ITINERARY / SCHEDULE
DAY 1 - Christchurch (Arrival)
Arrive Christchurch airport, collect your rental car and drive to hotel.
Hotel check in time 1400pm. Free at own leisure.
Christchurch - the Garden City – Visitors will admire the finest collection of plants in New Zealand at the Botanic Gardens, can punt down the Avon River or relax in Hagley Park.
Shopping – The Re:START “Container Mall” in Christchurch is a must-see for visitors. It's the exciting shopping mall built in shipping containers following the earthquakes experienced in 2010 and 2011.
Hotel Standard Hotel : The Ashley hotel or similar
DAY 2 - Christchurch - Kaikoura (181km)
After breakfast, check out hotel and start your trip north from Christchurch takes you past the surf beaches, wineries and farmland, finishing with the impressive scenery of the coastal ranges.
This afternoon is your way of experiencing Kaikoura’s amazing marinelife. You see the whales, watch them on the water from the comfort of a catamaran.
Whale Watch Kaikoura | Depart daily, check in time at 12.45pm | An extra tour is schduled at 03.30pm from November to March.
Whale Watch is New Zealand's only marine-based whale watching company offering visitors an exciting up-close encounter with the Giant Sperm Whale at all times of the year. Every Whale Watch tour is a unique experience and the sightings vary. Giant Sperm Whales are the stars of the show and year-round residents.
Designed specially for whale watching, our modern catamarans are equipped with engines that minimise underwater noise and toilets that never pollute the sea. The main passenger cabin is enclosed and outside decks offer great viewing and photo opportunities. Spacious air-conditioned interiors are fitted with comfortable seating while large plasma screens display our award-winning marine wildlife animations.
NOTE: Dress warmly and wear flat shoes. If you wish to spend time on the outside decks of our vessels you may need light waterproof clothing depending on the sea conditions. If weather permitting, tomorrow early morning (7am) is the alternative cruise.
*Add some activities in Christchurch before your journey to Kaikoura*
Punting on Avon
Hotel Standard Hotel : Kaikoura Gateway or similar
DAY 3 - Kaikoura - Blenheim (128km)
Depart Kaikoura in the morning and drive to Blenheim, approximately 1 hour 40 minutes. Spend the day exploring Marlborough and possibly enjoy a tipple or two at one of the local vineyards.
Marlborough has long been known for the breath-taking beauty of the Marlborough Sounds and its world class Sauvignon Blanc. With its rugged mountain ranges, fertile plains, intricate waterways, aviation and aquaculture industries, Marlborough has a lot to offer. Marlborough enjoys high sunshine hours and a temperate climate.
Hotel Standard Hotel : Scenic Hotel or similar
DAY 4 - Blenheim - Nelson (114km)
Explore the Marlborough Wine Region this morning. Join the Greenshell Mussel Cruise this afternoon.
Greenshell Mussel Cruise | Depart daily at 1.30pm Havelock Marina Pier C (1.15pm check in) | Duration 3 hours.
Enjoy the natural beauty of the Marlborough Sounds with the indulgent Greenshell Mussel Cruise, featuring freshly steamed mussels paired with a glass of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc for the ultimate wine/food match. Relax and unwind while you cruise the tranquil Pelorus Sound and Kenepuru Sound aboard our luxury launch MV Spirit on this half-day exclusive tour, departing Havelock. Learn about local history, visit a mussel farm and take in the stunning scenery.
Depart Havelock Marina Pier and drive to Nelson, approximately 1 hour.
The Nelson Tasman region combines the finest elements of New Zealand and delivers them across a stunning landscape, sun-ripened at the perfect latitude under New Zealand’s highest sunshine hours. Nelson has eating & drinking options galore with more craft breweries per capita than anywhere else in New Zealand.
Hotel Standard Hotel : Grand Mercure Monaco or similar
DAY 5 - Nelson
Whole day at leisure.
There are many National Parks in the Nelson region for you to explore – some only accessible by foot, boat or even by kayak. Aside from some of New Zealand's best beaches, there are a range of outdoor activities for your clients to try.
The best of Nelson:-
*Add - 2 Days 1 Night Abel Tasman Adventure*
Hotel Standard Hotel : Grand Mercure Monaco or similar
DAY 6 - Nelson - Punakaiki (265km)
From here, travel south to St Arnaud, a picturesque town that sits on the edge of Lake Rotoiti. St Arnaud is the perfect place from which to explore the honeydew forests and mountains of Nelson Lakes National Park.
Head towards the West Coast and Westport via the Buller Gorge, where the past is never far behind. You will be captivated by the stories of early settlers, gold prospectors and coal miners whose legendary pioneering spirit tried to tame this wild land. Even now, it’s not that different from when man first set foot here.
Travelling south from Westport journey through the Paparoa National Park, home to some of New Zealand’s best underworld caving.
Once you reach Punakaiki, enjoy a leisurely 20 minute walk out to the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks, beautiful limestone formations that began forming 30 million years ago. The well formed walkway is a loop track that winds from the main road, through native rainforest and out to the spectacular rugged coastline.
The small west coast settlement of Punakaiki plays host to visitors who come to see the famous pancake rocks and blowholes. Here you’ll find a variety range of eating places and galleries.
Hotel Standard Hotel : Punakaiki Resort or similar
DAY 7 - Punakaiki - Greymouth (45km) - Christchurch (244km)
A short journey to reach the town of Greymouth. Then classic west coast river and forest scenery leads you east. Rushing water, impressive bridges and tiny towns gradually give way to the misty mountains of the Southern Alps. The route known as Arthur’s Pass was first used by Maori tribes crossing to the west coast to find pounamu (jade). Today it’s a sophisticated mountain pass, memorable for its scenery as well as its breathtaking civil engineering.
The road follows the Waimakariri and Bealey Rivers down to the skiing areas of Porter Heights and Craigieburn. Lakes Pearson and Grasmere are photo opportunities along the way. Rural serenity and friendly towns lead you across the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch. Make sure you check out the transitional cardboard cathedral in the city centre.
*Add - Tranz Alpine Train, Greymouth to Christchurch*
Hotel Standard Hotel : Ashley Hotel or similar
DAY 8 - Christchurch (Departure)
Your arrangements conclude today. Hotel check out time 1000am.
Your rental car should be dropped off at the airport, by the same time as it was picked up on Day 1, to avoid any additional charges.
If you've got a little time to spare, you might like to to take a day trip out to the French colonial settlement of Akaroa, just one hour away. The drive is beautifully scenic, and the town is known for its excellent French cuisine, cute cottages, and for being home to the world's smallest Dolphin, the Hector's.
NOTE: If add Tranz Alpine Train on Day 7 - Your arrangements conclude today with a departure transfer by airport shuttle.
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Standard Hotels & Rental Car of Holden Commodore or similar (FDAR)
Standard Hotels & Rental Car of Kia Carnival or similar (PVAR)