Your tour begins! Today you will head north through the wine-growing area of Waipara to Kaikoura. Kaikoura is a sea life paradise which boasts whales, seals, albatross and dolphins. There are over 17 species of whale to be found in Kaikoura all within 8 km of the coastline. Early afternoon you will take a whale-watching boat tour. Keep a lookout for Sperm Whales, Humpback Whales and Orcas as well as many species of Dolphin. Spend the night in the seaside village of Kaikoura.
This morning you drive north to the gorgeous northern coast of the South Island. There is a possibility today of having lunch at a vineyard in the wine-growing region of Marlborough (optional – extra cost). Perhaps venture into the gorgeous Marlborough Sounds, where for those of us feeling energised in the afternoon it is possible to talk a walk up a section of the Queen Charlotte Track to reach a saddle where the views of both Kenepuru and Queen Charlotte Sound surround us in true panoramic fashion.
Today you will take a wine tour and discover a range of both the small and bigger wineries, and highlight what they strive to achieve with their wines. All the wineries are different and make their own styles. Find out what makes each winery stand out on its own. In the middle of this tour, you will have lunch at a beautiful winery. You will be dropped back at your hotel at the end of the tour.
This morning you depart Blenheim and pass through Havelock, a major gateway to the Marlborough Sounds and also known as ‘The Green Lipped Mussel Capital of the World’. There is the opportunity today to head out on the water and take a cruise where you will get the chance to sample local seafood paired with local wine (optional- additional cost). From here you pass over the Whangamoa Ranges and through the seaside city of Nelson. Continue northwest around the Tasman bay through picturesque resort towns to reach Kaiteriteri.
Today you will explore the best that the National Park has to offer with a half-day guided kayak trip around the coastline. Discover seals in their natural environment and learn all about New Zealand’s smallest but certainly one of its most spectacular National Parks. In the evening you can enjoy the sunset from one of the area’s picturesque beaches.
This morning you farewell the sunny North Coast and head southwest, to the lush rainforest of the West Coast. En route, you will stop in at Underworld Adventures in Charleston. Here they will kit you up for the trip of a lifetime through their glowworm caves. The journey starts with a trip on their rainforest train, a walk through the rainforest and a journey into their large limestone cave. Following this, you will lie on a tube and drift under the light of thousands upon thousands of glow worms on the cave ceiling. This particular cave has more glowworms than any other cave in NZ and the experience is truly cathartic. Upon arrival in Punakaiki, you have the option of enjoying a true blue New Zealand pub meal this evening before calling it a night (optional – extra cost).
In Punakaiki this morning you can explore the pancake rocks and blowholes situated right next to the village; a bizarre, rugged, rocky landscape which impresses thousands of visitors each year with its powerful forces of nature. Next up, check out the beautiful Truman Track down to the beach, or a section of the Pororari River Track. Driving South down the coast from Punakaiki, check out the stunning Hokitika Gorge with its beautiful bright blue waters and surrounding native forest. Arrive in Franz Josef Glacier early afternoon, where you will spend the next night in the beautiful town surrounded by rainforest. Tonight you will have the chance to relax and unwind with a soak in the Glacier Hot Pools, each filled with pure water from the Glaciers (optional – extra cost).
This morning you will have the opportunity to enjoy a short scenic helicopter flight with snow landing on Franz Josef Glacier, or a 3 hour guided heli-hike on the ice of glacier itself! (Optional – Not Included in Quote). One of the prettiest and most dramatic journeys in the country is what you can experience on this tour over the Haast Pass through to Wanaka. En route you will visit Lake Matheson, otherwise known as ‘Mirror Lakes’ where on a clear day it is possible to see the reflection of New Zealand’s highest mountain Mt Cook (3754m/12,316ft). The walking possibilities are endless today around Haast and Haast Pass and you can do one of or several walks, some of which feature spectacular waterfalls and deep blue coloured pools where it is possible to see trout swimming. One of our favourite spots at The Road Trip is Ship Creek, an isolated beach featuring native totara trees hugging the rugged coastline. Tonight you stay in Wanaka, one of New Zealand’s most popular holiday spots.
Today you will enjoy all that the incredible Wanaka area has to offer with a hike up to the base of the Rob Roy Glacier in the Matukituki Valley (3 hours walking return). Upon return to Wanaka this afternoon you will visit Rippon Valley Winery and a chance to taste some of central Otago’s incredible wines. Stay overnight in Wanaka.
This morning you can take a walk up one of our favourite lookout spots featuring 360-degree views of Lake Wanaka, Aspiring National Park and the Clutha River. After further exploring Wanaka, your South Island tour takes you along Lake Dunstan towards Cromwell where you will enjoy lunch at Mt Difficulty Winery in Bannockburn, overlooking Central Otago vineyards. Following this you have the option to enjoy a guided tour through a stone fruit orchard, check out Cromwell’s historic precinct or do some hot laps around the world-class tracks of Highlands Motorsport Park! Following this, you will make your way to the historic town of Clyde, where you will spend the evening.
From one historic town to the next! This morning you will have time to enjoy Clyde and surrounding areas. Enjoy breakfast at Oliver’s and next perhaps enjoy a dip in the Clutha River, a hike up to Alexandra’s Clock on the Hill or a wander through the Orchard Garden Maze. Perhaps rent a bike and cycle some of the Central Otago Rail Trail! Following this, you will get on the road and head to the old gold mining town of St Bathans. Here you can enjoy a dip in Blue Lake – a manmade lake carved out for gold extraction and later filled in as a recreation reserve. Enjoy a drink at the historic Vulcan Hotel in the village centre. Next up, drive through the delightful small town of Naseby – “2000ft above worry level!,” before ending up on the Pacific Coast and stopping in at the Moeraki Boulders. These boulders are concretions that have been exposed through shoreline erosion from coastal cliffs that back the beach, some of which weigh several tonnes and are up to 3 metres in diameter. Next along the route is the town of Oamaru, famous for its Victorian heritage precinct and steampunk artefacts. This evening you will watch little blue penguins come ashore from a hard day of fishing, before calling it a night!
This morning you will check out the beautiful historic precinct of Oamaru. Here you will feel like you’ve stepped back in time to the early 1900s, surrounded by gorgeous limestone buildings and the main street with a very Victorian feel. Pop in for a coffee at a local cafe, take a ride on the steam train or sift through secondhand stores for treasures. Following this, head North on State Highway 1 through Timaru and continue to Christchurch where you will finish your NZ adventure!