Top of the South Island
CHRISTCHURCH | AKAROA | MOANA | HOKITIKA | PUNAKAIKI | NELSON | ABEL TASMAN NATIONAL PARK | BLENHEIM | KAIKOURA
Incorporating the highlights of the north of New Zealand's South Island on this tour you will experience some of the best natural landscapes and exciting sightseeing excursions on offer. A bonus of this tour is the added walking tours located in some of the most scenic surrounds.
Top of the South Island
Day 1 : Arrive Christchurch (D)
On arrival into Christchurch, you will be met by a Grand Pacific Tours representative and transferred to your hotel.
Hotel: Distinction Christchurch (2 nights)
Day 2 : Christchurch - Akaroa - Christchurch (B)
After an introductory city sights tour, enjoy a scenic drive to the historic French Village of Akaroa, nestled in the heart of an ancient volcano. There will be time to wander through Akaroa’s galleries and craft stores before boarding your modern catamaran and setting off on your Nature Cruise in the hope of spotting the rare Hector’s Dolphin, native to New Zealand. Keep an eye out for penguins and other sea birds as you glide past giant volcanic sea cliffs and hear about the history of Akaroa from your skipper. Following your cruise, return to Christchurch where the evening is free to dine at one of the city’s many restaurants.
Day 3 : Christchurch - Moana - Hokitika (B,L,D)
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 8.5km long Otira Tunnel and finishing your journey in Moana, located on the banks of picturesque Lake Brunner. Enjoy lunch at Kingfisher Restaurant, sampling some local Kiwi dishes before travelling to the Brunner Mine Site, the location of the 1896 mine explosion, killing sixty-five men. This afternoon upon arrival in the coastal town of Hokitika, you will have the opportunity to visit a local gallery, the perfect chance to pick up a gift or souvenir.
Hotel Beachfront Hotel Hokitika (Ocean View)
Day 4 : Hokitika - Punakaiki
Today, take in the natural beauty of the Hokitika Gorge, a glacial river turquoise in colour surrounded by dramatic rock formations. A short walk descending through the hardwood forest will lead you to a swing bridge which crosses the Hokitika River and provides a postcard worthy photo opportunity. Once back on the coach, continue North to Greymouth, home of Monteith’s Brewing Co. where you will have the chance to sample one of their locally brewed and award-winning beers over lunch. This afternoon travel along the Great Coast Road to the world-famous Pancake Rocks and Blowholes, part of the Paparoa National Park in Punakaiki. Wander along the paved walkway through native forest and coastal scrub, leading to large cliff faces with horizontal slices resembling stacks of pancakes.
Hotel The Ocean View Reteat - Punakaiki
Day 5 : Punakaiki - Nelson (B,D)
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 visit the World of WearableArt Museum, where a guided tour will showcase more than 60 award winning garments from designers located all over the world. Attached is the Classic Cars Museum where you can view the prized collections of over 140 veteran, vintage and classic cars.
Hotel Rutherford Hotel (Premium Room) (2 nights)
Day 6 : Nelson - Abel Tasman National Park - Nelson (B,L)
Travel along the scenic Coastal Highway to Kaiteriteri, gateway to the Abel Tasman National Park. Here you will depart on a leisurely cruise along the parks’ picturesque coastline of golden sand beaches and sheltered coves. Disembark at Medlands Bay and set off on a guided walk to the Bark Bay Falls Swing Bridge. Re-board the vessel and cruise to Anchorage Bay where your barbeque lunch will be served on board. There will be time to stroll or relax on the beach before cruising back to Kaiteriteri. Re-join your coach and depart for Nelson via the vineyards of the inland Moutere Highway. This evening is free for you to dine at one of the many local restaurants in town.
Day 7 : Nelson - Blenheim (B,L,D)
Depart Nelson and travel via Havelock and the wine-growing region of Marlborough to the spectacular Yealands Estate. World leaders in sustainable wine production, the ‘White Road Tour’, will take you on a journey through this remarkable vineyard, offering breathtaking views all the way to the North Island on a clear day. Enjoy lunch at a local Blenheim Beer Garden before visiting the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, home to one of the largest private collections of WW1 aircraft, brought to life in sets created by internationally acclaimed WingNut Films and Weta Workshop.
Hotel Scenic Hotel Marlborough (2 nights)
Day 8 : Blenheim Sightseeing (B,SD)
Enjoy a leisurely start this morning with free time to explore the township of Blenheim. You may like to visit the Wine Station (optional), a renovated 1906 heritage building at Blenheim Railway Station where over 80 premium wines are showcased. This afternoon you will be treated to a unique wine and cheese tasting experience, set amongst the wine barrels at Cloudy Bay Estate. Established in 1985, Cloudy Bay was one of the original wine makers in the Marlborough region. Stroll through the manicured grounds scattered with towering gum trees and find a quiet spot to enjoy your favourite drop. Travel to Picton where your luxury launch awaits to take you on a scenic dinner cruise through the Queen Charlotte Sound. Take in the sights and wildlife this area is renowned for while enjoying a sumptuous meal of local salmon, Greenshell Mussels and Cloudy Bay Clams, all matched with a glass of spectacular Marlborough wine.
Day 9 : Blenheim - Kaikoura (B,D)
Farewell the Marlborough region and journey south along the coast to the seaside village of Kaikoura where you will visit the Kaikoura Museum. This award-winning facility highlights the districts fascinating connection with the sea and also features a dedicated exhibition on the impact of the 2016 earthquake. Enjoy some free time this afternoon to wander through the village or you may like to experience a scenic flight (optional, weather permitting) over the beautiful coastline to see the many species of whales that migrate through this area.
Hotel Sudima Hotel Kaikoura
Day 10 : Kaikoura - Christchurch (B,SD)
Depart Kaikoura and head south to the garden city of Christchurch where you will visit the International Antarctic Centre, designed to provide an informative account of life in Antarctica. Feel the chill of the Antarctic storm room, take a ride on the Hagglund all-terrain vehicle or meet the adorable Huskies. See the little blue penguins or be astonished within the immersive 4D theatre. This evening enjoy a farewell dinner with your new found friends.
Hotel Sudima Hotel Christchurch Airport
Day 11 : Depart Christchurch (B)
Time to say goodbye. You will be transferred to the airport for your flight home after a memorable New Zealand holiday.