16 Day Untouched South
16 Day Untouched South
A unique and comprehensive South Island self-drive itinerary for those looking for something a little different. Excursions to both Milford and Doubtful Sounds as we as whale watching in Kaikoura are just a few of the experiences you will enjoy on this holiday.
|Tour Type:||Self Drive Tours|
|From:||Christchurch to Christchurch|
|Departures:||Jan 2020 - March 2021|
|Price:||From (NZD) $5521 per person|
|Tour Operator:||Relaxing Journeys|
|15 nights accommodation|
|2 night stopovers in Blenheim, Queenstown, Te Anau & Dunedin|
|Half Day wine tour of Marlborough wineries|
|Whalewatch Cruise or Swim with the Dolphins Excursion, Kaikoura|
|Entry to Hanmer Springs Thermal Reserve|
|Tasman Glacier Explorer Boat Excursion|
|Shotover Jet boat ride|
|Milford Sound Nature Cruise|
|Doubtful Sound Day Excursion|
|Otago Peninsula Tour & Cruise|
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.
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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.
Day by Day Tour Itinerary
“Haere Mai” Welcome to Christchurch – the Garden City. You will be personally met by our representative at the airport and transferred in an executive sedan to your choice of accommodation.
Following the 2011 earthquake, Christchurch has re-emerged as a vibrant, ever-changing city. This afternoon, relax and explore this most English of New Zealand cities.
Take delivery of your rental car this morning. Today you head north out of Christchurch to Kaikoura, a small township located in a narrow strip of stunning coastline that lies between mountain peaks and the Pacific Ocean. It’s two hours direct to Kaikoura.
This morning you have the choice of a three-hour Whalewatching experience by boat or a Swim with the Dolphins excursion. Every Whalewatch tour is a unique experience and sightings may vary from day to day.
Giant sperm whales are the star of the show and are year-round residents. A typical tour may also encounter fur seals, pods of Dusky dolphins and the endangered Wandering Albatross. Depending on the season, you may also see migrating Hump Back whales, Pilot whales, Blue whales and Southern Right whales. Kaikoura also attracts the largest concentration and variety of seabirds on mainland New Zealand.
After lunch, head further north to Blenheim. The road north is dominated by the awesome beauty of the Pacific Coast. Quinnat salmon are known to run in the Clarence River and just north of the Ure River is a road that leads to the walking trails of the Sawcut Gorge. After the small town of Ward you’ll come to the Lake Grassmere saltworks – an interesting stop, particularly in late summer when the ponds turn coral pink.
While in the township of Seddon you’ll find authentic New Zealand crafts. Blenheim is the main town in the Marlborough region. Its lovely sunny climate makes Blenheim an ideal wine growing region. (2 nights)
This morning is at leisure to explore the surrounding area. Early this afternoon you will be collected from your accommodation for a tour of Marlborough wineries.
Visit approximately 4 vineyards: sample the best that the wineries have to offer and learn some of the secrets of fine wine appreciation. You have the choice of a guided, small group tour or a personalised self-guided cycle tour.
Follow the Wairau River this morning as you travel inland to St Arnaud. Sitting on the edge of Lake Rotoiti against a stunning backdrop of mountains, this alpine village is the perfect base for exploring the Nelson Lakes National Park, New Zealand’s second-largest national park.
From St Arnaud you follow the Buller River further inland to Murchison and Maruia Springs before travelling across the Lewis Pass to Hanmer Springs, an exciting and picturesque alpine thermal resort surrounded by tall mountains.
The village is renowned for its relaxing and therapeutic thermal springs.
The route to Christchurch initially follows the beautiful Waiau River. Then it leads you through the Balmoral Forest and across the Hurunui River. Farmland, vineyards and olive groves characterise the Waipara region, which is known for its wine and food – an excellent place to pause for refreshment. The last leg of your journey takes you past the surf beaches of Amberley, Leithfield, Waikuku and Woodend.
The South Island’s largest city, Christchurch is an entertaining mixture of refined lifestyle and cultural excitement. The tranquil Avon River meanders through the city, historic buildings house a lively arts community and restored trams make it easy to get around. Visit heritage sites, museums and art galleries, and enjoy the highly developed restaurant scene.
Drive through the MacKenzie Country to Lake Tekapo, where you stop to view the tiny Church of the Good Shepherd, built of local stone and oak in 1935. Then it’s on to the Mt Cook National Park, a World Heritage listed site.
Mt Cook is Australasia’s highest mountain at 3764 metres. The park covers over 70,000 hectares of breathtaking alpine scenery and is also home to the Tasman Glacier; the longest in the Southern hemisphere (optional Ski-plane and helicopter flights are available subject to weather conditions).
Experience the Tasman Glacier, New Zealand’s largest, in the most unique way possible. This morning, an experienced guide will whisk you away in a stable MAC Boat to explore the melting ice-face of the Tasman Glacier where you will also get to touch and taste 400-year old icebergs that have been carved into the murky waters of the lake.
Skirting the western shores of Lake Pukaki, continue your journey to the popular resort Lake Wanaka.
Set beneath the rugged and spectacular Crown Range is the historic gold mining village of Arrowtown, with its fascinating collection of mining cottages in an atmosphere straight out of last century.
Take time to wander through its tree-lined streets before making your way to the Shotover River. Nothing you have experienced will have prepared you for the excitement of this Shotover Jet boat ride as you speed through the towering rocky canyons of the South Island’s river of gold.
Fifteen minutes away is the spectacular alpine resort village of Queenstown. (2 nights)
Enjoy a full day to experience this magnificent resort. Surrounded by majestic mountains, Queenstown boasts adventure activities in all forms, from extreme to relaxed exploration.
Here you can experience the Ultimate bungy jump, pan for gold, raft the white water rapids, follow a wine trail, fish for trout, play golf – your options are endless.
Depart Queenstown today and follow the southern arm of Lake Wakatipu to Lumsden and Te Anau. Join the Milford Road, driving through the beautiful Eglinton Valley and the famous hand-hewn Homer Tunnel to the Sound itself.
Here you board a purpose-built vessel, designed along the lines of a traditional trading scow, for an extended 2 ½ hour nature cruise the full length Milford Sound to the Tasman Sea. This magnificent glacier-carved fjord is home to the famous, mile-high Mitre Peak and you will view spectacular waterfalls, rainforests, mountains and wildlife whilst enjoying an extensive commentary from the on-board nature guide.
At the completion of your cruise, return to Te Anau for your overnight stay. (L) (2 nights)
You will be collected from your hotel this morning and travel by coach to Manapouri. Your Doubtful Sound Wilderness Excursion begins as you cruise the crystal clear waters of Lake Manapouri, a stunning lake renowned for its numerous islands and deserted beaches.
Then it’s over Wilmot Pass, on one of New Zealand’s remotest and prettiest sub-alpine roads, stopping along the way to experience some of Fiordland’s densest rainforest and to view Doubtful Sound glistening far below.
On reaching Deep Cove, you will board the Patea Explorer, for a three hour cruise that takes in the most dramatic scenery of Doubtful Sound. Nature guides provide an engaging commentary and point out all the sights. Keep a look out for wildlife as bottlenose dolphins frequently swim alongside the vessel, fur seals bask on the rocks around the fiord and rare penguins can at times be observed.
After your cruise, reboard your coach and travel back to Te Anau. (L)
Drive across the Waimea plains towards the farming community of Gore, traversing the rolling hill country of South Otago to Dunedin. What to do when you arrive?
The Otago Harbour deserves to be on every bucket list. Board a Monarch Cruises vessel and savour an unrivalled view of Taiaroa Head, the only mainland nesting place for Northern Royal Albatross in the world and the home to New Zealand fur seals.
Don’t be surprised if you spot dolphins, sea lions and countless ocean birds, including penguins! (2 nights)
Cruise the length of the beautiful Otago Harbour. Experience unrivalled viewing of the exciting diversity of wildlife which abounds on spectacular Taiaroa Head, the only mainland nesting place for Northern Royal Albatross in the world and home to New Zealand fur seals and eight other nesting bird species.
You may also see, dolphins, sea lions and a fascinating array of rarely seen ocean birds including other species of albatross, penguins and marine mammals in their natural environment. Enjoy a scenic Peninsula tour by coach before returning to the city. The rest of today is at leisure.
Head north along the coastal highway to Moeraki Beach, stopping to view its mysterious, spherical, 60 million year old boulders. On to the town of Oamaru, famous for its white limestone buildings.
Continue your journey north through the towns of Timaru, Geraldine and Ashburton as you make you way back to Christchurch.
Sadly your holiday is at an end. At leisure today until you return your rental car to the airport in time to connect with your onward flight.
There are 2 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 5 out of 5.
From the very beginning of the process, Relaxing Journeys made things very easy. In all of our correspondances they had very clear and thorough instructions and information. The itinerary setup, booking and travel were all hassle free and straight forward. When we arrived in New Zealand we had everything provided for us by the welcoming driver. There were no problems with any of the accommodations, car, or excursions, and everything went exactly as the detailed vacation outline documented. We missed one excursion in Kaikoura, but that was due to weather, and in any case we were able to squeeze some hiking in and have a fantastic day in spite of that. Everyone was always very responsive at Relaxing Journeys. If I had a question, I always got a prompt and thorough response. Even though our trip went smoothly, it was nice knowing that if something went wrong they were available to help. We had a great time, and are so appreciative for the help in setting everything up. For anyone planning a trip to New Zealand I would highly recommend that they go through Relaxing Journeys. I've already referred 2 of my friends who are debating a trip to NZ. They won't be disappointed. We weren't.
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A unique and comprehensive South Island self-drive itinerary for those looking for something a little different. Excursions to both Milford and Doubtf... Read More
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