WELCOME TO Christchurch, NEW ZEALAND!
‘Haere Mai’ and welcome to Christchurch, New Zealand’s second-largest city and the South Island's capital. A transfer has been arranged from the airport to your hotel.
Bordered by the Pacific Ocean, Christchurch is our "Garden City", blessed with beautiful parks and gardens right in the heart of town. English heritage buildings sit side by side with innovative post-earthquake regeneration in this vibrant place.
After settling in, why not relax with a punting trip down the Avon River? Gliding gently along in a flat-bottomed boat, you will take in Christchurch's 'must-see' historic attractions and botanic gardens away from the hustle and bustle of the streets.
Some suggested excursions if you have time.
|Easygoing Cycling Tour||Punting the Avon River||Lyttelton Harbour Wildlife Cruise|
|Māori Cultural Evening||French Akaroa Tour||Southern Alps Ballooning|
|Christchurch Gondola||Clearwater Golf||Arthur's Pass TranzAlpine Hike|
Accommodation: All Stars Inn on Bealey (or similar) - 1 Night
Kaikoura - Serengeti of the Sea
Today you'll journey through North Canterbury's beautiful rural scenery to the town of Kaikoura, a marine wonderland where towering mountains meet the sea.
Kaikoura's most famous residents are the many whales and dolphins who feast on the abundant seafood in its waters. Sperm whales visit year-round, while the mighty humpback is a regular visitor in June and July.
Suggested Wildlife Encounters in Kaikoura
|Swim with the Seals in Kaikoura|
|Dusky Dolphin Viewing or Swimming|
|Albatross & Pelagic Bird Watching|
Accommodation: Dusky Lodge - 1 Night (or similar)
ABEL TASMAN NATIONAL PARK
Travel north up the South Island, travel to Marahau at the start of the Park and then transfer by water taxi into Abel Tasman National Park.
Abel Tasman National Park
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 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.
Meals: Breakfast & Dinner
Accommodation: Aquapackers 1 night (or similar)
KAYAK THE ABEL TASMAN/NELSON
Abel Tasman National Park at a pleasant pace by sea kayak. Take part in a safety briefing and preparation, then head out into the water to glide in and out of the bays and islets on the route to Marahau. Look for nesting seabirds and tiny islands, and enjoy amazing views along the way. Take time to explore deserted golden sand bleaches of this beautiful National Park.
Accommodation: The Hotel Nelson - 1 night (or similar)
Seal's, Pancake Rocks and Lake Brunner
Seal Colony Visit: Cape Foulwind
Stop by a viewing platform over a New Zealand fur seal colony at Cape Foulwind. Female seals will live in the same colony for the duration of their lives, whereas male seals move around more. The males visit the Cape Foulwind colony between late November and mid-January for mating season. All seasons offer plenty of activity to check out, from mating to the raising of baby pups and feeding out at sea.
Pancake Rocks Trek: Punakaiki
Walk along a loop trail with informative signs detailing how the 'Pancake Rocks' were formed millions of years ago. When the trail reaches the coast, there are many lookouts for photo stops and beautiful views of the coast, the rocks and the blowholes found along the area.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel Lake Brunner - 1 night (or similar)
Okarito Lagoon and Glacier Country
Transfer to Franz Josef, stopping for a walk at the wildlife mecca of Okarito Lagoon en route. Enjoy free time for optional activities such as hiking and checking out the stunning Franz Josef Glacier.
Continue south along the coast towards Franz Josef, stopping for an invigorating walk at the wildlife mecca of Okarito Lagoon. Spend 2 nights staying amongst verdant temperate rainforest.
Okarito Lagoon Walk
Walkthrough the wetlands of Okarito Lagoon, bordered by forest and surrounded by nature. Enjoy spectacular views all the way up to the mountains on a clear day. Take the time to soak in the scenery – the walk is a short climb up to a viewpoint that includes a variety of landscapes on the path through the estuary out through the wetlands.
Accommodation: Rainforest Retreat (or similar) - 2 nights
FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER
Spend the day exploring the stunning region around Franz Josef. Opt for various hiking adventures in the area, the most popular being a glacier trek. If relaxing is more your style, there are shorter day hikes and bush walks or local hot pools to take a dip. You are in the heart of Westland National Park, considered to be the most diverse and beautiful area in New Zealand.
Excursions available in and around the Franz Josef area:
|Glacier Hot Pools||Glacier Scenic Flight|
|Walk to Glacier Face||Glacier Heli-hike|
Beautiful Lake Wanaka
Transfer to Wanaka, where there are a variety of optional activities available.
Opt to go mountain biking, skydiving, or check out the giant maze and optical illusions of Puzzling World. Travel through Te Wahi Pounamu World Heritage Area to Makarora, where you can spend the afternoon exploring the area by foot, or opt for a jet boat excursion or scenic flight. See for yourself the views that make New Zealand famous - jagged mountains, snowy peaks, and clear blue waters. Wander among fjords, rocky coasts, towering cliffs, lakes, and waterfalls, and enjoy breathtaking scenery. Don't forget your camera!
Accommodation: Wanaka Hotel - 1 night (or similar)
Enjoy a free day for optional activities in Queenstown. There's plenty to see and do in Queenstown, and we wanted to make sure that you had some time to take it all in. Feel free to relax or try optional activities like mountain biking, bungee jumping, and jet boating. Your experienced guide has more ideas if you need them. Just ask!
Recommended excursions around Queenstown:
|Routeburn Day Walk||Highest Bungey Jump||Explore Arrowtown|
|Biking Skippers Canyon||Round at Millbrook Golf Resort|
|Earnslaw Steamboat Cruise||Dart River Jetboat Safari|
Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Queenstown (or similar) - 3 nights
Head out for a day of hiking along the stunning Routeburn Track. Start on a gradual incline through a 130 million year old forest, with incredible views of snow capped mountains, cascading waterfalls, crystal clear streams, and alpine meadows. After enjoying a picnic lunch, continue on the forgotten paths of the Maori while travelling along their old 'Greenstone' trails. With incredible scenery and historical significance, this hike is not one to miss!
MILFORD SOUND Scenic Cruise
Travel to the fjords of the South Island. Enjoy the stunning scenery of Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound from the deck of a boat. Recharge your camera and be ready to shoot stunning photos of waterfalls, mountains stretching up to the sky and down to the sea and then search for dolphins and seals. This place is any artist's dream! Then we are heading back to Queenstown for the night.
Twizel - Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park
Head through the centre of the South Island to Twizel, near New Zealand's highest peak, Mt Cook. Visit Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park. The town of Twizel was purpose-built in the 1960s to provide a home for workers involved with the Upper Waitaki Power Scheme. Today it is a well-positioned base for mountain climbing, kayaking, mountain biking, skiing, horse trekking, and hiking.
The peaks and trails of Mount Cook National Park are just up the road. You can fish for salmon and trout in the local rivers, canals, and lakes. If you don’t have any luck, call into the salmon farm and buy a fish - fresh or smoked. In summer Twizel’s population more than trebles, as holiday houses and campgrounds fill to capacity.
Accommodation: Mountain Chalet Twizel (or similar) - 2 Nights
Hiking & Cycling Mt Cook National Park
Prepare for an action packed day! Start on two-wheels on a mountain biking excursion around the Aoraki/Mt Cook region. In the afternoon, discover stunning landscapes on foot.
Aoraki/Mt Cook Mountain Biking
Hop on a bike and experience the beautiful scenery of New Zealand's Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail.
Aoraki/Mt Cook Hiking
Hike in the shadow of Mt Cook.
Lake Tekapo - CHRISTCHURCH
Tekapo is one of three significant, neighboring lakes that border the Mackenzie Valley in New Zealand's South Island. Golden tussock grass carpets the surrounding hillside and roll away into the distance where the Southern Alps frame the horizon. The charming 'Church of the Good Shepherd' sits alone on Lake Takapo's shores and the views to our highest mountain, Mt Cook, are remarkable. Then the landscape transforms itself into leafy farmland that follows you all the way to the Garden City of Christchurch.
Resourceful Ōtautahi Walking Tour
Explore lesser-known paths around Christchurch on this walking tour of the city led by a member of Rekindle — a social enterprise where resourcefulness skills are shared among members to build self-confidence and create art out of under-valued materials. The hands-on, workshop-based environment keeps everyone engaged and helps to strengthen the community.
Accommodation: All Stars Inn on Bealey (or similar) - 2 Nights
Haere rā and Bon Voyage!
We know you will love this tour of New Zealand and our promise 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.
- Kayak in the waters of Abel Tasman National Park
- Try exhilarating adventures in Queenstown
- Cruise on Milford Sound
- Cycle along the Alps to Ocean
- Hike the Routeburn Track.
- Water taxi to Abel Tasman
- Sea kayak in Abel Tasman
- Trek in Paparoa NP
- Full-day Routeburn Track hiking excursion
- Cruise on Milford Sound
- Cycle the Alps to Ocean
- All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.