This is a 6 day scenic guided tour that travels both the North and South Islands of New Zealand, starting in Wellington and finishing in Christchurch.
Kia Ora! Welcome to Wellington – New Zealand’s capital city! Wellington is known for its world-class dining, great coffee and eccentric shops.
After checking into your hotel and reading your welcome letter from your Tour Director, head out and explore all that Wellington has to offer. This is the perfect opportunity to get cultured at Te Papa Museum or grab a drink at one of the many quirky bars on Cuba Street. You may even fancy a ride on the cable car!
After an exciting day on the town, your tour will officially begin as you join your fellow travellers and Tour Director at this evening’s welcome dinner.
This morning you will say poroporoaki ki te motu raki (good-bye to the North Island) as you sail to the South Island, crossing the Cook Strait on the Interislander Ferry. As the shores of the North Island slowly disappear, settle down in the comfy seats in the Premium Lounge. Treat yourself to a mimosa and enjoy a hearty seafaring breakfast, but save some room for morning tea!
On your journey across Cook Strait you may spot pods of dolphins playing in the wake or, if you are very lucky, a whale. Don’t spend all your time inside – as you enter the stunning Queen Charlotte Sound enjoy the views as you cruise past the remnants of whaling stations, remote working sheep farms, pristine native bush and mussel farms. Admire the beauty of this coastal paradise as you arrive into the gateway of the South Island, Picton. Step off the Interislander Ferry and join your next world-class experience aboard a Marlborough Wine Tour.
The morning is yours to explore Picton. Meander through the impressive Edwin Fox- the world’s oldest surviving merchant sailing ships, the local craft stores, and coastal walks. Enjoy the waterfront cafés before boarding the Coastal Pacific train for another highlight rail journey through the Marlborough Wine Region.
Today you will be travelling into Kaikōura. Relax as the train glides across remote beaches, between mountains and sea, on a timeless journey of breath-taking beauty. Keep an eye out for the fur seals lazing on the rocks!
Once in Kaikōura, the evening will be yours to enjoy some iconic kai moana (seafood) at one of the quaint restaurants before enjoying your luxurious ocean-front hotel.
Today will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience of whale, dolphin, or albatross watching! Enjoy today’s thrill of an up-close encounter with the world’s largest-toothed predator, the Giant Sperm Whale, who reside in Kaikōura’s waters year-round. If you would prefer to gain an aerial experience of the wildlife, why not request a plane ride to capture the true grandeur of it all?
After this outstanding experience, we’re sure you will be feeling peckish. Head to the beach to sample some iconic New Zealand food – you can’t go wrong with the humble Kiwiana fish and chips. Work off the deep-fried delights by wandering through the wonderful array of local artisan stores and souvenir shops.
In the late afternoon, your highlight day will continue as you rejoin the Coastal Pacific Train en route to Christchurch. The spectacular scenery doesn’t cease to amaze as you journey south through the rolling hills and extensive plains. Enjoy the relaxing journey with a glass of wine in hand as you indulge in a gourmet meal from the onboard scenic café.
Sit back and relax for the remainder of the evening before hitting the town the following day.
Christchurch, the hub for South Island exploration, is also a wonderful city that blends modern architecture and technology with the 19th-century Anglican ‘gothic revival’ architectural influence. Often remembered for its earthquake in 2011, the city is rebuilding itself into a multicultural haven.
Today you are free to explore the museums, Riverside Markets, Punting on the Avon, Gondola and botanical gardens. There is also a multitude of delicious cafés tucked into quaint side streets we’re sure you will love.
This evening, you will re-join your fellow travellers for a ‘final hurrah’ and a special dinner on Christchurch’s historic dinner tram. Enjoy a wonderful circuit of the city while indulging in fantastic conversation and seasonal cuisine.
Your journey will end after enjoying a final breakfast at the hotel.