12 Day Wild and Scenic Explorer- SOUTH ISLAND EXPERIENCE
This is the tour for travellers who may not have the time or budget to indulge in a full 18 day experience but want to taste the South Island of New Zealand.
The South Island is a mixture of rugged coastlines, wild natural bush and down to earth locals. Here you will find some of the finest wines in New Zealand, travel for miles without passing another vehicle and have the chance to enjoy some of New Zealand’s renowned adventure activities.
We will show you the best New Zealand has to offer and will ensure your needs are met at every step along the way. These tours are specially tailored for travellers facing challenges, seniors and travellers who may need a helping hand along the way or may not have confidence in travelling but is in no way limited to this. Let us show you all we have to offer as we invite you to experience our beautiful country.
Arrive Wellington – Depart Christchurch
22nd January 2016- 2nd February 2016
28th March 2016 – 8th April 2016
Day 1 & 2 – Wellington
Welcome to New Zealand! Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. Wellington is known as New Zealand’s art city and has a name of being a little alternative. Its nickname is “Windy Wellington” and it generally never fails to live up to its reputation. Wellington is draped around bushy hillsides encircling a magnificent harbor with super lookouts on hilltops, golden sands on the promenade and spectacular craggy shores on the south coast.
We will arrange your airport transfers to your hotel. Depending on your arrival time, once you’re checked in to your accommodation and settled in, you can decide what you want to do. If you just want to relax and catch up on some sleep if you have travelled a long way, then please do. Today is an easy day for you to settle in.
On your next day in Wellington you will have a 9am Start. Today we will do a bit of a “Tiki tour” (Little tour) around Wellington city past The Beehive (NZ Parliament building- It’s shaped like a beehive). The tour will continue round the coast to Mount Victoria which generally allows you to experience why Wellington has such a reputation. Hold on to the rails so you don’t get blown away and take time to enjoy the views right across the city. We will visit Zelandia if time and weather permit: 80 million years of natural history in a fascinating Exhibition and 225ha of remarkable nature in a beautiful sanctuary valley. This is the world’s first fully-fenced urban ecosanctuary – a conservation success and safe haven for some of New Zealand’s rarest native animals. Remarkable species of birds, reptiles, insects and more are living wild within a beautiful 225ha (one square mile) valley.
Day 3 – Wellington/Picton
Before we leave Wellington we will visit Te Papa, New Zealand’s best museum. We will catch the ferry to Picton at 3pm. This ferry crossing takes around 3 hours of actual sailing which depending on the weather can be a really beautiful crossing from the North Island to theSouth Island. Other times, if the weather is not so good, the crossing can become quite “adventurous” shall we say. Look out for dolphins which are known for enjoying the ferries wake.
Once off the ferry, we will get you checked in and then head down to the local pub/restaurant on the waterfront to enjoy a relaxing casual meal.
Day 4- Kaikoura
10am start. Today we are heading into Marlborough. This is an area where some of New Zealand’s top wines are produced. There are approximately 40 wineries in such a small space so we really are spoiled for choice. We will also take you to a chocolate factory where they will tempt you with their delicious taste tester treats.
Driving through the Malbourough Sounds and you will get a small taste here of some of the extraordinary scenery that you will be faced over the course of the south Island.
We will travel down to Kaikoura which is about an hour and a half drive where a bed for you to rest your head awaits. We will stop for lunch along the way.
Kaikora… the rugged coast of Kaikoura. This is a wild coastline. You will get up close and personal with the wild fur seals which line these coasts. Kaikoura has some extreme scenery, spring time is fantastic when you can stand on the rocky coastline with the sun shining and looking out over the rough ocean and see snow topped mountains meeting the ocean. We will spend the day here in Kaikoura. Kaikoura is renowned for its whales and marine life and you have the opportunity to whale watch for those who are interested. Either from the air or from the sea, www.whalewatch.co.nz (sea) www.whales.co.nz (air) we must book ahead so we will make arrangements for these activities. (Both are reliant on the weather and neither is included in the tour cost).
These activities are wheelchair accessible to varying levels, but with a little pushing and depending on ability levels we have always managed ok, and the experience is fantastic. You will need to be able to transfer from your chair to another if you are a wheelchair user. This is something that can change your life. Being so close to these amazing mammals, you cannot imagine how big they are till you see them up close and personal. You will feel uplifted and renewed, I guarantee it.
Day 5 & 6- Hokitika
This morning we will be on the road towards the West Coast of New Zealand. Today’s drive is approximately 4 and half hours not including stops. The West Coast is known as New Zealand’s wildest and diverse regions of New Zealand. With the highest level of rainfall in New Zealand and the lowest population it has an abundance of lush bush and wildlife.
We will then start to make our way along the South Islands West Coast of New Zealand towards Hokitika. Hokitika, an attractive sleepy little town. A hundred or so years ago miners fought over gold, today there is still gold around but Hokitika is New Zealand’s leading Green Stone (Jade) centre.
You will enjoy your luxury beach front accommodation tonight. Most of our guests never want to leave. Dinner provided.
On the second day here we will pick you up and take you to breakfast before we enjoy a stunning “Tree Tops” walk. Here you will wander across bridges suspended high in the trees. An experience not to be missed.
We will then take a short drive up the west coast. You will be able to enjoy the famous Punekaiki Rocks which are limestone formations that began forming 30 million years ago. When conditions are right, heavy ocean swells thunder into the caverns beneath the rocks and huge water spouts blast skywards through the blowholes in a truly spectacular. Dinner provided one night.
Day 7 – Haast
Today we are continuing south into Haast. It is a short drive to Franz Josef where we will stop for lunch. Here we also have the opportunity of viewing Franz Josef Glacier, unfortunately, the track to the glacier face is definitely not for wheelchairs. If you have a few spare dollars you may be interested in a Glacier Helicopter flight.
On the way to Haast we will stop for some photos at the absolutely stunning Lake Matheson. taking in the views of New Zealand’s highest peak, Mt Cook, out across the Lake.
Day 8, 9 & 10 Queenstown
From Haast we will leave around 9am to make our way to Queenstown. We have three days here in Queenstown. Queenstown is one of the major spots in theSouth Islandas its activities are endless. For those who are keen to try something different, we will be Jet Boating or bungy jumping, this is where you step up and get involved. A high-speed jet boat will race recklessly down the cliff encompassed river, with all of us in tow! Wheel chair accessible so no excuses. You will not regret this one I promise you that! Bungy jumping is also highly recommended here. It’s where it all began and there can’t be a better location to throw yourself off a bridge.
For our first night here we will enjoy a ride up the gondolas and take our time with a delicious meal overlooking Queenstown. This is one of the best viewpoints so what better way to enjoy fresh NZ cuisine.
Your second day here you will have the opportunity to enjoy one of New Zealand’s most untouched areas and the epitome of natural beauty at the Milford Sounds. This is something that I would recommend everyone takes advantage. This is a long 12 hour day with a lot of driving but it is well worth the trip and there is plenty of stunning scenery to keep you entertained along the way.
On our last evening here we will cruise along through Lake Wakatipu overshadowed by the Remarkable Mountains on the iconic Steam Ship TSS Earnslaw steam ship followed by entertainment and a dining experience like no other on the Walter Peak high Country Farm
Dinner provided both nights.
Day 11 – Christchurch
Today we will be travelling to our final destination. We will be passing through the likes of Omarama and Arrowtown. Omarama is a beautiful farming area which has some dramatic scenery. There are lakes which are an ice blue colour set among the farming hills. Then Arrowtown is a very small town which is well known for its fruit. A lot of travellers come here and do a little time fruit picking here to earn a bit of money in order to continue their travels.
This is Central Otago at its best! This is where some of New Zealand’s best wine comes from.
We will also pass through Aoraki Village area. Mt Cook was the training ground for our most famous climber Sir Edmound Hillary. The spectacular 700 sq/km Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park, along with Firordland, Aspiring and Westland National Parks all make up the South West NZ World Heritage Area. Of the 27 NZ mountains over 3050m, 22 of them are found in this park. The highest is the might Mt Cook, at 3755m it is the tallest in Australasia. Known to Maori as Aoraki (Cloud Piercer), and named after Captain James Cook by Captain Stokes of the Survey ship HMS Acheron.
We will arrive in Christchurch in the late afternoon and get checked in, relax and get ready to say our goodbyes.
On 22 February 2011 the city of Christchurch was hit by a devastating 6.3 earthquake. These have continued to shake the city ever since. This had devastating effects to the city and to New Zealand as a whole. There was destruction to some of Christchurch’s major icons not to mention the lives lost and people who lost their homes and businesses.
New Zealand being the small community that it is has come together in support. The city is steadily being rebuilt and will soon be on its feet again to be once again the hub of the South Island.
We will take a tour in the afternoon through the city and around the peninsular to give you an appreciation of what it is and what is will be in the future.
Day 12 – Christchurch
Sad goodbyes today, we will accompany you to the airport for your journey home. Departures from Christchurch airport.
All accommodation which is 4-star in most places including beach front and central city. All accommodation is fully wheel chair accessible and we can adjust rooms to suit your needs.
Activities are included: Te Papa National Museum, Cook Straight Ferry crossing, NZ Fur Seal viewing, Punekaiki Rocks, Tree Tops Walk, Earnslaw Steam Ship and farm show, Queenstown Gondela, Milford Sound.
(Activities are optional and weather dependent and refunds will not be given if whether does not permit)
All breakfasts and 3 evening meals where specified
All transportation; including airport transfers; using our wheelchair accessible vehicles with hoists and transfer seating available. Transport is complimentary as part of your package.
A knowledgeable, experienced and friendly, local guide to escort you personally throughout your stay. Our guides are available to offer a helping hand along the way, however if a carer is needed we ask that this be provided by yourself or we can organise one here.
All reservations included
Optional activities: These activities are not included in the price. Kaikoura whale watching, Bungy jumping, Jet Boating, Jade carving, and any other activities not specified above.