Christchurch, – you will be met at the Airport with our Mini Coach or collected from your various accommodation places to begin this journey – we then take the main highway South. A stop at Rakaia for coffee. Then it is on down the coast, passing through Timaru to reach our destination – Oamaru.
Overnight in Oamaru.
Today you will enjoy the morning perusing the Farmers Market & interesting shops of Oamaru. At 1.30pm we will bid you farewell on board the Oamaru Seasider – sightseeing train heading to Dunedin – the “Edinburgh of the South”, so named for its distinctly Scottish atmosphere. The Seasider passes through beautiful farmland and along the coast, making stops at interesting places of interest, like the world famous Moeraki Boulders. Enjoy the splendours of Blueskin Bay, the busy little community of Palmerston & the Dunedin harbour as you travel along – arriving back into Dunedin at approx. 4.30pm . We will greet you when you disembark at the Dunedin railway station platform and transport you to your accommodation for the evening.
Overnight in Dunedin.
Today we spend time exploring Dunedin; this will include a bus tour of the inner city, before heading out onto the peninsula to see the wildlife in this region. Enjoy a visit to the Albatross centre and then Larnach Castle and gardens. We then head out of the city taking a short drive to arrive at Balclutha.
Overnight in Balclutha
It is an early start, as we want as much time as possible to travel through the Catlins – The Southern Scenic Route.
The Catlins is the major highlight of the Southern Scenic Route. Situated off the beaten track, the Catlins encompass the area between Kaka Point and Fortrose. You will journey through rural heartland and podocarp forests, past rugged coastlines, hidden lakes and stunning waterfalls. The natural landscapes are enthralling and the wildlife is extraordinary. Wildlife and native plants and trees are a feature of the Catlins. Varieties of sea birds are prolific and you may see the forest-dwelling birds tui, bellbird, fantail, native pigeon and the rare mohua. You may also be fortunate enough to observe yellow-eyed penguins from the viewing hides provided. The Catlins is also home to the New Zealand sea lion, fur seal and the Hector’s dolphin. The remarkable Catlins is renowned for its ever-changing panoramic views of moody skies, wind-shorn trees, rugged shores, forests and pastureland.
Overnight Invercargill – Ascot Park Lodge
After breakfast we move on and visit Bluff – The uttermost end of the earth, we also check out Oreti Beach – Burt Monroe’s practice track for the “Fastest Indian” We also take time to visit young Henry, he’ only 115 years old – Tuatara. We then set off for Te Anau, traveling round the bottom of the South Island, through Riverton and Tuatapere.
Overnight Te Anau.
Departing Te Anau we travel to Milford Sound. The drive alone is an absolutely awesome experience, one not to be missed in New Zealand. The Fiordland National Park is a World Heritage Protected area. 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 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 1hrs 45mins. Again there is a full commentary on board. We return to Te Anau for the evening.
We conclude this day viewing Fiordland on Film. This is an unforgettable journey through some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes on earth. Taking you to places where mankind seldom walks.
Overnight Te Anau
Today it is a 2-hour drive to Queenstown – The Jewel of the South.
The rest of the day is free for you to pick and choose what you would like to see and do. We can advise you on this.
Leave the evening free, as we will be boarding the Earnslaw to cruise up the lake to enjoy a banquet meal and farm show at Walter Peak Station.
Overnight in Queenstown
Another relatively early start this morning as we head back to Christchurch. Today we travel up through Central Otago and the MacKenzie Country, passing through Cromwell, Lindis Pass, Omarama, Twizel, Tekapo, Farlie, and Geraldine. Time permitting we stop at Lake Tekapo for a hot swim.
Overnight in Christchurch.
Today is home time as we bid farewell to the South Island and friends as we go our various ways.
Flights to and from Christchurch are NOT included.