Known as the “Gateway to the Mackenzie Country”, Fairlie is a quiet rural area that transforms into a bustling ski town in winter. Fairlie offers easy access to the stunning Lake Tekapo and is home to excellent history museums, historic Maori sites and a picturesque lake ideal for outdoor pursuits.
Things to do in Fairlie
Start your holiday in Fairlie by admiring the memorial to James Mackenzie, the legendary Scottish sheep rustler who once roamed the hills. Learn more about the region’s rich history in the Fairlie Heritage Museum, where you can marvel at the biggest vintage wagon and carriage collection in New Zealand.
Take a carriage ride around Fairlie’s town center, then stop for lunch at the award-winning Lieber Bakehouse to sample its iconic salmon and bacon pie. Want to get up close to some of Fairlie’s cuddly local wildlife? Head to Gem Alpaca Stud to touch and feed alpacas, sheep, and llamas.
If you’re a sports enthusiast, time your visit in Fairlie for between June and September to enjoy its skiing opportunities at Mt Dobson and Roundhill. In summer, head to Lake Opuha for a leisurely day of boating, then sign up for horseback riding, mountain biking or trout fishing excursions.
Interested in seeing historic Maori rock art? Explore the hidden caves at Raincliff Historic Reserve. Take a 30-minute drive to Lake Tekapo to see the famous turquoise lake with a backdrop of snow-peaked mountains by bike, horse or kayak.
Getting around Fairlie
Fairlie sits 2.5 hours south of Christchurch International Airport and 3.5 hours north of Queenstown Airport, where you can fly in from domestic and international cities. The best way to get around Fairlie is by car, while taxis and buses are also available.