Things to Do in Gore for Couples
Sure, a place called “Gore” doesn’t sound like it would have the most endearing activities while travelling New Zealand on your honeymoon or perhaps to stay for a romantic getaway, but you’ll be surprised. This small South Island town in the heart of rural Southland offers inexpensive and, quite frankly, random experiences which, most tend to agree, are the most memorable type of experiences. Gorgeous gardens, lush native forest, a characterful history of moonshine-making and the opportunity to fly in vintage aeroplanes: Gore’s offerings are mismatched yet strangely romantic. Check them out in this list of romantic activities in Gore!
1. Wander the Gore Public Gardens and Bannerman Park
A great place to start when visiting Gore with your loved one is with a stroll in its romantic gardens and parks. Gore Public Gardens has beautiful displays whatever the season, whether it’s blooming camellias and magnolias in spring or blossoming roses in summer. See exotic plants year-round in the winter garden and the cute birds in the aviary. If you have time, also go for a stroll in Bannerman Park with more gorgeous flower displays, exotic tree plantings and adorable deer in the paddocks.
Location: Gore Public Gardens – Fairfield Street and Ardwick Street. Bannerman Park – Mitre Street and Crewe Street, Gore town centre.
2. Head into the Lush Hokonui Hills from Dolamore Park
Contrary to the creative city displays, Dolamore Park provides access to the wild native forest of Croydon Bush Scenic Reserve. Escape to the wilderness of the Hokonui Hills with your loved one by exploring the walking trails that begin at Dolamore Park. Walks range from short strolls in the dense native bush awash in mosses, podocarp trees and gentle streams to four-hour hikes to stunning viewpoints. Learn all about them in the 6 Best Walks in Gore.
Location: Dolamore Park Road, Gore, approximately 12km (7 miles) from Gore town centre.
3. Be Inspired at the Eastern Southland Art Gallery
What’s not romantic about art? Eastern Southland Art Gallery in the centre of town is a must-do for couples with its thought-provoking artwork from New Zealand and international artists. The carvings from West African and Elcho Island in Australia are some additions that are amazing to see all the way in this random town in New Zealand! See more like activities this in the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Gore.
Location: 14 Hokonui Drive, Gore town centre.
4. Learn Something New Together at the Hokonui Moonshine Museum
Opposite the Eastern Southland Art Gallery, don’t miss the Hokonui Moonshine Museum and Gore Historical Museum. The former tells the story of Gore’s illicit whisky-distilling history through interactive displays and static scenes that are impossible not to bond over, whether it’s pretending to have some moonshine a historic pub or giggling at some of the scenes and stories. In the same building, the Gore Historical Museum is a small set-up of Gore’s Maori and pioneering history. For more rainy day activities, check out the 10 Things to Do in Gore on a Rainy Day.
Location: 16 Hokonui Drive, Gore town centre.
5. Take Flight in a Vintage Aircraft
Now onto the more insane things you can treat your loved one to in Gore; how about flying in a vintage bi-plane from the 1920/30s?! That’s right, the Croydon Aviation Heritage Centre offers charter flights of their vintage aircraft, particularly their Tiger Moth and their Fox Moth. The Tiger Moth is the aircraft available for most flights, taking only one passenger, while the Fox Moth is a unique opportunity to get you both in the passenger seats. Alternatively, the centre is open for visitors to check out the vintage aircraft collection on display for a small fee.
Location: 1558 Waimea Highway, Mandeville, approximately 17km (11 miles) from Gore town centre.
6. Go Ice Skating Then Relax in Some Hot Pools
Locals rely on the Gore Multisports Complex for a good date night and visitors can too! There are not many towns in New Zealand where you can enjoy ice skating together, so take the opportunity at Gore’s ice rink where public sessions are available on weekends. There’s also an adults skating session on Monday evenings between 7pm and 8pm. After your skating session, change into your togs (swimwear) and dip into the soothing hydrotherapy hot pools of the Gore Aquatic Centre, also in the complex.
Location: Robertson Street, approximately 3km (2 miles) from Gore town centre.
7. Enjoy a Date Night at the SBS St James Theatre
Ok, so going to the cinema isn’t the most imaginative of date night ideas, but SBS St James Theatre offers something rather special. Either catch a theatre show in the gorgeous Art Deco 450-seat theatre or sit down to the movie in the boutique cinema vibe of the 100-seat cinema room to watch the latest blockbusters to arthouse productions. What’s more, movie tickets are cheaper than most other cinemas in New Zealand.
Location: 61 Irk Street, Gore town centre.
8. Indulge in Southland Cuisine at Gore’s Restaurants
And finally, what romantic getaway is complete without indulging the senses together in an exquisite meal?! Couples will find a few hidden gems in and around Gore when it comes to romantic dining, starting with the Blazing Copper Restaurant of the Heartland Hotel Croydon. Dine in the cosy elegant dining room or alfresco with attractive garden views at this hotel restaurant, which serves steaks to gnocchi to Kiwi crowd-pleasers. One of the most striking eateries in Gore, Rustic Cafe & Restaurant wows with its “rustic” interiors of exposed brick and timber walls encompassing cosy booths or tables with ornate chairs. It’s worth waiting until dinner for their New Zealand lamb shank, pan-fried or grilled salmon and all the meats you could imagine. Finally, for brunch, lunch or even a quick coffee, we recommend the stylish cafe of Miss Cocoa located beside the Croydon Aviation Heritage Centre in Mandeville.
Location: Blazing Copper Restaurant – 100 Waimea Street, Croydon. Rustic Cafe & Restaurant – 38 Irk Street. Miss Cocoa – 1558 Waimea Highway, Mandeville.