sightseeing, hiking, tramping
Although the region is famous for its wild brown trout hatchery, there is also a diverse range of other interesting activities that can be enjoyed while holidaying in Southland. Oreti River House is ideally located for day trips to Queenstown, Arrowtown, Te Anau, Doubtful Sound, Invercargill and Bluff. Lumsden sits at the crossroads to many of Southland's most scenic destinations. It is within 1 hour's drive of many of Southlands main towns and attractions.
Lumsden is now part of the spectacular new rail trail called The Around The Mountains Cycle Trail. This is a cycle trail and tramping track that traverses some 172km. The trail starts from Queenstown with a ferry trip across Lake Wakatipu. Cyclists then ride to Walter Peak, Mavora Lakes, Mossburn, Lumsden, Athol, Garston and Kingston. A short shuttle bus service can then return cyclists to Queenstown. In particular, a large glorious section between Lumsden and Kingston is open and being enjoyed by cyclists and trampers. This stretch mostly uses old railway easements so offers relatively low grades and gentle curves. The full trail operates over 5 days and 4 nights.
Oreti River House offers superior accommodation in Lumsden to weary cyclists undertaking the multi day trips, giving a chance to refresh and relax before the next picturesque leg either to Mossburn or towards Kingston. A Sherpa Shuttle bus can be booked to transport cyclists and their luggage to and from any section of the trail. This can be used to transport bicycles and people each day while staying at Oreti River House, negating the need to move luggage and supplies.Oreti River House is a very comfortable base camp for a cycling holiday.
The house offers accommodation to cyclists seeking to sample the trail over a weekend - either Mossburn to Lumsden or Lumsden to Five Rivers. In this way it is possible to experience the trail by cycling two different one day trips in and out of Lumsden. The trail is open to the public and can be enjoyed either as part of a booked tourist group or as a free cyclist.
Two bicycles (with helmets) are available for hire from Oreti River House. They can be hired when making the accommodation booking or organised through the House Manager while staying at the house.
Please email us for additional information on cycle hire and support bus services on firstname.lastname@example.org
Lumsden has its own long 9 - hole golf course which is maintained beautifully by the local members. During summer a competition is run on Wednesday evenings at 6.00pm and Saturday mornings. Visitors are made to feel very welcome. The club is about 5km out of town on Highway 6 to Invercargill. Drop in to the club to contact members to organise a round. The towns of Dipton (9-hole), Riversdale (9-hole), Winton (18-hole) and Gore (18-hole) are nearby and also have picturesque golf courses. For the lower handicappers Invercargill -1 hours drive south has an excellent course open to the public, Invercargill Golf Club at Otatara. For the ultimate golf experience try Jacks Point, Kelvin Heights, Arrowtown or Millbrook Resort - all 1 hours drive north in the Queenstown region.
Jet boat on Lake Manapouri and the Waiau River. Fiordland Jet operates pure wilderness journeys into Fiordland, jet boat and bike riding combinations, lake jet boat trips with a Kepler Track stroll, jet boat and helicopter trips to the Twin Lakes. Refer www.fjet.nz
Jetboat on the wild Wairaurahiri River in South Fiordland across 74kms through unmodified beech and podocarp forests. Wairaurahiri Jet takes you into the southern end of Fiordland National Park setting off from Lake Hauroko . It crosses the lower part of New Zealand's deepest lake before going down the wild grade 3 rock strewn rapids of the Wairaurahiri River all the way out to the Tasman Sea. See www.wjet.co.nz and www.river-jet.co.nz
Enjoy a half day safari style adventure on the Dart River above Glenorchy. Catch a bus from the Queenstown Information Centre which will take you along the scenic northern shore of Lake Wakatipu. Stops along the way examine the landscape used in a variety of movies such as The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, Vertical Limit. A short walk through the ancient beech forest in Mount Aspiring National Park will show native trees, mosses, fungi, ferns and the odd fantail bird. The jet boat trip along the wilderness stretch of the Dart River highlights many aspects of rivers, forests and mountains that make up this beautiful part of New Zealand. See www.dartriver.co.nz
Visit Walter Peak high country farm on the TSS Earnslaw -the vintage steamship departs from Queenstown and provides trips across Lake Wakatipu- see www.realjourneys.co.nz
Enjoy a full day nature cruise on Doubtful Sound in Fiordland. Your adventure begins with a 30km cruise across the crystal clear waters of beautiful Lake Manapouri. It is the 2nd deepest lake in NZ featuring islands, sandy beaches and coves surrounded by forested mountains. The second part of the trip includes a coach trip to the Manapouri Hydro-electric Power Station followed by a spectacular 22km journey over the Wilmot Pass road to Deep Cove, Doubtful Sound. The third part of the day trip involves a 3 hour cruise exploring the awe inspiring beauty of Doubtful Sound. Here you will see rugged mountains clad in dense sub tropical rainforest and waterfalls cascading down steep mountain sides. Wildlife such as penguins, dolphins, seals & sea birds are often sighted during the cruise through this remote part of Fiordland World Heritage Area. The trip departs from Pearl Harbour, Manapouri at 7.30am returning at 4.30pm. See www.realjourneys.co.nz/en/destinations/doubtful-sound for more information.
Cruise across Lake Te Anau and visit the magical Glow Worm Caves. A scenic cruiseacross the lake drops you off at The Grotto where a short walk and puntride along a fresh water spring takes you deep into the (young) 15,000 year old cave. The cave is lit by thousands of tiny bioluminescent insects who combine together to create a galaxy of twinkling stars- see www.realjourneys.co.nz
Experience fishing for Blue Cod from a boat in the sea surrounding beautiful Stewart Island. Mana Charters leaves from Bluff and operates year round, weather permitting. See www.manacharters.com
Enjoy fishing on the Waiau River with FishJet. This jet boat will get you to exciting drop-offs and river beaches as well as enticing ripple runs around remote islands. Relax as you drift down the majestic Waiau River, spotting and fishing for some of the best rainbow trout New Zealand can offer. Enjoy the thrill of speeding back up the river through some of the stunning and remote Fiordland National Park. Half day trips and full day trips are available and includes all fishing equipment. The full day trip includes a delicious BBQ lunch of locally sourced produce. The Upper Waiau boasts some 300-400 trout per kilometer so you should be able to land a few!For more information see www.fiordlandoutdoors.co.nz/experiences/jet-boat-fishing/
The vintage Lumsden Railway Station is currently being developed as a Train Museum and Railway Precinct. A number of old carriages, trains and artifacts are on display around the station. In particular, two 1885 V Class steam locomotives with their tenders sits on rails in the Park or Town Common opposite Oreti River House. These were recovered from the banks of the Oreti River near Lumsden in 2020 and are not restored. Lumsden township also has a very interesting road/rail trestle bridge, stream train water tower and lifting crane.
Visit the original steam train and carriages at Mandeville.
Visit the Croydon Aviation Heritage Museum at Mandeville.Take a flight in a Bi-plane from the Old Mandeville Airfield.
Taste the delicious Bluff Oysters, available from the local Lumsden supermarket in season (end of February until August - frozen Bluff Oysters can be purchased at other times while stocks last). Enjoy the annual Bluff Oyster and Food Festival - visit www.bluffoysterfest.co.nz for more details. The Festival is held over a weekend during May each year.
A number of private gardens are open for inspection during the warmer months in nearby towns. Some are open every day while others are open only by appointment. Open gardens include Maple Glen (Fortrose), Castlemain Garden and Brookhaven (Lumsden), Argyle Garden, Beachcombers Garden, Folster Garden, Hawthorne Garden, Lignite Pit Garden, Marshwood, Mihi Moana, Seven Elms, The Abbey, Tudor Park (all at Invercargill), Curiosity Cottage (Nightcaps), Duncraigen Gardens (Wyndham), La Marque and The Hideaway 201(Winton). Some of these gardens have gift shops, cafes or picnic spots. Contact us for more information.
Sit on the front balcony of the house and watch the many New Zealand birds that live in the extensive garden. Some parts of the garden are very old and full of bird nests. Bird song and bird antics are a daily ritual on the front lawn.The garden is home to the European Blackbird and the English Song Thrush- both magnificent singers with melodious and complex songs. The garden is also frequented by the native fantail, finches, plover, bell bird, NZ pigeon or Kereru and many other birds.
The nearby Oreti and Aparima Rivers are the last stronghold of the worlds only endangered seagull - the Black Billed Gull.(Larus bulleri).Though still relatively abundant in Southland, its total population is rapidly declining. Nevertheless, colonies can still number in the thousands along our local rivers which represent its last refuge. A small flock of these gulls often fly over Oreti River House on their way to nearby fields where they feed on insects exposed by cultivation.
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