The service capital of the Mackenzie district and gateway to the Mackenzie Country, this bustling township of around 800 people and rural community is nestled into a rich hinterland with a majestic mountain backdrop.
On one of New Zealand’s most popular tourist routes, on State Highway 8 (Inland Scenic Route between Christchurch and Queenstown), Fairlie plays host to both business and recreational activities. In winter, Fairlie is a base for skiing at Mt Dobson and other ski fields. During warmer months, Lake Opuha is popular for boating and fishing; you can also take a Llama trek around the lake. Hiking, horse riding, mountain biking, trout fishing and farm tours are other popular activities.
The Fairlie area is anchored in strong farming and agricultural roots. A statue of James Mackenzie (19th century sheep rustler, after whom the region is named) stands proudly in Fairlie's main street.
- home of multi award winning Fairlie Bakehouse – Lieber Pies and 'cronut' croissant-doughnuts amongst other delicacie
- abundant trout and salmon river fishing
- Lake Opuha boating and family leisure options
- 18 hole golf course
- Fairlie Heritage museum and Whisk & Page café - experience life and work in a rural community through farming implements, vintage tractors and vehicles from the past
- art galleries, local crafts and shopping
- Scenic helicopter flights, leaving from Farm Barn Cafe and retail outlet at nearby Mt Michael
- family friendly cafés, restaurants and à la carte dining
- historic ‘Rimuwhare’, (now Red Stag restaurant & function centre) and Opawa Homesteads (accommodation & functions)
- winter pursuits, skiing at nearby Mt Dobson
- walk, hike, bike – Four Peaks High Country Track self-guided tours over a privately owned historic high country station, staying in original musterers’ (shepherds) huts including ‘Sutherlands Hut’ the oldest surviving in New Zealand.
- New Years’ Day parade – 1st January, vintage machinery and vehicles, entertainment
- and stalls at the Village Green
- Transport options include self-drive, several mini bus and coach services