The Complete Guide to Gore©
The Complete Guide to Gore

The Complete Travel Guide to Gore


A Travel Guide to Gore

We’ll be frank; Gore is one of the more random towns in New Zealand. Located in the rural heart of Southland with stretching pastures and rolling green hills for miles and miles around, Gore is the self-proclaimed Brown Trout Fishing Capital of the World and the Country Music Capital of New Zealand. It also has a museum dedicated to the town’s illicit moonshine-distilling history, while just down the road you can hop in a vintage Tiger Moth and fly the skies; we told you it was random! But that’s all part of the charm of Gore, which is more of what an authentic New Zealand town ought to be. With that in mind, it’s also a great place to experience a New Zealand homestay or B&B experience. That’s not to say that you won’t find an international hotel here, but it all keep in the vibe of the town’s rural-living mantra.

So plan your rural retreat, whether it’s as a couple or family; on a budget or in luxury, with this complete travel guide to Gore.

Fast Facts About Gore

Location: In the centre of the Southland region of the South Island.

Population: 12,800

Climate: Daily average temperature – 10.1°C/50.2°F, yearly average rainfall – 987mm/38.9″
Find out more in What is the Weather Like in New Zealand?

Time zone: NZST / GMT+12/+13

How to get to Gore: Gore is connected to the rest of the South Island by road via State Highway 1, 90 and 94. The closest international airport is Queenstown Airport (2 hours drive), which also has frequent domestic flights from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Gore is also on the main bus network of New Zealand.

The Complete Guide to Gore©

Gore for Budget Travellers

With most of Gore’s attractions being free or extremely cheap, the rural Southland town is easy to visit if you’re on a budget. You can effortlessly spend one or two days checking out the picturesque parks, bushwalks in the Croydon Bush Scenic Reserve and the various museums covering a wide spectrum of interests. The town welcomes motorhomes and campervans with several options for cheap powered sites, while those seeking other cheap places to stay will have limited options apart from some cosy homestays and B&Bs well worth seeking out for a local’s experience. Find out more in The Guide to Gore on a Budget.

Budget Activities in Gore

  • Hike the bushwalks of the Croydon Bush Scenic Reserve
  • Check out the Eastern Southland Art Gallery
  • Learn about the illicit whisky-making history of Gore at the Hokonui Moonshine Museum
  • See vintage aircraft at the Croydon Aviation Heritage Museum
  • Walk the Waikaka Way Walkway along the Waikaka River.

For more details on each experience and others, check out the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Gore.

Budget Accommodation in Gore

Gore is a great place to park up the campervan or motorhome for the night with several ultra-cheap powered site grounds available. When it comes to other forms of cheap accommodation, however, you’ll need to rely on homestays and B&Bs to keep the costs down. Check them out in the 6 Best Budget Accommodation in Gore.

The Complete Guide to Gore©

Gore for Luxury Travellers

This is the part of our travel guide where we would usually list the amazing helicopter flights, wine tours and other luxurious activities, but Gore is much more down-to-earth.

The real luxury here is the brown trout fishing, where the gin-clear waters of the Mataura River have the highest brown trout population and catch rates in New Zealand. Either hire some gear and a fishing licence from the local sports shops or join one of the local fishing guides for a day to remember. Some of the guides include Fishing Guide Bryan Burgess, Fly Fish Mataura, Lloyd Smith Fly Fishing, Brendan Shields Fly Fishing and Mataura Vallery Trout Safaris. When you’re done on the rivers, check out the Gore Historical Museum to check out a collection of fishing memorabilia dating back to the 1870s.

In between days out on the river, one of the most upmarket accommodation offerings in Gore is the four-star Heartland Hotel Croydon, offering luxurious suites in park-like grounds. Find out more in the 5 Best Hotels in Gore.

The Complete Guide to Gore©

Gore for Families

Gore offers a relaxing change of pace for families that may be travelling around the South Island. You hardly need to worry about your budget with the array of free and affordable activities on offer, while venues like the Gore Multisports Complex with its ice rink to hydrotherapy pools are the envy of most visitors wishing they could use them more often. There are outdoor adventures to be had, especially at the bush-lined Dolamore Park with its epic playground, and indoor activities such as the Croydon Aviation Heritage Centre which has visitors of all ages in awe of the colourful vintage aircraft. Plan your family trip with The Guide to Gore for Families.

Things to Do in Gore with Kids

  • Do a bushwalk, look for glowworms, camp and/or play at the playground of Dolamore Park
  • See awesome planes at the Croydon Aviation Heritage Centre
  • Go ice skating at the Gore Multisports Complex
  • Feed the ducks at Hokonui Pioneer Village
  • Watch a movie at the SBS St James Theatre.

For more details on our top picks and more, check out the 7 Things to Do in Gore with Kids.

Family Accommodation in Gore

Families have a diverse offering of accommodation in Gore. You have the usual motels with self-contained units, as well as plenty of holiday homes and the odd B&B with family rooms. Check them out in the 9 Best Family Accommodation in Gore.

The Complete Guide to Gore©

Gore for Couples

While “Gore” doesn’t sound like the most romantic place in New Zealand, it can be for those who find romance in the rural. With gorgeous B&Bs and hotels among park-like grounds and lush farms, there are some rather endearing retreats. As for things to do, you can keep things humble with a romantic amble in lush native forest or picturesque parks. Or how about something different like a flight in a vintage bi-plane?! Start planning your romantic rural retreat with The Honeymoon Guide to Gore.

Things to Do in Gore for Couples

  • Head to the lush Hokonui Hills from Dolamore Park
  • Be inspired at the Eastern Southland Art Gallery
  • Take flight in a vintage aircraft
  • Enjoy a date night at the SBS St James Theatre
  • Indulge in Southland cuisine at Gore’s restaurants.

For more details on each experience, check out the 8 Romantic Activities in Gore for Couples.

Romantic Accommodation in Gore

While the offering of more endearing stays in Gore is small, there is, at least, something to suit a range of tastes and budgets. You have a couple of excellent B&B options set in peaceful rural grounds, while an international hotel and a boutique hotel are also on the cards. Take your pick from the 5 Best Romantic Accommodation in Gore.

The Complete Guide to Gore© Heartland Hotel Croydon

Gore for Foodies

And this is the part of the travel guide where we usually have a complete guide on the foodie experiences and restaurants, but with limited food tours and activities in Gore, we’ll sum it up for you here.

Let’s begin with the trout! As selling trout as food in New Zealand is prohibited, the best way to try fresh trout is to catch it yourself in the renowned Mataura River! Hire some gear from the sports stores or join a local fishing guide to try your luck.

As Gore boasts itself as a rural town, farming is kind of a big deal here. With that, Dairy Pryde Farm Tours offers experiences on their farm allowing you to witness how milk is made, try out milking for yourself, and feed the calves depending on the season.

Finally, another way to experience the local cuisine of Gore and Southland is at the Gore Farmers’ Market held at the Old Horse Bazaar (Mersey Street West) every first and third Saturday morning of the month. Sample and snap up a range of fresh meat, fish, vegetables and artisan products at this community event with live music.

As for our restaurant recommendations in Gore, check out the restaurants to suit your needs and style in The Honeymoon Guide to GoreThe Guide to Gore for Families and The Guide to Gore on a Budget.


Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in New Zealand over 10 years ago and with a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to travel New Zealand. She knows Aotearoa inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience New Zealand’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides and is the co-host of NZ Pocket Guide’s live New Zealand travel Q&As on YouTube.

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