WELLINGTON | MARLBOROUGH | KAIKOURA | MOUNT COOK | QUEENSTOWN | MILFORD SOUND | FRANZ JOSEF | CHRISTCHURCH
Discover extraordinary treasures and dramatic extremes on this comprehensive and relaxing small group tour that reveals the hidden gems of New Zealand’s South Island.
- 2 night stopovers in the Marlborough Sounds & Mt Cook
- 3 night stay in majestic Queenstown
- Stunning Kenepuru Sound
- Mt Cook National Park
- Beautiful Southern Lakes region
Day 1 : Arrive Wellington
On arrival, you will be met and transferred to your city hotel. The rest of the day is free to explore New Zealand’s capital. Perhaps you’ll relax at Oriental Bay, Wellington’s golden-sand inner-city beach and delve into the many museums, art galleries and theatre shows that make up the city’s pulsing cultural scene. If you’re into the outdoors, Wellington has action-packed adventure activities like mountain biking and sea-water kayaking, as well as beautiful walks around the harbour and surrounding hills. Try the visually stunning Makara Peak track, as well as the City to Sea walk where you can experience the best of Wellington’s waterfront. Ride the cable car up the hill to Kelburn for amazing views over the city and enjoy an ice cream at the top. Or you may wish to visit Te Papa (the museum of New Zealand) or perhaps visit the Parliament Buildings.
Hotel: The Bolton Hotel
Day 2 : Wellington - Marlborough
This morning cruise across Cook Strait on the Interislander ferry to Picton. At Havelock, board your vessel for a scenic cruise to the remote resort located in the stunning Kenepuru Sound. Raetihi Lodge is your home for the next 2 nights. This resort offers the perfect way to experience the spectacular Marlborough Sounds, with all the comforts of home blended with the stunning scenery and a private beach so you are guaranteed a holiday to remember.
Hotel for 2 nights: Raetihi Lodge
Day 3 : Marlborough
A free day to relax & marvel at the magic that is the Marlborough Sounds. Lodge staff will share their love of the region with you through the wide range of water and nature based experiences they put at your fingertips. Complimentary fishing tackle, kayaks & mountains bikes are provided at the lodge and there is a number of bush walks to enjoy. Or you can simply relax with a book & soak in the spectacular scenery.
Day 4 : Marlborough - Kaikoura
Return to Havelock by water taxi and journey to the small coastal town of Kaikoura. This towns environment is truly spectacular – the village is caught between the rugged Seaward Kaikoura Range and the Pacific Ocean. Kaikoura is also a great base for wildlife experiences of all kinds and a great place to eat crayfish (in the Maori language ‘kai’ means food, ‘koura’ means crayfish). Here you can enjoy an optional whale-watching adventure, swim with the dolphins or join local Maori for a unique, award winning cultural experience.
Hotel: White Morph Heritage Boutique Collection
Day 5 : Kaikoura - Mt Cook
Travel south across the Canterbury Plains and stop at beautiful Lake Tekapo to view the Church of the Good Shepherd. Then travel up the western side of Lake Pukaki to the Mt Cook National Park. Aoraki Mount Cook National Park is home of the highest mountains and the longest glaciers. It is alpine in the purest sense - with skyscraping peaks, glaciers and permanent snow fields, all set under a star-studded sky.
Day 6 : Tasman Glacier Expedition
Today experience the Tasman Glacier in the most unique way possible. An experienced guide will whisk you away in a stable MAC Boat to explore the melting ice-face of the Tasman Glacier. Get up close to touch & taste 400-year old icebergs that have been carved into the murky waters of the lake. Later today, there is time to enjoy one of the many bush walks and optional ski-plane and helicopter flights are available subject to weather conditions.
Day 7 : Mt Cook - Te Anau
Begin the assent over the Lindis Pass to the township of Cromwell, then continue on to the historic village of Clyde, nestled in a sheltered basin at the foot of an immense and crooked gorge. Stop for lunch at Alexandra, located on the banks of the mighty Clutha River, then travel across the farmlands of Central Otago to the township of Gore before arriving at the shores of Lake Te Anau, gateway to the Fiordland National Park
Day 8 : Te Anau - Milford Sound - Queenstown
This morning you’ll head through spectacular scenery to Milford Sound and join a cruise along this magnificent fiord one of the highlights of this holiday. Enjoy a leisurely nature cruise of the breathtaking Milford Sound, cruising the full length of the fiord to the Tasman Sea. An on-board nature guide will give you detailed information of the region’s history, flora & fauna and you will view spectacular waterfalls tumbling thousands of feet down sheer rock faces to the sea below, rainforests and towering mountains, including the awesome Mitre Peak. Wildlife includes dolphins, seals, penguins & albatross when in season. Continue your journey on to Queenstown, regarded as New Zealand’s premier holiday destination.
Optional overnight cruises on Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound are also available subject to availability - please ask for details.
Day 9 : Queenstown
Idyllically located on the shore of Lake Wakatipu with the picture postcard scenery of the Remarkables Mountain range reflecting in the deep blue waters of the lake, Queenstown, New Zealand’s “adrenalin capital” and has something for everyone. Enjoy a free day to experience this magnificent alpine resort. Your guide will be happy to advise you on all the activities and options available. Take a ride on the Skyline Gondola high atop the Queenstown basin or perhaps you’ll take an optional boat ride on the famous TSS Earnslaw across Lake Wakatipu or head off to nearby Arrowtown, once a gold mining settlement. The adventurous might try the adrenalin rush of the Shotover Jet boat ride or even a bungee jump. This is an upcoming wine area, so maybe a winery tour is more to your liking.
Day 10 : Arrowtown
Set beneath the rugged Crown Range is Arrowtown, a fascinating collection of mining cottages with an atmosphere straight out of last century. Enjoy time to stroll through this historic village before enjoying a relaxing lunch at Walnut Cottage, the show piece of Akarua Wines & Kitchen back dropped by the Remarkables mountain range
Day 11 : Queenstown - Franz Josef Glacier
There is time to wander around the resort of Lake Wanaka before going onto Fox & Franz Josef Glaciers. In Glacier Country, it takes a while to make a West Coast ice cube - about 10,000 years or so. The Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers are among the most accessible glaciers in the world and Glacier Country offers a wealth of adventure activities. If weather permits there is the opportunity to experience an optional scenic flight over this remarkable region.
Hotel: Te Waonui Rainforest Retreat
Day 12 : Franz Josef - Christchurch
Head north along the dramatic West Coast passing Hokitika with its fascinating history of shipwrecks, gold-miners and pounamu hunters to Greymouth famous for its jade mining. Then enjoy another highlight as you board the famous TranzAlpine train, known as one of the world’s greatest rail journeys, for a coast to coast rail adventure through the dramatic, breath-taking scenery of New Zealand’s Southern Alps. Cross the Cantebury Plain to Christchurch, the “Garden City”. On arrival transfer to your hotel for a farewell dinner with your new found friends.
Hotel: Rydges Latimer Hotel
Day 13 : Christchurch
Your tour ends today as you are transferred to Christchurch airport.