9 Day Coastal Retreats

9 Day Coastal Retreats

Visit some of the best coastal retreats around the top of New Zealand's South Island with this 9 day self-drive tour. Starting in Christchurch you will visit Hokitika, Punakaiki Rocks and Cape Foulwind, the Abel Tasman National Park and finally the magnificent Kaikoura Coast, famed for its whales, dolphins, seals, birds and great views.

Tour Info

Tour Type: Self Drive Tours
From: Christchurch to Christchurch
Departures: Jan 2020 - March 2021
Price: From (NZD) $3807 per person
Tour Operator: Relaxing Journeys
Duration: 9 Days
Tour Code: GJCR


8 nights boutique accommodation
Rental vehicle of your choice
3 night stay in Kaikoura
2 night stays at Hokitika and the Abel Tasman
Treetop Walkway and Café
Abel Tasman National Park Luxury cruise
Whale watching scenic flight
Swim with the Dolphins excursion


Prices are per person based on twin-share, and are subject to availability. Prices are correct at the time of submission but are subject to change without notice. Valid for travel January 2020 – March 2021. Blackout periods may apply. A non-refundable deposit of $250 per person is required at time of booking.

Click here for our full terms and conditions.

Click on the prices below to enquire.

* Prices shown are per person (based on two people travelling).
* 2 Bedroom Motel pricing also available with Exclusive Specials. Please request a quote for prices.

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Day by Day Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive Christchurch

“Haere Mai” Welcome to Christchurch – the Garden City. Upon arrival at Christchurch airport, you will be personally met by our representative and transferred to your accommodation. Following the 2011 earthquake, Christchurch has re-emerged as a vibrant, ever-changing city.

Possessing a stable sunny climate, the city’s parks and gardens are a key attraction year round and are renowned for their beauty, especially in spring. Centred on the willow-lined River Avon, Christchurch is compact and easy to explore, with a refreshingly friendly buzz. The remainder of the day you can spend at your leisure to get a taste of what the city has to offer.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 2
Christchurch - Hokitika

Collect your rental car this morning. Turn inland to travel through the Canterbury Plains and over the beautiful Arthur’s Pass. Along the way you’ll see the awesome engineering feats of the Otira Viaduct and Tunnel. You’ll have time to stop and look around before descending through some fantastic alpine scenery and on down to Greymouth, then it’s a short trip south to Hokitika for a 2 night stay.

Upgrade your intinerary so that you can join the TranzAlpine Train for your journey across the Alps and collect your rental car on arrival at the railway station in Greymouth. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 3

Today you can hike in the Hokitika Gorge, visit lakes, shop for greenstone (jade), walk along the beach and collect driftwood or just sit and read a book. Visit the Treetop Walk and café south of Hokitika. The walkway, high in the ancient rainforest tree canopy, and a 40 metre spiral tower offer views of Lake Mahinapua, the Tasman Sea and the Southern Alps.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 4
Hokitika - Abel Tasman National Park

Today’s drive is very scenic, along the West Coast to Punakaiki, best known for its Pancake Rocks and Blowholes – both of which are spectacular and a must-see when visiting the West Coast.

Stop for lunch at the Bay House café at Cape Foulwind with its walkway among the seal colony. Wind through the Buller Gorge and Motueka Valley to your accommodation near the Abel Tasman National Park. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 5
Abel Tasman National Park

We recommend booking yur spot on The Best Abel Tasman Day Trip. After boarding the boat, the Taranui at Stephens Bay you cruise around the headland to Split Apple Rock, taking time to enable you to get the best views and photo’s during your scenic cruise.

Taranui’s cruise itinerary is flexible so if there is something to see on the day trip, like dolphins riding the bow wave or New Zealand fur seals fishing. Similarly if there’s a particular bay you want to visit or park feature you want to see, then please do let the skipper know and he’ll try to accommodate your wishes.

After you’ve said goodbye to the seals the skipper finds a sheltered bay for a light lunch. You can swim, sea kayak, go ashore for a bush walk, or just relax on board Taranui while lunch is prepared. There is plenty of snorkelling equipment available, if you are keen to work up an appetite and kayaks on board for your enjoyment.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 6
Abel Tasman National Park - Kaikoura

Cross to the east coast via Picton, the heart of the Marlborough sounds. Built around a very sheltered harbour, the town has an attractive seafront dotted with cafés, restaurants and various types of galleries. Continue on your journey to Blenheim. Blenheim is situated in the heart of wine-growing Marlborough and is one of the sunniest towns in New Zealand.

Make sure to include a couple of stops at some of the 160 local wineries while passing through this region as well as picking up some gourmet goodies. Enjoy great views of the Pacific Ocean as you head south to Kaikoura and watch out for seals on the rocks. (3 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 7
Kaikoura Whale Watching Tour

A stay in Kaikoura is not complete without seeing the whales. In a typical 30 minute flight you will see the majestic Sperm Whale preparing for his next dive and up to 500 Dusky Dolphins playfully swimming.

Occasional sightings include Southern Right, Humpback, Fin, Sei, Brydes, Pilot, Southern Bottlenose and Blue Whales. Other, less frequent, visitors to the area include Common, Hectors, Risso’s and Southern Right Whale Dolphins, as well as the occational Orca.

The remainder of the day is free so you’ll have plenty of time to relax and take lunch at the ‘kai carts’ where freshly caught koura (lobster) is sold by the sea.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 8
Kaikoura Swim with the Dolphins

A swim with the dolphins is one of those must-do experiences while staying at this town. Totally interactive these gentle creatures love to play with you.

The dusky dolphins inhabit the coastal waters off Kaikoura all year round, making Kaikoura a unique place in the world where wild dolphins can be encountered every day, weather permitting. It is this fact that sees the success rate of watching and swimming with dolphins as second to none.

It is also very important to realise that the dusky dolphins are totally wild, they are not trained or fed; this is not a theme park encounter: we are dealing with dolphins in their own world.

After fish and chips on the beach, take a hike on the Kaikoura peninsula which boasts some stunning ocean views.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 9
Kaikoura - Depart Christchurch

A leisurely drive brings you back to Christchurch where you leave your car at the airport in time for your departing flight.

Your choice of accommodation

Enquire about our 9 Day Coastal Retreats

9 Day Coastal Retreats
Self Drive Tours
Tour Code: GJCR
From (NZD) $3807 per person
Save (NZD) $380 per person
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Terms and conditions apply. Please see tour overview for more information.

Visit some of the best coastal retreats around the top of New Zealand's South Island with this 9 day self-drive tour. Starting in Christchurch you wil... Read More

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9 Day Coastal Retreats
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