SOUTH ISLAND GRAND TOUR
10 DAYS – NZ $3999 per person
- Quality Accommodation (3 & 4 Star Hotels – 78% of nights 4 star or better)
- ALL Dinners & Cooked Breakfasts
- All Listed Sights & Admissions
- Transfers / Home Pickup from listed areas. (If area not listed, contact us for details). Prices per person, based on sharetwin – single supplement available.
- No Oversized Groups – Maximum 42 guests (Travel in 49 Seater Luxury Coach)
- Arthurs Pass
- Fox Glacier
- TSS Earnslaw & Walter Peak Special Dinner
- Milford Sound Cruise
- The Catlins
- Larnach Castle & Exclusive Dinner
- Olveston House
- Mt Cook
Optional Train Add-ons (additional cost):
- Tranz Alpine – Christchurch to Arthurs Pass/Greymouth
- Taieri Gorge – Dunedin
DATES: 14 Oct 2020, 28 Oct 2020, 25 Nov 2020, 17 Feb 2021, 24 Feb 2021, 3 Mar 2021, 10 Mar 2021, 17 Mar 2021, 24 Mar 2021, 14 Apr 2021, 21 Apr 2021
HOTEL/HOME PICKUP & TRAVEL FROM/TO CHRISTCHURCH.
Travelling Solo? Matched Twin (same gender) No Extra Cost!
NZ$950 Single Supplement (to Guarantee Single Room)
Day 1. Arthurs Pass, Greymouth (B,D)
Today you are picked up from your home or hotel, to join your luxury tour coach to travel through the Southern Alps towards Greymouth.
Guests also have the option to take the Tranz Alpine train journey (NZ$196 pp) to Greymouth. Includes complimentary arrival departure transfer from Christchurch home/hotel & on arrival to Greymouth hotel.
Head up into the Southern Alps and view dramatic alpine scenery – mountain peaks, rugged gorges and rivers. Stop at Arthur’s Pass, the alpine village in the centre of the Alps. Then on to Greymouth, the region’s chief commercial centre. A short drive will take us to Shantytown, a fascinating reconstructed gold mining town, where you can still actually pan for gold. Travel back in time to a reminder of New Zealand’s West Coast’s turbulent nineteenth century gold-mining past. This is your chance to get into the cab of a steam train with the Train Driver and see how it all happens! You get to see it all going on, shovel coal in the fire, pull the horn, and see the action up close. Hear and see the fire roar, taste the steam, and get a bit of coal dust on your jeans. Then to our hotel to freshen up before dinner.
Stay: Kingsgate Hotel (or similar)
Day 2. Greymouth, Fox Glacier (B,D)
We leave Greymouth this morning and drive south along the coastal road which boasts wonderful panoramic views of alpine scenery and dense native forests, as we head towards glacier country. We will stop at Lake Matheson (weather permitting, note lake is approximately 1km walk each way from coach parking area) noted for its magnificent mirror-like reflections of the Southern Alps. We then continue on to Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. These twin rivers of ice are unique, as nowhere in the world outside the polar regions are glaciers found so close to sea level. At Franz Josef Glacier (weather permitting), you have the opportunity to take an optional scenic flight over these spectacular ice-flows. This evening, we dine at a local restaurant.
Stay: Bella Vista Fox Glacier
Day 3. Fox Glacier, Queenstown (B,D)
This morning we enjoy breakfast at a local cafe, before we farewell Fox Glacier. Continuing south, we will pass isolated and lovely Bruce Bay before reaching the small settlement of Haast. Leaving the coast today, we will travel inland past Thunder Creek Falls to the “Gates of the Haast.” Then it is a steep climb, following the ancient Maori Greenstone Pilgrimage route through the Haast Pass, and down to the shores of the milky, glacier-fed Lakes of Hawea and Wanaka, to arrive in the picturesque township of Wanaka. We then travel through rich farmlands to join the Clutha River where it enters the Kawarau Gorge and continue past the most southerly vineyard in the world to make a stop at the Kawarau Bridge. This is the now world-famous place where you may be tempted to try bungy jumping, diving from the Kawarau Bridge towards the river 150 feet below, with a giant rubber band tied around your ankles! The final stop before reaching Queenstown will be made at historic and picturesque Arrowtown where you see many of the original wood and stone buildings from the “gold rush” years still in use. There will be time to browse around before rejoining the coach for the short drive to Queenstown, where we will stay for two nights.
Stay: Heritage Hotel Queenstown (or similar)
Day 4. Queenstown, Cruise on TSS Earnslaw & Dinner at Walter Peak (B,SD)
Today, the entire day is at leisure for you to enjoy the many scenic delights of this world-famous alpine resort. Perhaps you would like to take a thrilling and adrenaline-pumping jetboat ride on the Shotover River, experience the exhilaration of white water rafting or explore the remote Skippers Canyon. Wherever your interests may lie, we guarantee that Queenstown has something for you. Your tour leader can assist you in planning your day and making arrangements. This evening, we will board the vintage steamship T.S.S. Earnslaw for a delightful cruise across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak, a high country sheep station. There is time to inspect the sheep and highland cattle before relaxing in the Colonel’s Homestead and enjoying some friendly Kiwi Hospitality and a sumptuous dinner, which is one of the culinary highlights of the tour.
Stay: Heritage Hotel Queenstown (or similar)
Day 5. Queenstown, Milford Sound Cruise, Te Anau (B,D)
This morning we drive along Lake Wakatipu to Lake Te Anau and enter Southland. Here, outstanding scenery greets us as we continue through the beech forests of the Eglington Valley with its steep walls, grassy floor and exquisite mirror-like lakes before entering the rugged grandeur of the Hollyford Valley. We pass through Cascade Creek and the hand-hewn Homer Tunnel, stopping at The Chasm, before continuing on through the glacial formations of the Cleddau Valley and descending to Milford. Here, we board our boat and follow the deep icy blue waterway to explore the hidden depths of Milford Sound. There is plenty of time to admire the intricately carved deep fiord and rock walls, and the most memorable of them all: Mitre Peak. Sitting at 6,000 feet, it is the tallest peak in the world rising directly from the bottom of the ocean. We cruise by tumbling waterfalls of Lady Bowen falls, Stirling Falls and many others as we journey to the hidden mouth of the Sound and out to the Tasman Sea. Watch out for the schools of playful dolphins that surf the bow wave of the boat and spot the seals basking in the sun on the rocky shores. Then our coach will take us to our hotel in Te Anau, home of the South Island’s largest lake.
Stay: Distinction Luxmore Te Anau
Day 6. Te Anau, Bluff, Invercargill (B,D)
This morning, we drive along Lake Manapouri, said to be New Zealand’s most beautiful lake, before crossing the rich and fertile country of Southland. Invercargill boasts being both the southernmost & westernmost city in New Zealand, and is essentially the gateway to Bluff, home of its namesake: the world-famous Bluff oysters. Bluff oysters are widely regarded as the finest in the world! Enjoy a brief tour of Bluff and Invercargill, before having free time.
Stewart Island Optional Excursions
We recommend booking early to avoid disappointment. All optional excursions are subject to availability. Excursions include return ferry to Stewart Island & return transfers from Bluff to Invercargill.
- Stewart Island Sights
- Ulva Island Cruise & Sanctuary
- Stewart Island on your own
Stay: Ascot Park Hotel
Day 7. Invercargill, The Catlins, Dunedin (B,D)
This morning, we depart Invercargill for Dunedin via the magnificent coastal vistas of the Catlins, famed for the wildlife, forests and rugged natural beauty. Late this afternoon, we arrive at the traditionally “Scottish City” of Dunedin – quaint, friendly and once New Zealand’s hub of commerce. During the gold rush years, Dunedin was New Zealand’s largest and most prosperous city and is home to New Zealand’s first university. We will stop at the Olveston House, a 35 room Jacobean mansion that allows an intimate view of the life of a prosperous Dunedin merchant and his family in Edwardian times. The mansion houses a treasure of Georgian and Victorian furniture, paintings, silver, china and glassware with a notable oriental collection.
Stay: Distinction Hotel Dunedin (or similar)
Day 8. Dunedin, Larnach Castle Dinner (B,SD)
Today, we enjoy a day at leisure in Dunedin to explore – perhaps take a short walk up to the Octagon, the commercial heart of the city and home to many restaurants and pubs. You may choose to visit the Speights Brewery or the Otago Settlers Musuem, or a trip out to some of the amazing wildlife sites & reserves on the Otago Peninsula (your tour leader will be able to assist you with arrangements, admissions and transport are at additional expense).
Guests also have the option to take the Taieri Gorge train journey (estimated NZ$120 pp – at this stage it is unclear if this will be available). Includes complimentary transfers to & from hotel.
This evening, we visit Larnach Castle, an imposing stone mansion that was constructed in 1871 by William Larnach, a former government minister. Your guide will inform you of the dark Larnach secrets as you are escorted through the mansion to view the ornately furnished rooms and halls. Here, we are privileged to enjoy an exclusive sumptuous dinner at the castle.
Stay: Distinction Hotel Dunedin (or similar)
Day 9. Dunedin, Mt Cook, Omarama (B,D)
Today’s coach journey is highlighted by magnificent mountains, crystal clear lakes and man-made wonders as we pass the hydro dams at Waitaki and Aviemore, and on to Mt Cook National Park, home of New Zealand’s highest mountain. This afternoon is at leisure in Mount Cook for optional flightseeing by plane or helicopter over majestic Mount Cook and breathtaking Fox, Franz Josef and Tasman Glaciers (weather permitting). We then travel to Omarama where we will stay overnight.
Stay: Heritage Gateway (or similar)
Day 10. Omarama, Christchurch (B)
Sadly, this is the last day of our tour. This morning, our tour will continue to beautiful Lake Tekapo, where a stop is made to view the Church of the Good Shepherd. Crossing Burkes Pass, we travel through the sheep-stations and tussock-covered lands of the MacKenzie Country and across the colourful patchwork quilt of the Canterbury Plains, the country’s largest wheat producing area, before arriving in Christchurch, the second largest metropolitan area in New Zealand. On arrival at Christchurch, you will join your departing flight (if applicable) or your nominated Christchurch address/hotel.