Documents and 24/7 Support: We've Got You Covered!
When you touch down in New Zealand your detailed documentation pack will be hand-delivered by one of our trusted representatives. You'll find everything you need in one handy place: your personalised itinerary, clear instructions and maps, and reservation details for your accommodation and activities.
24 Hour Assistance: We’re just a free phone call away if you encounter any issues while you're on the road - at any time of day or night. Don’t waste your precious vacation time stressing - First Light Travel are here to help you quickly when every second counts.
What's also included?
|Dedicated Travel Consultant||Detailed Daily Itinerary and Vouchers|
|Full 24 Hour Support||50 Page Essential New Zealand Guide|
Welcome to Christchurch
Today is a day to relax and orientate yourselves in New Zealand’s ‘Garden City’ Christchurch. Expansive parks, public gardens and local green fingers make it a relaxing, tranquil city to enjoy on foot. New Zealand’s second-largest city and the gateway to the South Island, Christchurch sits on the very edge of the Canterbury Plains and is bordered by the Pacific Ocean. The city itself has bounced back after a series of major earthquakes, and has shown its resiliency with a number of new and exciting developments popping up everywhere.
Some Suggested Activities to Help you to get to Know the Region
|Punting the Avon River||Lyttelton Harbour Wildlife Cruise|
|French Akaroa Tour||Southern Alps Ballooning|
|Clearwater Golf||Arthur's Pass TranzAlpine Hike|
Accommodation Christchurch - 1 night
Tranzalpine Rail Journey - Punakaiki
These special tracks wind a ribbon-like path through paradise, offering more than just a glimpse of the breath taking landscapes between Christchurch and Greymouth in New Zealand's South Island. The remarkable TranzAlpine experience ranks among the most spectacular rail journeys in the world. Endless vistas unfold around every bend as you traverse some of the country's most scenic terrain from the colourful patchwork of pastures that carpet the Canterbury Plains to the sky scraping peaks of the mighty Southern Alps. In Greymouth collect your rental car and travel to Punakaiki Resort.
Approximate Travel Time 40 mins Distance 44km | 27mi
Accommodation Punakaiki - 2 nights
New Zealands Wild West Coast
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.
Travel to Nelson Lakes
Today follow the Buller River as you leave the West Coast and head inland to St Arnauds Alpine Village in the Nelson Lakes District.
An Enchanting Alpine Park of Rugged Peaks, Forests and Glacial Lakes.
The spectacular landscape of Nelson Lakes National Park was sculpted by massive glaciers during the most recent ice ages, and many glacial landforms remain - lakes Rotoiti and Rotoroa are the two most obvious examples. The park offers tranquil beech forest, craggy mountains, clear streams and lakes both big and small. Known for its magical honeydew beech forests, which feed a variety of tuneful nectar-eating native birds, the park provides an easy wilderness escape. The nearby village of St Arnaud is a comfortable, well-equipped base for visitors. The hiking trails around are renowned and abundant with the most famous being the Blue Lakes Hike – this has been proven to be the 'bluest lake' in the World.
Approximate Travel Time 3 hrs mins Distance 199km | 125mi
Accommodation St Arnaud - 2 nights
Walking the Nelson Lakes National Park
Promising everything from easygoing lakeside walking tracks to challenging alpine hikes, there is something on offer for everyone. The alpine lakes are fringed to the shore by native honeydew beech forests, which feed a variety of tuneful nectar-eating native birds that enhance the walking experience. Mountain ranges segregated by forested valleys, the Nelson Lakes National Park heralds the beginning of the Southern Alps and spectacular alpine lakes alpine lakes Rotoiti and Rotoroa, sculpted by glaciers during the last ice age, are two of the most obvious examples of the many glacial landforms in the region.
Recommended Walking Tracks...
Honeydew Walk (45 min)
Brunner Nature Walk (1 hr)
Anglers Walk (1 hr)
St Arnaud Range Track (5 hr)
St Arnaud Range Track (5 hr)
Lake Rotoiti Circuit (7–10 hr)
|Mt Robert Circuit (5 hr)||Sabine Circuit (4 days)||
Angelus & Robert Ridge (2 Days)
Department of Conversation (DOC) information Office
When in any of our National Parks, it always pays to pop into the local DOC (Department of Conservation) office and register your intensions. These friendly folk will not only help you decide which walk suits you, but they will also keep an eye out for you. Department of Conservation Rotoiti / Nelson Lakes Visitor Centre is on View Road St Arnaud - This service is free.
Havelock - Gateway to Beautiful Pelorus Sound
Continue up the East Coast of the South Island towards the wine mecca of Marlborough - just past where the historic Pelorus bridge crosses the river, there is an enchanting reserve that is the starting point for a truly awesome Kayaking Adventure. This Guided Kayak Tour includes stops at many waterfalls and streams and has you crossing many deep slow moving pools, home to many native trout species that can be clearly seen as far as 20 meters (65 feet) above – just goes to show how clear the water is.
Along the way you see several species of native bird including the large native pigeon (kereru), bellbirds, tui and fantails. The area is also rich in lush native forest where your guide will take you on a nature walk and introduce you to the many species of native trees
You'll also find a little bit of middle earth in this area because Peter Jackson chose the Pelorus Bridge and river as the filming location for scenes from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Here, the dwarves were filmed floating in barrels down this beautiful river.
Following your kayaking adventure head to Picton for the first of 3 nights.
Approximate Travel Time 3 hrs Distance 223 km | 138mi
Accommodation Picton - 3 night
Kayaking One of Our Most Beautiful Rivers
Spend the day relaxing in the quaint seaside town of Picton. The waterfront is a great spot to watch the busy harbour in action. Picton is the linking city for the Interislander ferries that take people and freight between the North and South Islands. A popular easy walk crosses the marina footbridge and hugs the shoreline to 'The Snout' the point that separates Picton Harbour from Waikawa.
If you prefer, Blenheim is a short 20 minute drive away and home to masses of vineyards producing the well regarded Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. If you are looking for another walk to try today - head to the Wither Hills Walkway - for great panaramic views of wine country and the Marlborough Sounds beyond.
Wonderful Day Walk in the Marlborough Sounds
Located at the top of the South Island, in the Marlborough Sounds, The Queen Charlotte Track is one of New Zealand’s classic walks and a “must do” on every international or domestic visitors itinerary. This walking track is renowned for the uniqueness of its panoramic coastal views, lush coastal forest and excellent water transport services – creating a walk that is challenging yet comfortable.
Take a boat cruise from Picton to Ship Cove past salmon farms and sea birds on a beautiful voyage to Ship Cove, an historic and scenic reserve that Captain Cook visited several times in the 17th Century. Enjoy a walk along the Queen Charlotte Track from Ship Cove to Endeavour Inlet (14km (9 miles) - five hours approx.). Bush is mainly a mixture of stunning podocarp and beech forest with punga ferns and other New Zealand native foliage. This day is regarded as the premier section of the Queen Charlotte Track. Many beautiful views are to be had across the Marlborough Sounds
Coastal Road to Kaikoura
Nestled between soaring mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Kaikoura is known as New Zealand’s ‘Serengeti of the Sea’. The natural wonders here are breath taking. Fur seals lounge on the rugged coastline and, just offshore, whales and dolphins thrive in an ocean that teems with life.
Kaikoura’s unique submarine environment of deep underwater canyons and warm and cool currents pushes the ocean’s nutrients to the surface, supporting a phenomenal array of marine life. And it’s not just marine mammals that can be experienced up-close here – Kaikoura is one of the world’s most exciting areas from which to view ocean birds (pelagic). This is also a great place to enjoy crayfish, the seafood that the town was named after. In Maori, ‘kai’ means food and ‘koura’ means crayfish, and you’ll find the local delicacy to be fresh and delicious.
Suggested Wildlife Encounters in Kaikoura
|Swim with the Seals in Kaikoura|
|Dusky Dolphin Viewing or Swimming|
|Albatross & Pelagic Bird Watching|
Approximate Distance: 156 km | 96 miles Total Driving Time: 2 hours 7 mins
Accommodation Kaikoura - 1 night
Return to Christchurch for Your Onward Journey
Ready to find out more? Talk to us here in New Zealand about 'The Upper Souths: Lake District, Wild Rivers & Coastal Treats' - We Guarantee it will be the Holiday of a Lifetime!