BEACHES AND BAYS
BEACHES AND BAYS (7 days/6 nights)
Join those in the know who are heading for the beaches and bays of the sunny Nelson region. A tour of contrasts combining the golden sand of the Abel Tasman with a taste of the West Coast's rainforest.
DAY 1 - PICTON TO MAPUA (2 hours or just 40 minutes from Nelson)
(Or start in Nelson if arriving by plane)
Collect your automatic rental car in Picton (or if arriving by plane collect car in Nelson).
The drive to Nelson first takes you to the town of Havelock, which is known as the Green Shell Mussel Capital. There are two routes to take to Havelock, driving around the edge of Queen Charlotte Sound on the Grove Track is the most scenic journey. This will bring you out at Havelock and then through the Rai Valley and onto Nelson.
The city of Nelson is home to a fascinating community of beach, bush and art lovers. From here you can organise yourself an eco-adventure or become immersed in the local creative culture. Every year the city hosts the Montana New Zealand Wearable Art Awards, where art comes off the wall and onto the body.
From Nelson it is just a short 30 minute picturesque drive to Mapua where you can relax for 2 nights. Mapua is a coastal village at the top of the South Island of New Zealand. Situated at the heart of Tasman Bay and bathed in the highest sunshine hours in New Zealand.
DAY 2 - MAPUA
A great base from where to explore the top of the South!
With a population of just 1600 people, Mapua still has a lot offer with numerous arts and craft outlets, top notch cafes and restaurants and a small aquarium
Activities cater for all ages and tastes.... Golfing at one of the most scenic 9 hole courses in NZ; Trout fishing on the renowned Motueka River, Guided tours of local Wineries; Scenic Helicopter trips; Cruising and bird watching on the Waimea Estuary, the largest on the South Island; Skiing at Rainbow Ski Field in St. Arnaud, Nelson Lakes; Play Tennis or lawn bowls at Mapua.
Day 3 - MAPUA TO COLLINGWOOD (1 hour 30 minutes)
Though just a short distance from Mapua, tiny Collingwood (population 250) is a different settlement all together, on the other side of the Abel Tasman National Park and is the last town in this part of the country but there's plenty to do if you love nature.
Collingwood is the starting point for the Heaphy Track - one of the best-known tracks in New Zealand. (4 to 6 days, 82 kms to Karamea, the last town at the top of the West Coast).
From here you can launch yourself onto the Kahurangi National Park or catch an eco-tour to the bird sanctuary of Farewell Spit. It's easy to rent a mountain bike to explore beautiful Aorere Valley, or a kayak to paddle around Ruataniwha Inlet. Other local activities include caving at Te Anaroa Caves, studying minerals at Rockville and horse treks along Wharariki Beach, where there's a seal colony. Perched as it is on the edge of Golden Bay, Collingwood is a place to enjoy scallops.
Day 4 - COLLINGWOOD
Suggested activities from Collingwood include:
Farewell Spit Eco Tour
The geography is unique, the history is fascinating, but the birds give Farewell Spit its world-wide fame.
Tour times are determined by the tide, so departures could be early enough to experience a seaside sunrise or late enough to soak in a sunset on your return. Tour duration is 5 1/2 hours. Experience the changing landscapes, seascapes and skies as you journey in our purpose built 4wd buses to a place where nature is paramount and city life is a million miles away.
Tours include visits of Wader feeding grounds on the intertidal plain, a historic Lighthouse, a Gannet Colony at the end of the earth and Cape Farewell, the most Northern point on the South Island.
There is a fascinating Heritage Walk that takes in the history of Collingwood by following panels placed strategically around the township. Start your walk at Panel 1 Elizabeth Street.
Golden Bay is positioned at the northern tip of the South Island, New Zealand, and is popular with visitors who enjoy the outdoors. Deserted beaches and tracks, and clear crisp days make early spring and autumn great seasons for exploring the many 'ins and outs' of 'The Bay'.
About 30 minutes north of Collingwood, a short gravel road leads visitors to a car park, from where you take a 20 minute stroll across private, rolling farmland. A short incline at the end takes you to a dramatic landscape, where the actions of wind and wave have combined to produce one of the most superlative coastal landscapes anywhere. Wharariki is characterised by bold cliff lines, high arches, caves, rock bridges, line after line of massive dunes which long ago blew inland to dam streams and form lakes, and surreal islands which are home to fur-seals and seabirds. The wind sweeping the western coast has resulted in quirky, intriguing bushland. Quiet inspection of the islands and headlands accessible at half-tide may reveal groups of seals, sometimes at play in the large rock-pools.
With the Tasman Sea washing it's sandy shores, and prevailing winds stirring up the sand dunes it is a place best visited on a fine day with very little wind.
No visit would be complete without dipping into the the original Rosy Glow Chocolate House.
Day 5 - COLLINGWOOD TO WESTPORT (4 hours )
Travel back towards Motueka before heading inland towards Westport. On the way to Westport you'll travel up the Motueka River Valley on a pretty, winding road that takes you past magical scenery and tiny settlements. Turn right when you connect with the main highway and head for Murchison, where you can learn about 1929's massive earthquake. Pan for gold in Lyell Creek before you navigate the awesome Buller Gorge. At Hawks Crag the road has been hacked out of solid rock - you'll drive under a dramatic overhang.
Westport is known as a coal mining town and a base for outdoor adventures. Visit the local coal mining museum, then strap on your walking shoes to investigate the seal colony. Black water rafting, jet boating, horse trekking and surf rafting are other opportunities for outdoor excitement.
Day 6 - WESTPORT TO HANMER SPRINGS (2 hours and 45 minutes)
Explore the attractions in and around Westport before heading east to the historic gold town of Reefton and the Maruia Springs hot pools.
The road climbs through forests of red and silver beech into the subalpine zone, where you will see small alpine tarns and stunted, moss-covered vegetation. Near the summit of Lewis Pass on the left side of the road, a 30-minute walking track, the Tarn Nature Walk, loops through the red tussock, bog pine and club moss covered landscape into a mountain beech forest draped in lichens near the start of the St James Walkway.
The warm volcanic springs on the north bank of the Maruia River were visited by goldminers until the early 1900s, when the water was piped across the river to what is now the Maruia Springs thermal resort. Featuring a Japanese-style bath-house and naturally heated outdoor rock pools, the complex is a relaxing place to break the journey, especially in winter after the first snowfalls.
More thermal attractions lie waiting on the other side of the beautiful forest-clad Lewis Pass at Hanmer Springs and at Waikare you can catch a ride on the historic Weka Pass Railway.
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 7 - HANMER SPRINGS TO CHRISTCHURCH
Today you travel on to Christchurch. The route to Christchurch initially follows the beautiful Waiau River. Then it leads you through the Balmoral Forest and across the Hurunui River. Farmland, vineyards and olive groves characterise the Waipara region, which is known for its wine and food - an excellent place to pause for refreshment. The last leg of your journey takes you past the surf beaches of Amberley, Leithfield, Waikuku and Woodend.
BEACHES AND BAYS TOUR PRICES- ex Picton or Nelson (ends Christchurch):
Superior $1,150.00 per person (share twin)
Deluxe $1,595.00 per person (share twin)
Includes 7 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, Admission to Thermal Pools in Hanmer Springs, 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.