In Blenheim you'll sample the region's best known export, the Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, before heading south to the West Coast and Punakaiki Rocks. You return to Christchurch via Arthur's Pass National Park, where you will stay at the Wilderness Lodge - an amazing place to discover natural New Zealand and experience life on a high country station.
Starts in: Christchurch
Finishes in: Christchurch
Accommodation: Boutique Lodges & Hotels
Day 1: Arrive in Christchurch
On arrival you will be met by a private driver and delivered to your Christchurch accommodation. Your detailed tour pack which contains everything you need for the duration of your stay will be handed to you.
Day 2: Christchurch to Kaikoura
The drive north from Christchurch to Kaikoura takes you through the rolling hills of North Canterbury's major wine region, the Waipara Valley. Allow time for a detour and visit Hanmer Springs for a dip in the mineral hot pools.
Day 3: Kaikoura to Blenheim
Heading north from Kaikoura, the road hugs the shore for approximately 50 kilometres and offers many opportunities to view native wildlife such as seabirds and New Zealand fur seals. Crossing the dry hills of the Marlborough ranges head towards Marlborough, New Zealand's largest wine producing region. Blenheim sits right at the heart of Marlborough andf is ideally located to enjoy an afternoon sampling the location produce.
Day 4: Half Day Wine Tour
An afternoon among the vines! You'll be collected from your accommodation and taken through three or four hand-picked wineries to taste the award-winning produce this region is known for. A lunch stop is not included in this tour so we advise you have something to eat prior to this activity.
Day 5: Blenheim to Mapua via Queen Charlotte Drive
Take a short drive to the small port of Picton where the Interislander ferry connects with Wellington. You'll travel along Queen Charlotte Drive, traversing the length of the Marlborough Sounds coastline. Magnificent views are abundant so be sure to make time to stop and enjoy the scenery as you go. Traverse Tasman Bay passing through Richmond, and a short drive from there you will turn off to Mapua.
Day 6: Visit Abel Tasman National Park
Today you take a Seals, Beach Cruise and Walk to experience the best of Abel Tasman. Firstly, a cruise into Tonga Island Marine Reserve, then after landing at the historic Tonga Quarry Beach, take a 2hr 15 min walk over forested land and around spectacular Bark Bay Estuary - renowned for its cascading waterfalls. You will then rejoin the cruise at the sheltered golden cove on Medlands Beach.
Day 7: Abel Tasman to Punakaiki
The drive today takes you along the Buller Gorge and offers some wonderful scenery as you follow this magnificent river. The town of Murchison is a quiet place and a great lunch stop. Underneath its sleepy farming facade is an adventurers paradise with whitewater rafting, kayaking, 4WD trips and some great trout fishing.
The spectacular West Coast coastline guides you to Paparoa National Park and to Punakaiki where a walk along the paths around the pancake rocks is a must. Please note there are no supermarket facilities in Punakaiki.
Day 8: Punakaiki to Arthur's Pass National Park
Head towards Greymouth, winding your way up and over the Southern Alps. This route takes you through some of the most spectacular scenery in the country - even in the rain when hundreds of waterfalls cascade down the bush clad hillsides. Continue on through Otira Gorge before arriving at your destination for the night, Arthur's Pass. Your accommodation is the Wilderness Lodge which sits on its own 3,000-hectare nature reserve and merino sheep farm and is surrounded by the mountains of Arthur's Pass National Park.
Day 9: Explore Wilderness Lodge
Set on a working sheep farm and nature reserve, a daily programme of guided activities will be the highlight of your visit. Join naturalist and farmer guides to hike alpine trails, kayak wildlife refuge lakes and experience life on a working farm. Take a gentle stroll after dinner to see the starry night sky and identify planets, satellites and constellations including the Southern Cross. Climb high into a glacial basin and enjoy mountain panorama, alpine flowers, cascades culminating in a mountain picnic below Mt Rolleston. Your hosts can provide maps and suggestions and you may like to order a picnic lunch. There is much to enjoy in this tranquil "away from it all" environment!
Day 10: Arthur's Pass to Christchurch
Descending into the valleys of the Waimakariri this drive offers some spectacular views of the braided river valleys. Further on you will travel the rich farmland Canterbury Plains before heading into metropolitan Christchurch - a very different world from that which you have just experienced.
Explore more of Christchurch before dropping your rental car at the airport depot and continuing your onward journey.
This itnerary can be customised to suit you perfectly
|Christchurch:||Double Decker hop on/hop off sightseeing bus - 24 hour pass|
|Ride a historic tram across town to the renowned Botanic Gardens and the unique cardboard Transitional Cathedral|
|Hanmer Springs:||Take a dip in the mineral hot pools|
|Marlborough:||Half day guided kayaking in the Marlborough Sounds|