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16 Day Wildlife Encounters South Island

16 Day Wildlife Encounters South Island

16 Day Wildlife Encounters South Island

16 Day Wildlife Encounters South Island

16 Day Wildlife Encounters South Island

16 Day Wildlife Encounters South Island

ITINERARY

Day 1: Arrive Christchurch
Hotel
Motel
  • Highlights: Kia ora, welcome to Christchurch, the largest city of the South Island. Christchurch offers pockets of perfect as the central city rebuilds after the 2011 earthquakes. Located on the vast Canterbury Plains, with the sweeping coastal curve of Pegasus Bay and the volcanic hills of Banks Peninsula, Christchurch offers surprisingly diverse landscapes. Stroll the graceful Botanic Gardens and Hagley Park, relax beside the gently flowing Avon River or take in the expansive city and mountain views from the Christchurch Gondola.

    On arrival at Christchurch Airport you will clear customs and immigration formalities, collect your luggage and be transferred to GO Rentals airport branch to pick up your rental car. Make your way to your accommodation.
Day 2: Christchurch - Kaikoura
Hotel
Motel
  • Highlights: Cross the Waimakariri River as you drive northwards across the Canterbury Plains. Enjoy the vineyards of the Waipara region, rolling sheep and beef farmland, the rural town of Cheviot. Goose Bay will greet you when the road meets the Pacific Ocean. Follow the rocky coastline with amazing ocean views as you reach magical Kaikoura, where the mountains meet the sea. Few places in the world can boast such natural wonders as those offered by land and sea in Kaikoura. Renowned for its abundant fishing grounds, it is the numerous species of whales, dolphins and seals that attract visitors these days.

    Driving time Christchurch to Kaikoura, approx 3 hours
Day 3: Kaikoura - Whale Watch
Hotel
Motel
  • Highlights: Today's highlight is whale watching! Whale Watch is New Zealand's only vessel based whale watching company offering an exciting up-close encounter with the worlds largest toothed predator the Giant Sperm Whale in their natural environment at all times of the year. This half day trip includes 2.5 hours on the water. 95% success rate for whale viewing. For the remainder of the day, enjoy the town's magic ocean and mountain scenery, fresh local seafood cafes and village charm.
Day 4: Kaikoura - Kaiteriteri
Hotel
Motel
  • Highlights: Continue north along the coastline where numerous look out points offer views of fur seals basking on the rocks. Continue past the salt flats at Lake Grassmere before you are surrounded by the hillside vineyards of Blenheim. The picturesque drive through the Rai Valley brings you to sunny Nelson, on the shores of Tasman Bay. The region's diverse natural beauty, gentle coastal landscapes and vibrant arts scene brings visitors from around the world. Fuelled by fresh food, fine wine, generous sunshine and a light sea breeze, time here is bliss. Meander the seaside settlements of Mapua at Ruby Bay and Kina as you skirt Tasman Bay to the fruit orchards and vineyards surrounding Motueka. A little furthern north at Kaiteriteri, the golden sand beach offers safe swimming, sheltered kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and is the departure point for scenic cruise boats that ply the crinklecut coastline of the Abel Tasman National Park.

    Driving time Kaikoura to Kaiteriteri, approx 4 hours, 10 mins
Day 5: Kaiteriteri - Abel Tasman Kayaking
Hotel
Motel
  • Highlights: This small, beach side settlement with it's amazing golden sand beaches is gateway to stunning bush walks including the famous Abel Tasman National Park track.
    Included is a day excursion into the Park for a kayaking adventure departing from Kaiteriteri. Cruise to Torrent Bay then enjoy the most scenic kayaking between Torrent Bay and Bark Bay with fur seals on Pinnacle Island. Includes tidal landing at Torrent Bay. Enjoy the tranquil views across Tasman Bay to the Marlborough Sounds.
Day 6: Kaiteriteri - Hokitika
Hotel
Motel
  • Highlights: Follow the picturesque Motueka River valley road to Kohatu, continue south to Murchison, skirting Kahurangi National Park. The spectacular Buller Gorge swing bridge (New Zealand's longest) takes you to a number of bush walks ranging from 15 minutes to an hour. A short detour to visit Westport, the West Coast's oldest town is worthwhile. The road trip south via Punakaiki to Greymouth is considered one of the top 10 coastal drives in the world by Lonely Planet. Pause to view the spectacular pancake rock formations at Punakaiki. Hokitika is a "cool little town" with a multitude of great shops, galleries and cafes right on the beach where brilliant sunsets are the order of the day.

    Kaiteriteri to Hokitika driving time, approx 5 hours, 10 mins
Day 7: Hokitika - Haast
Hotel
Motel
  • Highlights: Leaving Hokitika, the beautiful green native forests thicken as you continue south and into the glacier region, crossing blue flowing rivers and passing scenic lakes of Ianthe and Wahapo which also make for great lunch spots! Pass through the glacier town of Franz Josef and through the impressive wild West Coast style forest of Westland National Park set against dominating alpine peaks as you approach the charming town of Fox Glacier. Further south the settlement of Haast offers mainly outdoor attractions such as hiking, nature tours, scenic flights, river safaris and jet-boat rides. The area is also a haven for bird-watchers with fantail, tui, bellbird, pigeon, silvereye, kaka and kiwi all located in the lowland forests.

    Driving time Hotitika to Haast, approx 3 hours, 35 mins
Day 8: Haaast - Wanaka
Hotel
Motel
  • Highlights: Enjoy waterfalls and river scenery as you leave the coast and climb up the Haast river valley to Haast Pass. The Haast Highway snakes through the Mt Aspiring National Park with the vegetation becoming more sparse as you travel inland. The highway is considered by some to be New Zealand's most stunning one-day journey. The Haast Highway has numerous lookouts, walks and waterfalls. The Blue Pools of Haast are this road's main attraction, being just an easy one hour return walk from the road. The wilderness town of Makarora is a chance to refuel and refresh. Skirt the shores of Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea to the lakeshore township of Wanaka.

    Driving time Haast to Wanaka approx 5 hours
Day 9: Wanaka - Lake Cruise & Island Nature Walk
Hotel
Motel
  • Highlights: Boat cruise to the remote and magical Mou Waho Island nature reserve, which is predator–free and home to the rare flightless Buff Weka. A one hour return guided bush walk is included, which takes you up to reveal the island’s secret – a lake right on top of the island! Unique and very photogenic (Optional). Or you can just sit back, relax and enjoy the bird life at the beach and shelter at the island base with your own morning or afternoon tea. We have “High Tea” on top of the island overlooking both of these lakes, where you can drink in the vibrant birdsong and the panorama of the Southern Alps spread out before us.
    Plant a native tree as part of your eco-experience. This is a unique opportunity to give back to this special island and New Zealand’s environment.
Day 10: Wanaka - Queenstown
Hotel
Motel
  • Highlights: Meander through the fruit growing district surrounding Cromwell, perhaps call into historic Old Cromwell Town for a browse of local art galleries and cafes. The dramatic Kawarau Gorge opens to the wide Gibbston Valley with its hillsides of ruler straight grape vines. Arrive in the resort town of Queenstown, hugging the shores of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by spectacular mountain peaks.

    Driving time Wanaka to Queenstown, approx 1 hour 15 mins

    Please note: the hotel option property is located approx 20-25 mins drive from central Queenstown
Day 11: Queenstown - Milford - Te Anau
Hotel
Motel
  • Highlights: Skirt Lake Wakatipu's stunning shores as you transcend through small towns and local farmland into the grand Fiordland region today. The road to Milford is one of New Zealand’s most scenic drives. The first part is relatively mild farmland, then you’ll ease into beech forest near the entrance to the Fiordland National Park. Look for the Avenue of the Disappearing Mountain and the Mirror Lakes. The rough hewn Homer Tunnel brings you into Milford Sound, an amazing 22km-long fiord dominated by Mitre Peak. A cruise on Milford Sound will be an essential component of your time in Fiordland. Tall waterfalls, vertical rock faces and seals are some of the things you’ll remember, while the underwater observatory is an option with most cruises
    Enjoy the mirror lakes, towering mountains and lush bush of the Fiordland National Park as you return to Te Anau township on the shores of beautiful Lake Te Anau.

    Driving time Queenstown to Milford Sound, approx 4 hours
    Driving time Milford Sound to Te Anau, approx 2 hours
Day 12: Te Anau - Dunedin
Hotel
Motel
  • Highlights: Depart Te Anau and travel across the Southland Plains through the small townships of Mossburn, Lumsden and rural hub of Gore, sheep farms dominate the landscape. Continue to the Clutha River at Balclutha before heading north crossing the Taieri Plains, pass Lake Waihola to Dunedin. Note you can travel to Dunedin via the rugged Catlins coast, part of the Southern Scenic route, known for its wildlife and fossalised forest. You would need to allow extra time for this drive. Dunedin is said to be the Edinburgh of New Zealand with its well preserved Victorian and Edwardian heritage present throughout the city. Surrounded by hills and featuring a wide harbour, Dunedin's Taieri Gorge, Railway, chocolate factory and Speights Brewery are rewarding visits. A scenic drive along the Peninsula with its rugged beaches and local wildlife is recommended.

    Driving time Te Anau to Dunedin, approx 4 hours, 10 mins
Day 13 - Dunedin - Wildlife Tour
Hotel
Motel
  • Highlights: Included today, a half day guided wildlife tour of the spectacular Otago Peninsula and Taiaroa Head. This outstanding Peninsula Encounters trip includes viewing the Royal Albatross soaring above their nesting site, rare yellow eyed penguin reserve and wading bird habitats.
Day 14: Dunedin - Oamaru
Hotel
Motel
  • Highlights: Leaving Dunedin, a brief side trip to the unique Moeraki Boulders is worthwhile. Continue north to the township Oamaru which has an impressive heritage and has recently been awarded the title "Sharpest Town in New Zealand". Many of the elegant historic buildings were made from the local sandstone. Visit the Harbour-Tyne area
  • the best-preserved collection of historic commercial buildings in New Zealand. You should also check out the penguin colony, the museum and the pretty public gardens.

    Driving time Dunedin to Oamaru approx 1 hour, 35 mins
Day 15: Oamaru - Akaroa
Hotel
Motel
  • Highlights: Your trip north today along the east coast takes you through the small city of Timaru with the beachside attractions of Caroline Bay, botanic gardens, an aviary and wonderful walks. Next is the rural servicing town of Ashburton, the town of Rakaia which sits on the southern side of the Rakaia River, and is the salmon capital of New Zealand’ to the outskirts of Christchurch. From here, head east through the peninsula's foothills and through passing green hills as you skirt Lakes Ellesmere and Forsyth onto quaint Little River, with its historic railway station as you come to wind your way over the Summit Hill Road into seaside, charming Akaroa village. The dazzling surrounds of Banks Peninsula set the scene for Akaroa, the site of the only attempt to establish a French settlement in New Zealand. Much of the architecture, the street and shop names and restaurant cuisine have an obvious French flair. Included this afternoon is the Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise with the opportunity to view the rare and very cute Hectors Dolphins, the worlds smallest dolphin.

    Driving time Oamaru to Akaroa, approx 4 hours
Day 16: Akaroa - Christchurch - Depart
  • Highlights: Start your journey back to Christchurch stopping at Barrys Bay Cheese where you can watch cheese being made in the traditional way, taste the various types and then buy your favourite block along with other delicacies on offer. The main road back to Christchurch, Highway 75, will take you through Little River, a charming town with a small art gallery and cafe, and onto skirt Lakes Forsyth and Ellesmere before reaching Christchurch, the South Island's largest city.
    You have the day at leisure until you make your way to Christchurch Airport for your departure flight. Drop off your rental car at Christchurch Airport.

    Driving time Akaroa to Christchurch, approx 1 hour 30 mins.
Fares and Pricing
Tour Code: WE
 
Hotel
Motel
Self drive - small car
Share Twin
$3695
$3110
Self drive - medium car
Share Twin
$3775
$3190
 
4 Share
N/A
N/A
Self drive - large car
Share Twin
$3935
$3350
 
4 Share
N/A
N/A
Prices valid from 01 January 2018 to 30 September 2019 and are priced in NZD per person
Includes:
*15 nights' accommodation in 3.5 and 4 star hotels/motels (as selected) on a share twin/double room basis
*16 days rental car hire (as selected) with unlimited km and standard insurance (excess applies)
*Kaikoura Whale Watch Tour
*Cruise, kayak, seal watching Abel Tasman National Park
*Lake Wanaka Cruise and Mou Waho Island Nature Walk
*Elm Wildlife Tours Peninsula Tour from Dunedin
*Akaroa Dolphins harbour and dolphin cruise
*Itinerary planning and reservations service
*15% Goods and Services Tax (GST)
*Complimentary ticket wallet with your travel vouchers and driving maps


This itinerary can be modified for families. The itinerary can be customised if you prefer shorter or longer duration, larger car size, different style of accommodation etc. Feel free to ask us!
  • *15 nights' accommodation in 3.5 and 4 star hotels/motels (as selected) on a share twin/double room basis
    *16 days rental car hire (as selected) with unlimited km and standard insurance (excess applies)
    *Kaikoura Whale Watch Tour
    *Cruise, kayak, seal watching Abel Tasman National Park
    *Lake Wanaka Cruise and Mou Waho Island Nature Walk
    *Elm Wildlife Tours Peninsula Tour from Dunedin
    *Akaroa Dolphins harbour and dolphin cruise
    *Itinerary planning and reservations service
    *15% Goods and Services Tax (GST)
    *Complimentary ticket wallet with your travel vouchers and driving maps


    This itinerary can be modified for families. The itinerary can be customised if you prefer shorter or longer duration, larger car size, different style of accommodation etc. Feel free to ask us!
Includes:
  • 15 nights' accommodation in 3.5 and 4 star hotels/motels (as selected) on a share twin/double room basis
  • 16 days rental car hire (as selected) with unlimited km and standard insurance (excess applies)
  • Kaikoura Whale Watch Tour
  • Cruise, kayak, seal watching Abel Tasman National Park
  • Lake Wanaka Cruise and Mou Waho Island Nature Walk
  • Elm Wildlife Tours Peninsula Tour from Dunedin
  • Akaroa Dolphins harbour and dolphin cruise
  • Itinerary planning and reservations service
  • 15% Goods and Services Tax (GST)
  • Complimentary ticket wallet with your travel vouchers and driving maps


    This itinerary can be modified for families. The itinerary can be customised if you prefer shorter or longer duration, larger car size, different style of accommodation etc. Feel free to ask us!