South Island Autumn
From $4290.00 per person
This tour encompasses 14 days of some of the most spectacular scenery in the South island. Flying in and out of Christchurch and covering a large amount of the South Island with time out in key areas to enjoy at your leisure such as, Queenstown, Milford Sound, Invercargill – with the opportunity to travel to Stewart Island, The Catlins, Dunedin and Christchurch. We include a cruise on the majestic Milford Sound and other highlights include Haast, Fox & Franz Josef Glaciers, Mount Cook and Lake Tekapo. This tour is ideal for those with a limited amount of time but still interested in seeing a good amount of the beautiful South Island.
Wednesday 3 April – Tuesday 16 April 2019 (14 Days)
Day 1 – Wednesday, 3 April 2018 ARRIVE CHRISTCHURCH (D)
Departing from Auckland (other locations on application) you fly to Christchurch Airport. Welcome to the South Island! Today you are met at the Christchurch Airport and following an orientation tour of Christchurch city, you will be taken to your hotel. The remainder of day at leisure to relax or stroll around Christchurch. Dinner tonight is included at your hotel. Quality Elms Hotel, Christchurch
Day 2 – Thursday, 4 April 2018 CHRISTCHURCH – GREYMOUTH (BD)
From Christchurch we have the opportunity (at additional cost) to traverse the Southern Alps aboard the famous Tranz-Alpine rail journey to Arthur’s Pass. From your carriage you’ll see the fields of the Canterbury Plains and farmland, followed by the spectacular gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River. The train then climbs into the Southern Alps. Once we have crossed into the Southern Alps we are met at the Village of Arthur’s Pass by our coach for us to continue our journey to the West Coast via the Otira Viaduct opened in 1999. ‘The Coast’ as locals call it, is one of the world’s special places, with mind-blowing topography. Ancient uplifts of the earth’s crust created the impressive vertical ramparts of the main divide of the Southern Alps. These cloud-piercing mountains rise within 30km of a breathtaking coast. Five of our national parks are here, and South West New Zealand has been declared a World Heritage Area. We continue northward along the Coast to visit the pancake rocks at Punakaiki – these sedimentary rocks have been hammered by the sea, and wind erosion forming layered rocks giving a look of a large stack of pancakes, then return to our overnight accommodation in Greymouth. The Ashley Hotel, Greymouth
Day 3 – Friday, 5 April 2018 GREYMOUTH – HAAST (BD) Our first stop this morning is at Hokitika where a visit is made to the Greenstone and Glass Blowing factories before continuing further south into the Westland National Park, the home of Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers. On arrival, time is available for optional scenic flights. Driving towards the southern end of the South Island’s West Coast Road, there is a strong sense of entering a primeval land, and a feeling of total isolation. Arriving at Haast, you are surrounded by a landscape of rainforest, wetlands, sand dunes and surf-pounded shingle beaches. This wilderness forms part of the South West New Zealand World Heritage Area, so designated because South Westland and Fiordland have some of the most dramatic forest and mountain scenery and natural resources in the world. Heartland Hotel, Haast
Day 4 – Saturday, 6 April 2018 HAAST – QUEENSTOWN (BD)
From the Westland National Park we travel through the Haast River valleys and over the Haast Pass to Makaroa and onto the upper reaches of Lake Wanaka. Travelling past Lake Hawea we reach the popular Lake Wanaka, the starting point of the mighty Clutha River. This afternoon we travel via Cromwell following the Kawarau Gorge Road Queenstown. Once in Queenstown we enjoy an orientation tour of ‘the town fit for a Queen’ – Queenstown. Heartland Hotel, Queenstown – 2 nights
Day 5 – Sunday, 7 April 2018 QUEENSTOWN (B)
Today is at leisure. Queenstown, nestled among glacier-rounded hills and dramatic rugged mountain peaks, is New Zealand’s premier year-round alpine resort. It offers a host of holiday attractions for the visitor from helicopter flights and trips on jet-boats, to walks and tramps. The town is steeped in the history of the goldmining days, evident from the many relics scattered in and among the surrounding hills. Queenstown has a plethora of optional sightseeing activities available from jet-boating on the thrilling Shotover Jet; a jet-boat excursion along the scenic and remote Dart River; winery tours to the premier Central Otago wineries; 4WD tours into unforgettable Skippers Canyon; scenic flights; fly-fishing or if you dare – bungy jumping or tandem sky-diving! Extra cost for optional sightseeing excursions. Tonight is free for you to explore the local restaurants, cafes and bars or you may choose to take a cruise across Lake Wakatipu on the steamer TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak Station to dine at the Colonel’s Homestead.
Day 6 – Monday, 8 April 2018 QUEENSTOWN – MILFORD SOUND – TE ANAU (BLD)
Leaving Queenstown we skirt the shores of Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand’s third largest lake, alongside the towering Remarkables Ranges. We then travel via the beautiful Eglinton Valley climbing to the Homer Tunnel before descending through to the spectacular Cleddau Canyon to reach Milford Sound where we enjoy a cruise of the Sound. The Sound is dominated by the grandeur of Mitre Peak and the Bowen Falls. Returning to Te Anau, to our overnight accommodation.Kingsgate Hotel, Te Anau
Day 7 – Tuesday, 9 April 2018 TE ANAU – INVERCARGILL (BD)
Travelling the Southern Scenic Route to Invercargill, we travel through Riverton on the shores of the Aparima River. Now a sea side resort and farming town, the former whaling station maintains its links with the sea. Scores of fishing boats and pleasure craft string along the jetties lining the South Bank. Continuing on we visit the Queens Gardens and Southland Art Gallery and Museum before arriving at our accommodation in Invercargill where we stay for the next two nights. Kelvin Hotel, Invercargill – 2 nights
Day 8 – Wednesday, 10 April 2018 INVERCARGILL (BD)
This morning we travel to Bluff. As an option we board the catamaran to Stewart Island. On arrival we have an escorted tour of the main island with one of the local identities. After the tour we visit the local D.O.C. Office. Those not choosing the Stewart Island option, today is at leisure in Invercargill.
Day 9 – Thursday, 11 April 2018 INVERCARGILL / DUNEDIN VIA CATLINS (BD)
Depart and travel across flat farmland towards the east coast and the Southern Scenic Route through the Catlins to Dunedin. The Catlins is a place of awesome natural beauty with dense forest, farmland, towering cliffs, rocky coastal bays. There are wonderful views of this rugged coastline as the road winds north. En route stops can be made to see many of the interesting places the Catlins offers the visitor. This wild coast claimed many ships and as a result two lighthouses are features. The first of these at Waipapa Point was the scene of New Zealand’s worst civilian shipping disaster. At Curio Bay see one of the worlds most extensive and least disturbed examples of a Jurassic fossilised forest. Further north a visit to view the McLean Falls is well worth the 15 minute walk through native bush. There are other interesting points of interest that are well signposted. One of these is the spectacular Nugget Point lighthouse. The walking path to the lighthouse offers panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and the coast. It is also an exceptional viewing point for wildlife such as the NZ Fur Seal, NZ Sea Lion and occasional Elephant Seal.
Continuing north the road turns inland through the small town of Balclutha on the banks of the Clutha River then travels through rolling sheep country to Dunedin. Kingsgate Hotel, Dunedin – 2 nights
Day 10 – Friday, 12 April 2018 DUNEDIN (B)
Today is at leisure. Choose from the many optional activities that Dunedin has to offer. Perhaps a visit to Olveston House, a Jacobean style home filled with early New Zealand paintings and antiques, or Cadbury World – a sensation in sight, smell and sound. Experience the mystique of a working chocolate factory, sample and purchase Cadbury products and much more, or perhaps this afternoon join the Taieri Gorge Train excursion to the extremities of Dunedin City some sixty kilometres from the station, your coach captain will be happy to assist you with your choices.
Day 11 – Saturday, 13 April 2018 DUNEDIN – OMARAMA (BD)
Departing Dunedin we travel north to view the extraordinary spherical Moeraki Boulders, shaped rather like giant marbles. Then onto Oamaru – here we have time to look at the ‘White Stone City’. The old buildings have been constructed with local limestone. It was from Oamaru that New Zealand’s first frozen meat was shipped in 1882 taking over three months to reach England, and thus began New Zealand’s most important export industry. Travelling inland through Benmore and Otematata through sailors cutting we arrive at Omarama.Heritage Gateway Hotel, Omarama
Day 12 – Sunday, 14 April 2018 OMARAMA – CHRISTCHURCH (BD)
A day for spectacular sights. We head north to skirt the shore of Lake Pukaki to Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain. Time is available to enjoy an optional scenic flight over the ancient rivers of ice and the West Coast Glaciers (weather permitting – a highly recommended option). Travelling to Tekapo we witness the magnificent blue waters of Lake Tekapo. Here we visit the Church of the Good Shepherd and the statue of the Collie dog, before travelling the vast Mackenzie Basin, over Burke’s Pass through Fairlie, Geraldine, and Ashburton and across the Canterbury Plains into Christchurch.Quality Elms Hotel, Christchurch – 2 nights
Day 13 – Monday, 15 April 2018 CHRISTCHURCH (BD)
Today we get the feel of this ‘English City’ with a sightseeing tour of Christchurch City. Our first visit being to the Canterbury Museum, where we learn about the history and geography of the area. Other sights include Christ College, Hagley Park, and the Art Centre, with a stop at Brighton Beach for a walk along the pier. This afternoon is free for you to enjoy the Garden City.
Day 14 – Tuesday, 16 April 2018 DEPART CHRISTCHURCH (B)
Farewell from the South Island! This morning you are transferred to the Christchurch Airport to connect with your flight to your home port.