Additional options not inclusive are
Some of the experiences you will love along the way
Stewart Island is now on everybody’s bucket list – which means it is frequently fully booked out, so we have made it easy for you to check it off your list. Grab your opportunity to get there today. This short fully hosted tour is designed to immerse you into the deep southern regions of Aotearoa- New Zealand, including Stewart Island (Rakiura)
Southland has something for everyone, including you! Even a cheese roll 😊 Southland NZ is renowned for its unmatched beauty which provides a natural playground – no matter what your passion. As New Zealand’s ultimate nature and wildlife destination, its dramatic scenery spans pristine rainforests, fertile farmlands and rugged coastlines. Stewart Island – whether you have come to enjoy the land, sea and night-scapes, view the wildlife, walk, boat, fish, dive, kayak, hunt or just relax – a Stewart Island holiday will be an experience that will draw you back again and again.
We fly you to Queenstown, travel to Invercargill, fly to Stewart Island, spend a couple of nights there with the locals, traverse the rugged coast of the Catlin’s back to Dunedin before returning home again. So much to see & do in just 7 days.
Today we fly to Queenstown; the jewel in the crown of the south – surrounded by majestic mountains and set on the shores of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu. The natural beauty and the unique energy of this region create the perfect backdrop for your new adventure. You will be overnighting here in Queenstown, staying at the Rydges Lakeland Resort Hotel. You get to enjoy unparalleled views of Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding mountain ranges from this hotel. Add to this you are walking distance to the town centre which means you can use the afternoon freely to peruse the centre of Queenstown, or partake of an excursion of your choice.
This evening we will board the TSS Earnslaw and dine together at Walter Peak station. It’s one of the best ways to see Queenstown’s surrounding landscape – a cruise across Lake Whakatipu aboard the iconic century-old coal-fired steamship, the TSS Earnslaw.
She has been lovingly maintained since 1912 and is an iconic piece of Queenstown’s history. Take time to explore the vessel, view the engine room, and study the historic displays of the steamship’s former life.
Your trip will take you across the lake, past the Remarkable Mountain range and Cecil Peak to Walter Peak High Country Farm, where you will be welcomed ashore to enjoy a lovely gourmet BBQ dinner at the Colonel’s Homestead Restaurant
Accommodation Queenstown – RYDGES HOTEL
This morning you will enjoy a leisurely breakfast from your accommodation dining room overlooking Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkable Mountain range as the backdrop. It is just gorgeous; this is when you realize we live in such a beautiful country.
After breakfast we depart for Arrowtown – take your time to peruse the shops and /or the little houses of the early Gold miners – Arrowtown today is charming & quirky, a delightful gold rush village nestled below the beautiful peaks that surround the sparkling Arrow River. You’ll be enchanted by historic Arrowtown, a New Zealand treasure.
We continue southwards to the Croydon Aviation Heritage Trust Museum at Mandeville Airfield. Tiger Moth flights are a specialty and you could take a quick spin in one at your cost if you so please.
Gore is the next town, famous for Brown Trout, and bootlegging during the prohibition era.
Arrive at Invercargill in early afternoon – It’s the gateway to a wilderness area- including Stewart Island, with its Rakiura Track. Our check in for our flights is 14.30pm – The flight to Stewart Island takes 20 minutes, taking you past world record holder Burt Munro’s test track, Oreti Beach and mainland New Zealand’s southernmost town – Bluff and across the Foveaux Strait.
Finally, you will land on the largest island National Park in New Zealand with approximately 85% of the island reserved as Department of Conservation land.
Transfer to our accommodation – settle in, then go out & explore the area before dinner – which will be served in the hotel with the locals.
This will be your home for the next 2 nights
Accommodation Stewart Island – SOUTH SEA HOTEL
Wake up to the sounds of bird calls – kaka and tui. Stewart Island is a unique environment; despite being Subantarctic, its clear turquoise sea and white sand beaches make Stewart Island look more like a tropical paradise. The Aurora Australis (Southern Lights) can be regularly sighted from the island, making it a spectacular location for astrotourism and leading to the name Rakiura, “The Land of Glowing Skies”.
Roughly 85% of Stewart Island forms the wild and enchanting Rakiura National Park. One of the best ways to experience the park is by tramping the Rakiura Track, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks, which explores the island’s range of unmodified ecosystems – from rainforests and wetlands to vast sand dunes. The island is home to over 280km walking tracks making it a great destination for trampers and hikers alike. Other activities include, birding, fishing, sea kayaking, diving and hunting.
Later this morning we climb aboard the local tour bus for a Village & Bays tour – we drive most of Stewart Island’s 28km of road – including Oban and the surrounding beaches and the gateway to Rakiura National Park. Our on-board local guide provides insights into Stewart Island’s community.
On your return there is a short window of opportunity to hop onboard the Ulva Island Cruise Explorer – (additional cost). This will need to be pre booked as time between tours is limited.
Ulva island sanctuary is located within Paterson Inlet and offers the opportunity to view rarer native species including weka, kākā, kākāriki, tūī, bellbirds (korimako), pigeons (kereru), fantails (piwakawaka), tomtit (miromiro) and brown creeper (pīpipi).The saddleback (tieke), yellowhead (mohua), Stewart Island robin (toutouwai) and rifleman (titipounamu) have all been successfully reintroduced to Ulva Island.
Some lucky visitors to the sanctuary have also seen the Stewart Island brown kiwi (tokoeka) during the day. Ulva Island is part of the Rakiura National Park and covers an approximate 269 hectares which are mostly managed by the Department of Conservation. Ulva Island has easy walking tracks and is an aspiring place to visit for anyone interested in native birds or plants.
There is opportunity to pre order a picnic lunch to have onboard also.
This evening you can take the opportunity of going on a Wild Kiwi Encounter (additional cost)
At dusk you depart halfmoon bay on a catamaran and head across Paterson Inlet to Little Glory Cove – your tour guide will lead you on a well-formed track across the peninsula to a secluded sandy beach. As dusk sets and daylight diminishes you have a torch light and on the wide-open sandy beach the Kiwi are often out feeding amongst the grasses and seaweed. It is here in the darkness you can see the Southern Brown Kiwi searching for its food.
Just take these two days and relax and explore at your own pace – island time.
Unspoilt, relaxing and incredibly beautiful, Stewart Island is a showcase for untouched New Zealand. Just a 1-hour ferry ride from the mainland, Stewart Island is one of New Zealand’s largely undiscovered eco-tourism destinations. With its network of stunning bays, inlets, golden sand beaches and densely forested hills, Stewart Island combines a spectacular mix of breath-taking landscapes.
You get to spend some quality time with the locals, we will eat local & travel local.
Accommodation Stewart Island – SOUTH SEA HOTEL
This morning we return to the mainland, Invercargill -. Queens Park features flower displays and sports facilities. Demolition World – is a must see stop. This village can be seen as either a stroke of genius or just a bit creepy? You decide. The most popular demolition company of Southland has a secret: a small village created out of their scavengers’ treasures. It is a great way to revisit the past of a remote region.
In town, Bill Richardson Transport World features a vast collection of vintage automobiles. If you have previously visited Bill’s collection maybe you would prefer to visit the Motorcycle collection in town. One other must do in Invercargill – is to visit Burt Munro’s Fastest Indian bike & have your photo taken of you sitting in it.
We have decided to take the long way home – back to Dunedin via the Catlin’s. A rugged, sparsely populated area, the Catlin’s features a scenic coastal landscape and dense temperate rainforest, both of which harbour many endangered species of birds, most notably the rare yellow-eyed penguin. The coast attracts numerous marine mammals, among them New Zealand fur seals and Hooker’s sea lions. In general terms the area enjoys a maritime temperate climate. Its exposed location leads to its frequently wild weather and heavy ocean swells, which are an attraction to big-wave surfers, and have also caused numerous shipwrecks.
Tonight, we will stay at Kaka Point and dine by the sea at The Point Café
Accommodation Catlin’s – NUGGET VIEW MOTEL
The iconic Nugget Point (or ‘The Nuggets’ as referred to by the locals) is located near Kaka Point. There is a short walk to the Nugget Point Lighthouse. Wave-eroded rocks, which are likened to the shape of gold nuggets, can be seen from the viewing platform at the end of the path. The lighthouse was built in 1869-70, is 9.5 metres high and situated 76 metres above sea level. Along the way you may see the fur seal colony on the rocks at sea level to the left of the track and also below the lighthouse, or the many seabirds that make “The Nuggets” their home.
We continue our journey to Balclutha, along the Taieri River mouth and onto Otago Peninsula.
Dunedin is a city in New Zealand, at the head of Otago Harbour on the South Island’s southeast coast. It’s known for its Scottish and Maori heritage, Victorian and Edwardian architecture, and a large student population. Otago Peninsula, home to colonies of albatross, sea lions and rare yellow-eyed penguins.
Archaeological evidence points to lengthy occupation of the area by Māori prior to the arrival of Europeans. The province and region of Otago takes its name from the Ngai Tahu village of Otakou at the mouth of the harbour, which became a whaling station in the 1830s.
In 1848 a Scottish settlement was established by the Lay Association of the Free Church of Scotland. Between 1855 and 1900 many thousands of Scots emigrated to the incorporated city. Dunedin became wealthy during the Central Otago Gold Rush, beginning in the 1860s. In the mid-1860s, and between 1878 and 1881, it was New Zealand’s largest urban area. The city population at 5 March 2013 was 120,246.
While Tauranga, Napier-Hastings and Hamilton have eclipsed the city in size of population since the 1980s to make it only the seventh-largest urban area in New Zealand, Dunedin is still considered one of the four main cities of New Zealand for historic, cultural and geographic reasons.
Dunedin has a diverse economy, which includes manufacturing, publishing and technology-based industries as well as education, research and tourism.
Once we have checked into our accommodation place you will have opportunity to wander around city centre (Octagon), or just enjoy the hustle & bustle of a university town.
Tonight, we will dine in house.
Accommodation Dunedin – Southern Scenic Hotel
This morning we take some time to explore Larnach Castle and gardens, before continuing to Tairoa Heads to the Albatross centre.
Larnach Castle is a mock castle on the ridge of the Otago Peninsula. It is one of a few houses of this scale in New Zealand. The house was built by the prominent entrepreneur and politician, William Larnach.
Since 1967, the castle has been privately owned by the Barker family, and opened as a tourist attraction, as “New Zealand’s only castle”.
The castle and grounds are open daily to the public. The Larnach Castle gardens are one of only five gardens nationwide to have been given the rating of “Garden of International Significance” by the New Zealand Gardens Trust. These were the first gardens in the South Island to receive the title. In 2018, Larnach Castle was designated a New Zealand Landmark by Heritage New Zealand. It really is a must-see icon whilst in Dunedin.
Taiaroa Heads – Located on the windswept end of the Otago Peninsula, Taiaroa Head or Pukekura is world renown as the only mainland colony of albatross in the Southern Hemisphere. Pukekura was an important site for Maori and (later) European settlers. With nearly 10,000 seabirds residing on Taiaroa Head/Pukekura the wildlife viewing opportunities here are immense, but timing is everything.
Royal Albatross – Every year about half of the headland’s 200 northern royal albatross make landfall for courtship or to nest. With a breeding cycle of 11 months, viewing albatross is almost a year-round event. Thi8s time of the year – the chicks have hatched and by now the parents are happy to leave them on the nest alone while they go foraging for feed to feed them. The chicks will stay on the nest until they fledge in September.
Tonight, we dine in one of the Dunedin’s iconic visitor attractions – the Speights Factory.
Accommodation Dunedin – SOUTHERN SCENIC HOTEL
Today is time to begin our homeward journey.
With a 4-hour drive back to Queenstown you will pass through multiple small towns and regions with a vast array of beautiful landscapes. We will follow a similar path as the Clutha River until we join up with the Kawerau river at Queenstown.
Passing through renown fruit growing places such as Roxborough & Cromwell. Then into the grape growing region of Gibbston Valley & Lake Hayes and arriving back to Queenstown airport – ready to fly home.
On arrival back in Tauranga we will transport you home to your front door feeling exhilarated and amazed at the beauty you have just seen and experienced along with the fellowship you have enjoyed. Ready to share your wonderful memories with friends and family.