Fairlie is known as the 'Gateway to the Mackenzie Country'. It's an attractive rural service town that doubles as a ski town in winter.
The pretty farming town of Fairlie marks the beginning of the Mackenzie Country. Just west of here, Burke Pass takes you into the high altitude, tussock-covered expanses that characterise the region.
The Mackenzie Country is named after James Mackenzie, the legendary Scottish sheep rustler who once roamed the hills. You'll find a memorial to him in Fairlie's town centre.
While you're in town visit the Fairlie Heritage Museum, which has one of the biggest vintage wagon and carriage collections in the country. You may like to follow this up with a carriage ride around Fairlie township. At lunch time, the locals recommend you try a salmon and bacon pie at the award-winning Lieber Bakehouse(opens in new window).
In winter (June - September), Fairlie is a base for skiing at Mt Dobson (affectionately known as 'Dobo') and Roundhill.
During warmer months, the recently created 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 Raincliff Historic Reserve is the place to see Maori rock art, and famously scenic Lake Tekapo is just 25 minutes' drive away.