A couple of decades ago Gore was perceived as a ‘drive through’ bogan village where young chaps cruised the main street in old cars that were hardly roadworthy. The antics of yesteryear have been well and truly put to bed. Those same young men are now depicted in images of affluent rural folk wearing perfect dinner jackets and gumboots. Standing now is a welcoming, refined & culturally rich hub extending a welcoming hand to all who visit.
Firmly rooted on the banks of the mighty Mataura River, Gore has traditionally lent itself to the rural sector as a service hub for the agricultural industry. With the Mataura touted as an angler’s paradise, many intrepid fisherfolk have made the trek to this little town in Southland to covet its bounty. The giant Brown Trout sculpture that greets you as you enter Gore is testament to some of the best fishing yarns ever told. If fiddling with flies and spending your time in waders luring giant fish to the smoker excites you, the Mataura River and its tributaries will not disappoint. While the fishing is alluring (pardon the pun), Gore offers plenty for those who don’t live to fish.
Gore is a bit of a hub in the sense that any turn you take at the junction leads to a fantastic new adventure. Whether you’re heading further south to Invercargill & the Catlins or eager to see Milford Sound, Gore is a central location to spend a night. Gore A&P Showgrounds has ample room for large campervans and is friendly and informal. The grounds are vast and the park like surrounds with big grassy areas are lovely to relax in. 11 kilometres from central Gore you’ll find Dolamore Park. Set against the backdrop of Croydon Bush, outdoorsy opportunities are plentiful. There’s a huge children’s playground and a network of walking and MTB tracks to explore. A trickling creek adds to the bush ambience along with native birdsong. Camping or parking here is truly affordable and facilities are good. If you’re travelling with children of any age, Dolamore Park is the place for you.
Art, Culture & History.
Gore and the Hokonui District had an illicit bootlegging industry and this is well documented and brought to life at the Hokonui Moonshine Museum. It’s a Tardis of memorabilia, history and displays which are well worth viewing. You can also purchase a bottle of ‘Moonshine’ for a wee tipple later. Bi annually, Gore celebrates with a Moonshine Festival.
Directly opposite the Museum is the Eastern Southland Gallery. Inside you’ll find outstanding artworks by renowned New Zealand artists along with interesting sculptures and a collection of indigenous art. A sculpture of Medusa greets you at the front door and the building itself has beautiful ornate features.
Out at Mandeville, Croydon Aviation Heritage Centre offers an interesting display of vintage planes including the largest collection of de Havilland aircraft in the Southern Hemisphere. Almost all of these aircraft are operational and still in working order. Also, on display is a Rogers K92 Locomotive & passenger carriage belonging to Waimea Plains Railway. A plan to establish and operate a heritage rail precinct to compliment the aviation museum is afoot and you can help by supporting the trust. There’s a delightful café to lunch in prior to or after your visit.
The Gore Returned Services Association building boasts some exemplary street art on its exterior wall. Recently completed, a montage of murals featuring local service personnel & veterans depicts New Zealand’s contribution in times of war and peacekeeping. The murals are not only magnificent, but historically correct and well worth viewing. The RSA is located on Bowler Avenue.
Hokonui Pioneer Village is a step back in time. Beautifully restored heritage buildings and industrial sites offer insights into pioneer life.
The old Flemings Creamota Mill where oats were once processed remains as it was over 100 years ago and still sports it’s branding featuring ‘Sergeant Dan, The Creamota Man’.
Attractions & Activities.
Gore has a fresh urban greenbelt with beautiful gardens featuring a giant bird aviary. With plenty of seating it’s a great spot for picnicking or quiet contemplation. The huge trout sculpture at Gore's northern entrance is a well-loved attraction offering a unique photo op. Mountain biking and walking tracks at Dolamore Park are enjoyed by locals and guests alike. If you’d like to try your luck at Trout Fishing the folk at Shooters World hire out fishing gear and are happy to advise you on good fishing locations. Gore has an excellent Multi Sports Complex with a swimming pool and Ice-Skating Rink. If you’re from a country that doesn’t experience a frozen winter wonderland, the skating rink is your opportunity to skate in a frosty playground.
There is plenty of good parking in Gore which makes it easy to stop off and enjoy the many café’s and boutique stores. Stock up at one of the local supermarkets or take the opportunity to get your laundry done at the laundromat. While Gore may present with an air of affluence, the people are happy, friendly and welcoming. Stay a while and enjoy.
Back to Blog