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Your guide to Fairlie
All About Fairlie
On New Zealand’s South Island, the rural town of Fairlie is a vision of unspoiled nature, with snow-capped mountains, rolling green hills, and lots of ways to experience both, be it via hikes under the summer sun or racing down slopes on a pair of skis. As one of New Zealand’s thriving ski towns, skiers and snowboarders flock to Fairlie every winter. You’ll want to check out nearby Burkes Pass, a high-altitude playground full of mountain-top treks, or Lake Opuha, a popular reservoir that welcomes fishers and boaters.
When you need a respite from the outdoors, take a trip to Fairlie’s heritage museum, which showcases decades of agricultural history. Fairlie’s main street is lined with restaurants and pubs serving hand-filled meat pies and New Zealand lamb shanks.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Fairlie
No matter if the mountains are covered in powdery snow or long, tussock summer grasses, Fairlie offers outdoor recreation opportunities year round. If you’re hoping to hike, bike, and fish, the best time to stay in a Fairlie accommodation would be during the summer months, November through February. However, the winter months, June through August, are ideal for skiing and other winter sports. Summer experiences balmy, enjoyable weather, while winter is cold and snowy, a perfect time for racing down Mount Dobson. Some happenings to watch out for include the Caroline Bay Rock and Hop in March, an annual event in nearby Timaru that celebrates ‘50s and ‘60s car culture with a car parade and costume contest. In late November, Temuka Christmas Parade rolls out food and drink stalls and an appearance by Father Christmas.
Top things to do in Fairlie
Fairlie Heritage Museum
The Fairlie Heritage Museum displays artifacts and historical objects from the region’s agricultural past. Displays include vintage machinery, household items, and set pieces like a preserved threshing mill and a rebuilt cottage from Fairlie’s earliest days. Of particular note is the Motor Heritage Building that showcases antique cars and tractors.
A part of the Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, Lake Tekapo and its surrounding area are recognized for its pitch-perfect stargazing conditions. You can catch plenty of awesome scenery with the naked eye here, from shooting stars to satellites. And the night sky isn’t the only thing that makes Lake Tekapo a worthwhile day trip from Fairlie. The striking azure water of the lake is tranquil and calm, great for swimming, kayaking, and paddleboarding.
Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park
The scenic 1.5-hour drive to this sprawling park covering nearly 450 square miles skirts around Lake Tekapo and traces the western bank of Lake Pukaki. Dramatic scenery ranges from the highest peak on the continent to the 16-mile Tasman Glacier, and you can spot falcons overhead and the Mount Cook lily on the alpine pastures. The return hike to Kea Point takes around two hours. More high-octane activities include mountaineering, glacier skiing, and seaplane trips.