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There’s More to See in Gore Than Banjos and Trout Fishing

A pleasant little Southland town, Gore is most famous for two things: brown trout fishing on the Mataura River, and New Zealand’s annual Golden Guitar country music awards. But don’t be disheartened if you’re not a keen angler or banjo plucker – Gore and its surrounding region have loads more for visitors to see.

Gore Public Gardens

Gore’s original public garden is located on the edge of the shopping district, between Fairfield Street and Ardwick Street. Perfect for a visit at any time of year but especially inviting in warmer months, the present garden is based on the historical layout established in 1906. There is plenty of shade for your picnic or afternoon siesta, and spring months host spring bulbs, flowering magnolia, camellias, and enkianthus trees. If you’re in town in October, don’t miss the Gore Rhododendron Festival. 

Purakaunui Falls Are Fit For a Calendar

Purakaunui Falls are one of the countless sightseeing options in the nearby Catlins region. The 90-minute drive south-east from Gore takes you through the Owaka Valley and along the banks of Catlins Lake en route to the falls. A ten-minute (wheelchair-friendly) walk through podocarp and beech forest brings you to Purakaunui Falls Scenic Reserve and the 20-metre waterfall cascading over three levels. The falls have graced calendars and even an NZ postage stamp, so get your camera out and see if you can do them justice.

Hokonui Moonshine Museum

Unbeknownst to many Kiwis is the fact that New Zealand was subjected to prohibition laws for over 50 years. Of course, where there is prohibition, there is always bootlegging! The Hokonui Moonshine Museum pays homage to the steady supply of illegal whiskey that flowed through the Gore region during this time.  

Mataura River and Waikaka River

Gore has been dubbed the Brown Trout capital of the world, so we can’t rightly talk about the town without mentioning the rivers that carry the trout through it. If you’re an angler, check out these Gore fishing spots. If you’d prefer to see the water without wading into it, try the Waikaka Way Walkway – a 30-minute stroll along the Waikaka River and around Hamilton Park. Head to Toronto Street to start your walk.

As well as a town with lots to see locally, Gore is a prime location to discover New Zealand’s Southland from. Consider Gore’s Heartland Hotel Croydon for your accommodation while visiting the area.


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