Ultimate South Island (15 Days)

Day 01 – Arrive Wellington

Welcome to New Zealand! A Tours representative will greet you at the airport with transport to take you to your hotel.

Overnight accommodation: 1 Night – Bay Plaza Hotel

Day 02 – Wellington / Blenheim / Nelson

This morning join the Interislander Ferry in Wellington for the scenic cruise across the Cook Strait via the spectacular Marlborough Sounds and in to Picton. After being welcomed by your Coach Captain, you will take a short drive to Blenheim where you will visit Brancott Estate for a tasting and winery tour. From this renowned wine region it’s a fascinating drive to Nelson noted for its arts and crafts. (B,D)

Overnight accommodation: 2 Nights – Leisure Lodge

Day 03 – Nelson or Abel Tasman National Park

Today is at your leisure; if you have pre-selected the Abel Tasman day tour your Coach Captain will provide you with instructions for your day excursion. If you prefer to relax, why not take the time to explore the shops and art galleries which make Nelson famous. If you would like to explore a little more your Coach Captain will happily assist with arranging activities for you. (B,D)

Overnight accommodation: Leisure Lodge

Day 04 – Nelson / Greymouth

Travelling through the rugged Buller Gorge, a spectacular scenic drive, we visit Westport and the coast near Cape Foulwind. A moment to explore the Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki before arriving at Greymouth. Visit Jade Boulder Gallery showcasing native jade, mined in remote alpine valleys. See craftsmen cut and polish giant boulders to create fine jewellery. (B,D)

Overnight accommodation: 1 Night – Hotel Ashley – Greymouth

Day 05 – Greymouth / Franz Josef

Departing Greymouth you hug the coastline of the West Coast, first stop Hokitika to explore a Pounamu (Jade) gallery. Pounamu is considered a treasure in Maori culture and was often given as gifts to seal important agreements. See how they now create beautiful jewellery out of this amazing green stone. Continuing south, you will be mesmerised as you come closer to the Southern Alps where they dominate the horizon, highlighting your journey to Franz Josef. (B,D)

Overnight accommodation: 1 Night – Scenic Hotel Franz Josef

Day 06 – Franz Josef / Wanaka

Today we leave the West Coast and head inland towards the Aspiring National Park. On arrival into Wanaka you will have a choice of activities between a launch cruise that will take you across the lake to Stevensons Island, a nature reserve, then an informative bush walk with refreshments. Alternatively if adrenalin is what you are after, then experience an exhilarating jet boat ride along the Clutha River. (B,D)

Overnight accommodation: 1 Night – Grand Mercure Oakridge Resort

Day 07 – Wanaka / Queenstown

This morning we depart Wanaka, a picturesque region with fascinating history of early settlement and goldmining. We arrive late morning into the ever-popular resort of Queenstown. Dinner tonight is at the spectacular Skyline Restaurant (entire group). (B,D)

Overnight accommodation: 3 Nights – Rydges Hotel

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    Day 08 & 09 – Queenstown

    The next two days are at your leisure whilst in the adventure capital. You can either sit back and relax or your Coach Captain is available to assist with any optional activities you would like to do. We highly recommend you experience the Central Otago wines, you can do this as a half or full day tour. Another great way to see Queenstown is from Lake Wakatipu on the TSS Earnslaw Steamship, otherwise known as the ‘Lady of the lake’. (B,D -Dinner on Day 8 is not included allowing the opportunity to dine at a restaurant of your choice.)

    Don’t miss the ‘Lady of the Lake’, the TSS Earnslaw
    Launched in 1912, the TSS Earnslaw is the grandest vessel ever to ply Lake Wakatipu, and one of the oldest tourist attractions
    in Central Otago. This iconic vintage steamship turns a 100 years old on the 18th October, 2012.

    It is believed to be the only coal-fired passenger-carrying vessel still operating in the southern hemisphere. Known as the ‘Lady of the Lake’ – The TSS Earnslaw was named after Mt Earnslaw, located at the head of Lake Wakatipu. The TSS Earnslaw makes several trips daily across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak High Country Farm on the western shores.

    A cruise on this heritage vessel is the perfect way to experience Queenstown’s magnificent alpine scenery, topped off with a country style lunch or dinner at the Colonel’s Homestead.

    Overnight accommodation: Rydges Hotel

    Day 10 – Queenstown / Milford Sound15-days-ultimate

    Travelling along the shores of Lake Wakatipu we head towards Fiordland. Follow the Eglinton Valley past native forests, lakes, waterfalls and towering mountains, continue through The Divide and travel into the Hollyford Valley and Homer Tunnel to reach Milford Sound. Here you board the Milford Mariner overnight cruise – an undoubted highlight.

    Tonight’s experience will have you departing from Milford Sound Wharf late afternoon and cruising the full length of the Sound until you reach the Tasman Sea. Accompanied by a specialist nature guide, you will learn about the regions spectacular flora and fauna. Then your vessel will locate a sheltered cover and anchor for the night where you can then join the nature guide and explore in the vessel’s tender craft and kayaks. Or, sit back and relax on deck. (B,D)

    Overnight accommodation: 1 Night – Milford Mariner Cruise

    Day 11 – Milford Sound / Dunedin

    Wake to the sounds of silence in a pristine world with a glimpse every so often of a passing seal or penguin. You return to shore to follow the rugged and remote mountains changing to lush green countryside as you approach Dunedin, the ‘Edinburgh of the South.’ Tonight prior to dinner you will be treated to a traditional Scottish Haggis Ceremony. (B,D)

    Overnight accommodation: 2 Nights – Scenic Circle Dunedin City Hotel

    Day 12 – Dunedin

    Today is at your leisure, choose to explore the Scottish Capital of Dunedin with many of the optional activities available to you or sit back and relax. If you decide to explore the city in your own time then make sure you check out the Chinese Gardens. If there are any activities that you would like to do today your Coach Captain is available to assist. (B,D)

    Did you know?
    Dunedin has a strong Scottish background and was formerly called New Edinburgh. The city’s name was later changed to Edinburgh’s old Celtic name, Dunedin (‘Dun Edin’, meaning Edin on the Hill).

    Overnight accommodation: Scenic Circle Dunedin City Hotel

    Day 13 – Dunedin / Mt Cook

    This morning visit Olveston House, Dunedin’s majestic historic home that provides a intimate glimpse into the lifestyle of a privileged family in the 1900’s. Departing north, stop to view the unusual Moeraki Boulders then explore the small town of Oamaru. Follow the Waitaki Valley passing the hydro lakes until you reach Mt Cook National Park and village, amidst New Zealand’s highest mountains. It is here that you will learn about one of New Zealand’s explorers and great ambassadors, Sir Edmund Hillary. If you have time we recommend that you visit the Alpine centre to learn about the vast history of the region and discover how Sir Edmund Hillary used Mt Cook as part of his training to help him be one of the first reported to conquer Mt Everest. (B,D)

    Overnight accommodation: 1 Night – Hermitage Hotel

    Day 14 – Mt Cook / Christchurch

    This morning visit the Tasman Glacier where you will be amazed by the floating icebergs. Visit Lake Tekapo and the Church of the Good Shepherd and Collie Dog memorial. Continue to Burkes Pass to the Canterbury Plains and Christchurch for a brief city and surrounds tour. (B,D)

    Overnight accommodation: 1 Night – Ashley Hotel – Christchurch

    Day 15 – Christchurch / Home

    Today is goodbye to all your new found friends before you make your homeward journey. You will be transferred to Christchurch Airport to join your flight home. (B)

    Highlights of this trip

    bullet_point 14 nights accommodation in centrally located
    bullet_point Franz Josef Glacier
    bullet_point Dining inclusions – 14 Breakfasts, 12 Dinners bullet_point Cruise to Stevensons Island & Jet Boat Ride
    bullet_point City Highlights Tour in Christchurch bullet_point Brief tour of Wanaka
    bullet_point Te Papa Museum bullet_point Explore Lake Wakatipu
    bullet_point Interislander Ferry Crossing bullet_point Skyline Skyride & Dinner, Queenstown
    bullet_point Spectacular Marlborough Sounds bullet_point Milford Mariner Overnight Cruise
    bullet_point Brief tour of Blenheim bullet_point Scottish Haggis Ceremony
    bullet_point Brancott Estate Winery Tour & Tasting bullet_point Entry to Olveston House
    bullet_point Explore Punakaiki Pancake Rocks bullet_point Visit Moeraki boulders
    bullet_point Explore Greymouth bullet_point Tasman Glacier Experience
    bullet_point Visit to Greenstone (Jade) Gallery bullet_point Church of the Good Shepherd
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