This full day expedition provides a wonderful opportunity to explore some of Central Otago’s best kept secrets, namely: historic Ophir township, Poolburn Dam, the Serpentine Road, one of New Zealand's most remote Churches and the Old Dunstan Road.



Built in the early 1930s for irrigation and a great depression employment initiative, the Poolburn Reservoir and its striking scenery has been popularised by being used as a location in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy.





From Queenstown we head to Central Otago, stopping at the historic Clyde township for a quick stroll and morning tea and then on to Ophir. Ophir,  originally known as Blacks, was a thriving gold mining town built on the back 1863 gold rush. During these years it became a commercial and social hub with a population of 1000, a far cry from its current population of 50! It is of historical interest due to the many original buildings including the restored Post and Telegraph Office, the 1895 Courthouse, and the 1870s Police Station. After a stop at Pitches Store, we travel to the Ida Valley and climb up to the Poolburn Dam to navigate our way through a very different and expansive Central Otago landscape. From here, we make our way towards the old gold mining township of Serpentine, named after the winding path of the nearby Waimonga Creek. Then, depending on track conditions, we retrace our route back to the Poolburn dam, Ida Valley and Queenstown.





Over 1,000 m above sea level, the Serpentine church was the most elevated in New Zealand when it opened in 1873. Today it is the only remnant of a once-bustling village. Much of the town’s rich heritage is hidden beneath the tussock: tailings, water races, dams, sod pits and the remains of buildings.


The area became known as the Serpentine after the discovery of gold in 1863 transformed this remote area into a vibrant gold-mining town. A settlement quickly sprang up, with two store-hotels, a church, blacksmiths, a cemetery, and huts of sod, wood and thatch with gardens and potato-storage pits. The formed road you come in on follows part of the original dray track used by miners. The Serpentine reached its peak population (150 Chinese and 80 Europeans) around 1873.





    • $895 single vehicle - private tour
    • $POA - 2 or more vehicles




    • Up to 10 hours ex Queenstown




    • Fully guided day
    • Hand held radio use
    • Morning tea
    • 15% NZ Goods and Service Tax


We offer discounts off the standard price with the following.

    • Booking 2 or more vehicles
    • Multi day bookings




  • Vehicle insurance suitable for this tour.
  • All terrain tyres preferred with minimum 60% tread.
  • Hi/low ratio.
  • A full list of vehicle requirements is on our booking form. Contact us for details.
  • This tour is suitable for people with beginner off-road driving experience, however, drivers need to be confident driving on back country roads.




Three steps for booking


  1. Email us at
  2. We will send you a link to the booking forms. Please read, sign and return. We can collect these on tour day.
  3. Payment options
    1. Online link we will supply - visa, mastercard, eftpos
    2. Direct bank transfer
    3. On the day, visa, mastercard, eftpos or cash





Full day tours depart 7:45 am


Different pickup times can be arranged if necessary.  Pick ups at local accommodation by prior arrangement.




These tours run from mid October to late April, depending on snow conditions.

Please contact us to discuss dates.







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4wd expeditions queenstown new zealand

4WD Expeditions Limited

PO Box 1046

Queenstown 9348

New Zealand


From New Zealand

Email  :

Freephone : 0800 4WD FUN (493 386)

Cell : 021 244 3920


From Overseas / International

Email  :

Phone : + 64 21 244 3920

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