What sort of 4WD do I need for this trip?

A high-clearance four-wheel drive is necessary for the trip. Some of the tracks are not suitable for smaller 4WDs such as the Honda HRV, Nissan Xtrail, Forrester etc.; Vehicles need a low range sufficient to cope with sharp steeper climbs on some tracks. No low profile tyres.

If you’re not sure about your vehicle, you’re welcome to ring us on 0800 high country journeys (0800 493 5687)

Can I hire a 4WD? Due to time pressure I’d rather fly to Christchurch and hire a vehicle.

Yes you can. Contact – Cross Country Rentals in Christchurch . Approx basic rate is $135 per day.
E-mail; chrism@crosscountryrentals.co.nz or call 0800 777 994

I don’t want to drive but would love to do this trip as a passenger?
High Country Journeys can arrange to take you as a passenger in one of their own vehicles on certain trips. A price and information is available on enquiry. This has become a popular option over the last couple of seasons.

Will there be river crossings?
The rivers you have to cross are not large, the largest is no more than 10 cumecs. However, it is good to know where the air-intake of your vehicle is. Track conditions can change with the weather.

What is the most suitable type of tyre for these trips? Are road tyres OK?

  • The best tyres are the grippier ‘all terrain’ or ’mud terrain’ types. Road tyres are OK but as long as they are not worn ie. They need to be new or have at least three quarters of their tread. If you have road tyres we recommend that you carry a set of chains
  • We do not recommend low profile tyres. They puncture easily and are very hard to get a replacement for in rural areas at short notice..
  • If you have any concerns or are not sure about your tyres please contact us.

I have not driven off-road very much, can I get some training?
The first day at the beginning is an ‘easier’ day and great way to gain confidence and to get to know your vehicle and its capabilities. You will always have a guide on this day who will be happy to help you at any stage and answer any queries. It is good for passengers to also gain confidence in the driver and vehicle. We respect that everyone has different levels of experience and can tailor the tracks accordingly.

Where does the journey start and finish?

We have three tours all starting in different locations, Blenheim, Oamarama/Lake Ohau area and the Glenroy/Horarata/Waimakariri area which is 60kms inland from Christchurch in the Canterbury foothills. All tours finish in the Cardrona/Wanaka area of Central Otago. The map below shows the rough route of the “Heart of the High Country” tour.


How long are the days?
There is a lot to see and do along the trip and the days are fairly full. Generally there is five to six hours travelling each day or about 150 to 200kms a day. This can vary from day to day so there’s plenty of time to stop, walk, fish, take photos and enjoy the high country scenery. There is generally not much more than one hour’s travelling on tar-sealed roads every day.
Fuel stops are available every day. If not, we will advise you.

Will I have cellphone reception?
Not always, it does get better the further south you go. Most days there should be some cellphone coverage. Most hosts have internet or wireless connection.

What if the weather is wet?
High Country Journeys operates in wet and dry conditions and tracks options can be changed to accommodate wet weather. If the weather is really wet or bad your guide or host will try and organise alternative track options.
We work hard at making sure there’s always something to do, depending on the preferences of your group.

What other opportunities or activities are available on the trip?
There’s always time to walk, mountain bike, fish (in season), take photos, look at Alpine native plants and generally absorb the high country environment. We will include and inform you of the many historic sites on the way. Curling in Naseby is popular with many groups. Most groups find their days are quite full with 4×4 driving and absorbing all the fantastic scenery.

Are start dates set?

Yes we have set start dates, however if you have a party of friends with a certain date in mind we will try and work in with you. Preferred group size is 16-20 people..

We are now taking bookings for the 2022 season. Contact us if you have a query that hasn’t been addressed or if you would like to receive our comprehensive information pack.