Wild West Coast
From $3230.00 per person
Journey with us to the West Coast, or ‘the Coast’ as locals call it. The Coast offers some of New Zealand’s most ruggedly beautiful scenery. Only 70km at its widest point but 600km long, it is a wild place of rivers, rainforests, glaciers and hidden gems. Experience the wild west of New Zealand, an adventure to remember!
Monday 18 November – Monday 25 November 2019 (8 Days)
Day 1 Monday 18 November 2019 HOME CITIES TO CHRISTCHURCH (D)
Today we fly from Auckland (other airports by arrangement) to Christchurch, where we will meet our driver for the tour. On arrival in Christchurch, we’ll enjoy a sightseeing tour of the ‘Garden City’. Highlights of the tour include the River Avon, the Canterbury Museum; Bridge of Remembrance; and the Botanical Gardens. Learn about the effects of the 2011 Christchurch Earthquakes and how the city is rebuilding. After the tour, we are transferred to our accommodation for the evening. Tonight we’ll enjoy a group dinner at the hotel.
Accommodation: Quality Elms Hotel, Christchurch
Day 2 Tuesday 19 November 2019 CHRISTCHURCH TO WESTPORT (BD)
Departing Christchurch this morning, you have the opportunity (at own 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 the train passengers have crossed into the Southern Alps they are met at the Village of Arthur’s Pass by the coach 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 breath-taking coast. Five of our national parks are here, and South West New Zealand has been declared a World Heritage Area. Our next stop will be Shanty Town. With two village streets filled with shops and buildings to explore, you’ll find fascinating stories of life in the early years of colonisation both on the West Coast and New Zealand. All tickets to Shantytown include a ride on a vintage steam train. You will take a short trip through lush native rain forest along the Infants Creek Tram line which follows an original sawmill tram track of the 1800’s. The 1.5 km track travels to a photo opportunity at the end of the line, where you will find information about saw-milling in the area and maybe see a few weka – a native NZ flightless bird. There will be time available here to purchase your lunch (own cost). Departing Shantytown we continue north travelling along the coast road through to Westport, where we stay for the next two nights.
Accommodation: Westport Motor Inn, Westport – 2 nights
Day 3 Wednesday 20 November 2019 WESTPORT (BLD)
This morning we travel to Charleston to board the Nile River Rainforest Train recreated a bygone era where bush trams once prevailed. The train provides visitors with a fantastic way to experience the spectacular landscapes of the Nile River Canyon in the South Island’s Paparoa National Park. Enjoy the landscape and interpret the environment as the train meanders its way through the rainforest beside the Nile River. Pass through many of the film sites for the BBC’s “The Lost World” production and imagine the pioneers at work in the canyon. Arrive at “Softrock Station”, nestled beneath the towering limestone buffs. Take a short walk from the station through the rainforest to the Nile River Suspension Bridge or a longer walk to the Nile River Caves entrance, before the return journey to the festival station at Charleston. We then depart Charleston and travel north to Karamea and have lunch at the Karamea Hotel. We also visit Kohaihai the “start or finish” of the Heaphy Track. Time here allows for a brief bushwalk across the swing bridge into a sub tropical forest. We then return to our accommodation in Westport.
Day 4 Thursday 21 November 2019 WESTPORT TO HOKITIKA (B)
This morning we depart Westport and return via the coast road to Punakaiki where you will have time to visit the Pancake Rocks. These sedimentary rocks have been hammered by the sea, and wind erosion forming layered rocks giving a look of a large stack of pancakes. There is a 20 minute loop walk here for those wishing to view these fascinating rocks. Continuing our journey we head back to Greymouth where you will have time to stretch your legs before we travel south to Hokitika. On arrival, there is time to purchase lunch at one of the local cafes (own cost). After lunch we travel to the Hokitika Gorge to admire its unbelievably turquoise waters, enjoying views of farmland, rivers and the mountains along the way. Before arriving at our accommodation we will make one more stop at the Treetops Walk – a leisurely 45 minute to one hour stroll through the beautiful West Coast rainforest tree tops viewing the exquisite Lake Mahinapua through the richly diverse forest foliage. We then arrive at our accommodation in Hokitika. Our accommodation is conveniently located within the heart of Hokitika so tonight we suggest you take the opportunity to go out and meet some of the locals within the many cafes, restaurants and bars. We highly recommend the Whitebait Fritters which you should be able to find on most menus in town!
Accommodation: Beachfront (Ocean view Rooms), Hokitika
Day 5 Friday 22 November 2019 HOKITIKA TO HAAST (BD)
Departing Hokitika we travel through Ross where in 1909 two miners reworking the bank of Jones Creek, unearthed a fist-sized nugget weighing about 3.1kg. This was a celebrated find, and the nugget was christened ‘the Honourable Roddy Nugget’, after the Minister of Mines Roderick McKenzie. We then continue on to Whataroa to visit the Waitangiroto heron colony. We will view the magnificent Kotuku (White Heron), the Kotuku Ngutu Papa (Royal Spoonbill), the Kawapaka (Little Shag) and other bird life – all in their natural environment. This is a unique experience to New Zealand’s only Kotuku (White Heron) nesting site. After this wonderful experience we continue on to our accommodation at Haast – gateway to the Haast World Heritage Park.
Accommodation: Heartland Haast Hotel, Haast
Day 6 Saturday 23 November 2019 HAAST TO QUEENSTOWN (BD)
Departing Haast this morning, we head in-land over the Haast Pass, the lowest of the South Island mountain passes crossing the Southern Alps. Once over the Pass the scenery changes dramatically as the road descends past the waters of Lakes Wanaka and Hawea and into Central Otago. On arrival in Wanaka, there will be time available for you to purchase some lunch, and explore the resort town. Departing Wanaka we travel to Cromwell then on to visit the site of New Zealand’s first commercial Bungy Jump platform at Kawarau Gorge. There will be time to watch the jumpers and even partake in a jump! Our next stop is to historic Arrowtown – a quaint town away from the hustle and bustle of Queenstown with plenty of shops and historic remains from the Gold Rush days. We then travel to Queenstown where we stay for the next two nights. Tonight we’ll enjoy a group dinner at the hotel.
Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel , Queenstown – 2 nights
Day 7 Sunday 24 November 2019 QUEENSTOWN (B)
Today is at leisure. Visit the Remarkables or Coronet Peak. Experience the thrill of a jet-boat ride along the Shotover or Kawarau Rivers. Perhaps a scenic 4 wheel drive excursion through Skippers Canyon, or a tour to Glenorchy to visit Lord of the Rings movie sites, or maybe just browse in the many shops and galleries – it’s up to you. Tonight is free for you to explore the local restaurants, cafes and bars, or perhaps you’d like to take a cruise across Lake Wakatipu on the steamer ‘TSS Earnslaw’ to Walter Peak Station to dine at the Colonel’s Homestead. Ask the office for pricing and assistance with booking any of these trips.
Day 8 Monday 25 November 2019 QUEENSTOWN – HOME CITIES (B)
After enjoying your breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for you journey home.