Nelson & Farewell Spit
Farewell Spit is an area of outstanding natural beauty stretching 30 kilometres into the Tasman Sea. Designated as a bird sanctuary since the 1930s, Farewell Spit is a haven for over 90 birdlife species. Not accessible to the public, the only way to access this hidden gem is by a tour. On this six-day trip, we also enjoy some time in Nelson and the spectacular Abel Tasman National Park, before travelling to the garden city of Christchurch via the alpine village of Hanmer Springs.
Monday 14 December – Saturday 19 December 2020 (6 Days)
Day 1 Monday 14 December 2020 | AUCKLAND – NELSON (D)
This morning we fly from Auckland to Nelson, where on arrival you will be greeted by your driver who will be looking after you for your tour of Nelson. Farewell Spit and onwards to Christchurch. Welcome to Nelson – New Zealand’s largest fishing port and one of the country’s sunniest cities. The city is located on the shores of Port Nelson and is home to a fascinating community of beach, bush and art lovers. With art in mind, no visit to Nelson is complete without a visit to the World of Wearable Arts and Classic Car Museum. Here you will experience 60 World of Wearable Art garments in the gallery, many of which are award-winning creations. For those more interested in cars also located here is a world-class collection of classic cars which can be viewed alongside the wearable works of art from all over the globe. Later this afternoon you are transferred to this evening’s accommodation. Tonight we will enjoy a group dinner at the hotel.
Accommodation: The Hotel Nelson
Day 2 Tuesday 15 December 2020 | NELSON -ABEL TASMAN NATIONAL PARK _ TAKAKA (BD)
This morning we visit Nelson’s iconic Eyebright Country Store. Stockists of artificial trees, silk flowers, fashion jewellery, high-quality Manuka honey & other New Zealand made product. We continue our journey to the nearby picturesque Kaiteriteri Abel Tasman National Park where you will enjoy an afternoon cruise. On show here, you will see stunning granite and marble formations, golden sandy beaches and crystal clear streams that join the ocean. We re-board our coach to visit the Pupu Springs and onto Takaka where we will stay for the next two nights. Tonight we will enjoy a group dinner at a local restaurant in Takaka. Accommodation: Mohua Motel, Takaka – 2 nights
Day 3 Wednesday 16 December 2020 | TAKAKA – FAREWELL SPIT – TAKAKA (BLD)
Today we travel north to Collingwood to board a 4 Wheel Drive Vehicle for the Farewell Spit Eco Tour. Cape Farewell is the northernmost point of the South Island and the cliff-top views are spectacular. These dramatic coastal cliffs are sliced through with fault-lines (vertically walled slashes) where streams strangely run inland rather than to sea. Fossil Point, at the base of the Spit, a popular hauling out place for NZ fur seals. Fossilised shells and wormcasts emerge from blocks of mudstone at the base of the cliffs and sea life abounds in rock pools nearby. Thirty kilometres along the ocean beach we stop at the Lighthouse reserve, where we pause for 45 minutes to check out the lighthouse and pouwhenua, and discover the connection between the local Iwi and Onetahua (Farewell Spit). There we also enjoy refreshments in our lighthouse keepers’ cottage and soak up some local history. Returning from the lighthouse, we climb a sand dune at Mullet Channel for panoramic views of the ocean beach. It’s a spectacular sight, gazing over the dunes along the centre of the spit and out to the inter-tidal plain where the migrant waders from the arctic circle feed during our NZ spring, summer and autumn. The wind-blown sand creates beautiful designs along the dunes, their colours changing as the sun rises or sets, depending on the time of day. Our guide is passionate about the history, ecology and wildlife of the Spit and is committed to ensuring you get the most from your trip. Hear the history of Puponga and New Zealand’s first Radar Station. See where Whales strand and uncover the mystery of the migrant waders. At the Farewell Spit Lighthouse, there is time to explore around the historic buildings and enjoy the refreshments provided in the century-old lighthouse keeper’s residence. Along the beach, you’ll see stunning views of the Tasman Sea coastline and the opportunity to climb the sand dune at Mullet Channel for panoramic views of the intertidal plain and a stop at Fossil Point. After the Farewell Spit tour, we enjoy a delicious dinner at the Collingwood Tavern, before travelling back to Takaka for the night.
Day 4 Thursday 17 December 2020 | TAKAKA – HANMER SPRINGS (BD)
Departing Takaka this morning travelling via the Upper Moutere Highway through Tapawera to Kawatiri Junction to view the Interpretation Panels on “The Nelson Rail Network”. We travel onwards to Murchison for lunch then visit the Maruia Falls before continuing on our way on the Lewis Pass Road to Hanmer. Hanmer Springs is New Zealand’s premier alpine and spa destination set amongst alpine vistas. An opportunity here to have a swim in this wonderful thermal complex, (own cost) or a visit to the local information centre. Dinner tonight will be in the hotel.
Accommodation: Heritage Hotel, Hanmer Springs
Day 5 Friday 18 December 2020 | HANMER SPRINGS – CHRISTCHURCH (BD)
This morning, we make our way down to Christchurch, where on arrival we will have a sightseeing tour, including a ride on the famous Christchurch Tram. We also visit the local botanic gardens, before arriving at our last night’s accommodation for a farewell dinner together at our hotel.
Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Cotswold, Christchurch
Day 6 Saturday 19 December 2020| DEPART CHRISTCHURCH (B)
This morning after breakfast at our hotel we are transferred to the Christchurch Airport to meet our domestic flight back to Auckland (other ports on application).