South Island Grand Discovery Tour
WELLINGTON - PICTON - MARLBOROUGH TOUR - KAIKOURA - CHRISTCHURCH - LAKE TEKAPO - MT COOK - DUNEDIN (2 nights) - OTAGO PENINSULA TOUR - "TAIERI GORGE RAILWAY" - (CATLINS, BLUFF, STEWART ISLAND option) - (DOUBTFUL SOUND day or overnight cruise option) - TE ANAU - MILFORD SOUND - QUEENSTOWN - WANAKA - FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER - HOKITIKA - PUNAKAIKI PANCAKE ROCKS - ("TRANZ ALPINE TRAIN" option) CHRISTCHURCH
Unsolicited comments from past passengers:
We are back down to earth after a wonderful tour. For me it was certainly a GRAND DISCOVERING OF THE SOUTH AND STEWART ISLANDS. My husband had been to most places and we had done a fairly thorough research job but this knowledge had not taken any of the surprise or anticipation away. The content of the trip was exceptional for apart from the many places listed there were yet more surprises. We hope that many more tourists, both New Zealanders and overseas, will take the opportunity to see what we did. (A. P. New Zealand)
Day 1. Monday. WELLINGTON - PICTON - MARLBOROUGH TOUR - BLENHEIM (B)
9.00am Depart Wellington by Interislander. Enjoy the scenic cruise across Cook Strait and through the Marlborough Sounds to Picton. Arrival is scheduled for 12.30pm
You will be met on arrival and visit the "Edwin Fox" ship restoration project. The "Edwin Fox" is the oldest merchant ship, and 9th oldest ship overall, still in existence. Continue to Peter Jackson's KNIGHTS OF THE SKY World War 1 and DANGEROUS SKIES World War 2 exhibitions and visit the Marlborough Museum to discover Marlborough's 700 year old Maori and European history. Overnight in Blenheim.
Day 2. Tuesday. BLENHEIM - KAIKOURA - CHRISTCHURCH. (B)
Marlborough is a major centre of the wine industry in New Zealand. Visit a winery and drive down the scenic coast to the charming seaside town of Kaikoura for a short tour and visit to the seal colony. You have time for an optional Whale Watch cruise or flight before joining the "Coastal Pacific" train or coach for the scenic ride down the Kaikoura Coast to Christchurch arriving early evening. You will be met and transferred to your accommodation. Please note: The "Coastal Pacific" train is not currently operating but is expected to restart late 2018 or early 2019.
Day 3. Wednesday. CHRISTCHURCH - MOUNT COOK (B)
Free time for your own explorations
Tour departs Christchurch City 11am, Christchurch airport 11.30am.
Drive across the fertile Canterbury Plains and over Burke's Pass to Lake Tekapo. See the sheep dog monument and Church of the Good Shepherd. Travel along the shores of Lake Pukaki to Mt Cook, New Zealand's highest mountain. Accommodation at the Hermitage in Mt Cook view rooms. Admission to the Sir Edmund Hillary centre is included.
Day 4. Thursday. MOUNT COOK - OAMARU - DUNEDIN (B)
Free time for alpine walks, visit the National Park headquarters, or take a ski plane or helicopter flight to land on the snows of the glaciers - extra expense and weather permitting.We highly recommend the cruise among the icebergs on the lake at the base of the Tasman Glacier.
Drive down the Waitaki River Valley with a visit to the Benmore Hydro dam, the historic centre of Oamaru, the Little Blue Penguin colony, and enjoy some beach time to explore the unique Moeraki Boulders. Arrive Dunedin early evening for 2 nights.
Day 5. Friday. DUNEDIN (B) Visit historic "Olveston House", Dunedin Chinese Garden, Knox Church, The Octagon, and the world's steepest street. This afternoon tour the Otago Peninsula including Larnachs Castle, Royal Albatross Centre, and see the local wildlife including seals, and Yellow Eyed penguins.
Day 6. Saturday. DUNEDIN - CATLINS - INVERCARGILL (B)
Enjoy a scenic drive through the Catlins. one of New Zealand's most beautiful and unspoiled wilderness areas. See the wildlife, waterfalls,and beautiful coastal scenery and visit Nugget Point lighthouse and the petrified forest. Accommodation in Invercargill at the Kelvin Hotel or similar.
Day 7. Sunday. INVERCARGILL - TE ANAU (B) OPTIONAL STEWART ISLAND EXCURSION
Free time to explore or take an optional tour to Stewart Island. late afternoon drive to Lake Te Anau. Optional evening cruise across the lake to the Te Anau glowworm caves.
Stewart island options
Half day - available year round
Transfer to Bluff near the bottom of the South Island and cruise to Stewart Island.Tour the town of Oban and surrounding bays. Fly back to Invercargill for your drive to Te Anau. Optional evening cruise to Te Anau Caves - extra cost.
Full day - available November - April only
Transfer to Bluff near the bottom of the South Island and cruise to Stewart Island.Tour the town of Oban and enjoy a cruise on Patterson Inlet in a local boat with a visit to the nature sanctuary of Ulva island to meet some of the friendliest native birds in New Zealand before returning to Invercargill for your drive to Te Anau. You may fly back to Invercargill - extra cost $100 per person
Day 8. Monday. TE ANAU - MILFORD SOUND - QUEENSTOWN. (BL)
A day of magnificent scenery as we drive through the Eglinton and Hollyford Valleys. Visit the Mirror Lakes and Roaring Chasm and drive through the Homer tunnel before we arrive in Milford Sound. Board your cruise to travel the length of Milford Sound under majestic Mitre Peak. See the seal colony and Bowen Falls before retracing our steps to Te Anau then on to Queenstown. A buffet lunch is included during your cruise.
CRUISE MAGNIFICENT DOUBTFUL SOUND
Option 1. Doubtful Sound instead of Milford sound. Day cruise across Lake Manapouri and drive over Wilmot Pass to cruise the length of Doubtful Sound before returning to Manapouri and Queenstown - extra cost $160
Option 2. Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound - double delight! Enjoy Milford Sound with us on Monday and stay in Te Anau monday night. Enjoy a day cruise across Lake Manapouri and drive across Wilmot Pass for a cruise on Doubtful Sound tuesday rejoining us in Queenstown tuesday evening. Extra cost $150 per person.
Option 3. Doubtful Sound overnight cruise (1 September - 31 May only).
Option A. We will take you to Manapouri monday for your overnight cruise on magnificent Doubtful Sound rejoining us in Queenstown tuesday evening.Extra cost 2 per cabin $350
Option B. Transfer from Invercargill to Manapouri sunday morning to join your overnight cruise returning to Manapouri and on to Queenstown monday. On some departures it may be possible to cruise Milford Sound also on monday after your cruise - extra cost $150
You are welcome to stay over for a week between tours to relax and enjoy the area, take a hike on the Milford, Routeburn, or Hollyford Tracks, enjoy extra nights in Te Anau or Queenstown or whatever you wish. No extra tour cost for breaking the tour. Just the extra services you need while staying over which you may arrange yourself or we can do it for you.
Day 9 Tuesday. QUEENSTOWN (B)
Morning tour includes Queenstown Hill for a panoramic view over Lake Wakatipu, historic gold mining centre of Arrowtown, Bunjy Bridge, and Gibbston Valley Winery. Free afternoon with many optional activities available. We strongly recommend the Shotover jet boat ride.
Day 10. Wednesday. QUEENSTOWN - WANAKA - FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER (B)
Drive through the Kawarau Gorge to Wanaka for a brief stop with admission to amazing Puzzling World included and continue through Makarora and over the Haast Pass into the rainforest and spectacular coastline of the West Coast. Visit Shipwreck beach, and beautiful Lake Matheson. Overnight Fox or Franz Josef glacier townships.
Day 11. Thursday. FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER - HOKITIKA (B)
Time for a helicopter or ski plane flight or heli hike on the glacier (extra expense and weather permitting) or bush walk. This afternoon drive north to Hokitika, setting for the Booker award winning novel "The Luminaries". See jade carvers and glass blowers at work. Overnight Hokitika or Greymouth.
Optional fabulous White Heron tour November to early March including a 20 minute jetboat cruise on the Lake Okarito lagoon and a walk through the rainforest to the bird hide. We have 30-40 minutes here to see the White Heron, Royal Spoonbill, Little Shag and other birdlife. Extra cost $145
Day 12. Friday. HOKITIKA-PUNAKAIKI ROCKS-NELSON (B) OPTION TO END CHRISTCHURCH.
Visit the recreated gold mining village of Shantytown and after a short tour of Greymouth continue to the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks in the Paparoa National Park. Explore the area and continue through Westport and the Buller Gorge to Nelson.
Please Note: Travel from Punakaiki to Nelson may be by scheduled Intercity coach arriving early evening.
Passengers ending in Christchurch travel from Punakaiki over Arthurs Pass and the Canterbury Plains arriving Christchurch late afternoon for 1 night accommodation and breakfast and transfer to the airport saturday, Option to travel on the "Tranz Alpine train - extra cost $150 per person.
Day 13. Saturday. CAPE FAREWELL EXCURSION. (B)
Drive to Takaka and visit the amazing Pupu Springs and on through Collingwood to visit Cape Farewell, northernmost point in the South Island. Continue to spectacular Wharariki beach for 1 hour walk to enjoy the sea caves, seal pups,wind swept sand dunes and coastal rock formations. A 30 minute walk to Pillar Point will give spectacular views of Farewell Spit and Golden Bay. Overnight in Takaka.
Day 14. Sunday. ABEL TASMAN NATIONAL PARK - NELSON (B)
Drive through part of the Abel Tasman National Park to Totaranui with a visit to the Abel Tasman Memorial en route. Join your scenic cruise along the shores of the Abel Tasman National Park. Drop in to Tonga Quarry, Medlands Beach, Anchorage and Apple Tree Bay before arriving in Kaiteriteri.You have the option to land at Tonga Quarry for a 2 hour walk over a forested saddle to Medlands Beach and cruise to Kaiteriteri. Transfer to Nelson after your cruise.
Day 15. Monday. NELSON PICTON - WELLINGTON OR BLENHEIM. (B)
Visit the Cathedral, Hoglung glass blowing studio, and World of Wearable Arts and classic cars Museum this morning.
Passengers who commenced in Wellington return to Picton for your cruise back to Wellington arriving 5.45pm.
Passengers who commenced in Christchurch sightsee in Marlborough and overnight in Blenheim (see day 1) returning to Christchurch tuesday, day 2 for 1 night accommodation.
11 days. Christchurch to Christchurch Days 3- 13
Depart Christchurch wednesdays. End saturdays.
2 per room $3,850. Single room $4,650. triple Room $3,650
10 Days. Wellington to Queenstown. Days 1-10
2 per room $3,500. Single room $4,220. Triple room $3,120
8 Days. Christchurch to Queenstown. Days 3-10
2 per room $2,800. Single room $3,360. Triple room $2,640
We are flexible!!
You are welcome to join us for part of the tour provided a minimum of 4 nights are on tour with us. For any combination not listed above please ask us.