SERPENTINE - POOLBURN

TAG ALONG & PASSENGER TOURS

 

TOUR DESCRIPTION

 

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.

 

 

 

 

ITINERARY

 

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 conditions, we can either carry on along the Serpentine Road to exit the Serpentine Conservation area on the Upper Taieri Plain or travel to Lake Onslow and exit near Roxburgh township.

 

 

 

SERPENTINE TOWNSHIP AND CHURCH

 

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.

 

 

 

POOLBURN RESERVOIR

 

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

 

 

EARLY IMAGES

click on image to vie

 

The stamper battery, waterwheel and shed in 1931.Photo: Battery Shed and waterwheel, Serpentine, 1931, L.G. Penfold photographBogged carriage. Transport to the Dunstan goldfields, c.1892Cobb & Co's Coach gold escort, RoxburghGoldminers right. Issued to William Rocheford. Date 13th February 1862Serpentine area, date unknownThe sod huts built here may have looked like this one. Reverend Alexander Donand an unidenti ed Chinese miner outside a sod house, Mitchells Flat, Otago. <>1 - 6x

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

 

  • Available on our guided tour or tag along or passenger tour
  • Serpentine Road
  • Remote 1873 Church
  • Poolburn Reservoir
  • Original Dunstan Road
  • Historic Clyde
  • Historic Ophir
  • Pitches Store, Ophir
  • 1878 stamping battery

 

 

PASSENGER TOUR

 

FULL DAY

 

 

ADULTS       2 Adults     3 Adults     4 Adults    Child PRICE          $399pp      $300pp      $275pp     $50

 

    • Minimum 2 adults
    • Child (16 and under)
    • Maximum 4 passengers

 

DURATION

    • 8-10 hours ex Queenstown

 

INCLUDED

    • Morning tea and lunch
    • Extremely comfortable 4x4 vehicle

 

These prices are for private vehicle charter and guide.

 

BOOK ONLINE

Alternatively, payment with credit cards, eftpos or cash can be made direct on the day, contact us for details.

 

 

 

TAG ALONG TOUR

 

PRICE

    • $799 single vehicle

 

DURATION

    • Up to 10 hours ex Queenstown

 

INCLUDED

    • Hand held radio use
    • Morning tea

 

We offer discounts off the standard price with the following.

    • Booking 2 or more vehicles
    • Family bookings
    • Multi day bookings

 

TAG ALONG REQUIREMENTS

 

  • 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.
  • Due to hazard identification over hand held radios, clients must be fluent in english.

 

TAG ALONG BOOKING

 

3 steps for booking

 

  1. Email us at info@4wdexpeditions.nz
  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

 

 

TOUR DEPARTURES

 

Full day tours depart Queenstown at 7:30 am.

Different pickup times can be arranged if necessary.

We can also pick people up in Arrowtown, Cromwell, Alexandra, and Ophir for this passenger tour.

 

DATES AVAILABLE

 

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

Please contact us to discuss dates.

 

 

CONTACT US

 

 

 

 

 

4WD Expeditions Limited

PO Box 1046

Queenstown 9348

New Zealand

 

From New Zealand

Email : info@4WDexpeditions.nz

Freephone : 0800 4WD FUN (493 386)

Cell : 021 244 3920

 

From Overseas / International

Email : info@4WDexpeditions.nz

Phone : + 64 21 244 3920

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