Price: $4,800 per person
Depart: Wednesday 25 April 2018
- Airport pick-up and drop-off in Nelson
- Fully Guided Tour with experienced driver, travelling in comfortable luxury mini-coach
- All accommodation in quality properties with private facilities. Single rooms on request only
- 14 hearty breakfasts, 18 lunches and 5 dinners included.
- Provincial towns, Rural towns, iconic experiences
- Nature walks every day of the tour
- Wild beaches, forested lakes, coastal trails, wetlands, river trails, alpine passes, history, bird colonies, gold trails, grassy Peninsular's. All delivered in Autumn colours!
- Diverse, unique small group adventures
This is an 18 day South Island tour starting and finishing in Nelson. The trip will be a comfortable sized group tour with a maximum 16 tour members and aimed at NZ Senior walking groups.
In keeping with tradition, this nature/walking tour includes collections of easy to moderate forest, coastal, Lake and alpine trail walks, in a wide range of areas throughout the South Island. The tour is interspaced with time to relax and leisurely explore some of the more interesting townships and regions we drive through. The itinerary includes many two and three night stays in the same place – so tour members can really settle in and enjoy their surroundings.
This itinerary has huge popularity with Kiwis, spending 18 days exploring a broad range of the South Islands most iconic features from pristine waterways, wild untamed beaches, forested lakes, estuaries, river trails, mountains, gold fields, bird sanctuaries. The tour is scheduled to coincide with the autumn colours of the south so tour members can enjoy beautiful settled weather and moderate temperatures at a quieter time of the year during our explorations.
Days 1 - 2- 3
Arrive and overnight in Nelson. The morning of our first day begins with a lovely scenic drive through the farmland and orchards of the Waimea Plains, past the beaches of Tasman Bay and high onto Takaka Hill to enjoy the panoramic and very picturesque East-West views across the whole of the Nelson region. We descend into the farmlands of Golden Bay to stop for lunch in the rural township of Takaka, and to enjoy a leisurely browse through the local arts and craft shops. A two nights stay in comfortable motel units in the coastal village of Collingwood the beach just a minute’s stroll away. Highlights Include: Nature walks at Te Waikoropupu Springs and nearby Pupu Hydro walkway, Milnthorpe Park Scenic Reserve and Arboretum, farmland and beach walks at Puponga Farm Park near the base of Farewell Spit with a visit to the Farewell Spit Visitor Centre to enjoy the fascinating information on migratory birdlife and the whale strandings in the area.
Days 4 – 5 - 6
Travelling once more up and over Takaka Hill, and down the picturesque Motueka River Valley, through the Golden Downs exotic pine forests to arrive by early afternoon into the tiny hamlet of St Arnaud, located in a tranquil bush-clad setting on the shores of beautiful Lake Rotoiti. We enjoy Beech Forest walks in Nelson Lakes National Park, and stay just a few minutes stroll from the lake shore. We leave St Arnaud for a picturesque scenic drive down the Buller Gorge to the upper West Coast near Punakaiki. Experience wonderful coastal walking before stepping back in time for two nights in a renovated historic Gold Mining Hotel synonymous with the West Coast Gold era. Highlights Include: Lakeside beech forest walks and alpine walk along the flanks of Mount Robert with views out over the steel blue waters of Lake Rotoiti. Cliff walks in the upper West Coast headland walking at both Cape Foulwind and Punakaiki. Wetland wanderings at Lake Kaniere and Moana plus an amazing Treetop Walk amidst giant Podocarps.
Days 7 – 8
Travelling from West to East, Arthurs Pass presents commanding and classic back country landscapes and we stop for a nature walk to appreciate the environment of the mighty Southern Alps. We follow the Waimakariri River and emerge out onto the Canterbury plains driving south to the progressive township of Oamaru on the East Coast of North Otago for one night. Continuing south we cross into beautiful Central Otago via the spectacular high country Dansey’s Pass and overnight in the tiny nook of Wedderburn flanked by the Maniototo and in the heart of the Otago Rail Trail. Highlights Include: The Dobson alpine nature walk in Arthurs Pass and Arthurs Pass township (we have often seen Keas here); a visit to the famous Danseys Pass Hotel during our drive over high country Danseys Pass; time to try our hand at Curling in Naseby’s new indoor curling stadium.
Days 9 -10 - 11
We are now in the heart of Central Otago and settle into the lovely and colourful Arrowtown for a three nights stay in lovely spacious motel units, located just a ten minutes stroll from the town centre. A full day in Wanaka exploring the beautiful lakeside walkways and the township itself. The drive between towns is spectacular, travelling over the famous Crown Range Road, home to the gorgeous Cardrona Hotel. A free day to explore the town and local walking trails amid the autumn colours that Arrowtown is so famous for. Highlights Include: En-route to Arrowtown a visit to historic Mitchells Cottage near Alexandra plus a nature walk amid the rocky tors and high country tussock lands that Central Otago is so famous for. An opportunity to stroll the walkways along the Arrow River and up onto the high farmland terraces above Arrowtown, Cardrona Hotel plus lakeside and river outlet walks at Lake Wanaka.
Days 12 - 13
Departing Arrowtown we enjoy the rugged scenery of the Kawarau Gorge as we travel down the Kawarau River Valley, past Cromwell township and then over the Lindis Pass and into the spectacular surrounds of the McKenzie Country. A drive into Mt Cook National Park for an afternoon walk along the spectacular Hooker River Valley. Arriving early evening for a two night stay at the lakefront in Lake Tekapo township. Stroll along the foreshore to the famous Lake Tekapo Chapel and the monument to the high-country sheepdog. Highlights Include: Mount Cook National Park and Hermitage, the Hooker River Valley amid this breath-taking mountain scenery in the heart of the spectacular Southern Alps. The stunning turquoise colours of Lake Tekapo.
Days 14 - 15
From Lake Tekapo we journey north through Canterbury farmland via the scenic inland highway to Ashburton then on to Leeston, Lincoln and Little River to arrive in the historic maritime village of Akaroa on Banks Peninsula. This quaint French town is perfect for two nights, allowing us a glimpse of the extensive walking network available in this area. Highlights Include: Transiting scenery from the mountains to the sea, we make stops at Geraldine and the historic Little River Hotel. Akaroa Harbour with its plethora of short walks, easy tramps exploring the surrounding hills of Akaroa offers rewarding views, pastoral scenery and native bush for all levels of walker.
Day 16 - 17
Continuing our loop north to stay in the pretty alpine spa village of Hanmer Springs. We have an afternoon plus a morning to soak in the hot pools and walk in the magnificent Hanmer forest. Lofty firs, larches and sequoias and mixed plantings of silver birch, oak and alder give the forest beautiful colour at this time of the year, and all the walking trails are a pure joy to explore. Highlights Include: Nature walks in the Hanmer Heritage Forest, a farewell dinner cooked by your hosts.
Our final day we wind our way up to Nelson via the magnificent Lewis Pass, Springs Junction, Murchison, Wakefield, where we can farewell members to the airport for any evening flights (after 6pm) or to Nelson accommodation for extended stays. Highlights Include: A scenic drive through the Lewis Pass, Maruia Falls, scheduled stops in Murchison and the small hamlet of Wakefield.
Itinerary and Booking form
John, Connecticut, USA