Southland & Stewart Island
From $3190.00 per person
Discover the deep south. A rugged and ever-changing landscape of rocky bluffs, enchanting forests, beautiful sandy beaches, a wealth of wildlife and spectacular views. This is a world where nature dominates a land secluded and untouched.
Thursday 19 September – Wednesday 25 September 2019 (7 Days)
Day 1 – Thursday 19 September 2019 Home Cities to Dunedin (D)
Today we depart the north and fly south to arrive in the South Island City of Dunedin. Dunedin was settled by members of the Free Church of Scotland (Presbyterian) in the late 1840’s. Founded in 1848 by Scottish settlers Dunedin was envisaged as the “Edinburgh of the South” and the city’s development was accelerated by the discovery of gold in 1861. This led to the establishment of New Zealand’s first University, Otago University built of bluestone. A feature of the city is the number of towers, spires and turrets that rise above it and also large numbers of solid, gracious stone buildings. Upon arrival we will be met by our Leisure Time Tours coach and driver, we then have a brief orientation tour of the city before checking in to our centrally located hotel. Tonight we’ll enjoy a group dinner at our hotel.
Accommodation: The Victoria Hotel, Dunedin
Day 2 – Friday 20 September 2019 Dunedin to Invercargill (BD)
After breakfast this morning, we travel south to Balclutha then travel through the Southern Scenic route of the Catlins. The Catlins offers a glimpse of rural New Zealand set amid native forests, fringed by high cliffs and golden beaches. This spectacular coastal stretch is home to an array of marine life – sea lions are regular beach visitors, while dolphins frolic in the shallows. We visit Kaka Point and Nugget Point which is great for wildlife viewing (take binoculars on your walk if you have them) including seals, sea lions and penguins. Here also is the historic lighthouse which was built in 1869 and is still working today, although now automated. Continuing on we visit Pounawea, and Purakaunui Falls situated amongst lush podocarp and beech forest, which cascade 20 metres over three distinct tiers. We visit Curio Bay and walk amongst the Petrified Forest before arriving in Invercargill where we will stay for the next two nights. Tonight we’ll enjoy a group dinner at our hotel.
Accommodation: Kelvin Hotel, Invercargill – 2 nights
Day 3 – Saturday 21 September 2019 Invercargill (B)
Today we will enjoy some of the sights of Invercargill. Our first stop is Bill Richardson Transport World. This is the largest private collection of its type in the world. Housed in over 15,000sqm of exquisite ‘sheds’ are over 300 vehicles including retro Kombi’s, Henry Ford Letter Cars, Model T’s, stunning 1930’s V8’s and over 200 vintage petrol pumps. There is an onsite café for you to purchase your lunch. This afternoon, you will have time to explore the Queens Gardens, a beautiful park in the centre of the city sprawling across 80 hectares of beautifully kept gardens. Highlights include a beautiful and varied rose garden, a rhododendron dell, an azalea garden, Japanese garden, dramatic tree lined walkways, bush paths through a selection of native plants and rock and herb gardens. For those who are interested, there will be time to visit Motorcycle Mecca (at own cost), which displays solo, sidecar and even three wheeled automobiles and machinery from 1902 onwards. The remainder of the day is at your leisure. For dinner tonight, you have the option to dine at one of the local restaurants.
Day 4 – Sunday 22 September 2019 Invercargill to Stewart Island (BD)
This morning we travel to Bluff where we board the catamaran to Stewart Island. Upon arriving we will be met by a representative from our motel and taken to our accommodation. We then return to Oban Village and visit the DOC headquarters to view the information available on the area. After lunch we enjoy the Village and Bays Tour. During this highlights tour our friendly guides will provide an insight into Stewart Island’s community, history and environment. Unspoiled, incredibly beautiful and steeped in stories of Maori legend, Stewart Island is well worth this informative introduction. There is plenty of time to get off the bus for photo stops and short walks along the way. Highlights include the Rakiura National Park entrance at Lee Bay, Halfmoon and Horseshoe Bays and views of Paterson Inlet from Observation Rock. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Tonight we’ll enjoy a group dinner at the South Seas Hotel.
Accommodation: Bay Motel, Stewart Island – 2 nights
Day 5 – Monday 23 September 2019 Stewart Island (BD)
This morning we visit Ulva Island – a renowned wildlife sanctuary where many rare and endangered native species of birdlife and plants flourish in a predator free protected environment. During the easy 45 minute guided walk through native podocarp forest with a specialist nature guide you will be able to view diverse plant species and abundant bird life. The island is home to such wildlife as native Weka, Robins, rare Saddlebacks and Yellowheads among other species, even Kiwi are known to wander around in the area. This afternoon, we return to Oban, where the remainder of the day can be for relaxing or going for a walk around the island. Dinner tonight will be at the South Sea’s Hotel.
Day 6 – Tuesday 24 September 2019 Stewart Island to Queenstown (BD)
We board the early morning ferry back to Bluff where we reboard our coach. We will drive down to Stirling Point, the most southern mainland point in New Zealand, located at the beginning (and end) of State Highway 1. Stirling Point is famous for its signpost, depicting distances to major cities in the world. We then commence our travel to Queenstown via Winton, Lumsden and Arrowtown. Arrowtown is one of the most picturesque settlements in New Zealand, and sits alongside the gold-bearing Arrow River. The town was established in 1862, during the height of the Otago gold rush. On arrival in Queenstown, we’ll enjoy a sightseeing tour of the area before checking into our accommodation. This evening we will enjoy a cruise over Lake Wakatipu on the TSS Earnslaw and enjoy a scrumptious meal at the Colonel’s Homestead.
Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel Lakefront, Queenstown
Day 7 – Wednesday 25 September 2019 Queenstown to Home Cities (B)
This morning you will be transferred to the airport for your return flight to Auckland.