Back to list

New Zealand


A Charming Town with a Passion for the Arts and Outdoors



Nestled in the heart of Southland on New Zealand's South Island, the town of Gore is a hidden gem that's often overlooked by travelers in favor of more well-known destinations. But as a travel blogger who's always on the lookout for unique and authentic experiences, I knew I had to check out this charming little town for myself - and I'm so glad I did.

A Thriving Arts Scene

One of the first things that struck me about Gore was its incredible arts scene. For a town of just over 12,000 people, Gore punches well above its weight when it comes to cultural offerings, with a variety of galleries, theaters, and museums that showcase the creativity and talent of the local community.

The centerpiece of Gore's arts scene is the Eastern Southland Gallery, a beautiful art deco building that houses an impressive collection of New Zealand and international art. The gallery is particularly known for its collection of works by Ralph Hotere, one of New Zealand's most celebrated modern artists, who spent much of his childhood in Gore.

But the Eastern Southland Gallery is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Gore's cultural offerings. The town is also home to the Hokonui Moonshine Museum, which tells the fascinating story of the region's illicit whiskey-making history, and the Gore Historical Museum, which offers a glimpse into the town's early days as a farming and forestry hub.

And if you're a fan of live performances, you won't want to miss a show at the St. James Theatre, a beautifully restored art deco theater that hosts a variety of concerts, plays, and other events throughout the year.

Beautiful Parks and Gardens

Another thing that makes Gore such a special place is its stunning parks and gardens. The town is known as the "Garden Town of Southland," and it's easy to see why - everywhere you look, there are beautifully manicured lawns, colorful flower beds, and shady trees that make for a perfect picnic spot or afternoon stroll.One of my favorite green spaces in Gore was Dolamore Park, a 90-hectare park on the outskirts of town that offers a variety of walking and hiking trails, picnic areas, and even a disc golf course. The park is home to a variety of native bird species, including tui, bellbirds, and fantails, and is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of town and reconnect with nature.

Another must-visit spot for nature lovers is the Gore Public Gardens, a beautifully landscaped park in the heart of town that features a variety of native and exotic plant species, as well as a lovely duck pond and a children's playground.

Easy Access to Outdoor Adventures

But Gore isn't just a pretty face - it's also a great base for exploring the incredible outdoor adventures that Southland has to offer. The town is surrounded by rolling hills, lush forests, and crystal-clear rivers and streams that are perfect for hiking, fishing, and other outdoor pursuits.

One of the most popular outdoor attractions in the area is the Hokonui Hills, a rugged range of mountains that offer a variety of hiking and mountain biking trails for all skill levels. The hills are also home to the Croydon Bush Scenic Reserve, a pristine native forest that's home to a variety of rare and endangered plant and animal species.

For those who prefer a more leisurely outdoor experience, the Mataura River is a great spot for fishing, kayaking, and picnicking. The river is particularly known for its brown trout, which attract anglers from all over the world.

And if you're a fan of golf, you'll definitely want to check out the Gore Golf Club, a beautifully maintained 18-hole course that offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

Small-Town Charm

But perhaps the best thing about Gore is its incredible small-town charm. From the moment I arrived in town, I was struck by the warmth and friendliness of the locals, who went out of their way to make me feel welcome and share their love of their hometown with me.

One of the best ways to experience this small-town hospitality is to visit the Gore Farmers Market, which takes place every Saturday morning in the town center. Here, you can browse stalls selling fresh local produce, artisanal crafts, and delicious baked goods, all while chatting with the friendly vendors and soaking up the lively atmosphere.

Another great way to get a feel for Gore's community spirit is to attend one of the town's many festivals and events throughout the year. From the Gore Arts and Crafts Festival to the Gore Country Music Club Awards, there's always something happening in this vibrant little town.

A Hidden Gem Worth Discovering

As I reflect on my time in Gore, I can't help but feel a sense of gratitude for the opportunity to discover this hidden gem of a town. It may not have the glitz and glamour of some of New Zealand's more famous destinations, but what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in heart.

Gore is a place that truly has something for everyone - whether you're an art lover, an outdoor enthusiast, or simply someone who appreciates the simple pleasures of small-town life. It's a place where you can slow down, take a deep breath, and reconnect with the things that really matter in life.

So if you're planning a trip to New Zealand's South Island, do yourself a favor and add Gore to your itinerary. Take the time to explore its thriving arts scene, its beautiful parks and gardens, and its incredible access to outdoor adventures. But most of all, take the time to connect with the locals and experience the warmth and hospitality that make this little town so special.

Trust me - you won't regret it. Gore may be small, but it's got a big heart and a lot to offer. And who knows - you might just find yourself falling in love with this charming little town, just like I did.

Show more
Gore Gore 8 related places