9
days

A Relaxing New Zealand Journey – the South Island

Here is a self drive holiday that makes you feel like you have really had a holiday – no rushing around on this itinerary. The South Island Relaxing Journey is designed for those needing space and relaxation. Enjoy exceptional scenery, stunning beaches and experience New Zealand great outdoors with easygoing relaxed adventures. Plenty of 2 or 3 night stays in one location ensuring you will return home revived.

Stunning Abel Tasman National Park, Beautiful Punakaiki , Millions of Glowworms, Glacier Hotpools, Queenstown at Leisure.

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Itinerary

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1
ABEL TASMAN NATIONAL PARK - AN EASY GOING ADVENTURE

Golden beaches border the translucent turquoise sea, and sandy estuaries fringed by natural forests. The walking tracks here, both in land and costal, are world famous for their outstanding beauty. Walking and Kayaking and then just kicking back on one of the many unspoilt beaches you will discover along the way is what its all about. Plus you have the added bonus of face-to-face encounters with marine wildlife and birds. The outstandingly beautiful Abel Tasman National Park is home to the ever-entertaining seal colony and who knows you may be lucky enough to spot visiting dolphins and Orcas playing in the Abel Tasman National Park waters.

This tour experiences the best of both worlds, you can kayak for 2 days and try 1 day walking on the Abel Tasman Coast Track (or Visa Versa or One of the Other) while enjoying comfortable accommodations and fine meals at the beachfront lodges each night.

Kayaking: The kayaking is suitable for all levels of experience, you don't need previous sea kayaking experience as you will be accompanied by friendly knowledgeable guides at all times on the water. 

Todays Planned Itinerary:

  • Fly to Nelson
  • Scenic drive to Kaiteriteri from Nelson (1 hour) 
  • Cruise Kaiteriteri to Totaranui – 1.5 hours
  • Walk - 2 hours (6 kms, 3.7 miles) including tidal crossing
  • Maximum elevation 60 m (200 ft)

(Lunch, Afternoon Tea, Dinner)

Accommodation - Meadowbank Homestead Awaroa - 1 night

2
AWAROA TO TORRENT BAY

Another day, another picture postcard setting. This morning enjoy the short walk over the Tonga Saddle to Onetahuti where you can again relax on another sandy beach; this one however, is flanked by impressive granite headlands surrounded by unusual rock formations - perhaps a side trip to the Tonga Quarry historic site is in order. Bark Bay for lunch – relax or explore, sunbathe or swim. Your afternoon stroll enjoys a succession of magnificent views of headlands, beaches, estuaries, walking through lush native forest and even crossing a classic New Zealand swing bridge at the Falls River.

Kayak and Walk option: Walk to Onetahuti 1.5 hours, 4 kms (2.4 miles), Sea Kayak to Torrent Bay 4 hours 10 kms (6.2 miles)

Enjoy the best of both worlds with the option of both kayaking and walking. Walk from Awaroa to Onetahuti (as above). Kayak to the Seal Colony on Tonga Island where fur seals breed. Kayak through clear waters as you cruise past Tonga Quarry and Arches, A lunch stop at sheltered Bark Bay before continuing you continue beach hopping along the coast into Torrent Bay to be welcomed with refreshments and a hot shower in your ensuite room.

Walking Option: 6-7 hours 17 km (10.56 miles)

(Breakfast, Morning and Afternoon Tea, Lunch, Dinner)

Accommodation: Torrent Bay Beachfront Lodge - 1 night

3
TORRENT BAY TO KAITERITERI | NELSON

After breakfast depart the lodge by kayak at about 9.30am. We’ll stop for lunch and a rest at any one of the bays, before we continue our journey through azure waters to the famous Kaiteriteri beach, where our driver will be waiting to meet you for the return journey to Nelson - arrival about 5.30pm.

Todays Planned Itinerary:

Sea Kayak Torrent Bay to Kaiteriteri 4.5 hours (12 kms)
Scenic drive Kaiteriteri to Nelson (1 hour)

(Breakfast, Morning and Afternoon Tea, Lunch)

Accommodation - Nelson - 1 night

4
PUNAKAIKI - THE WILD WEST COAST

Travel through Wakefield, before heading over the Spooners saddle in the Golden Downs forest. Follow SH6 to Murchison, although part of the Nelson Region, this will be your first introduction to the glory and green that is the scenic beauty of the West Coast and Buller Region.  Navigate the awesome Buller Gorge, where at Hawks Crag the road has been hacked out of solid rock – you’ll drive under a dramatic overhang. Continue on to Punakaiki, famous for its ancient Pancake Rocks and booming blowholes. It is the centrepiece of the Paparoa National Park, which is packed with a variety of stunning landscapes. 

Approximate Distance: 287 kms | 178 miles  Total Driving Time: 3 hours 30 mins

Accommodation Punakaiki  - 2 nights

5
GALAXIES OF GLOWWORMS - EASY CAVING IN THE PAPAROA FOREST

Today take part in a superb eco-cave tour where you travel by the rainforest train through primeval rain forest and explore the enormous Nile River Caves. Explore an ancient wonderland of stalactites, stalagmites in the large dry upper levels and become entranced while under the galaxies of glowworms in the awe-inspiring Ananui entrance series. Discovered only recently, the Metro cave is one of the few caves in the world you can walk through and see in its natural, un-spoilt state, the way it was discovered.

6
FRANZ JOSEPH GLACIER

Heading south into the National park known as ‘Glacier Country’ – in parts, huge valleys of ice tumble down almost to sea level. Also blessed with lakes, rivers and wetlands; Westland is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. Here, the landscapes are highly revered by those kiwis who have lived here for generations, as well as by the local Ngai Tahu tribe who hold this wild place in high spiritual esteem.

On arrival at Franz Josef Glacier, take an hour to walk to the Glaciers Terminal face and treat yourself to a soak on your return. Nestled in lush rainforest enjoy a soak in the fabulous Glacier Hot Pools, a perfect way to unwind after your days drive and walk.

Approximate Distance: 218 kms | 135 miles  Total Driving Time: 2 hours 48 mins

Accommodation Franz Josef - 1 night

7
Queenstown

Nestled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and ringed by towering mountains, Queenstown is one of New Zealand’s ultimate holiday destinations. It may be the adventure capital of the world, but it’s also home to an excellent food and wine scene as well as great shopping, hiking and endless opportunities to relax. It’s just as easy to go fishing, golfing, gold panning or wine tasting as it is to bungy jump or sky dive.

Approximate Distance: 353 kms | 135 miles  Total Driving Time: 4 hours 219 mins

Accommodation Queenstown - 2 nights

8
QUEENSTOWN - A Day of Leisure

It is well known Queenstown is New Zealand’s ‘four season’ resort town and arguably the adventure capital of the world. However there are plenty of outings to suite all tastes. You may like to take a soak in the fabulous Private Hotpools overlooking the beautiful Shotover River or perhaps take a stunning Scenic Flight over the celebrated Milford Sound would light your fire. One thing is certain you won't run out of things to do.

Some suggested activities and outings.

Routeburn Track Guided Day Walk Explore Historic Arrowtown Highest Bungy Jump
Wine Tasting Tour Central Otago Biking Skippers Canyon Round at Millbrook Golf Resort
TSS Earnslaw Steamboat Cruise Dart River Jetboat Safari Gibbston Valley Wine Trail
 
9
Homeward Bound

"Haere rā" Goodbye! and Bon Voyage!

We know you will enjoy our Relaxing New Zealand Journey and our promise to you is to make your travels through New Zealand as hassle-free and hospitable as possible - ensuring that today you leave with a memory card full of photos, and huge smiles on your faces when recalling your time in New Zealand! Have a great homeward journey, farewell and hope to see you again soon in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Ready to find out more? Talk to us here in New Zealand about our Relaxing New Zealand Journey South Island Tour - We Guarantee it will be the Holiday of a Lifetime!