• Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Trip Includes
  • Trip Excludes
  • Booking
  • Reviews
  • FAQ
  • Costs & Discounts
  • Imposrtant notes

Stories, places discovered, explored and it’s not a boring class exercise. Hidden quiet corners waiting to tell the story of Aotearoa NZ’s gold mining frenzy. Side roads to the past where we find out about the lives of individuals willing to risk all for the lure of gold. We promise no homework, just fun exploring a heritage story! Heritage byways is a magical journey for anyone who wants to find out more.

The hint of ruins, the shaft of light down a gloomy tunnel, the slowly rusting nineteenth century equipment next to an orchard brimming with lucious produce. There is laughter as we imagine ourselves in the straitjacket of Victorian clothing and a chance to journey down the rivers where gold was struck.  It’s detective work and entertaining.  And the hallmark of any story enjoying the bounty of gourmet food from local artisan cafes.

GROUP SIZE

Max 20 people

DAY 1

Highlights of the day

  • Naseby
  • Omakau
  • Ophir Historic Bridge

Departs Dunedin (railway station) at 10 am. Contact us if you need a transfer from Dunedin Airport to the railway station.

We board our coach to start our southern expedition! Today, you'll travel along Mount Stoker, stopping at Naseby. Originally a gold mining settlement named Parkers, historic Naseby nestles in the foothills of the Mount Ida Range in Central Otago.

Remember when you could stop at an intersection and not have to wait for traffic to pass? Remember when cheese rolls weren't fancy? Remember when you could wear stubbies to the pub? Omakau still has this.

The 1880 Daniel O’Connell suspension bridge with its stone piers crosses the Manuherikia River at Ophir. Anchored in solid schist, the bridge is named after the 19th-century Irish nationalist – a reminder of the many Irish gold miners who came to the area.

Arriving to your accommodation we'll give you a little time to relax and refresh yourself before we have our welcome dinner.


DAY 2

Highlights of the day

  • Cromwell Heritage Precinct
  • Quartz-Reef Point Historical Reserve
  • Goldfields Mining Centre
  • Evening Talk

Fortified for the day with a delicious breakfast, Cromwell Heritage Precinct is the initial stop. The precinct is central Otago’s best kept secret. Some of the historic buildings, dating back to the gold rush of the 1860’s were rescued from the encroaching waters of the Clyde Dam (Cromwell Gorge was permanently flooded for hydroelectricity). Heritage buildings were lovingly rebuilt on higher ground, creating the Cromwell Heritage Precinct.

Walk the Quartz-Reef Tailings for some interesting gold mining machinery and buildings on this 45-minute guided walk.

The drive through sensational scenery is a treat as we pass through the Kawarau Gorge to our ‘let’s strike it rich,’ gold panning experience at Goldfields Mining Centre.

Returning to your accommodation time to relax before dinner and Evening Talk night.


DAY 3

Highlights of the day

  • Orchard Tour
  • Distillery Tour
  • Arrowtown
  • Visit one of the most intact historic goldfield town / 4wd tour (optional)

Perhaps you enjoyed locally sourced fruit for breakfast. The first stop is finding out a bit more about Cromwell’s current agricultural prosperity. Hop on board for a fun, informative and educational 45 minute insight into one of the biggest working orchards. Learn why bees are so vital to growing fruit, why trees on this Orchard grow on 'V' shape trellis and much, much more.

Next stop is Cardrona, The Distillery Tour: discover the secrets to Cardrona’s artisan spirits, starting with our water source, malted barley and yeast. You will see where the malt is milled, mashed, fermented, distilled and matured before tasting the wares with a tutored spirit tasting of Cardrona spirits.

Choose from an afternoon to further explore Arrowtown or Queenstown at your own pace. 

  • Enjoy a 45-minute soak in one of our new private oval hot tubs set on your own deck overlooking the Shotover River and picturesque mountains
  • Stay at the Resort and indulge yourself with a half day award-winning spa experience or enjoy unique Kitchen Garden and Orchard Tour with one of the member of the Resort (during summer months)
  • Macetown, a unique opportunity to trek inland following the footsteps of gold prospectors

DAY 4

Highlights of the day

  • Heritage Walk
  • Exclusive Wine Tasting with the finest Lunch
  • Lavender Farm (October-April)
  • Edith Cavell Bridge / Historic Tunnel Walk

After breakfast you’ll have time to stroll Arrowtown’s quaint main street, built during the town’s 19th-century gold rush. Your guided walk will orientate you for a day exploring the area. Arrowtown is home to over fifteen listed walking trails to enjoy.  The compact nature of the heritage town and its relatively flat terrain makes it easy to navigate together with excellent signage and friendly locals.

Indulge your love of fine wine and let us introduce your palate to the intricate flavours of Central Otago. This region is renowned for Pinot Noir and you will always find a healthy selection of vintages and styles on our wine tasting list, along with a unique range of white wines. (lunch: 4 courses gourmet menu made from locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients)

Inhale the scent of lavender and linger in the gardens of the local lavender farm.  (during summer months) The brisk winters and warm summers are the perfect climate for lavender. The gift shop is excellent with all things lavender to tempt you to linger over your choices.

Edith Cavell Bridge situated at Arthur's Point is a well known photo moment with the dramatic scenery of Southland at its best. There is a stop to ensure our photo selfies are captured. Enjoy a short easy walk to a viewpoint that overlooks the historic Oxenbridge Tunnel river diversion and an old steam engine.


DAY 5

Highlights of the day

  • Alexandra
  • Roxburgh
  • Horseshoe Bend Bridge / Lonely Graves
  • Mitchell's Cottage
  • Glenore Tunnel

Returning to Dunedin there are several stops and commentary about places of interest. From bridges that forged economic links for communities to hand cut tunnels connecting now closed railway lines is explored. Mitchells Cottage is an exceptional example of craftsmanship and it is listed as a Category I Historic place. A superb survivor of stonemason's craft in New Zealand. The day is capped with an opportunity for panoramic views of Lake Waihola and then your arrival in Dunedin.

Farwell and we will meet again.

  • 2 nights accommodation in Cromwell / Heritage Lake Resort
  • 2 nights accommodation in Arrowtown / Millbrook Resort
  • Daily breakfast
  • Two Dinner
  • One Exclusive Winery Gourmet Lunch with wine tasting
  • Entry Fee of Lavender Farm, Orchard Tour, Mining Centre, Lake District Museum, Maniototo Early Settlers Museum, Distillery Tour
  • Commentaries provided by your experienced escort, drivers and local guides
  • Comfortable air-conditioned coaches with panoramic windows
  • Tax included
  • Airfare to and from tour departure/arrival
  • Travel/health insurance (highly recommended, please contact us for a quote)
  • Entry visa if needed
  • Accommodation not as listed in the itinerary
  • Sightseeing / activities not listed in the itinerary
  • Meals not listed in the itinerary
  • Personal expenses such as room service, internet charge, laundry, drink, fax, telephone call, optional activities, etc
  • Gratuities, tips to guides, drivers, bellboys, etc.
  • Optional day tours during free time
  • Pricing Name
    Start
    End
    Group (Min-Max)
    Pricing
     
  • Pricing Name Tour base price
    Start Wednesday January 27, 2021
    End Wednesday January 27, 2021
    1 - 20 Pax
     
  1. :

    The tour guide was knowledgeable and made sure we were fully informed before we got off the bus which was very helpful. I especially enjoyed the tour of Cromwell precinct and the comments about the lives of the people who lived in the general store.

  2. :

    The little details such as the welcome pack made me feel special. And the tour was fun, I especially enjoyed the 4WD safari to the abandoned mining town.

    • :

      Thanks for feedback about your welcome pack. It is appreciated

  3. :

    As part of our honeymoon, we went on the Goldfields Magic tour. We had such an amazing time. Kind regards, Chloe

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Our Escorted Tours are limited to a maximum of 25 tour members but due to high.

Because of the way we organize our tours, and the way we travel, we tend to attract friendlier, more flexible and fun-loving people for our tours, giving our tours a congenial atmosphere. If you are interested in learning about Japan, its culture, people and want to have fun at the same time, you will fit right in.

Travelers must be at least 18 years-of-age to travel unaccompanied by an adult. We recommend that children be at least 12 years of age. Our tours are heavy on “adult things” (art, history, architecture, etc.) that kids often find boring. Our tours allow flexibility, so squeezing in activities for younger children is possible but can still be overwhelming.

The accommodation on our tours is based on twin share. If you’d prefer to have your own room, please select the single supplement option in the online booking form. The single supplement fee is for the whole trip, not per night. This will ensure you have a room to yourself. If you’re happy to share, you will be placed in a twin room with another adventure-buddy of the same gender in separate beds. If we can’t find anyone to share your room with, you have to pay for the single supplement.
We only share basic information about your adventure-buddy, but if you both agree you can keep in touch before the tour starts.

Walking tours are an important part of the itinerary and a good standard of health is required with the ability to walk on uneven surfaces and negotiate stairs.
(we provide personalized itineraries and private tours throughout New Zealand and Australia where one or more person has a physical or learning disability, is a slow walker or simply may need that bit of extra support along the way)

All the hotels on our escorted tours to New Zealand are carefully selected by our Directors to ensure they meet their exacting standards. Over the decades they’ve worked in the travel industry, they’ve come to understand precisely which hotel elements work best for your holiday. Location and consistent high standards are paramount. So, throughout your touring holiday in New Zealand, rest assured that we aim to provide top accommodation. And it does not cost the earth.

For optional programs you must apply and pay 45 days prior to departure. It is often no longer possible to apply after we start the tour but please contact us for more details.

All of our tours excluding airfares.

are strict weight restrictions on our buses.

Due to extremely strict time slots for entry into attractions, we recommend you show up 15 minutes before the scheduled departure time. Our groups depart precisely at the scheduled tour start time. If you show up late or cannot find the meeting point, for any reason, refund requests are not honored per policy. For most tours, it is not logistically possible to join the group after it has started but please contact us if you have any questions.

Please visit Metservice.com for a long term weather forecast.

Yes we like to know about anything that needs consideration on your tour, such as ability to walk up stairs, etc. Once you have booked, you will receive a form requesting details of any medical conditions that may be relevant to your tour experience. This allows us to make any necessary arrangements.

DISCOUNTS

On our website you can find all of our current offers, so you’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for a bargain! Visit our website regularly and you will never miss out any deals or sign up for our newsletter here!

COST

A non-refundable deposit of NZD 500 per person will secure a place on this trip.

Final payment to be made by DATE (60 days prior to departure).

Some activities are weather-dependent (trips can be swap during the day).

Ngawha Springs might be closed due to renovation in February 2021 (please contact us for alternative tour details for that day).