This is a 11 day mid-size coach tour that travels the South Island of New Zealand, starting and finishing in Christchurch.
On arrival into Christchurch you will be met by a tour representative and transferred to your hotel. This evening enjoy a complimentary pre-dinner drink when you meet your Tour Leader and travelling companions for dinner.
After an introductory city sights tour, enjoy a scenic drive to the historic French Village of Akaroa, with time to wander through the charming galleries and craft stores. This afternoon set off on a Nature Cruise in the hope of spotting the rare Hector’s Dolphin and keep an eye out for penguins and other sea birds. Following your cruise, return to Christchurch where the evening is free to dine at one of the city’s many restaurants.
This morning board the TranzAlpine, renowned as one of the great train journeys of the world. Travel over massive viaducts, river valleys and spectacular gorges before descending through the Otira Tunnel to Moana, on the banks of picturesque Lake Brunner. Enjoy lunch at Kingfisher Restaurant, before travelling to the Brunner Mine Site, the location of the 1896 mine explosion. This afternoon in the coastal town of Hokitika, you will visit a local gallery, the perfect opportunity to pick up a gift or souvenir.
Today, take in the natural beauty of the Hokitika Gorge on a short walk descending through the hardwood forest that will lead you to a swing bridge which crosses the Hokitika River. Continue north to Greymouth, home of Monteith’s Brewing Co. where you will sample locally brewed beers over lunch. This afternoon travel along the Great Coast Road to the world-famous Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes.
Journey north along the coast to Tauranga Bay and Cape Foulwind, named by Captain Cook in 1770 when he encountered nasty weather. A short walk along the rocky headland will showcase the rugged coastline and sea life often on show amongst the rocks. Travel inland via the Buller Gorge and Murchison to Nelson, one of the sunniest cities in New Zealand. This afternoon enjoy a visit to the Nelson Classic Car Museum where you will marvel at an incredible collection of iconic cars. This is followed by an orientation tour of the city.
Travel to Kaiteriteri, gateway to the Abel Tasman National Park and join a cruise along the parks’ picturesque coastline. At Anchorage Bay, a picnic lunch will be provided. Re-join your coach and depart for Nelson via the vineyards. This evening is free for you to dine at one of the local restaurants in town.
Today travel via Havelock and the wine-growing region of Marlborough. Visit the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, home to one of the largest private collections of WW1 Aircraft, brought to life in sets created by the internationally acclaimed WingNut Films and Weta Workshop. Head back into town where you will enjoy lunch at a local Blenheim beer garden.
Enjoy a leisurely start to the day before travelling to Picton where time is available to explore this picturesque port. Cruise from Picton Marina to the stunning Queen Charlotte Sound, while enjoying informative commentary on this remarkable region, enroute to Furneaux Lodge. At Furneaux Lodge a delicious lunch will be served followed by time to enjoy the peaceful surroundings. There is access to kayaks and short walks around the property. On the return cruise to Picton a cheese platter featuring local produce is served accompanied by a glass of Marlborough wine, the perfect end to your Marlborough Sounds adventure. Board the coach for the short journey back to Blenheim where the evening is free to dine at one of the local restaurants.
Farewell the Marlborough region and journey to Kaikōura. Visit the Kaikōura Museum, which features an exhibition depicting the impact of the 2016 earthquake. This afternoon you may like to experience a scenic flight (optional, weather permitting) over the coastline to see the many species of whales that migrate through this area.
Depart Kaikōura and head to Christchurch to visit the International Antarctic Centre, designed to provide an informative account of life in Antarctica. This evening enjoy a pre-dinner drink and reminisce on memories shared with your new friends at the farewell dinner.
Time to say goodbye. You will be transferred to the airport for your flight home after a memorable New Zealand holiday.