Milford-Sound-Scenic-Cruises-Milford-Sov

12 DAY SOUTH ISLAND WILDLIFE & WONDERS

Christchurch - Kaikoura - Hamner Springs - Tekapo - Dunedin - Invercargill - Stewart Island - Invercargill - Te Anau - Milford Sound - Wanaka - Queenstown

An exclusive, small group 12-day South Island adventure by private air charter and coach. See and experience the South’s spectacular ‘must-do’ features in style – from ground level and from above! You’ll fly over the celebrated Southern Alps and view Aoraki Mt Cook, Mt Aspiring, Wanaka, the colourful Canterbury Plains, beautiful Southern Lakes, majestic Milford Sound, remote Stewart Island and more – all from above.

Inclusions

• Private charter flight-seeing on five tour days (6 flights)
• Whale Watch cruise, Kaikoura
• Hot Springs at Hanmer and Tekapo
• Tekapo salmon farm and night sky experiences
• Air Safaris Grand Traverse alpine scenic flight
• Royal Albatross Colony at Taiaroa Head
• Larnach Castle tour and lunch
• Dunedin sights including Baldwin Street (world’s steepest)
• OCHO Chocolate Factory
• Toitu Settlers Museum
• Catlins route to Invercargill
• Bill Richardson Transport World
• Stewart Island & Oban, including predator-free Ulva Island guided tour
• Riverton, Colac Bay and Tuatapere
• Milford Sound Nature Cruise and lunch
• Historic Cardrona Pub plus wine, beer and whisky tasting
• Wanaka activities; Puzzling World, Toy Museum, Wings & Wheels
• Quality 4-star *hotels (*Hotels not connected with the Gov’t border quarantine/isolation programme)
• Four 2-night stopovers (Tekapo, Dunedin, Invercargill & Wanaka)
• Meals every day: Full breakfast (11), Dinner (11), Lunch (3)
• Luxury tour coach sightseeing and transfers
• Fully hosted tour (Tour Director/ Host)
• Modern, well-appointed, luxury coach with driver guide commentary

Highlights

• Private charter flight-seeing on five tour days (6 flights)
• Whale Watch cruise, Kaikoura
• Hot Springs at Hanmer and Tekapo
• Tekapo salmon farm and night sky experiences
• Air Safaris Grand Traverse alpine scenic flight
• Royal Albatross Colony at Taiaroa Head
• Larnach Castle tour and lunch
• Dunedin sights including Baldwin Street (world’s steepest)
• OCHO Chocolate Factory
• Toitu Settlers Museum
• Bill Richardson Transport World
• Ulva Island guided tour
• Milford Sound Nature Cruise and lunch
• Historic Cardrona Pub plus wine, beer and whisky tasting
• Wanaka activities; Puzzling World, Toy Museum, Wings & Wheels

Itinerary

Day 1 - CHRISTCHURCH ARRIVAL

Arrive into the Garden City today where you will be met at the airport and transferred to your centrally located hotel. Your hotel is within comfortable walking distance of many new Christchurch City attractions and points of interest. Enjoy a welcome dinner this evening and meet your fellow travellers.

Accommodation: Rendezvous Hotel (or similar)
Meals: Dinner included

Day 2 - Coach CHRISTCHURCH to KAIKOURA (WHALE WATCH CRUISE) then HANMER SPRINGS

See the highlights of Christchurch this morning then drive north via the Alpine Pacific touring route to pass the vineyards of Waipara en route to Kaikoura. Board your Whale Watch boat and head out to search for the world’s largest toothed predator, the giant sperm whales that are resident here year round. Other marine mammal species also inhabit these waters including blue whales, humpbacks, dusky and hector dolphins, common and bottlenose dolphins, fur seals, elephant and leopard seals and more. Kaikoura is also home to several varieties of albatross, gannets, terns and herons.

There is plenty to see here in NZ’s eco-tourism capital! Return to Kaikoura, meet your coach and take the Inland Road through scenic Lyford to Hanmer Springs. You may like to visit the renowned Hanmer Springs Hot Pools later.

Day 3 - Coach HANMER to CHRISTCHURCH. Private flight CHRISTCHURCH to TEKAPO (2 nights)

Drive from Hanmer Springs via Hurunui and onto Christchurch Airport to meet your specially chartered ‘Air Safaris’ private aircraft. Take off towards the south west and fly across the Canterbury Plains with views towards the foothills and peaks of the Southern Alps. Fly over the braided Rakaia and Rangitata rivers then turn westward above remote High Country sheep stations to reach the Mackenzie Basin. Descend towards Lake Tekapo and soon you’ll be on approach for a landing near scenic Tekapo Township. A coach will meet you for the transfer to your hotel and a relaxing two night stay.

Accommodation: Peppers Resort (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner included

Day 4 - TEKAPO LOCAL ACTIVITIES. Private flight AIR SAFARIS GRAND TRAVERSE

Spend today exploring; Tekapo is a scenic gem with plenty to see and enjoy. The much photographed Church of the Good Shepherd is nearby – without the crowds of previous years. There’ll be a visit to a local salmon farm, a chance to soak in the hot pools and a Night Sky experience to look forward to. And sometime during the day we’ll whisk you away on an unforgettable 50 minute scenic flight. The spectacular ‘Grand Traverse’ explores two World Heritage National Parks and shows you the region in dazzling style.

Recognised as the premier Aoraki Mount Cook flight-seeing experience this magnificent flight takes in some of the most memorable and breath-taking New Zealand scenery. Beautiful turquoise glacial lakes, golden tussock lands, glacial valleys, the permanent ice and snow of our highest mountains and largest glaciers are all part of this amazing experience. Certainly a day to remember!

Accommodation: Peppers Resort (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner included

Day 5 - Private flight TEKAPO TO DUNEDIN (2 nights)

Transfer to Tekapo Airfield this morning and board your private Air Safaris aircraft for today’s sector to Dunedin. Take off and turn south for views of Lake Pukaki before man-made Lake Benmore comes into view – the site of NZ’s largest earth dam and second largest hydro power station. Legendary All Black captain Richie McCaw’s birthplace of Kurow is below you too. Fly on over Dansey’s Pass to Otago and pass above ‘Macraes’ and NZ’s largest active gold mine. This is Otago Rail Trail country too. Descend towards Taieri and line up for a landing at Dunedin Airport.

A coach will meet you for the short drive north and this afternoon there’ll be a chance to look around the Southern City. There’s chocolate tasting at OCHO, Toitu Settler’s Museum, the Octagon and Baldwin Street – and hopefully a beer tasting opportunity. Arrive at your hotel and settle in for your second 2-night stay.

Accommodation: Distinction Hotel (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner included

Day 6 - Coach DUNEDIN to OTAGO PENINSULA & TAIAROA HEAD (Albatross Colony)

Drive to the picturesque Otago Peninsula today for two significant visits. Your first call is New Zealand’s only castle, dating back to 1871. Dunedin was then NZ’s largest and most prosperous city, built on the wealth of Otago gold. William Larnach was a successful Otago merchant and politician and spared no expense to build the castle, his dream home, from some of the Victorian world’s finest materials. However the castle was also the setting for some of the era’s major scandals. You’ll hear all the stories during a guided tour of Larnach’s masterpiece. Stay for lunch and enjoy the views from high above Otago’s beautiful Harbour.

Continue on to Taiaroa Head and the Royal Albatross Centre. Nowhere else in the world can you can see these majestic seabirds so easily in their natural habitat. Your guided tour will include a visit to the nesting albatross observatory. Take a short walk up the hill to see albatross adults and hopefully some in flight. You’ll be offered a chance to see the underground Fort tunnels of Taiaroa Head too and a fully restored Armstrong Disappearing Gun. Drive back to Dunedin later this afternoon.

Accommodation: Distinction Hotel (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included

Day 7 - Coach DUNEDIN to THE CATLINS then INVERCARGILL (2 nights)

Leave Dunedin, drive to Balclutha and join the Catlins route to Southland. This remote region hosts a wealth of natural wonders, spectacular coastal vistas, fairy tale waterfalls and abundant wildlife. This is home to the world’s rarest penguins, smallest dolphins and endangered sea lions. Stop at Nugget Point for a 20 minute return walk to the lighthouse and sensational sea views. You might see penguins, seals and sea lions here too. Onto Owaka, main settlement of the Catlins (population near 400) then stop for another leisurely 15 to 20 minute return walk. Wander through mature beech forest to the triple tiered and much photographed Purakaunui Falls.

There’ll be a picnic lunch stop a little further on then it’s onto Curio Bay. The ebbing tide here reveals a 180 million year old petrified Jurassic forest, one of only three accessible fossil forests in the world. Nearby is Porpoise Bay where small Hectors dolphins often frolic in the surf close to shore. An hour away across the Mataura River is NZ’s southernmost city, and your third 2-night stay.

Accommodation: Ascot Park Hotel (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included

Day 8 - Private flights (x 2) INVERCARGILL to STEWART ISLAND (and return)

Board a Stewart Island Air aircraft in Invercargill this morning for a 20 minute flight. See Oreti Beach, the ‘test track’ for motorbike world record holder Burt Munro – as seen in the 2005 movie ‘The World’s Fastest Indian’. Fly over Bluff then across Foveaux Strait, where Bluff Oysters are harvested. The bush, beaches and often rugged coastline of Stewart Island will soon appear below. In Maori mythology, Stewart Island is the anchor stone of Maui’s canoe. Today this is conservation land with Rakiura National Park occupying some 85% of the island. You’ll land near the island’s only town – Oban, population around 400. Transfer into Oban, see the beachfront setting then walk across to Golden Bay.

A 7-minute water taxi ride will deliver you to delightful Ulva Island for a guided half day walk. The island’s super abundant bird life is inspiring – on the ground and in the forest canopy. Predator-free Ulva’s well maintained walking tracks weave through lush podocarp forest alive with birdsong. You may get to see Weka, Saddleback, Kereru, Kaka, Morepork, Rifleman, Fantail, Tomtit, Robin, Grey Warbler, Yellowhead (Mohoua), Bellbird, Tui – and the occasional Kiwi. The relaxing walk includes plenty of photo stops. Return to Oban for some free time then take the return flight to Invercargill later.

Accommodation: Ascot Park Hotel (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner included

Day 9 - Coach INVERCARGILL to RIVERTON, TUATAPERE and TE ANAU

A ‘must-do’ Invercargill attraction is Bill Richardson’s Transport World, so we’ll explore here first today. Transport is only part of the story; there is some quirky fashion to view, some serious reminiscing to do and a few surprise features to check out too. See more of Invercargill then drive the Southern Scenic Route along the mainland’s southernmost coastline. You’ll see Riverton, Southland’s oldest European settlement, then Colac Bay, a popular surfing spot.

Drive on to Te Waewae Bay where Hectors dolphins play and whales sometimes bask. Turn inland to Tuatapere, on the edge of Fiordland's scenic wilderness. A 7.8 magnitude earthquake occurred close to here in July 2009. Drive north to see Lake Manapouri, arguably New Zealand’s prettiest lake and the site of the nation’s largest hydro-electric power station – opened in 1971. A little further on is Te Anau and tonight’s stop beside New Zealand’s second largest lake.

Accommodation: Distinction Hotel (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner included

Day 10 - Coach TE ANAU to MILFORD SOUND (& cruise). Private flight MILFORD SOUND to WANAKA (2 nights)

Step aboard your tour coach and drive along NZ’s most scenic mountain highway this morning. See the surreal Eglington Valley, a magical place where a glacier once stood. As conditions permit, your coach will stop for scenic viewpoints and photos along the way. Climb to the Homer Tunnel (945 metres altitude) then descend through the impressive Cleddau Valley to arrive at majestic Milford Sound, described by author Rudyard Kipling as the ‘8th Wonder of the World’. Meet your Southern Discoveries cruise boat to explore the grandeur – and intriguing peculiarities – of mighty Milford Sound. You may also see seals sunning on the rocks, dolphins or even an occasional whale today!

Return to Milford Wharf and transfer to Milford Airport. Board your privately chartered Air Milford aircraft for a spectacular 45 minute flight across the Southern Alps. Your air route will depend upon the weather on the day however you are likely to climb out above Milford Sound to fly eastwards near the Routeburn Great Walk route, with Glenorchy to the south and the Dart Glacier and Mt Aspiring to the north. Soon Lake Wanaka will appear to signal your descent towards the beautiful alpine town of Wanaka. Land at the nearby airport where a coach will be waiting to transfer you to your fourth 2-night stay, beside Lake Wanaka.

Accommodation: Edgewater Resort
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner included

Day 11 - WANAKA LOCAL ACTIVITIES

Enjoy a relaxing day in and around Wanaka. We’ll include some activities today and tailor the visits to suit the interests and preferences of you and your tour party. For example we can include a 30 minute drive to Cardrona for a Whisky Distillery Tour and a visit to the historic Cardrona Hotel. Other possibilities include the extensive National Transport & Toy Museum, quirky Puzzling World, the superb Warbirds & Wheels Museum, a local vineyard for wine tasting, a round of golf, shopping, walking time or more. And there are some excellent ‘additional cost’ options to consider too – perhaps a half day High Country four wheel drive experience, jet boating or maybe sailing on the lake. We’ll help you make the most of your Wanaka leisure day, in a way that suits you best. There are many quality choices and today is all yours to enjoy.

Accommodation: Edgewater Resort
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner included

Day 12 - Coach WANAKA to QUEENSTOWN and DEPART

Board your coach this morning for the 90 minute drive from Wanaka to Queenstown Airport to meet your departing flight or ongoing arrangements. We’ll be on hand to assist with connections to ensure you are where you need to be, and that you are there in good time. And if you would like to stay on to enjoy an extended stay in either Wanaka or Queenstown, we can make arrangements for this too, as you wish (additional cost applies).

Meals: Dinner included

Departures:

Tuesday 2nd March 2021

Price

From $7950 per person share twin/double
$9,400 for guaranteed single room

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Milford-Sound-Scenic-Cruises-Milford-Sov
Milford-Sound-Scenic-Cruises-Milford-Sov