Heritage Tour of Otago

Tour Difficulty is ModerateTwin ShareSmall Group
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From $4,775 per person

Wednesday 15 May 2024 - Monday 20 May 2024 (6 Days)

We explore the richly historic and scenic Otago region, from its former gold rush towns to its alpine mountains and gorges, then across to the city streets, wild coasts, and heritage architecture of Dunedin. Highlights include a vintage steamer cruise on Lake Wakatipu, a 4WD tour to abandoned mining towns, lunches at a number of historic hotels, and a guided walking tour of Dunedin.

Day 1              Wednesday 15 May 2024

ARRIVE QUEENSTOWN                                                                      (D)

Our tour commences today with our flight from Auckland to Queenstown. On arrival in Queenstown, we will have a brief orientation tour before arriving at our accommodation. Tonight, we cruise across Lake Wakatipu on board the coal-fired vintage steamer TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak High Country Station for a delicious BBQ buffet dinner enjoyed at the Colonel’s Homestead. The TSS Earnslaw has been lovingly maintained since 1912 and is an iconic piece of Queenstown’s history. Take time to explore the vessel, view the engine room, and study the historic displays of the steamship’s former life.

Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Lakefront, Queenstown – 2 nights


Day 2              Thursday 16 May 2024  

QUEENSTOWN                                                                                   (BD)

This morning we embark on a thrilling half-day 4WD tour, which takes us to Macetown, a ghost-town from the gold rush era in the 1860’s. Now only accessible by off-road vehicle, there are 25 river crossings (each way) and the road winds from river level to high above the Arrow Gorge. See what remains of the settler’s houses as well as machinery and implements that were left behind when the town was abandoned. We follow the miners’ old wagon trail and explore the historic gold-mining town of Macetown. Long-since deserted after the gold rush, Macetown has now been transformed into a Department of Conservation reserve. Upon returning to Queenstown around midday, the remainder of the day is at your leisure to explore Queenstown. Dinner tonight will be in the hotel restaurant.


Day 3              Friday 17 May 2024  

QUEENSTOWN – ARROWTOWN – CROMWELL                               (BLD)

Departing from Queenstown this morning, we travel 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. Here we visit the Arrowtown Museum. The museum houses a fascinating collection of tools and artefacts used by the miners in the gold rush era, and one of the best presentations of pioneer relics held anywhere within the country. In the vault of what was an 1860’s bank are stored thousands of priceless exhibits: gold pans, shovels, maps, clothing, weaponry and even a gold nugget or two – a living, breathing peep into the past. From Arrowtown we journey to Cromwell, with a brief stop to view the Kawarau Suspension Bridge, a bridge over a canyon that in 1880 pushed design limits to the maximum; a century later it became the birthplace of bungy-jumping, pushing courage to the maximum. We stop in the mining settlement of Bannockburn to enjoy lunch at the Bannockburn Hotel. Bannockburn was a successful mining settlement that managed to avoid becoming a ghost town after most of the gold was gone. Buildings from the early times remain today, including a beautiful hotel, a post office, Stewart’s store and a number of family homes. Adjacent to the town is the Bannockburn Sluicings Historic Reserve, which is managed by the Department of Conservation. This reserve offers a chance to explore an intriguing landscape created from 1865 to 1910 by brave and determined fortune-seekers in their search for gold. Discover evidence of water races, dams, tunnels and shafts, as well as crumbling mud-brick and stone buildings in the old orchards at Stewart Town. From here we travel to our accommodation located on the shores of Lake Dunstan. We enjoy dinner tonight in the impressive hotel restaurant.

Accommodation:  Heritage Lake Resort, Cromwell


Day 4              Saturday 18 May 2024  

CROMWELL – CLYDE – DUNEDIN                                                     (BL)

Located on the shores of Lake Dunstan, Cromwell has the appearance of a modern town, but its history stretches back to the gold rush days of the 1800’s. This history is best experienced in ‘Old Cromwell Town’, a mix of original and reconstructed buildings from the old main street of the 1860’s gold-town of Cromwell. We take time to wander through this heritage area and have a walk along the lakeshore before travelling through to Clyde to view the Clyde Dam. From Clyde, we travel to St Bathans. This tiny town of about 10 permanent residents was once a place of incredible riches as the Otago Gold Rush swept through this region in the mid-late-1800’s. Once a thriving boomtown and home to around 2,000 miners, we see that some of the buildings remain standing today, and it’s easy to imagine how the town looked during the gold rush era. We’ll enjoy lunch at the iconic Vulcan Hotel built in 1882, a fine example of mud-brick construction. Across from the Vulcan is Blue Lake which was created by extensive mining activity. The surrounding rocks give the water an astonishing blue colour which is offset by surrounding columns of white quartz tailings. We continue on to Dunedin, passing through the small towns and settlements of Central Otago. Dinner is at your leisure tonight.

Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Southern Cross, Dunedin – 2 nights


Day 5              Sunday 19 May 2024  

DUNEDIN                                                                                            (BLD)

Dunedin was once New Zealand’s largest and wealthiest city, an important hub of commerce and trade. During those prosperous times, a great metropolitan centre of grand Victorian and Edwardian buildings was constructed, taking inspiration from the style, street names and layout of Edinburgh in Scotland. Most of those early buildings remain today and it’s said that Dunedin has the finest collection of Victorian and Edwardian buildings in the southern hemisphere. This morning we embark on a 2-hour guided walking tour of Dunedin City, viewing key sites and buildings including: The Octagon, St. Paul’s Cathedral, The Exchange, and Dunedin Railway Station, to name a few. Highlights also include street art and repurposed heritage buildings. Our guide will give us insights into the city’s heritage architecture. After our guided walk, we travel out towards Port Chalmers, and have lunch at Carey’s Bay Historical Hotel. The hotel dates back to 1874 and is one of the most popular pubs in Dunedin, located just outside Port Chalmers. There will also be time to explore the Port Chalmers township, Dunedin’s historic harbour village. There are an eclectic mix of galleries, vintage clothing, book, and collectables stores and other independent businesses, many housed in original historic buildings that give an insight into how the Otago harbourside once was. We also stop in at Flagstaff Lookout, located above the hum and beeping of the container terminal. Flagstaff Lookout offers panoramic views from Otago Peninsula’s Taiaroa Head, Aramoana at the harbour mouth, to the historic Scott Memorial high on the hill on the other side of town. We retrace our steps back to Dunedin in the late afternoon. Tonight, we’ll enjoy a farewell dinner in the hotel restaurant.


Day 6              Monday 20 May 2024  

DEPART DUNEDIN                                                                              (B)

Today, our tour concludes with our flight from Dunedin to Auckland.


Copthorne Hotel and Resort Lakefront, Queenstown

Exterior view of the Copthorne Resort Lakefront in Queenstown, New Zealand.The Hotel blends superior facilities and comfort with friendly personal service. The property offers a relaxing atmosphere combined with stunning panoramic lake and mountain views, situated within a tranquil garden setting. With 240 guest rooms, including six suites and over 80 rooms that have views of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkable mountain range. The hotel is within walking distance of Queenstown’s central shopping and entertainment area.



Heritage Lake Resort, Cromwell

Heritage Lake Resort, CromwellHeritage Lake Resort is located in the new Mount Pisa suburb set on the shores of Lake Dunstan, near to Cromwell in Central Otago. The hotel offers guests elegant, villa accommodation nestled amidst majestic mountains and the sparkling lake vistas of Pisa Moorings. The boatshed themed accommodation includes one and three bedroom villas with large overwater decks and access to the waterway, and studio rooms on the upper levels, with each Villa having its own private mooring too.



Scenic Hotel Southern Cross, Dunedin

Scenic Hotel Southern Cross, DunedinScenic Hotel Southern Cross is a landmark building that reflects Dunedin’s distinctive charm and heritage along with the modern-day comforts in which guests demand. The hotel is located in a prime position, with easy access to Dunedin’s best local attractions and city highlights. Scenic Hotel Southern Cross features 178 attractive rooms and suites, and extensive hotel facilities. The hotel prides itself on a very high standard of customer service to ensure travellers enjoy their stay.


Tour Inclusions

  • Door to door home collection & drop off service available from select areas – refer to further information available here
  • Auckland – Queenstown and Dunedin – Auckland flights with Air New Zealand – other ports on application/price on application
  • 5 nights’ accommodation – twin/double rooms, all with private facilities (single rooms are available with an additional surcharge)
  • Tour admissions are as shown on the itinerary
  • Touring in a modern air-conditioned vehicle
  • Breakfasts (B), Lunches (L), Dinners (D), as shown on the itinerary
  • Roadside Morning Teas – where practicable
  • TSS Earnslaw and Walter Peak BBQ Dinner
  • 4WD journey through Macetown
  • Admission to Lakes District Museum37520
  • Lunch at Historic Hotels including: Bannockburn Hotel, Vulcan Hotel, Careys Bay Historic Hotel
  • Guided walk around Dunedin City

Tour Payments Per Person ($NZD)

Guaranteed Twin/Double Share: $4,775.00
Single Supplement: $650.00
Travel Club Member Discount: $25.00
Non-refundable deposit due at time of booking: $200.00

Balance of tour payment due Tuesday 26 March 2024

Early Bird Offer

Book and pay in full by Tuesday 16 January 2024 and receive $150.00 discount per person!

Yes. Leisure Time Tours offers a free home collection and drop off service from selected Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua and most Auckland City areas. Our complimentary collections are based on your individual post code, other home collection locations available at an additional cost. Alternatively you may wish to meet us at our Hamilton depot in which case you can park your car in our secure yard free of charge for the duration of your holiday. For all tours that have a flight component, we can also offer door to door collections from Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin city areas.

Please refer to our Home Collection flyer for further information about this service.

Yes. Our Guaranteed Twin Share price is available for those passengers willing to share with another single traveller of the same gender. If there isn’t another passenger of the same gender to share with we GUARANTEE our twin share price. Leisure Times Tours accepts no responsibility for the compatibility of passengers travelling under this arrangement. If someone is not compatible with the person they have been matched up with, all additional costs incurred to assist with changing their shared room type to two single rooms will be at the expense of both travellers and will be subject to availability. Acceptance of a guaranteed twin share room is subject to the individual’s medical condition being suitable for this type of arrangement.

Please note that the guaranteed twin share pricing is not available to pre & post tour accommodation arrangements.

To ensure that you select the right tour for you, we’ve developed a very clear set of fitness recommendations for our tours. These physical ratings clearly explain how much physical exertion is required to participate on each tour. 

Level 1 – Easy

  • Relaxed paced tour
  • Be able to participate in guided or unguided small walking tours at a relaxed pace.
  • Walk on mostly level ground
  • Tackle an occasional flight of stairs
  • Occasionally need to stand for up to 10 minutes
  • Able to get on and off transportation unaided

Level 2 – Moderate

  • Be able to participate in walking tours with time to rest at least every 10 minutes
  • Stand for 15 minutes without needing to sit down
  • Tackle a flight of stairs or incline
  • Able to get on and off transportation unaided
  • Walk confidently on bush tracks

 Level 3 – Active

  • Participate in walking tours without having to rest for up to 20 minutes
  • Walk up an incline equal to a flight of stairs without stopping
  • Stand for 30 minutes without needing to sit down
  • Walk over uneven ground and walk through soft sand
  • Able to get on and off transportation unaided

Yes we can. Should you wish to arrive earlier or stay longer we can book in some pre and post tour accommodation for you. Please ask at the time of booking if you require this.

This tour will be guaranteed once the minimum number of passengers have been booked on the tour.

Passengers rotate seats in the coach daily so that all passengers have the opportunity to enjoy forward and window seating. All passengers are expected to participate as a booking condition.

Yes. A point of difference is that wherever possible we offer our passengers roadside refreshments served from the coach. This gives all passengers the chance to mix and mingle over a hot cuppa allowing us to share our experiences as we journey together.

Leisure Time Tours strongly advises all passengers to purchase a travel insurance policy. A comprehensive travel insurance policy may prevent you from spending extra money in case of an emergency and will help you feel protected during your holiday. We are agents for Cover More Travel Insurance. Ask us for a no obligation insurance quote today.

Luggage is restricted to one suitcase and one small item of hand luggage per person. Baggage handling of one suitcase per person, at each hotel, is included in the trip price. Carry-on/hand luggage handling is the responsibility of each guest and all personal items must be taken off the coach by you each day of the trip.

When on tour, dress is generally relaxed and casual with an informal dress standard on most occasions. Casual wear is recommended for travelling with something a little more formal for evening dining. If taking part in outdoor activities, make sure you have a waterproof coat, comfortable footwear and dress in layers to help you adjust to any sudden changes in climate. Be prepared for New Zealand’s powerful sun, even on cold windy days, bringing a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.

Booking Terms & Conditions

Terms & Conditions….
Valid from 01 October 2023

Acceptance of Terms and Conditions 

If you book a Packaged Tour with us and pay your deposit, you are deemed to have accepted these terms. If you book a Leisure Time Travel tour through an agent, the agent is deemed to have accepted these terms on your behalf.  We may ask you to sign a copy of these terms when you join your Packaged Tour to provide a record of your acceptance of these terms and you agree to sign these terms on our request. 


The itinerary for your Packaged Tour was correct at the time of printing but is subject to change without notice. This could come about due to road or weather conditions, or any changes imposed by other tour operators and carriers included in the itinerary. Such changes may occur prior to travel, or whilst on tour. You agree that we have no liability to you for changes to your itinerary. If a passenger amends their itinerary by starting or concluding the itinerary earlier or later, then it becomes their responsibility to arrange tour or flight connections as necessary.  


*Guaranteed Twin Share Prices 
Our Guaranteed Twin Share price is available for those passengers willing to share with another single traveller of the same gender. If there isn’t another passenger of the same gender to share with, we GUARANTEE our twin share price. Leisure Time Travel accepts no responsibility for the compatibility of passengers travelling under this arrangement. If someone is not compatible with the person they have been matched up with, all additional costs incurred to assist with changing their shared room type to two single rooms will be at the expense of both travellers and will be subject to availability. Acceptance of a guaranteed twin share room is subject to the individual’s medical condition being suitable for this type of accommodation arrangement. 
*NOT applicable to all tours, please refer to the individual tour brochure to confirm whether this arrangement is available. 


Travel Insurance 
Leisure Time Travel strongly advises all passengers to purchase a travel insurance policy when booking a tour. A comprehensive travel insurance policy gives peace of mind for unexpected issues or emergencies that may arise prior to or during a tour. We can assist with a no-obligation insurance quotation – ask us for a quote today, or you may opt to arrange your own travel insurance. 


Health and Fitness 
Passengers should be in good health and able to walk moderate distances to fully participate and experience the sightseeing opportunities within the enclosed itinerary. All passengers are required to acknowledge that they are of reasonable health and are considered to be fit to travel and are not travelling contrary to any medical advice. By acknowledging their health and fitness to participate, passengers are indemnifying us from all actions, claims and demands arising out of any lack of health and fitness. We reserve the right to remove a passenger from a tour if their health or fitness interferes with any other passenger’s experiences or the day to day running of the tour. In this instance our normal cancellation terms and conditions will apply. You agree that we have no liability to you for any loss, damage, costs or other effects of health problems you may encounter on your Packaged Tour. 


Travellers Who Require Assistance  

It is a requirement of joining your Packaged Tour that you disclose to us at time of booking, any disability requiring special attentionThis includes physical disability, difficulty walking, hearing or eyesight impairment, or any neurological disordersShould your health circumstances change between time of booking and travel date, we require you to disclose if you now have any disability requiring special attention.    While every effort is made to accommodate such difficulties, we are not responsible in the event we are unable to do so, and are not responsible for any denial of services by third party operators including airlines, accommodation providers and tour operatorsOur concern must always be for the enjoyment and welfare of the group as a whole, and we regret that we cannot provide individual assistance to participants for walking, getting on and off motor coaches or vessels, or other personal needs. A physically and mentally able companion must accompany travellers who need such assistance. 


Seat Changes 
Passengers rotate seats in the coach daily so that all passengers have the opportunity to enjoy forward and window seating. All passengers are expected to participate as a booking condition. 


Luggage is restricted to one item of ‘checked in’ luggage and one smaller item of ‘underseat’ or hand luggage per person. Due to limited storage capacity in the motorcoaches used on tour, each ‘check in’ luggage item should have dimensions not exceeding 30” x 20” x 12” (76x51x30cm) and weight not exceeding 50lbs (23kg).  

Underseat’ or hand luggage is restricted to one piece per person, not exceeding 17” x 13” x 8.7” (43x33x22cm). ‘Underseat’ or hand luggage handling is the responsibility of each guest and must be taken on and off the motorcoach by you each day of the trip. Although every effort is made to handle guests’ luggage carefully, we cannot be responsible, assume liability or accept claims for loss or damage to luggage and personal effects due to breakage, theft, or fair wear and tear through hotel, airline and group carrier handling. Therefore, it is important for protection that passengers make certain they have adequate travel insurance to cover these eventualities.  


Car Parking at Leisure Time Tours Yard 

The car parking facility (“Facility”) offered for passengers is provided for the convenience of our patrons only. The use of this Facility is entirely at the risk of the vehicle owner. Leisure Time Tours Ltd(“Company”) shall not be responsible for any loss, theft, damage, or vandalism to vehicles or their contents while parked in the Facility.The Company disclaims all liability for any accidents, injuries, or damages that may occur within the Facility, including, but not limited to, collisions between vehicles, slips, falls, or any other accidents.All vehicles parked in the Facility must be properly insured. Vehicle owners are responsible for ensuring that their insurance covers any damage or loss that may occur while their vehicle is in the Facility.By using the Facility, the vehicle owner or operator agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Company, its employees, agents, and affiliates from any claims, liabilities, losses, costs, or expenses arising out of or in connection with the use of the Facility.The Company reserves the right to refuse entry to or eject any vehicle or individual from the Facility at its discretion.The Company does not guarantee the security or surveillance of the Facility, and patrons are encouraged to take appropriate precautions to safeguard their vehicles and possessions.The terms and conditions of this disclaimer are subject to change without notice.  

Price Amendments 
Prices were correct at the time and date of printing; however, Leisure Time Travel reserves the right to amend the price subject to any changes in price imposed by other tour operators and carriers included in the itinerary or major fluctuation in the exchange rates, or increases in government or other levies. The final tour cost will be guaranteed not to change once the full and final payment has been received.  



Tour price excludes airport departure taxes, drinks, telephone calls, gratuities, any passport or visa costs, travel insurance, items of a personal nature, optional sightseeing activities, and costs for variations made outside the group travel arrangements.  


Payments, Cancellations and Refunds 
A non-refundable deposit is required when booking to confirm your place on a tour.   Registrations will be accepted in order of receipt of deposits. 

All balance payments must be received by Leisure Time Travel prior to the date specified as per itinerary or your booking confirmation. Payments are available to be made by Cash, Direct Credit or EFTPOS – Credit Card payments will incur an additional surcharge. Leisure Time Travel reserves the right to amend, reschedule or cancel the tour due the result of circumstances outside the company’s control. Leisure Time Travel also reserves the right to cancel the tour due to insufficient numbers and in this instance a substitute date will be offered, or a full refund will be made available.  


New Zealand Domestic Cancellation Policy 
Note – These cancellation terms are for standard domestic tours which excludes overnight boat stays 
If you cancel your booking: 
· 50+ days prior to tour commencement, loss of the non-refundable deposit 
· 30 to 49 days prior to tour commencement; your cancellation charge is 50% of the full Package Tour price (50% refund); plus, any applicable supplier cancellation fees 
· 30 days prior to tour commencement your cancellation charge will be 100% of the full Package Tour price (no refund) 
No refunds will be given on any unused portions of any itinerary. The exception is when a sightseeing service has been cancelled by the service operator due to weather conditions/safety concerns etc. and only when the operator authorises a refund. Any such refunds will be processed through your travel agent at the conclusion of the tour. 

Please Note: Any applicable airline content does not apply to the above refunds – Please refer to your airline for their specific cancellation/refund policies. 


Our Responsibilities 
We are responsible for booking and packaging goods and services provided by other operators such as hotels, attractions, and transportation companies to create your Packaged Tour. We recommend that you familiarise yourself with the terms that will apply to those goods and services. We are not responsible and have no liability to you for the terms of other operators or for any loss, damage, omission or acts, negligent or otherwise, committed by those other operators. 


Your Responsibilities 
You agree to behave reasonably throughout your Packaged Tour and not to be a nuisance to other passengers. You agree to comply with these terms and the terms that apply to any goods or services supplied to you by other operators. You also agree to comply with our reasonable requests and the requests of other operators. You indemnify us for any liability, costs, damages or other expenses we suffer or incur as a direct or indirect consequence of your behaviour while part of your Packaged Tour. 


Removal from Tour 
For the wellbeing of all passengers on your Packaged Tour, we reserve the right to remove you from your Packaged Tour and cancel your booking with us if you breach any of your obligations under these terms provided that, except in the case of a serious breach (as determined by us) we will give you notice of the breach and a reasonable opportunity (which will be no more than two days) to remedy the breach before exercising our cancellation right. In the case of a serious breach, we can exclude you from your Packaged Tour and cancel your booking by immediate verbal or written notice to you. In the event of such cancellation, you will be responsible, at your cost, for arranging any accommodation, travel costs and other matters required as a direct or indirect consequence of the cancellation.  


Force Majeure 
You agree that we have no liability to you and will not pay any compensation to you where the performance of our contractual obligations is prevented or affected by circumstances amounting to “force majeure”. In these terms, ‘force majeure’ means any event that has an impact on your Packaged Tour which we or the other operator (where relevant) could not, even with all due care, foresee or avoid. Such events may include war or threat of war, riots, civil strife, terrorist activity, industrial dispute, natural or nuclear disaster, pilferage, epidemics, pandemics, forced quarantine, medical or customs regulations, riot, fire, storm, flood, explosion, compliance with any law or government restraint order, rule regulation, strikes, lock outs, or any other cause not reasonably within the control of our control. We reserve the right to cancel, amend or reschedule your Packaged Tour during or following any force majeure and if we do so you agree that we will have no liability to you for any direct or indirect consequences of the cancellation, amendment or rescheduling. 


Privacy Act Waiver 

Travellers joining our tours automatically give consent for us to pass essential personal information to our suppliers on the tour as necessary.   This information may include full name; address; passport number; travel details; contact details; dietary requirements and health information.  


Limitation of Liability 
The Consumer Guarantees Act 1993, the Fair Trading Act 1986, and other statutes in New Zealand may impose warranties, conditions or obligations upon us which cannot by law (or which can only to a limited extent by law) be excluded. We exclude all such imposed warranties, conditions or obligations to the extent permitted by law and exclude any warranty, condition or obligation imposed or implied under common law, equity or otherwise. Except to the extent that the law prevents us from excluding liability and as expressly provided for in these terms, we shall not be liable for any loss or damage or liability of any kind whatsoever (including consequential loss or lost profit or business) whether suffered or incurred by you or another person and whether in contract, or tort (including in negligence), or otherwise and whether such loss or damage arises directly or indirectly from Work or Goods provided by us to you. To the extent that we are liable for any reason for any loss suffered or liability incurred by you arising from any breach of these terms or for any other reason, such liability is limited to the price of your Packaged Tour.