If arriving in town late in the evening, pre-order a light supper platter for two to be delivered to your room. You’ll find a complimentary bottle of wine in your fridge, and port in the sitting room.
DAY ONE – IN GERALDINE
Breakfast and browse at the Barker’s Foodstore & Eatery next door, opens 8.30am
Walking tour (2hrs) of Geraldine with John Jenson 021 047 5087
Then stroll around the town and take in some art, history, local food & more:
- Susan Badcock Gallery featuring works by John Badcock (upstairs in the old Post Office)
- The Mail Room (downstairs in the old Post Office next door to the Vicarage)
- Merivale Fine Arts Gallery (opposite the Vicarage)
- McAtamney Gallery & Design Store (100m North along Talbot Street)
- The Geraldine Museum (100m along Wilson St, towards Lake Tekapo)
- The Geraldine Vintage Car & Machinery Museum (1km away at 178 Talbot St)
- Lilia's Lace Museum - 1.5km away at 240 Talbot St
FOOD & DRINK PRODUCERS
- Barker’s Foodstore & Eatery – taste the latest products and check out their drinks station!
- Geraldine Cheese Co – in the BerryBarn complex opposite the Vicarage
- Humdinger Gin - Artisan distillery in behind the main street
- Waihi Bush Organic Farms – Flax seed oils & much more, in the Country Rumours store
- The Cottage Pantry. A yesteryear wholefoods (baking needs) experience and art gallery
- The Geraldine Farmer’s Market – Saturday mornings next door beside the Church. Oct-Apr
- The Geraldine Craft Market – On Wilson St. 8.30am-3.30 pm, weekends & public holidays
- Al's Hot Sauce Laboratory at The Running Duck Cafe.
- Abstract Brewing's craft beer at Cafe Verde in Geraldine. The brewer, Chris Watkins, co-owns the much loved cafe with his wife Keren.
- The shopping in Geraldine is interesting, diverse, unique & eclectic! The shops are all unique to Geraldine and all within 300m of the Vicarage! Allow several hours at the very least to stroll up and down the street.
Lunch: You have to experience the renown Barker’s Foodstore & Eatery 03 6939727 where you can taste lots of squeezed fruit beverages and choose your own lunch condiments! Verde Cafe 03-693 9616 is another excellent spot to enjoy lunch, right next door.
Afternoon restoration & relaxation; Some men may choose a massage for some body repairs and maintenance while others may prefer to experience the repairs at the Geraldine Vintage Car & Machinery Museum. The ladies can choose a therapy or treatment to revitalise and rejuvenate at ilu unisex Day Spa 03 693 7130 or at Bella Salu 03 693 9960
Drinks: The downstairs sitting room and deck is a good place to gather. Then you may choose to stroll down to The Village Inn or the Royal India for another drink or two….
Dinner options – Both these restaurants are within 200m on the main street.
The Village Inn. Good quality country hotel food. 03-693 1004. Open 7 days.
The Royal India restaurant 03-693 8877 (Over 50 single malt whisky’s to choose from!). Closed on Mondays
After dinner - Wander up to the Geraldine Observatory 03-6937337 and be entranced with 2 hours of views and stories by Peter Aldous, Geraldine’s own hugely experienced amateur astronomer.
DAY TWO – PEEL FOREST & THE RANGITATA GORGE
We recommend you either book a one day high country tour with www.alps2ocean.co.nz (2 persons minimum in 4WD) or we may be able to arrange a tour guide to hop in your car to provide the much needed local commentary. The trip is 70km one way and the roads are good but a local guide is key to unlocking the stories and history of this big country. The alps2ocean guide will take you high into the deer park on Mesopotamia Station on farm tracks. You can check out images of the breath-taking high-country scenery on https://www.instagram.com/mailtomessy/ courtesy of Matt Searle (Green Man Café) who travels these roads in all weathers on his regular 'Mail Run.'
But if you choose to take your own vehicle, you firstly drive to Peel Forest (15 minutes) and we suggest you stretch your legs with a 20 minute return walk to The Big Tree or a 1 hour return walk to Acland Falls in the beautiful Peel Forest Scenic Reserve.
Grab a coffee at the Green Man Café and continue up the road for 8km to visit the historic Church of the Holy Innocents (signposted off the road to the left) on Mt Peel Station. This is still a working church, the major restoration after major damage caused by the Christchurch earthquakes was recognised at the Canterbury Heritage Awards.
Drive on up the road for another 15 minutes and stop at the top of the saddle where you will admire one of our most spectacular high country views…from WOW corner! This is the braided Rangitata River valley with the Southern Alps in the background. You either turn around here, or you can drive on to Mesopotamia Station (03 696 3738) but this is where you wish you had a guide. Just beyond the station is the re-start of the Te Araroa Trail, which heads up Bush Stream and over Stag Saddle and 4 days later you get to Tekapo. You may enjoy to walk across the flats and into the bush before the 70km drive back.
DAY THREE – FAIRLIE & TEKAPO
Stretch your legs before or after breakfast with a 45 minute walk around the Talbot Forest Scenic Reserve, which is right in the middle of Geraldine. Take the Matai Track followed by the Kahikatea Track and then walk back to the Vicarage. Talbot Forest Scenic Reserve tracks: Geraldine area, Canterbury region (doc.govt.nz)
Then drive to Lake Tekapo which will take just one hour, but do stop en route at the Fairlie Bakehouse for one of their famous salmon & bacon or pork belly pies. If you still have room for lunch we recommend the food and lake views from the Kohan Japanese restaurant. From Kohan, you can walk across the bridge to visit the iconic Church of The Good Shepherd and the statue of the iconic McKenzie Sheep Dog. Then drive to the top of Mt John ($8.00 road toll) an extra 15 minutes drive beyond Tekapo to enjoy a coffee in the Astro Cafe and the stunning 360 views over the McKenzie country. Then it will be time to try ice skating (in winter) and soak in the hot springs at Tekapo Springs!
DAY FOUR – SELF DRIVE FARM TOUR WITH OUR GUIDE, THEN EXPLORE TIMARU
Meet your local guide at 9.30 am at the Vicarage and head off in your own car on this tour around the local countryside where your guide will connect you with local farming, farmers, their history and much more, including a visit to the historic buildings on an iconic New Zealand high country station.
After you return to Geraldine at 1pm, relax over lunch before driving 30 minutes into Timaru, the regional centre. Stroll along the Caroline Bay boardwalk which showcases the South Island's most popular beach. Visit the Te Ana Maori Rock Art Centre, check out the cafes, bars, restaurants and shops as you walk up Stafford Street to the Bay Hill. And why not enjoy dinner at The Oxford Restaurant in Timaru, before returning to Geraldine in the evening. Download the free “Timaru Trails App” and use it to explore Timaru's fascinating history, art scene and walking tracks. The Timaru Trails App will guide you as you walk along scenic coastal tracks with shipwrecks and ancient lava, discover our inner city heritage and public art and uncover the tales of the Timaru cemetery. You can download the app to your phone from the App Store or Google Play. You can also view the web version of the app from your PC or laptop.
For more information on Timaru: www.vttourism.co.nz/activities
Note; If you are driving to or from Christchurch we suggest you take Inland Scenic Route 72 via the spectacular Rakaia Gorge.
For more information read this excellent travel blog from Guest New Zealand.
And check out the website: www.scenicroute72.nz
For more information on Geraldine check out this website: www.geraldine.nz