The ultimate off the beaten track

Epic 4 x 4 Adventure

Lake Tennyson

Revel in the untamed wilderness of the South Island High Country

Travel in comfort through this isolated region that few have seen; with outstanding natural features, a rich history and a stunning and dramatic landscape. Meander along paths steeped in history, stepping in the footprints of countless stockmen and shepherds, dogs and drovers as you get a chance to experience the cowboy's way of life.

Marvel at the unique birdlife and land locked native fish species in the magnificent tarns and lakes, and take a chance at spotting the spectacular New Zealand Falcon.

Soak in the glorious thermal pools at Hanmer Springs, and experience a thrilling jet boat ride - tailored from mild to wild.... what will you desire?

With comfort, adventure, city sightseeing and roads unknown, this tour really does have it all and will leave you feeling invigorated and in awe of this incredible region.

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There is limited availability for this tour.
Please contact us to find out more.

per person
initial deposit
per person
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*Custom departure points available for all tours

What’s included?
5 nights' accommodation
All activities stated in itinerary
All transport during the trip including plane, bus and 4WD
Expert local guide
All meals stated in itinerary
Moderate level of fitness

Tour highlights


Day 1

Home - Hanmer Springs

Home (April 9th)

If departing from Whanganui, meet at the Whanganui Racecourse for an 8:00am departure and travel to Palmerston North Airport to catch our flight to Christchurch.

If departing from Auckland or another region, your shuttle will collect you at the designated time and transfer you to your closest airport in plenty of time to catch your flight to Christchurch. Once landed, you will be met by your guide and join the group. (All tickets and details will be provided in your personal information pack sent prior to travel).

Hanmer Springs

As a group, we will be met by a true legend of the South Island High Country, Rick Stirling, who will transfer us to Hanmer Springs and be guiding us through New Zealand’s largest farm station and beyond over the next few days. We will stop for lunch en route and then have the rest of the afternoon to enjoy the resort town of Hanmer Springs where a dip in the fantastic hot pools is highly recommended.  We meet back for a delicious group dinner at one of the highly rated restaurants in town.  

Accommodation: Alpine Lodge Motel

Day 2

Hanmer Springs - Molesworth

Hanmer Springs - Molesworth (April 10th)

Today is the Molesworth Heritage Day Tour, which departs Hanmer Springs at 8.00am.

Join us on one of our most popular tours. We do however stress that this is a back-country adventure so expect to experience nature at its most raw. A level of basic fitness, together with a flexible attitude, is strongly recommended. 

Travel with us in a comfortable 4WD coach over Jacks Pass into Molesworth and the Clarence Valley area and then pass through the locked gate and onto the old Acheron Historic Accommodation House, now deserted but still alive with the memories of travellers and stockmen bound up in the clay walls of 157 years ago. We will take the opportunity to explore the building and enjoy a welcome morning tea break (toilets available).

Moving on up the Acheron valley we follow the river, its fault lines and unusual formations, passing grazing cattle and numerous bird life making the most of the daylight hours in this unequalled landscape so immense it is almost impossible to comprehend. 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 a full commentary of the history and anecdotes that make up this once in a life time experience, never to be forgotten. Just when you think you have seen it all, you are stunned by the vast sight of Isolated Flat with its acres of rippling clover, tussock grass, shiny cattle, Canada geese, paradise ducks and sparkling rivers. All this surrounded by an endless range of mountains and another favourite photo stop and leg stretch leaves us stunned by the complete change of topography, growth, colour and climate which makes up the very top end of the Awatere Valley country.

Watching cattle and horses grazing, the numerous valleys scattered with native flowers, viper's bugloss, pink briar rose and the ever present matagouri you realise that you can not pass through here without thinking about people like William Acton-Adams, William Atkinson, the Chisholms, and countless number of stockmen and rabbiters who have all left their special mark on this relentless country.

Nestled under the Inland Kaikoura’s is the Homestead complex with its century old cob buildings and planted trees. The Old Original Cob Cottage makes an ideal place for a picnic lunch with the magnificent snowcapped "Tapuaenuku" an epitaph of Maori legend, towering in the background (toilets available).

It is truly a land alive with romantic ghosts of stockmen and shepherds, dogs and drovers, slouch hats and sweating saddles. It is the land of the real cowboy and our chance to glimpse his way of life.

Then it’s back into the Saxton country with its vast river valleys formed by glaciers millions of years ago and the sheer barren mountains ravaged by severe winters, fire, rabbits and over grazing.

Passing through sections of the Muller and Tarndale and St Helens country with its ever changing vista of growth, colour and climate before finally descending down the historic and rugged Jollies Pass to Hanmer Springs and time to reflect on an unique journey back in time over New Zealand's largest farm.


This day tour includes morning tea, picnic lunch and refreshments, and touring notes.

There will be regular toilets stops, etc throughout the day. People are advised to bring a light windproof jacket, sneakers and a bottle of water due to altitude and dry conditions. If anybody is a little bit hard of hearing a small FM receiver is a very handy devise to have with an earplug as we operate a FM transmitter PA System and all you need to do is tune into 88.4 FM to receive a good clear commentary.

Please note that due to the type of roads and terrain we cover on this tour, the itinerary may need to be changed due to weather events and road closures. We have several great alternatives if changes are necessary.

Accommodation: Alpine Lodge Motel

Day 3

Hanmer Springs - Rainbow

Hanmer Springs - Rainbow (April 11th)

This is a special tour exploring The Clarence and Wairau Valleys including Rainbow, St James and Tarndale/Molesworth Stations.

Depart from Hanmer Springs at 8.30am and climb over Jacks Pass to the Clarence River Valley - Rainbow Road . The route is remarkable for the landscape transition from the Clarence River Valley(1000m) featuring wide flowing tussock lands to where vast screes spill from ridge crest to valley floor in a lonely landscape split with fast flowing snow fed streams, ice cold sparkling lakes and kettle bogs.

A welcome stop for the morning cup of tea and toilet break at the old St James Station Homestead area. St James Station was one of New Zealand’s largest private high country runs until purchased by the Crown in 2007. It is well known for its roving bands of station bred horses that attract wide interest amongst the equine community.

Plenty of time to explore and take a stroll in this true wilderness area and one can only "experience" it as words are difficult to describe the absolute beauty, grandeur and mystique of this Alpine delight.

By traversing the Southern Alps to the Wairau River Valley, we travel on to the old Cob Rainbow Homestead which leaves us with a healthy respect of the hardy souls who lived and worked in this very remote and unforgiving land. The history of glaciations' can be read in the landscape.

Terminal and lateral moraines, glacial outwash plains, hanging valleys and waterfalls, cirque basins, tarns and arêtes are all reminders of the regions past ice ages. The Wairau and Rainbow Valleys with their craggy, beech tree covered mountains that sweep down to the boulder strewn fast flowing Wairau River dissecting the St Arnaud and Raglan Mountain Ranges are a must see.

Passes in the 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. Some of these houses remain and are still in use today.

A stop is made for a picnic lunch, tea and coffee. Toilet available.

We are impressed with the grandeur of this mountainous area with its wildlife, flora and fauna and then amazement as we pass through the narrow fiscue of "Hells Gates" high in the Southern Alps and onto Coldwater Creek, the Judges Valley, and then the Tarndale/Molesworth country with its huge grazing flats and shiny cattle.

Alpine flowers, tarns and the never ending views are the main attractions in this area. There will be opportunities to explore this amazing alpine area with its varied flora & fauna (over 100 indigenous species of flowering plants) and its many birds, insects, and native skink lizards.

The chance to take a stroll if desired over a short easy walking track just off the Tarndale 4WD road to view the magnificent Sedgemere Tarn (small alpine lake) is well worthwhile . These tarns are regularly frequented by waders and waterfowl; pied stilt, pied oystercatcher, black fronted tern, banded dotterel and grey duck along with shelduck and Canada geese. The New Zealand Falcon also lives in this region. Land locked native fish species, including members of the bully and galaxlid families occur in these lakes and tarns. Rivers and streams are populated by native fish species plus salmon and trout.

We will continue the journey over the extremely high Island Pass (the highest through road in New Zealand) and on towards Lake Tennyson. Lake Tennyson is the “jewel in the crown” amongst the lofty peaks of the Spenser Mountains and a combination of water, forest, high mountains, tussock and scree creates a scenic highlight. The 239 hectare lake is dammed behind glacial moraines. The vegetation is a mosaic of moraine communities including open red tussock land and low shrub land with patches. Descending down the Alpine Pass we arrive back at Hanmer Springs to reflect on an amazing journey through time and history seen by few.

Includes morning tea, picnic lunch and refreshments, and touring notes.

Accommodation: Alpine Lodge Motel

Day 4

Hanmer Springs - Christchurch

Hanmer Springs (April 12th)

After a relaxed start to the day, we make our way back to Christchurch to meet up with our next High Country legends of the South who will be looking after us for the next few days.


Join us for some fun, thrills and adventure!  Travel from Christchurch to Springfield where you will get to experience the world famous Hamilton jet boat for a 45 minute jet boat ride up through the Waimakariri Gorge. Experience the thrill of jet boating and the world famous 360 degree spin while taking in the stunning views of the gorge.

You will also experience a 2 hour 4x4 adventure over two private high country stations, Rubicon Station and Mt Torlesse Station, where you will get to enjoy fantastic views looking back over the Canterbury plains to Christchurch.  

Accommodation: Pavilions Hotel

Day 5


Christchurch (April 13th)

This amazing tour visits two private Canterbury High Country stations, Lake Heron Station and Glenfalloch Station situated at the top of the spectacular Rakaia River.

The day begins with a scenic drive from Christchurch across the vast farmlands of the Canterbury plains before making its way to Mt Somers where the tour starts heading inland.  At this point, the scenery starts to change from the lush green fields of the Canterbury plains to the rugged tussock and snow-covered mountains characteristic of the Canterbury High Country.  As the tour ventures deeper into this mountainous area, the scenery becomes even more breath taking and dramatic.

Along the way, our guide will deliver a commentary on all aspects of the farming, geography, and history of the area through to modern times.  The tour stops to enjoy morning tea on the banks of Lake Heron.  After morning tea, the tour continues the short journey to arrive at Lake Heron Station at which point the road ends and the tour begins its exciting 4WD adventure around Glenfalloch Station.  Arriving at Glenfalloch Station, there will be a gourmet lunch provided at a location genuinely like no other, you will be in awe of the views.  After enjoying a delicious lunch and having the opportunity to talk with the station owners the tour begins its journey home down the south bank of the Rakaia River to the Rakaia Gorge at which point the tour will return to Christchurch.

Accommodation: Pavilions Hotel

Day 6

Christchurch – Home

Christchurch (April 14th)

Discover the true magic of Christchurch on board our classic London Double Decker bus and enjoy the great views from the top deck.  After being collected from your Christchurch accommodation, enjoy a tour around Christchurch central city and experience the exciting rebuild of Christchurch following the 2011 earthquakes, enjoying a commentary from our friendly local Christchurch guide who will guide you through the history of the city and explain how the rebuild is taking place. The tour also visits the picturesque seaside village of Sumner before making its way to the Gondola where you will head up onto the port hills to enjoy fantastic views across Christchurch, the Canterbury plains, Lyttelton harbour and on a clear day all the way to the Southern Alps. This is where we will also be having lunch before being dropped at Christchurch Airport to catch our flight back to Palmerston North, or other regions.


A coach will be waiting to transfer you back home.

Optional extras

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Meet your tour guides

Jason Granville

After years in the broadcasting industry, Jase hung up his headphones to run Take It Easy Tours. This has meant he can still pick up the microphone to inform travellers and encourage friendly banter while on tour.

Jimmy Elliott

Jimmy has a wealth of experience and uses this to ensure all trips with Take It Easy Tours are well organised, informative, diverse and a whole heap of fun.

Reserve your spot

initial deposit
Payment plans available
per person

There is limited availability for this tour. Please contact us to find out more.

Frequently asked questions

Can I earn Air New Zealanad airpoints on my flights?

Yes, you can earn airpoints with Take It Easy Tours when we are using Air New Zealand flights. All you need to do is get in contact with us and let us know your airpoints number for each time you wish to earn points.

Can you collect me from my door?

Yes, it would be our pleasure. We can arrange for you to be picked up and returned to your front door at the conclusion of any tour.

How about travel insurance?

We strongly recommend taking out travel insurance as soon as you book your trip. It just puts your mind at ease. Remember to make sure you are covered for and loss of personal possessions, sickness, accidents or travel delays. Feel free to ask us for any tips to make this quick and easy for you.

How active are your tours?

We are called Take it Easy for a reason as we like to do just that. Do as much or as little as you like - after all it's your holiday! However, there is walking and various activities on each tour that require various levels of fitness. Please check with us if you are unsure about anything and relax knowing that there's always another option for you if you would rather miss out on any activity. We always have a back up plan.

I have some dietary requirements?

Please just let us know in advance and we will sort everything for you. Chefs are used to all sorts now when it comes to diet so as long as we know - we’ll have you covered.

What happens if I have to cancel?

Cancellation charges do apply so again we recommend travel insurance. Our cancellation policy is clearly outlined for each tour so make sure you cast your eye over it and please feel free to ask any questions.

What kind of accommodation do we stay in?

Having a good night's rest after a day out touring is very important so we personally choose all of our accommodation. Generally, four star accommodation when available - with all the comforts you need for a relaxed night.

What types of transport do we use?

Our buses are quality touring coaches that are very comfortable and fully air conditioned. They range in size from 19-28 seats ensuring that we can easily access all those secret spots off the beaten track. All vehicles are regularly serviced as your safety is our priority.

Coaches and luggage trailers are always locked and secure but we recommended you take any valuables with you when staying overnight.

Still have questions?

Get in touch with our friendly staff

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