South Island Christmas Tour
8 days 26 December 2018 – 02 January, 2019
Christmas in Christchurch?
Arrive Christchurch 24th December and transfer to your accommodation. Enjoy a leisurely tour around Christchurch Christmas Day visiting Sumner and New Brighton beaches, Port Hills, Botanical Gardens and other famous spots with a beautiful Christmas lunch with new friends included. Extra cost $490 per person share twin $690 single room. (Please note many attractions and all shops will be closed today)
Day 1. Wednesday 26 December, 2018 CHRISTCHURCH – TEKAPO - MOUNT COOK
Tour departs Christchurch city 9.30am– Christchurch airport 10.00am
Drive across the Canterbury Plains and over Burkes pass to beautiful Lake Tekapo. See the Sheep dog monument and Church of the Good Shepherd. Drive along the shores of Lake Pukaki to majestic Mount Cook – New Zealand's highest mountain. The rest of the day is free for optional activities. Maybe take a hike in the Hooker Valley or we recommend the following options (all options should be pre booked as space is limited).
Glacier cruise among the icebergs at the base of the Tasman Glacier $170
Tasman Valley 4WD tour 2.5 hours $89
Ski plane or helicopter flight (30 mins $249 – no landing) With landing on the glacier 45 mins $399 Grand Circle $599
Glacier helihike $585
Return to Twizel late afternoon. Visit a Salmon Farm
Day 2 Thursday 27 December MT COOK – OAMARU – MOERAKI – DUNEDIN (B)
Drive down the Waitaki River Valley to the massive Benmore Hydro dam and continue to the charming seaside town of Oamaru. Visit the historic centre with your opportunity to ride a penny farthing bicycle if you dare (extra expense) and continue to the Moeraki Boulders for some beach time and explore these amazing rocks. Continue to Dunedin and explore the city this morning including the Octagon, Knox Church and drive down the Otago Peninsula for a guided tour of Larnachs Castle (New Zealand's only Castle) and an included visit to a penguin colony. Also visit the coast at dusk to see these amazing birds arriving back from the sea to their burrows.
Day 3. Friday 28 December. DUNEDIN - CATLINS - INVERCARGILL. (B)
Enjoy the day driving through the scenic Catlins to Invercargill including Nugget Point Lighthouse, Cannibal Bay, Owaka, Curio Bay, local forests, waterfalls, petrified forest, and rugged beaches. Visit the port of Bluff at the bottom of the South Island with the option to cruise or fly to Stewart Island for a tour and the night (subject to space availability if you want to stay overnight). Stay Invercargill.
Day 4. Saturday 29 December. INVERCARGILL - MILFORD SOUND - QUEENSTOWN.
Drive to Te Anau and enjoy the magnificent scenery as we travel through the Eglinton and Hollyford Valleys and Homer tunnel to magnificent Milford Sound. Visit the Mirror Lakes and Roaring chasm en route. Enjoy a leisurely nature cruise to the head of the sound under majestic Mitre Peak and see the Bowen as well as many other waterfalls. Mid afternoon we depart Milford Sound and drive to Queenstown for the night.
Day 5. Sunday 30 December. TE ANAU - QUEENSTOWN (B)
Today is free for optional activities. Maybe take an exciting jet boat ride on the Shotover Jet ($155), Skyline gondola and luge ($49), Tandem Parachute, whitewater raft, cruise on the lake, tandem hang gliding, horse trek, and many other options. Maybe cruise across the lake for farm activities at Walter peak. Lunch $125. Evening barbecue $145
Day 6. Monday 31 December. QUEENSTOWN – WANAKA – FOX GLACIER (B)
This morning we visit the Bungy Bridge where it all started (try it if you dare), the historic gold mining centre of Arrowtown including the Chinese Village, Drive north to Lake Wanaka and try your skill and illusions at the amazing Puzzling World. See the Wanaka Tree and relax at the lakeside before heading over the Haast Pass to the rainforest of the West Coast. Continue north to Fox Glacier and enjoy a walk at Lake Matheson in the evening to see the marvellous reflections of Mt Cook in the lake – weather permitting. Accommodation in Fox Glacier township.
Day 7. Tuesday 01 January. FOX GLACIER – HOKITIKA (B)
Drive to Franz Josef Glacier and visit the glacier lookout. To get to the glacier face you need to take a guided walk. There is also the opportunity for a helicopter flight to land on the glacier if you missed at Mt Cook. Continue to Hokitika for the night and see jade carvers and glass blowers at work.
Day 8. Wednesday 02 January. HOKITIKA – PUNAKAIKI – CHRISTCHURCH
Drive north to Greymouth and visit Shantytown – a recreated gold mining village. Ride the steam train and pan for gold before continuing north to the Punakaiki pancake rocks in the Paparoa National Park. Explore the amazing rocks before driving over Arthurs Pass and back across th Canterbury Plains to Christchurch. We anticipate arriving Christchurch airport about 4pm and Christchurch city 4.30pm. (Please do not reserve flights before 6pm.)
Tour cost includes: All travel from Christchurch back to Christchurch by mini bus. 7 nights accommodation at grade chosen, breakfast of cereal, toast, jams, admissions to Larnachs Castle, penguin colony, Milford Sound cruise, Puzzling world, Shantytown with gold panning.