The flying is easier and it gives you and your family a chance to sample the pleasures of charming Wellington – and the perfect excuse for embarking on a sea voyage across the fabled Marlborough Sounds, Cook Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound. Important names for history and geography-lovers.
South Island itself will delight with whale watching and dolphin swimming at Kaikoura. Not to mention hot air ballooning, horse riding, gold panning and Lord of the Rings Tours near Christchurch, and a whole range of adventure sports in NZ’s adrenaline capital Queenstown.
Fly to Wellington, where you’ll be met and taken to your hotel.
Although your South Island tour will be a banquet of local specialities, Wellington will prove a great taste of what the North Island has to offer.
You can spend your days in New Zealand’s capital city browsing through the excellent Te Papa Museum – with its absorbing, children-oriented discovery centres – or wandering around the interesting and stylish waterfront district.
Stay: Two nights in the Bolton Hotel.
Today you set sail for South Island across the famous Marlborough Sounds. The protective arms of Wellington’s hills disappear over the horizon as you glide across the historically-named Cook Strait before zig-zagging through the jigsaw of islets that lead to the blue waters of Queen Charlotte Sound.
You’ll alight at Picton and board another boat bound for the Bay of Many Coves, where you can sample fine wines, go kayaking or exploring on foot.
Stay: Two nights in the Bay of Many Coves Hotel.
You leave Bay of Many Coves by boat and sail back to Picton where you collect your car and drive off through the wineries of Marlborough. At the old whaling town of Kaikoura you can go whale watching or swimming with dolphins.
The whole family can immerse themselves in Maori culture or take part in exhilarating family-friendly activities – including quad biking through the surrounding countryside.
Stay: Two nights in a treehouse at Hapuku Lodge, surrounded by a deer farm and olive grove.
The quaint city of Christchurch welcomes you with stylish shops, interesting bazaars and markets, as well as sight-seeing opportunities, restaurants and bars, beautiful parks and gardens. Plus a surprise; there are also a good number of adventure activities and adrenalin generating sports in close proximity to the city.
A 50 minutes scenic drive across the sweeping Canterbury Plains and scenic Alpine foothills will take you to a region offering hot air ballooning, gold panning, jet boating, horse riding and Lord of the Rings tours.
Stay: Two nights in The George, Christchurch.
Drive away from the snow-capped Southern Alps and you’ll arrive at Queenstown – the adventure sports capital of New Zealand, situated on the banks of Lake Wakatipu. As well as thrilling activities like knuckle-blanching jet boat rides on the Dart River, exhilarating family adventures and bungee-jump watching from Kawarau Bridge, you’ll also have some adrenalin-calming opportunities. Like lunch in an historic Glenorchy pub, tastings in local wineries and visits to Coronet Peak and historic Arrowtown.
Stay: Three nights in a two bedroom apartment at The Rees, Queenstown.
Your South Island Tour is at an end so you board a plane at Queenstown to begin your journey back home.