Day 1, Saturday 15th.
Welcome to Christchurch, where your next journey begins. Let us know your flight details and we will meet and greet you at the airport. Transport you to your accommodation, where you will have time to rest awhile before you meet with your fellow travellers and tour guides. We share afternoon refreshments and become acquainted. Your accommodation provider will be advised on booking.
Day 2, Sunday 16th.
Your tour begins today with A Church service at the Cathedral or an alternate church of choice. You will then have time to discover the city centre. Beginning with Christchurch Cathedral. The city has been built around this magnificent icon. From here you will hop on a restored tram which runs a circuit taking in all the most interesting high spots of Christchurch city. See the Chalice, the Botanical gardens, the Museum, the Art Gallery, the Arts Centre, Christ College and many more icons of the garden city. You may hop off and on the tram at your leisure.
Late this afternoon you may wish to take in the Antarctic centre or weather permitting we will take a drive through the tunnel to Lyttleton Harbour and back over the Port Hills to Sumner Beach, stopping off at the Gethsemane Gardens and a guided tour of Noah's Ark.
Day 3, Monday 17th.
Today we leave Christchurch city and head inland to Mount Cook - Aoraki. New Zealand’s tallest mountain situated in amongst the Southern Alps. En route we stop at a farming community village; we navigate Burkes Pass and arrive at Lake TeKapo. An exquisite blue lake, with the Southern Alps as its back drop, hopefully with snow aplenty on its peaks. We visit the Church of the Good Shepherd and hear the story of a famous sheep dog.
From here we drive up to Mt John observatory and enjoy the grandeur of the Mackenzie basin. Next is Lake Pukaki, a real jewel before we arrive at Mt Cook. If time permits, and weather allows, you can spend time on a short walk on one of the base tracks, alternatively take in the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre and Museum. Today is a photographers dream come true. There will be plenty of photo stops en route.
Day 4, Tuesday 18th.
We leave the Mt Cook area and travel back to the coast of the Pacific Ocean. Stopping in at Oamaru. A sleepy little town steeped in early 19th century street scapes and an eco tourism facility for the little blue penguin. These wee penguins come ashore every night to rest, but unfortunately are way out at sea during the daylight hours. We continue down the coast to Dunedin. Our Edinburgh of the South. As you guessed this city is very Scottish. We stop to check out the Moeraki Boulders on the way. These distinctly round (spherical) boulders appear to fall out of the earth and are disappearing into the sea. They are a mystery to most scientists and geologists. There are several Maori legends which surround these mysterious balls of rock.
We arrive in Dunedin in time to spend some time wandering about the city, but we always recommend that you hop onto the double decked sightseeing bus and enjoy all the famous sights of this glorious city, while learning the local history. This evening you are free to wander the city, try your hand at ten pin bowling or get a little R & R. Maybe you would like to experience a Piping Hot Haggis Ceremony.
Day 5, Wednesday 19th.
This morning we leave Dunedin, but we will take a drive out to Portobello and then climb the hill to Larnach Castle. You will have time to explore the castle, the gardens and enjoy the vista from on top of the castle. Hopefully the hills will be covered in snow. This really is a magical time of year. There is something exciting about snowflakes. Maybe it brings the child out in us all. We will enjoy morning tea around the large fireplace in the dining room of the castle before we farewell Dunedin and head south to Invercargil (New Zealand's most southernmost city). We take a short drive to Bluff (the outermost part of the earth). Again if time and weather permit we visit a truly hidden treasure of the Queens Gardens in Invercargill.
Day 6, Thursday 20th.
This morning we drive to Milford. The scenery is unforgettable, even if it happens to be raining. You will pass through golden tussock pastures, beech forests, tranquil crystal clear lakes and rivers, climbing up through the mountains and mist, through the Homer tunnel and into the gateway to Milford Sound. There will be plenty of photo stops enroute, along with being fully narrated.
At Milford you will board a large and comfortable cruising vessel and you will cruise the Milford Sounds taking in the awesomeness of Mitre Peak, Bowen Falls, Cheddau Valley and the natural animal life. Cruise time is 2.5hrs with a full commentary on board. This evening you are back in Te Anau.
Day 7, Friday 21st.
Queenstown here we come. First stop is Kingston, home of New Zealands famous vintage steam train the Kingston Flyer. The flyers history spans over 125 years. Next stop is Arrowtown. A thriving community in the Gold rush era, and today, beautifully restored to that same ambience.
A lovely place to fossick through the beautiful shops and or rest for lunch. This afternoon we stop off at the Shotover Jet where you may like to endure the thrills of the best jet boat ride ever before finally you get to see Queenstown. A thriving tourist destination nestled underneath the Remarkable Ranges and on the shores of beautiful Lake Wakatipu. This place is a slice of heaven in any season, but it is just magical in winter. The rest of the day is yours free to choose your entertainment, attractions, and or relaxation.
Day 8, Saturday 22nd.
This is a free day to indulge in all types of adventure activities:
- Cruising on the Earnslaw, coffee cruises, BBQ lunchtime cruise or formal dinner cruise. Indulge and enjoy Lake Wakatipu.
- Ride the Skyline Gondola & **Luge around the track
- Go Shopping
- Enjoy a Beauty Spa Treatment
- Take a Wine & Garden Trail **Lord of the Rings Trilogy Trail
- Bungy Jumping
- Enjoy the beauty and pleasure of a walk.
Day 9, Sunday 23rd.
Today we have an early start. We have a long drive, through the lakes district and to the rain forest on the West Coast. We follow the coast until we reach glacier country. This afternoon we discover the Franz Josef and the Fox Glaciers. Two of the world’s most accessible glaciers, the Franz Josef and the Fox Glacier, create their grinding pathways on the West Coast of the South Island. Huge, ancient ice rivers creak and creep their way all the way to the rain forests and visitors can step on to the ice just minutes from the towns that take the glacier’s names.
Walk to the terminal face, land on the snow via a sightseeing plane or helicopter or simply gaze at their cold, blue white wonders. For the not so fit or keen, you can walk around Lake Matheison – approx 1.5 hour leisurely, easy walk, and enjoy the perfect reflection of New Zealands highest peak – Mt Cook, or simply take a well earned rest from yesterday.
My recommendation is take a heli flight over both these glaciers and land on Fox. This truly is an awesome experience for all ages. And for those who enjoy a challenge, try the indoor ice climbing wall.
Day 10, Monday 24th.
This morning we depart Fox and travel north. We will spend some time in Hokitika and experience a Jade factory tour . Jade (Pounamu) is found on the riverbeds all around this wonderful remote area. Once cut and polished this stone makes wonderful jewellery.
Further on we put you onto the world famous Tranzalpine train journey over Arthur’s pass back to Christchurch. This train journey is rated amongst the top 6 in the world. From your carriage, or viewing platform you will see spectacular gorges, river valleys, the Southern Alps, lush beech rain forests and the Canterbury Plains. At this time of year, the views are outstanding photo shots. We meet you back at the railway station in Christchurch at 6.05pm. You are now back where we begun this journey. This evening we will all share a farewell dinner.
Day 12, Tuesday 25th.
Today you bid farewell to your newly made friends and traveling companions. Depart Christchurch for your next destination. We will transfer you to the airport. Please note Christchurch is an International Airport.
All Tours are subject to change should the weather or unforeseen circumstances occur.
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