COASTAL EXPLORER (7 days/6 nights)
**Includes WINGS OVER WHALES in Kaikoura valued at $150.00 per person!**
A rejuvenating tour that illuminates some of the hidden corners of the Pacific Coast, crafted to please those with love of nature, wildlife and relaxation.
DAY 1 - CHRISTCHURCH TO AKAROA(1 hour)
Collect your automatic rental car from Christchurch and drive to Akaroa.
There are two routes to Akaroa. State Highway 75 takes you via Lake Ellesmere and Lake Forsyth before it climbs over the hills to Akaroa Harbour. Take time at Hill Top Tavern to absorb the breathtaking view of Banks Peninsula.
The other route is very scenic, but longer and more difficult to drive. It takes you through the Lyttelton tunnel and around Lyttelton Harbour before making the rugged, cross country journey to Akaroa.
Originally a French settlement, Akaroa is a charming town that strives to re-create the feel of a French provincial village. The streets wear French names, and local restaurants pay homage to French cuisine. Visit the Akaroa museum and beautifully restored historic cottages.
DAY 2 - AKAROA HARBOUR SAILING CRUISE
Experience this truly Classic sensory personal Sailing Cruise. The 47 foot Classic Ocean Sailing Yacht, Manutara, is one of the last A-Class keelers built. You'll thrill to be in control on the helm, when the wind pipes up and the leeward rail's in the water with the bow wave hissing in front. This cruise suits people of all experiences and abilities or if you prefer not to be involved just relax in the 'Royal Seats' and watch.
Look out for the rare Hector's dolphins (the world's smallest) or spot the white flippered penguins bobbing across the waves. See Akaroa wildlife up close.
Most often you'll be surprised to hear penguins calling to each other and dolphins breathing BEFORE you see them! Sea life is drawn to play in the pressure wave created by the unique shape of Manutara's hull, and the silence as she glides through the water under sail alone. Enjoy an encounter with wildlife, on their terms, without disrupting their environment.
DAY 3 - AKAROA TO HANMER SPRINGS(3 hours)
Travel back to through Christchurch on to Hanmer Springs. Stop for lunch at one of the many wineries in the Waipara region characterized by vineyards and olive groves. Across the Hurunui River, through the Balmoral forest this scenic journey leads you to the Alpine village of Hanmer Springs.
Famous for it's Thermal Pools and Spa, relax in the open air thermal pools or take time for a massage or spa treatment. Basic admission is included in your tour offering use of all outdoor thermal pools, freshwater lap pool and family activity pool. Includes towel
Hanmer also offers a range of adventure activities including bungy jumping, jet boating, mountain biking, quad biking and skiing to name a few. For the less adventurous there are stunning walks, golf courses and wonderful cafes and boutique shops to enjoy.
Overnight Hanmer Springs
DAY 4 HANMER SPRINGS TO KAIKOURA(1 hour and 45 minutes)
There are a number of ways to get from Hanmer Springs to Kaikoura. The most scenic route is via the Inland Road which takes you past the entrance to the ski village of Mount Lyford, or you can travel a bit further south and take the Leader Road. The Leader Road incorporates coastal and rural farming views and finishes at the Waiau Township. On both routes there are plenty of photo opportunities for the avid photographer.
One of the highlights of you trip is viewing the majestic whales which is included in your trip.
Experience the thrill of Whale watching by air. Each flight includes a full pre-flight briefing about the marine environment and details relating to the safety aspects of the aircraft, a 30 minute flight and full commentary.
Wings over Whales has a sighting rate in excess of 95% for Sperm Whales and a cancellation rate of less than 5%, unmatched by others! After the flight relax in the log terminal over a light meal and drink. An upstairs lounge looks over the sea and local mountains.
DAY 5 - KAIKOURA TO PICTON (2 hours)
The drive from Kaikoura to Picton is spectacular as you'll be accompanied by the Pacific Ocean for most of the way as the main highway hugs the east coast of the South Island. Passing the salt pools of Lake Grassmere and leading on to Marlborough's finest wineries, before arriving in Picton.
On Picton's foreshore you'll find scenic cruise boats, small boat and bike hire, a mini-golf course, and an aquarium. See the hull of the ninth oldest ship in the world, the Edwin Fox, at a purpose-built museum at Dunbar Wharf or check out Marlborough's vibrant arts scene and follow the Art and Craft Trail.
You will return your car in Picton before heading to your boutique hideaway in an inlet of the Marlborough Sounds. Transfer is by watertaxi. The Marlborough Sounds encompass 20% of New Zealand's total coastline. This intricate maze of waterways consists of three Sounds, namely the Queen Charlotte Sound, the Kenepuru Sound and the Pelorus Sound. Within the area is pristine native forest ranging from towering 800 yr old Rimu trees, lush punga tree ferns and beautiful native orchids, all plunging down to the shoreline. The myriad bays, coves and inlets are perfect for exploring by sea kayak.
Note - the deluxe option includes All Meals while staying at Marlborough Sounds.
Overnight Marlborough Sounds
DAY 6 - MARLBOROUGH SOUNDS
A perfect way to spend your last day soaking up the majestic scenery of the Marlborough Sounds from you hammock, balcony or even you bush bath.
Kayaking and walking options are available.
Overnight Marlborough Sounds
DAY 7 - PICTON
Today your tour ends after your water taxi transfer back to Picton. Options are available to take the train back to Christchurch, or take the Interislander to Wellington - Or add on the next part of this journey - see Beaches and Bays.
COASTAL EXPLORER TOUR PRICE- ex Christchurch (ends Picton):
Superior $1,295.00 per person (share twin)
Deluxe $1,895.00 per person (share twin)
Includes 6 day car hire (automatic vehicle including, Unlimited kilometres, Loss Damage Waiver (LDW),Airport Concession Fee Recovery and Accident Excess Reduction), 6 nights accommodation, breakfast daily (plus lunch and dinner in Marlborough Sounds on Deluxe option only), Sailing cruise in Akaroa, Admission to Thermal Pools in Hanmer Springs, Wings over Whales in Kaikoura and GST.
Tour prices are in New Zealand Dollars and subject to availability at time of booking. High season surcharges may apply during peak seasons. Low season discounts may apply during the off-season. Single rates and triple share rates are available. Please enquire for full details.
All tours are available in reverse and can be amended to suit.