Discover New Zealand
February 1st to February 21st
The 21-day tour itinerary starts and finishes at Christchurch. Travelling in late Summer the weather is still warm and after two nights in Christchurch our route initially takes us north along the coast to the Marlborough wine region for a three-night stay. We then travel down the rugged west coast through Nelson and Greymouth to the Southern Alps and the Fox Glacier before a 4-night stop at Queenstown to recharge. Then on to Milford Sound before heading further south through Invercargill then on the way back to Christchurch we overnight at Dunedin, Oamaru and Mount Cook.
We arrive in Christchurch and check in to our hotel. As most international flights tend to arrive in Christchurch in the mid afternoon no activities are planned for today. Our Welcome Dinner tonight is held at the Chateau in the Park
Mid-morning we drive across the Port Hills to the French inspired village of Akaroa on the Banks Peninsula. There’s time for a stroll through the village with its colonial architecture, galleries and craft stores before lunch at the nearby French Farm Winery well known for its French provincial style cuisine and spectacular views of the harbour and hills. We return to Christchurch through Littleton and Sumner.
Time for some last-minute shopping and visits to the car restoration workshops of Upper Classics before we leave Christchurch for the one hour drive to Canterbury House Winery at Glasnevin for lunch. After lunch it is just another hour to Hanmer Springs where we overnight at the Heritage Hotel. There will be plenty of time in the afternoon to enjoy the hot springs or the spa. Dinner at the Heritage Hotel is included.
Our morning route takes us through delightful scenery for morning tea near Kaikora then north along one of New Zealand’s best coast roads, stopping for the seal colony and a picnic lunch of champagne and fresh crayfish off the beach at Nin’s Bin. It’s then just 90 minutes to our hotel for the next three nights at Blenhiem in the heart of Marlborough wine country. Dinner tonight is your choice.
This morning we visit Peter Jackson’s Omaka Aviation Heritage Museum. Peter Jackson, of Lord of the Rings fame has created an outstanding aircraft museum with original aircraft dating back to WW1 and the set builders from his movies have recreated quite amazing scenes and dioramas from the era. The centre is a world-class destination for the appreciation of historic aircraft. Not just for enthusiasts, the centre tells the story of aviation during two World Wars, the time in which the most intense period of aviation development took place. The afternoon is free to enjoy the local wineries. Dinner tonight is your choice.
Today is a car free day and an opportunity to enjoy the very best of Marlborough, indulge in some of Marlborough’s Sauvignon Blanc, the Marlborough Sounds and fresh local seafood. Aboard a luxury coach we tour some of Marlborough’s finest wineries followed by a delicious waterfront lunch, then a relaxing afternoon as we cruise the stunning Marlborough Sounds accompanied by more fresh local seafood and Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc . We finish the day with a private dinner in the cellars of the Wither Hills Winery.
Continuing on from Blenheim, we take the spectacular Queen Charlotte Drive following the Marlborough Sounds and Havelock for the 2-hour drive to Nelson. The world famous Hoglund Art Glass for some shopping before lunch at the waterfront Saltwater Café and in the afternoon we take in the spectacular Wearable Art Museum “where art is taken off the walls to adorn the body”. The museum also boasts a collection of over 50 cars in the classic car gallery. Our overnight is at the Rutherford Hotel in Nelson. Dinner tonight is your choice.
After a leisurely breakfast at the Hotel we leave for the west coast with a stop en-route for morning tea before passing through Buller Gorge then over the Northern Alps to our overnight stop at the Punakaiki Resort. Enroute there will be time to explore the area and seal colonies and the world famous Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. Dinner at the resort is included.
Following Highway 6 further south to the village of Hokitika, which was first settled in 1860, after the discovery of gold on the west coast. It still has the feel of a ‘frontier town’ but Greenstone (NZ jade) is the town's treasure these days. You can see it being polished and sculpted and there will be time to see some of the local artisans producing quality glass works and carving before continuing south along the rugged west coast to our accommodation tonight at the Fox Glacier village.
There are several options this afternoon including helicopter flights over Fox or Franz Joseph glaciers, beach walking or a stroll around Lake Matheson. The Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers are unique relics of the last ice age as nowhere else in the world have glaciers advanced so close to the sea at this latitude. The terminal face of Fox Glacier is just five kilometres from the township and the road to the walking track crosses ancient moraine from earlier advances and retreats. Dinner tonight is your choice.
Leaving Fox Village after breakfast and we continue further down the south coast to Haast before turning inland through the Mount Aspiring National Park. A quick stop at Thunder Creek Falls for a coffee before our route takes us through the spectacular Haast Pass and along the shore of Lake Hawea to Wanaka. The scenery along the northern end of Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea is some of the most spectacular of the tour. It’s impossible to miss the famous “Bra Fence” that started as a joke, but has become a local legend and donations to the local charities are cheerfully received. After passing through Wanaka our lunch stop is the Cardrona Pub high up the Crown Range Road, the highest sealed road in New Zealand. The road down the range to Queenstown offers some spectacular views and our accommodation for the next four nights is on the shore of Lake Wakapitu in Queenstown. Dinner tonight is your choice.
Today is scheduled as a day of rest but Queenstown is the adventure capital of New Zealand so there’s plenty to explore. Take a hot air balloon ride, test your nerve at the home of bungy jumping or just relax and enjoy the waterfront. A morning drive to the village of Glenorchy at the far end of Lake Wakapitu will be well rewarded as the road following the shore of the lake is one of the highlight drives of the tour. Alternatively, drive the Kawarau Gorge to the Gibbston Valley Winery for lunch. The Winery is one of the most southern in the world and boasts fabulous Sauvignon Blancs and wine cellars carved into the cliffs of the valley. Dinner tonight is your choice.
Today we cruise on Lake Wakatipu to explore Queenstown’s famed scenic beauty aboard the 103 year old TSS Earnslaw where you can visit the engine room and see its giant steam engines at work. The tour also includes a visit to a working sheep farm and you have the rest of the day free to explore Queenstown and all it has to offer and dinner tonight is included at a local restaurant.
We start the day with a ride on the Shotover Jetboats and after a coffee stop overlooking the Shotover River, it’s just 15 minutes to the historic gold mining village of Arrowtown. For an upmarket experience call in to the Millbrook Resort for lunch. Dinner tonight is your choice.
We have a late start this morning for our drive to Te Anau, our base for the next two nights. There will be time in the afternoon to visit some of the local attractions including the glowworm caves, Lake Manapouri or even a flight over Doubtful Sound. Dinner at the hotel is included.
We leave Te Anau early for the drive through the Fordland National Park to Milford Sound for the cruise down the sound and underwater observatory and the road to Milford is one of New Zealand's most scenic drives. The first part is relatively mild farmland, and then you'll ease into beech forest near the entrance to the Fiordland National Park for the Avenue of the Disappearing Mountain and the Mirror Lakes. The rough hewn Homer Tunnel brings you into Milford Sound, an amazing 22 kilometre-long fiord dominated by Mitre Peak. Lunch is part of the tour and we return through the National Park to overnight again at Te Anau. Dinner tonight is your choice.
Today it’s further south to Invercargill to connect with the Southern Scenic Route and the gateway to some of New Zealand’s most spectacular scenery. It is a relaxed two hour drive to lunch at the Pavilions Restaurant at Colac Bay then on to Invercargill with time in the afternoon to enjoy the city, visit the World’s Fastest Indian or a drive to Bluff for some of the famous oysters. Invercargill is Southland's principal centre and the country's southernmost city. It is known for its elegant old department stores and wide, easy-to-navigate streets. Local food specialties include Bluff Oysters and blue cod. Dinner tonight is your choice.
We continue on the Southern Scenic Route with stops at Niagara Falls (not the big ones) or the 169 million year old fossilized forest at Curio Bay. The area is known as the Catlins and the winding road will take us to see seals and sealions, Hector's dolphins, several species of penguin and the Petrified Forest in Curio Bay. Wilderness beaches, waterfalls, walkways, lakes and rivers provide non-stop scenery. Lunch is at the Whistling Frog for a bit of local colour before continuing on to Dunedin. This evening we dine at Larnach Castle which was brought stone by stone from Scotland, enjoy some fine scotch whiskey and the piping of the haggis.
A short day today and one of the highlight days of the tour as we visit the the whitestone townscape of Oamaru that contains some of the best-preserved heritage buildings in New Zealand. In the late 19th century, the town prospered through goldmining, quarrying and timber milling and some of the wealth was spent on elegant stone buildings made from local limestone. The Victorian precinct around Harbour-Tyne Street area is particularly special and features outstanding steampunk art. Oamaru Harbour is home to a colony of little blue penguins, and just before sunset we have front line seating for the parade as the penguins return to their burrows after a day at sea. Dinner is your choice.
After breakfast at the iconic Riverstone Restaurant, we head inland through the Southern Alps, past the hydroelectric systems on Lake Aviemore and the Benmore Dams towards Twizel where there is great stop at the Salmon Farm to see how these fish are farmed. Then a spectacular drive towards Mount Cook and The Heritage Mt Cook for the night. There’s time to explore a glacier by boat, fly around Mount Cook by helicopter, visit the Planetarium, or just chill out and go to the various films about Edmund Hillary the New Zealand who wad the first to reach the summit of Mt Everest. Dinner at the resort is included.
Our last day on the road as we head north to Christchurch and our Farewell Dinner at The George, one of Christchurch’s most luxurious hotels. On the way we visit the observatory at Lake Tekapo with outstanding views over the Mackenzie High Country and stop for lunch at Geraldine. Our Farewell Dinner tonight is in the private dining room of The George.
After breakfast, this morning it’s time to bid farewell, continue touring or return home.
• 20 Nights accommodation in not less than 4 Star accommodation.
• 20 Days Car Hire (options available)
• 9 Dinners including Welcome and Farewell Dinners
• Full Breakfast every day
• Peter Jackson’s Omaka Aviation Heritage Museum
• Marlborough Sound Cruise and Winery Tour
• Private Dinner in the Cellars of the Wither Hills Winery
• Entry to Wearable Art & Classic Car Museum Nelson
• Shotover Jet at Queenstown
• TSS Earnslaw Cruise on Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown
• Milford Sound cruise
• Dinner at Larnach Castle Dunedin
• Penguin Tour at Oamaru
• Comprehensive Road Book with Daily Route Notes
• GPS Navigator with Full Route Planning
• Classic Driving Tours Travel Pack
Standard cars for the tour are Toyota SUV or Full size sedans
FEATURE DINING EXPERIENCES
• Welcome Dinner at the Award Winning Chateau on The Park
• Private Dinner in the Cellars of the Wither Hills Winery
• Dinner at Larnach Castle Dunedin
• Dinner at The Hermitage Mt Cook
• Grand Farewell Dinner at Chateau on The Park
£4,590.00 - US$5,595.00 – €5950 - A$9,450.00
Per Person based on two sharing a room and car hire
A non-refundable deposit of UK£500 or US$1,000 or €500 or A$1,000 per person is required to be sent with the Booking Form and received by us in clear funds to secure your booking. The balance owing for the Tour is due and payable four months prior to Tour departure, however you may remit payment of the Tour prior to this date. All Tour prices (Tour Prices) are as noted above based on the exchange rate for the NZ Dollar applicable on the 1st of October 2017, include GST, and are subject to change and availability. Price increases may occur by reason of matters outside our control, which include, but are not limited to, adverse currency fluctuations, variations in international shipping and transportation costs, fuel surcharges and other taxes, fees or charges. Please see the Classic Driving Tours Purchase Terms & Conditions for more information.
WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED
• Places of interests and meals other than those included in the final itinerary.
• Personal expenses.
• Fuel and any extraneous car costs not included in your hire package.
• All drinks are extra to accommodate individual preferences.