accommodation is arranged.

Day 6 – Saturday 18 March – Wanaka.  Following a ‘final destination’ lakeside BBQ gathering on Friday night, you have the choice of departing ‘homewards’ on Saturday, or staying another night (or more).  If staying there’s no shortage of activities and sights, including a lake cruise, visit to the National Transport & Toy Museum at Wanaka airport, Puzzling World, or a short drive up the Cardrona Valley to the historic Cardrona Hotel.  Or just chill out at one of the many café’s or bars on Wanaka’s gorgeous lakefront.  And of course for the outdoors inclined there are no shortage of walks and cycling tracks in the area.

Day 7 – Sunday 19 March – Wanaka.  For those having stayed a second night in Wanaka, final farewells and departure…

Now for the boring bit.

Accommodation:  A limited quantity and range of accommodation is held at each of the planned overnight stops of Geraldine, Tekapo, Twizel, Lake Ohau Lodge, and Wanaka (2 nights).  Currently ‘held’ accommodation is in motels or camping ground motels and/or cabins, and in all cases with a kitchen/kitchenette and ensuite.  If joining for all 6 nights, accommodation for a couple will cost around $1200, which includes full dinner, bed and breakfast at Lake Ohau Lodge only.  Accommodation will be a little cheaper for a single (but not much!), and if 3+ are sharing one unit, then less on a per person basis. This is not cheap I know – but at most destinations options are limited: the overseas tourists are back and this is the ‘high’ season!  Especially the McKenzie Basin (Tekapo, Twizel, Ohau) where we are competing with a rapidly increasing demand from both local & offshore visitors – and the very popular Alps to Ocean cycle trail.

Lake Ohau Lodge ‘full board’ aside, some meals will be pre-booked and on several evenings a communal BBQ is likely, with breakfasts your own arrangements; either self-catering or at nearby cafés.

Due to accommodation constraints, numbers are limited to ~20 cars on the assumption that most cars will contain 1 or 2 people, with a few of 3 or more.  So if you are interested in joining and decide to pre-register, you need to be 95% certain of your participation…not just a ‘maybe and I’ll decide later’.  Pre-registrants will be asked to pay a small deposit, which will be refundable if you cancel by around mid-January 2023.  Then to firmly secure your accommodation, full advance payment will be required by around end-January.   So please pre-register your interest  before the 29th October by completing the form below:

    To Advise attendance at the Mainland Rendezvous National Rally please click HERE