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Lions Tour Part 4 - Dunedin to Picton Via Queenstown & The Westcoast

Posted on 20/09/2016 02:43 AM

‘Dunners’, as Dunedin is affectionately named by its residents, is filled with Scottish heritage and is one of the best preserved Victorian and Edwardian Cities in the Southern Hemisphere. An extremely vibrant city, Dunedin is well-known for its art, music, theatre, but famous in New Zealand for having the most raucous university students nicknamed ‘Scarfies’ who know how to party and add to the life of the city in a big way.  Want to meet them?...
Read below for popular bars and pubs worth visiting but first here are some daytripping ideas to do before the Lion’s take on Super Rugby’s 2015 champs, the Highlanders! Explore the city and soak up the atmosphere!

Dunedin Street Art Trail

Dunedin’s city walls have been transformed into vibrant, whimsical works of art by local and international artists. The Street Art Trail currently includes 25 walls, takes around 90 minutes to complete and represents a fantastic and cheap way to visit the city on foot.
For an Art Trail map you can download one

Baldwin St – The World’s Steepest Street!

There is a very famous street in Dunedin’s North East sector called Baldwin St. It is recognised by the Guinness book of records as the steepest street in the world! Every year it becomes the venue for Cadbury’s world famous Jaffa Race where 75,000 jaffas (round chocolate sweets) are rolled down the hill to raise money for charity.  Just for fun, try walking up this street and see how long it takes you to hike the 350 metres - it could take anywhere up to 10 mins!

Otago Peninsular

The spectacular Otago Peninsular is easy to explore in your motorhome. Meander your way out along the peninsula and take a tour to view local wildlife. There are penguin and albatross colonies that are well worth seeing.

Where to eat and drink in Dunedin?

All that walking and visiting may have made you thirsty, or hungry, or both. Here is a list of some the best Local bars and Pubs worth visiting. Fortunately many of the pubs, bars and nightclubs are close enough to each other in what’s locally known as ‘The Octagon’


1) Mou Very – It might not take many Lions Supporters to fill this self proclaimed ‘smallest NZ bar’ (which will only fit about 15 people at any given time). Given its size you will definitely get to rub shoulders with the locals. They sell a wide range of specialty whiskies and Emerson’s on tap. 357 George St

2) The Bog – For a good pint of Guiness try The Bog 387 George St

3) The Craic – Serving venison pasties, Irish stew and pork belly. An excellent selection of whiskies and tap beer. 24 The Octogan

(Try NZ’s Famous Green Lipped Mussels)

4) The Speights Ale House –The Speight’s Ale House, situated within the historic Speight’s Brewery at 200 Rattray Street, was the original Ale House to open in New Zealand. A superb venue for a group outing whether it’s for a meal, drinks and nibbles at the bar or to watch sport on the big screen. Set in one of New Zealand’s most historic breweries is a must do for both locals and visitors to Dunedin

14th Dunedin to Queenstown (282km, 3hrs35)

FERRY TIP: The next Lion’s game is in Rotorua in only 3 days time. If you are driving your motorhome back to the North Island consider what time you have booked your ferry in Picton and allow yourself enough time to make it to Picton.

Queenstown: Although your travel time is limited, one place you absolutely can’t miss is Queenstown. Queenstown is the #1 tourist destination and the action capital of NZ! It’s also the most expensive town in NZ and with that in mind here's a list of worthwhile things to do that might suit everyone’s budgets.

1)    An action activity – There are many to consider and coming to Queenstown without doing at least one would be regrettable.  Chose from Bungee, Jet boating, Luge, Mountain Biking, Sky diving, White water rafting, Zip Lining, canyoning, parasailing, paragliding and the list continues...

2)    Enjoy the nightlife! There are lots of awesome bars in Queenstown all within easy walking distance of each other.

3)    Eat a Fergburger – You will NEVER eat another burger like it!  Fergburgers  are the most famous gourmet burgers in NZ and you need to find out why! So when the bars have all closed cruise on down to Fergburger and meet the locals. It’s open until 5am!

4)    Take the gondola to the top of Queenstown Hill– Or save money and walk the track up. The views are quite incredible and very rewarding

5)    Frisbee Golf – Is a fun and inexpensive way to spend a few hours in Queenstown’s botanical gardens. Rent Frisbees from $5 half day. Enquire at the information centre.

Freedom camping: If you plan on freedom camping in the Queenstown area please be aware that the campervan you hire MUST be certified self contained.

Freedom camping around Queenstown is also not terribly easy to do. There are many excluded areas that are policed regularly however most land administered by Council can be used to free camp and these places will always be signposted. If in doubt consult (or download) your campermate app.

Camping grounds and motorparks: There are plenty in Queenstown but you still have a bit of driving to do so staying on the north side of Queenstown might not be such a bad idea. Perhaps even quitting Queenstown and continuing the approx 120 kms (1.5hr) north to Lake Wanaka would mean you would keep 'ahead of the game' in terms of driving.
Roads to Wanaka: There are 2 roads from Queenstown to Wanaka. One is an amazing but challenging (especially in winter) drive over The Crown Range and the other is the slightly longer road via Cromwell on State Highway 6.


15th Wanaka to Hokitika (419km)

The West Coast of New Zealand is a very remote, very rugged but beautiful stretch of coastline with a sparse population of mainly dedicated fishermen. It’s also the wettest coast in NZ so along with a strong chance of rain, you could expect no cell phone coverage, no bank machines or even petrol stations for several hundred kilometres!

The obvious place to stop for a break along the 419km (5h.10min) road would either be the Fox or Franz Josef Glaciers. Both glaciers are very convenient to visit. Park you motorhome in the carparks and take an easy walk to the foot of either glacier.

Be wary not to leave anything outside or your belongings unattended as there is real risk from the cheekiest (and biggest) parrot in the world, NZ’s famous Kea!


10 kms south of Hokitia near the small town or Ruatapu there is a DOC campsite at Lake Mahinapua. If it suits your budget you could camp here with your motorhome or if you want more creature comforts (electricity and a dumpstation) and/or supplies continue on to Hokitika and try some of the campgrounds there.
252 Beachside Motels and Holiday Park situated at 252 Revell St ph 755 8773 is a good one, or Hokitika Holiday Park on the beach at 16 Richards Drive ph 03 755 8921

16th Hokitika To Picton

From Hokitika to Picton there could be up to another 6 hours of driving time. Try and get an early start and head up on the road north to Westport which takes you past the famous pancake rocks at Punakaiki. This is a great place for a morning coffee stop and well worth the 20 minute loop walk around the curious pancake like ancient limestone rock formations. There is a massive blowhole amongst the rocks and in a strong westerly swell its a very impressive sight

After passing Westport you will eventually have to choose between two routes to get to Picton. After Murchisson you can either continue on Highway 6 which goes via Nelson to Picton or take the more direct route to Picton and follow Highway 63

Freedom camping in the Malborough Sounds

There are lots of choices for freedom camping, DOC or paid camping grounds in and around Picton.
Use this link to help you find them. Freedom Camping Malborough Sounds

NEXT MONTH - Lions Tour Part 5 Lions Vs Maori Allblack - a tough challenge. Stay tuned for our next blog or like us on facebook so you don't miss out

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