Grand Pacific Tours - 11 Day Signature Top of the South Island Tour Itinerary

Kayaking Abel Tasman

Welcome to Christchurch

On arrival into Christchurch you will be met by a Grand Pacific Tours representative and transferred to your hotel. This evening enjoy a complimentary pre-dinner drink when you meet your Tour Leader and travelling companions for dinner.

Some suggested activities if you have some free time after the sightseeing tour

Easygoing Cycling Tour  Punting the Avon River  Lyttelton Harbour Wildlife Cruise
Māori Cultural EveningFrench Akaroa TourSouthern Alps Ballooning
Christchurch GondolaClearwater GolfArthur's Pass TranzAlpine Hike

Meals: Dinner

Accommodation: Christchurch - 2 Nights

The Distinction Hotel is a brand new hotel opening in 2019 in the revitalised heart of Christchurch and Cathedral Square. Centrally located and a short stroll to the Botanical Gardens, New Regent Street, the Arts Centre, and Avon River. This luxury Christchurch hotel offers 179 elegant, air-conditioned hotel rooms including 3 floors of brand new Superior Rooms and Suites.
Distinction Hotel Christchurch


French Settlement of Akaroa

After an introductory city sights tour, enjoy a scenic drive to the historic French Village of Akaroa, with time to wander through the charming galleries and craft stores. This afternoon set off on your Nature Cruise in the hope of spotting the rare Hector’s Dolphin and keep an eye out for penguins and other sea birds.

Following your cruise, return to Christchurch where the evening is free to dine at one of the city’s many restaurants.

Meals: Breakfast 



TranzAlpine Train to Hokitika

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 Otira Tunnel to Moana, on the banks of picturesque Lake Brunner.

Enjoy lunch at Kingfisher Restaurant, before travelling to the Brunner Mine Site, the location of the 1896 mine explosion. This afternoon in the coastal town of Hokitika, you will visit a local gallery, the perfect chance to pick up a gift or souvenir.

Meals: Breakfast, Specialty Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Hokitika - 1 Night

Located right on the beach, Hokitika Beachfront Hotel offers rooms with cable TV and en suite bathrooms. It features an on-site restaurant and a bar. Guests enjoy free WiFi. All rooms at the Beachfront Hotel include a work desk and tea and coffee making facilities. Many rooms have a private balcony or courtyard with ocean views.
Beachfront Hotel Hokitika


Hokitika - Punakaiki Pancake Rocks

Today, take in the natural beauty of the Hokitika Gorge on a short walk descending through the hardwood forest that will lead you to a swing bridge which crosses the Hokitika River.

Continue north to Greymouth, home of Monteith’s Brewing Co. where you will sample locally brewed beers over lunch. This afternoon travel along the Great Coast Road to the world-famous Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes.

Meals: Breakfast, Specialty Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation:- 1 Night

Punakaiki Pancake Rocks
Surrounded by the Paparoa National Park and with stunning views of the Tasman Sea, Scenic Hotel Punakaiki is in a great location. The resort is situated only 300m from the famous Punakaiki Blowholes and has been designed in harmony with the local environment.  Evenings are spent relaxing in a standard resort room with views of the sea or an Eco Suite with rainforest and distant seaviews.

Scenic Hotel Punakaiki


Punakaiki - Nelson

Journey north along the coast to Tauranga Bay and Cape Foulwind, named by Captain Cook in 1770 when he encountered nasty weather. A short walkalong 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 a visit to the Nelson Classic Car Museum where you will marvel at an incredible collection of iconic cars. This is followed by an orientation tour of the city.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Nelson - 2 Nights


The Rutherford Hotel  is an icon of the region standing next to the Cathedral steps and an easy stroll into the city of Nelson.  Nelson is a haven for art enthusiasts, and has a reputation for excellent produce, craft beer and fine wines. The Rutherford Hotel features restaurants and bars and caters for all room categories from studios, interconnecting rooms and suites.

Rutherford Hotel Nelson


Abel Tasman - Picnic in Anchorage Bay

Travel to Kaiteriteri, the gateway to the Abel Tasman National Park, and join a cruise along the parks’ picturesque coastline. At Anchorage Bay, lunch will be served. Re-join your coach and depart for Nelson via the vineyards.

This evening is free for you to dine at one of the many local restaurants in town.

Meals: Breakfast, Specialty Lunch

Abel Tasman


Havelock and Blenheim

Today travel via Havelock and the wine-growing region of Marlborough. Visit the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, home to one of the largest private collections of WW1 Aircraft, brought to life in sets created by the internationally acclaimed WingNut Films and Weta Workshop.

Head back into town where you will enjoy lunch at a local Blenheim beer garden. The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure. 

Meals: Breakfast, Specialty Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Blenheim - 2 Nights 


The Scenic Hotel Marlborough is only a few minutes walk from the centre of Blenheim. It offers guests the ultimate in modern comfort and service and puts some of New Zealand's finest food and wine virtually on the doorstep. 

Scenic Hotel Marlborough


Queen Charlotte Sound

Enjoy a leisurely start to the day before travelling to Picton where time is available to explore this picturesque port. Board a luxury vessel at Picton Marina and cruise the spectacular Queen Charlotte Sound to Furneaux Lodge whilst enjoying the informative commentary on this stunning region.

At Furneaux Lodge a delicious lunch will be served followed by time to enjoy the peaceful surroundings. There is access to kayaks and short walks around the property. On the return cruise to Picton a cheese platter featuring local produce is served accompanied by a glass of Marlborough wine, which is the perfect end to your Marlborough Sounds adventure.

Board the coach for the short journey back to Blenheim where the evening is free to dine at one of the local restaurants.

Meals: Breakfast, Specialty Lunch



Kaikoura - Serengeti of the Sea

Farewell, the Marlborough region, and journey to Kaikoura to visit the Kaikoura Museum, featuring a dedicated exhibition on the impact of the 2016 earthquake. This afternoon you may like to experience a scenic flight (optional, weather permitting) over the coastline to see the many species of whales that migrate through this area.

Alternative Wildlife Encounters in Kaikoura

Whale Watching Cruise   Swim with the Seals
Whale Watching Flight       Dusky Dolphin Viewing
Kayaking with Fur Seals   Pelagic Bird Watching

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Kaikoura - 1 Night 

Kaikours Whale
With its superb location on the shoreline close to town, Sudima Kaikoura is blessed with stunning views of both the mountains and sea. It also puts the hotel within easy walking distance of Kaikoura’s activities, shops, restaurants, and bars. This state-of-the-art waterfront hotel has a 4.5 star rating with an outstanding in-house restaurant, a bar and conference facilities. As always, you can expect that special Sudima service. We take care of the little things, so you’re all ready for a big day – of business, sightseeing, or nature watching.
Sudima Kaikoura


Christchurch - Garden City

Depart Kaikoura and head to Christchurch to visit the International Antarctic Centre, designed to provide an informative account of life in Antarctica. This evening enjoy a pre-dinner drink and reminisce on memories shared with your new friends at the farewell dinner.

Meals: Breakfast, Specialty Dinner

Accommodation: Christchurch - 1 Night 

The Distinction Hotel is a brand new hotel opening in 2019 in the revitalised heart of Christchurch and Cathedral Square. Centrally located and a short stroll to the Botanical Gardens, New Regent Street, the Arts Centre, and Avon River. This luxury Christchurch hotel offers 179 elegant, air-conditioned hotel rooms including 3 floors of brand new Superior Rooms and Suites.
Distinction Hotel Christchurch


Bon Voyage

Haere rā and Bon Voyage!

We are sure you will enjoy this tour 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.

Meals: Breakfast


Further Information

Valid: Sep 2024 – May 2025 

11 Day Signature Top of the South Island 
Unveiling a picturesque landscape of wilderness, wildlife and unique attractions

STYLE Signature Mid-Size Group
COACH 32 seat Premium Economy


STARTS Christchurch
FINISHES Christchurch


•    Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise 
•    TranzAlpine Rail Journey 
•    Wilderness Gallery Hokitika 
•    Monteith’s Brewing Co. Tasting 
•    Nelson Classic Car Museum 
•    Abel Tasman Guided Walk and Cruise* 
•    Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre* 
•    Queen Charlotte Sound Cruise to Furneaux Lodge 
•    Kaikōura Museum 
•    International Antarctic Centre 
City sights tour of Christchurch and Nelson 
*Guided tour.

• 32 Premium Economy Comfort seats on a full-size coach
• 2 door access; seat back tray table; cup holder
• Restroom; daily onboard Wi-Fi allowance

• Personalised Meet and Greet on arrival 
• Return airport transfers in New Zealand 
• Professional Coach Captain 
• Tour Leader 
• 10 nights 4 star accommodation 
• 3 two night stays 
• Hotel porterage 
• 1 rail journey 
• 3 cruises 
• All sightseeing and prepaid attractions 
• Optional Activities
• Signature Documentation Pack 

• 10 cooked breakfasts 
• 7 sumptuous dinners including complimentary pre-dinner drink at the Welcome Dinner and 1 specialty dinner: Farewell Dinner including pre-dinner drink, Christchurch 
• 5 specialty lunches: Kingfisher Restaurant, Lake Brunner; Monteith’s Brewing Co., Greymouth; Abel Tasman lunch, Abel Tasman National Park; Dodson Street Beer Garden; Blenheim; Furneaux Lodge, Queen Charlotte Sound 
• Enjoy GPT Hotel Wine Time (discounted drinks) 
Day 1: Dinner not included for anyone arriving later than 8pm.

Scenic Highlights and Walks
• Historic French Village of Akaroa 
• Lake Brunner 
• Brunner Mine Site 
• Hokitika Gorge 
• Punakaiki Pancake Rocks 
• Cape Foulwind walkway 
• Buller Gorge 
• Seaside town of Kaiteriteri 
• Abel Tasman National Park 
• Marlborough Wine Region 
• Marlborough Sounds 
• Coastal town of Kaikōu

Tour includes a number of short walks of up to 1 hour that require a moderate level of fitness. The walks are scenic and not excessive but can include slight inclines and uneven surfaces. Ensure you feel comfortable with this level of fitness before booking.


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What katarina says about this tour: This trip has so many special excursions that dont appear on many other touring options. You will love spending time in Akaroa and the Abel Tasman National Park. The TranzAlpine train journey is spectacular as is the driving from Hokitika north through Punakaiki and the Buller Gorge on route to the beautiful Tasman region. The Marlborough Sounds and Kaikoura are a spectacular return route to Christchurch. This trip is a major winner!
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