Timaru, New Zealand
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Approximately 8¾ Hours
Depart the pier by coach, traveling south along the scenic coastal route that snakes down the east coast of the South Island.
Your destination is Riverstone Kitchen -- former winner of Cuisine magazine's coveted, supreme Restaurant of the Year award. Bevan Smith, the man behind the menu, spent time in Europe and Australia before building the now-famous Riverstone Kitchen on his family farm in North Otago. Bevan's food ethos is reflected in the gardens that surround and define Riverstone Kitchen. He is passionate about showcasing locally-sourced produce and is a strong advocate of sustainability. The inspiring gardens provide a daily supply of fresh produce used in the restaurant, so the menu changes frequently to reflect the seasons and use of ingredients at their peak.
The restaurant sits alongside the Riverstone Country Gift Shop and the newly-built Riverstone Castle. Bevan's mother, Dot, invites you to step inside her castle. Pink-haired, 60-something, and very quirky, she is a shameless romantic and a local legend. Follow her on a one-hour guided tour of Riverstone Castle, which sits on an island and is built from Oamaru limestone. Dot is a remarkable woman who runs a successful empire of six dairy farms and the restaurant/garden/castle/retail complex you'll visit today.
Continue south to Oamaru, where there is time to wander through the historical Victorian precinct -- an interesting area with beautiful heritage buildings and a variety of galleries, shops, and new and traditional crafts. It's like stepping into a Dickensian street scene.
Rejoin your coach and continue to Hampden Beach. Walk down onto the sand to see the genuinely puzzling Moeraki Boulders. These geological curiosities, each weighing several tons, are estimated to be 60 million years old. They look like huge marbles left on the beach after a giants' game of marbles, but Maori legend claims that they are food baskets washed ashore after a canoe was wrecked off the coast. What do you make of them?
A two-hour journey north returns you to Timaru and your ship.
Please note: Wear comfortable walking shoes. There are steps and uneven terrain at Hampden Beach.