Every member of the family deserves to relax and enjoy their holiday. We take the pressure off mom and dad by providing fun activities for the whole family as well as maintaining the flexibility of offering separate activities for children and adults. This trip is designed to cater for children of all ages and has loads of activities included in the price! Feel free to contact us to discuss taking your family on the adventure of a lifetime!
Day 1: Arrival in Christchurch.
Arrive in the garden city – Christchurch. Over one eighth of the area of this city has been set aside for parks and reserves. Shake off the effects of air travel with a walk through the botanical gardens and Hagley Park. Explore the open air market and craft fair at the Art Centre. Street performers from around the world come here to entertain the crowd.
Everything is within easy walking distance of our hotel which has an indoor heated pool and is located on the Cathedral Square. That evening experience the unique customs and history of Aotearoa (New Zealand) at the Nga Hau E Wha National Marae (Meeting House). Enjoy a concert of traditional song and dance and learn about the beliefs and values of New Zealand’s native Maori people. Meanwhile a traditional feast is cooked in the hangi (earth oven). In keeping with Maori tradition you can’t leave the Marae unsatisfied. Included: (D).
Day 2: Kaikoura.
Drive across the rolling farmlands of the Canterbury plains to the coastal town of Kaikoura. Once a sleepy fishing village, Kaikoura is waking up as a popular destination where land mammals meet with sea mammals. Swim with New Zealand Fur Seals in their natural habitat. You won’t believe how friendly, curious and playful they are. Once hunted to the brink of extinction, Fur Seals are now returning in large numbers. Kaikoura is also a great place to watch sea birds and in the afternoon we’ll walk along the peninsula and watch albatross, petrels and gulls soar along the cliffs. Included: (B), (L), (D).
Day 3: Swim with Dolphins / Marlborough Sounds.
Rise early this morning to greet the day with a pre-breakfast get together with some of Kaikoura’s more famous local personalities- the playful Dusky Dolphins! With mask, snorkel, and fins we’ll have the opportunity to enter their world and swim amongst them. If you’d prefer, stay on the boat and marvel at their acrobatic displays. (8 years and over to swim / 3 years and over spectate – subject to Sea conditions).
Then we drive north along the coast to one of New Zealand’s premier wine producing regions-Marlborough. We’ll visit a winery for an al fresco lunch and wine tasting near Blenheim. Then travel by boat from Anakiwa to our remote lodge at Lochmara Bay in the Marlborough Sounds. Exploring the many paths and trails around the lodge you’ll discover hidden rope swings and hammocks overlooking the bay. Swim in the crystal clear waters of the Queen Charlotte Sound or paddle a kayak or rowboat around the many coves and points. Fresh food is abundant in the Sounds and this evening we’ll enjoy a delicious barbeque. Included: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: Marlborough Sounds.
Set right at the water's edge at Lochmara Bay in Queen Charlotte Sound, Lochmara Lodge is accessible only by sea from Picton or from Queen Charlotte Track. Your guides will organize a range of activities from kayaking on the calm waters of Lochmara Bay to soaking in the spa pool set amongst the punga trees. Lochmara Lodge has ten acres of native bush in which to stroll around, with plenty of seats and picnic tables offering spectacular views of Queen Charlotte Sound. You may even happen upon the mysterious "Punga People".
During our stay at Lochmara Lodge, we can use the Lodge's kayaks, row boat or windsurfer, go snorkelling or fishing, play volleyball, enjoy a few drinks in the sunshine on spacious sun decks or inside the Lodge in front of the open fireplace, or simply take a siesta in one of Lochmara's numerous hammocks. A seal colony accessible only by water is just a twenty minute paddle by kayak and numerous cormorants and black shags populate the area. After dark, take a walk up the track under the moonlight to find glow worms. Included: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5: Abel Tasman National Park.
Start the day with a hike along the Queen Charlotte Track (About 4 hours). The trail wanders through pristine native forest with some stunning views of the Marlborough Sounds. While we’re hiking our gear will be transported by boat to meet us at the end of the trail. Young children or those who prefer can enjoy a relaxed morning at the lodge and take the boat to meet up with the hikers. Drive through Nelson to Abel Tasman National Park where we transfer by boat to our Lodge in the middle of the park. Stroll along golden sand beaches at sun set and enjoy the famous cuisine at the Awaroa Cafe. Included: (B), (L), (D).
Day 6: Abel Tasman National Park.
Walking barefoot along sandy paths around the lodge it’s easy to see why Abel Tasman is New Zealand’s most popular National Park. It is also obvious that New Zealand is a South Pacific Island group. Nikau Palms and giant tree ferns evoke images of more tropical isles. Today’s activities include a guided sea kayaking excursion around the Awaroa inlet as well as relaxing and playing on the beach. For those wishing to hike the Abel Tasman Track, one of the guides will lead a trip by boat to a distant part of the track, hiking back to the lodge. After another delicious meal we’ll take a walk to see glow worms. The kids can play spotlight with the guides. Perhaps a good time to slip away to the beach for a stroll under the moonlight… Included: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7: Nelson Lakes National Park.
In the morning we take a hike along another section of the Abel Tasman Track. We can offer a number of options to satisfy all the groups varying hiking desires. The super fit and energetic rise early and get on the trail. A couple of hours later another group can catch up to them by boat. Still another group can do a shorter walk or not at all. Arriving at Marahau we take our vans on an inland journey through the Motueka Valley to Nelson Lakes National Park. Lake Rotoiti sits nestled beneath the St Arnaud Range. The beech forests provide excellent bird watching & our guides lead us on a nature walk explaining the delicate relationships between native plants and birds. Included: (B), (L), (D).
Day 8: The Whitewater Capital of New Zealand.
Today we have a number of options to enjoy the “whitewater capital of New Zealand”. The Buller River leaves its source in the Nelson Lakes as a stream. Tributary streams add volume and power to the river as it makes its way into the Buller Gorge. There are a number of sections providing family rafting adventures suitable for small children as well as challenging grade 3-4 whitewater. Alternative activities include a visit to a gold mining center. In the 1860’s gold was discovered in New Zealand. Try your hand at panning for gold. Cross the mighty Buller River on a swing bridge or speed along it in a jet boat. Included: (B), (L), (D).
Day 9: Punakaiki.
Today it’s on to the wild West Coast. At Cape Foulwind enjoy a coastal hike to a seal colony and views of the Tasman Sea and surrounding Southern Alps, or relax and play on one of the coast’s more famous surf beaches. In the afternoon we enter Paparoa National Park for an unforgettable journey through its limestone landscapes and sub-tropical rainforest. A short walk through a palm- and fern-filled forest brings us to a clearing where we change into wetsuits; grab an inner tube, helmet, and headlamp; and descend into the underworld.
Exploring the stunning formations within the labyrinth we come to an underground creek where we link up with our inner tubes in a train. Leaning back we drift through a wonderland where glowworms light our way until we emerge once again into the light of day. This evening we barbecue and overnight at our beachside cottages in Punakaiki where we’re free to explore miles of deserted beaches, the famous Pancake Rocks and blowholes, and a number of forest walks in the area. Included: (B), (L), (D).
Day 10: Punakaiki.
Today we’ll spend the day exploring Punakaiki and all it has to offer. There are several activities (some at extra cost) to choose from:
- Hiking options from 20 min. to 6 hrs.
- Rainforest walks
- Horseback riding on the beach
- Mountain biking
Day 11: Hamner Springs.
This morning we will drive East to the town of Hamner Springs where there are several options to for the whole family:
- Greymouth greenstone carving demonstration
- Shantytown-Recreated 1860’s gold mining town
- Lewis Pass Nature Walk- Very Middle Earth Like
- Hamner Hot Springs and water slides etc.
Day 12: Hamner Springs.
Hamner Springs is regarded the family Adventure Capital of New Zealand and it’s easy to see why with a multitude of activities (some at extra cost) available to us for the day:
- Natural Hot Springs and water park
- Giant Maze
- Horseback Riding
- Mountain Biking
- Family Rafting
- Bungy Jumping
- Jet Boating
Day 13: Depart Christchurch.
This morning we drive through to Christchurch for departures. Your guide will take you to the airport for your flights home!
Also see tour packages in:
Australia and Oceania New Zealand Outdoor: Water Drifter Canoeing/Kayaking/Rafting