Having passed the sign-posted turn off to Gore Bay around 50 times, it was finally time to travel the 1.5 hours from Christchurch to go and check out this hidden gem. At just 21 kilometres off State Highway 1, Gore Bay is a small village of mainly holiday homes mostly of which are situated a stones throw from the ocean. From 1856, it was used by William ‘Ready Money’ Robinson as a gateway to his Cheviot farm, ferrying in goods and passengers from boats.
The drive itself is part of the Alpine Pacific Triangle and boasts a great view at the top of the hill just before entering Gore Bay called Cathedral Cliffs (-42.8678845195499, 173.3042949346577). It’s best to see this at some stage after lunch when the sun is on the cliffs rather than early in the morning, if you can manage it.
From there it’s just a short 2 minute drive down to Gore Bay which is a beautiful long beach with rocks at each end. Upon arriving, you get the feeling that there’s no rush here and that time stands still. There are no shops here so if you are coming for the day, make sure you stop in at Amberly or Cheviot for any supplies. The beach is perfect for just strolling around. At low tide you can go boulder hopping on the Southern end of the beach and look for washed up Paua shells or sprats swimming about in the shore.
Being on the tourists trail, Gore Bay is very campervan friendly, with good public facilities such as a recycling station (-42.86405118186294 ,173.3077751846736),
Public toilets and rubbish bins (located on the southern end of the beach).
So, my advice? Gore Bay is a must-see for anyone with a little time up their sleeve in the North Canterbury region. Sure, it’s a little off the main highway but if you’re not in a rush then pack a picnic and make a day of it, you won’t be disappointed by this now confirmed, ‘little gem of the South Island’.