Southern Wonders, 9 Days
Only on 4 November 2019
9 Day tour departing Christchurch.
8 Nights accommodation in a Hotel.
8 Full buffet breakfasts, 1 Highlight Dinner, 4 Dinners & 1 Farewell Dinner.
Experienced Travel Director and Driver Guide.
Travel by luxury coach.
Day 1 Welcome to Christchurch. Explore Christchurch, the largest city in New Zealand's South Island. The old city centre shows evidence of a rich English heritage, boasting some of the finest Gothic architecture outside of Britain. You'll have time at leisure this afternoon: you might like to take a stroll along the banks of the Avon River before a Welcome Reception with your Travel Director and fellow travellers.
Day 2 Christchurch to Franz Josef. This morning, board the iconic Tranz Alpine train and take one of the world's great rail journeys. Pass through magnificent landscapes ranging from the lush pasture land of the Canterbury Plains to the rugged gorges and pristine ice-fed streams and lakes of the Southern Alps. Arrive at Arthur's Pass, the highest settlement on the South Island, and continue to Hokitika, home of New Zealand's famous greenstone. Pounamu (its Maori name) is of great cultural significance in Maori culture and was prized for its strength, durability and beauty. Continue to Franz Josef Glacier (optional scenic flight is available).
Day 3 Franz Josef to Queenstown. Drive over the spectacular Haast Pass this morning, passing the 96-metre Thunder Creek Falls and serene Lakes Wanaka, Hawea and Dunstan. Stop in Cromwell and enjoy the tastes of the delicious stone fruit for which the region is known. Next, you'll visit the historic gold-mining settlement of Arrowtown, where more than 70 original buildings from the gold-rush era are preserved. An orientation tour of Queenstown, which sits on the shores of crystalclear Lake Wakatipu among dramatic mountain ranges, completes your day.
Day 4 Queenstown Free Time. Explore New Zealand's adventure capital at your own pace today. There are jet boat rides and white water rafting for the thrill-seekers, and wine tours or intimate cafes for those who enjoy a more leisurely rhythm. You might like to visit the picturesque Queenstown Gardens and enjoy its beautiful tulips in spring or glorious roses in summer. Take a peaceful cruise this evening across Lake Wakatipu aboard the century-old TSS Earnslaw, the only remaining commercial passengercarrying coal-fired steamship in the Southern Hemisphere. Your destination is Walter Peak High Country Farm, where you'll enjoy a gourmet barbecue Highlight Dinner and entertaining after-dinner show offering glimpses of high country farm life.
Day 5 Queenstown to Te Anau. This morning you'll travel the iconic stretch of highway known as the Devil's Staircase, and along the shores of serene Lake Wakatipu to the town of Te Anau. On your way to Milford Sound you'll be awestruck by the towering native rainforests and rugged mountains of Fiordland National Park. Your cruise on the magnificent Sound provides views of cascading waterfalls, hanging glacial valleys, and the sheer pinnacle of Mitre Peak - it's sure to be one of the highlights of your New Zealand adventure. Return to lakeside Te Anau, where this evening you'll have the option of visiting the Te Anau Glowworm Caves.
Day 6 Te Anau to Dunedin. Journey through lush green sheep-grazing country on your way to Dunedin this morning. After a city tour, the afternoon is yours to enjoy as you please. Sit back and relax, or consider an optional experience. You could ride the historic Taieri Gorge railway or perhaps take a wildlife cruise to spot penguins and Royal Albatross.
Day 7 Dunedin to Omarama. This morning during a tour of the city you'll have the opportunity to visit the stately home known as Larnach Castle. Then set out for the historic town of Oamaru, with its elegant tree-lined streets and celebrated white limestone buildings. Later, follow the course of the mighty Waitaki River, passing the monumental Waitaki Hydro Power Scheme and Aviemore on your way to Omarama.
Day 8 Omarama to Christchurch. Travel through the awe-inspiring Aoraki/ Mt. Cook National Park. At 3,724 metres, Aoraki/Mt. Cook is New Zealand's highest mountain. Stop at serene Lake Tekapo, and view the famous Church of the Good Shepherd, whose altar window frames a perfect view of the Southern Alps beyond the lake. Later, traverse the fertile Canterbury Plains and return to the vibrant city of Christchurch, where your holiday began. This evening, join your Travel Director and new-found friends at a Farewell Dinner.
Day 9 Farewell from Christchurch. Bid farewell to your fellow travellers when your holiday comes to an end this morning after breakfast.
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