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Southern Explorer

9 Days

$4,299 pp
5 Seats Left!

Southern Explorer

Departures

  • January 20, 2023
Only 5 Seats Left!

Prices

  • $4299 per person share twin

What's included?

  • Return airfares from Auckland /Tauranga/ Wellington/Christchurch (ask us about other centres)
  • 2 nights accommodation Dunedin
  • 2 nights Invercargill
  • 1night accommodation Te Anau
  • Overnight Cruise Doubtful Sound
  • 2 nights accommodation Queenstown
  • Breakfast daily
  • Dinner each night (except Saturday 22nd)
  • Lunch Catlins
  • Lunch at The Grille Bill Richardson Transport Museum Invercargill
  • Bill Richardson Transport World
  • TSS Earnslaw Dinner Cruise Queenstown
  • Entrance Te Hikoi Museum Riverton
  • E Hayes Invercargill
  • Sightseeing as detailed on the itinerary
  • Full size Touring Coach
  • Experienced Coach driver & commentary
  • Services of a Tour Manager from Auckland back to Auckland
    FREE home pick up and return in the greater
    Auckland/Wellington/Tauranga/Christchurch
    area (within 25k radius of the city centre)

B – Breakfast     CB – Continental Breakfast     L – Lunch     LL – Light Lunch                   D – Dinner     SD – Special Dinner

Day 1: Fly to Dunedin (D)

Today we join our flight to the heritage city of Dunedin. On arrival we are met by our driver and coach and transferred to our hotel where we stay for 2 nights. Join your Tour Manager for dinner at the hotel.

Day 2: Dunedin (B D)

This morning we enjoy a sightseeing tour of this fabulous city. We start with a visit to Olveston House, an authentic and original historic home depicting the life of a wealthy merchant family in the early part of the twentieth century.

Designed by acclaimed English architect Sir Ernest George, Olveston was build as a family home and furnished with fine art, furniture and artefacts purchased from all around the world. It was opened as a historic house museum in 1967 and is a time capsule as little has changed inside the house since it was occupied as a family home between 1906 to 1966. Visit Dunedin’s Botanic Garden—NZ’s first botanic garden & a Garden of International Significance. It has hill views from sunny lawns, more than 6,800 plant species and the song of wild native bellbirds, wood pigeons and tui. Its then onto Iconic Baldwin Street where if you are feeling energetic you can walk to the top!! We enjoy some free time in the afternoon to enjoy our personal sightseeing or shopping. Dinner at the hotel this evening.

Day 3: Dunedin to Invercargill (B LL D)

This morning we’ll head out along the Southern Scenic Route to the Catlins.

On our journey today we’ll travel through rural heartland and podocarp forests, past rugged coastlines, hidden lakes and stunning waterfalls. The natural landscapes are enthralling and the wildlife is extraordinary. We will pass through Kaka Point a small settlement at the northern edge of The Catlins before heading to the Department of Conservation Wildlife Reserve at Nugget Point where you will be amazed at the dramatic views of “The Nuggets”.

These wave-eroded rocks, which are likened to the shape of gold nuggets, can be seen from the viewing platform at the Nugget Point Lighthouse.

The lighthouse was built in 1869-80, is 9.5 metres high and situated 76 metres above sea level. The walk from the car park is 20 minutes (one way). Along the way you may see the fur seal colony on the rocks at sea level to the left of the track and also below the lighthouse, or the many seabirds that make The Nuggets their home.

It’s then on to Invercargill, capital of the Southland region for two nights. Known for its elegant old department stores and wide, easy-to-navigate streets, Invercargill is also well known for Bluff Oysters and blue cod.

Day 4: Bluff & Invercargill Sights (B L D)

This morning we are off to Bluff– Pearl of the South – Home of the world famous Bluff Oyster, and the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in New Zealand! Bluff is located at the very south of the South Island, New Zealand, in the province of Southland and is the ‘Gateway to Stewart Island’. Stirling Point, with it’s famous signpost and walking tracks, is the beginning of State Highway 1 which traverses the length of the country to Cape Reinga in the far north – the journey really does begin here in Bluff! A great place for a photo!! We head back into Invercargill where a visit to E Hayes Motorworks Store is a must ! This is the home of Burt Munro’s ORIGINAL World’s Fastest Indian motorcycle (made famous by the movie The World’s Fastest Indian” featuring Sir Anthony Hopkins). Next we’ll drive past the pride of Invercargill—Queens Park, a magnificent public park in the heart of the city sprawling across 80 hectares of beautifully kept gardens. Then its off to another highlight. The largest private automotive museum of its type in the world—Bill Richardson Transport World. More than 300 vehicles on display. But there is so much more to see. One man’s passion started it all. What began in a humble back shed has been transformed into a truly spectacular family legacy. Entrepreneur Bill Richardson poured decades of dedication into restoring classic trucks – now, his family has infused his collection with their own interests to create a world-class experience that has become Invercargill’s leading visitor attraction.

Boasting a collection including Henry Ford letter cars, 1930s V8s, Volkswagen Kombis, and vintage trucks of all makes and models including a showstopping 1940 Dodge Airflow Texaco tanker, here you can expect the unexpected. We will also enjoy lunch at the famous Grille Restaurant in all its themed glory!! Later in the afternoon we return to our hotel. You are on your own arrangements for dinner tonight. Your Tour Manager will assist you with suggestions.

If you prefer you can enjoy an optional day trip to Stewart Island with return flights and a Village and Bay tour. We would transfer you to and from the airport and hotel. Please ask us for UpToDate availability and costs if you are keen !

Day 5: Invercargill to Te Anau (B D)

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before we coach through to our overnight stay in Te Anau— gateway to Milford & Fiordland. Enroute we will stop in Riverton and visit the Te Hikoi Museum.

We will be enthralled by the life size displays and engaging stories told of how Maori and European survived on nature’s edge. Life like displays showcase local Māori traditions such as tool making and harvesting, whaling history, early European settlers way of life and industries such as logging and farming, Chinese mining history. It’s then onto Tuatapere known as the sausage capital of New Zealand before arriving in Te Anau late afternoon.

Day 6: Te Anau—Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise (B D)

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and some free time before joining our coach to Manapouri. Here we join a short cruise across Lake Manapouri. A coach then takes us across Wilmot Pass, travelling on a sub-alpine road through dense rainforest.

Arriving at Deep Cove we will be met by our crew and the majestic Fiordland Navigator. Designed along the lines of a traditional scow, the Fiordland Navigator blends old world charm with modern comforts that include spacious viewing decks, a dining saloon with fully licensed bar and an observation lounge.

As we cruise through some of New Zealand’s most stunning scenery, your knowledgeable nature guides will provide commentary ensuring we miss nothing, be it the pod of resident dolphins, fur seals or rare penguins we might encounter. After dropping anchor in a sheltered cove, we can choose to explore the shoreline by kayak or tender boat – or to simply relax on board. All activities are weather dependent. In the evening, we will enjoy a delicious three-course buffet dinner prepared by our on-board chef and served in the dining saloon. Mingle with fellow travellers, savour some of the fine wines at their licensed bar and if the skies are clear in the evening, spend some time on the upper deck gazing at the stars.

Day 7: Doubtful Sound—Queenstown (B D)

Kick off today with a hearty cooked breakfast menu and get ready to enjoy the rest of the morning exploring other parts of the fiord. Finally, we return to Deep Cove and back to Manapouri. We rejoin our coach for the drive through to Queenstown where we will stay for two nights.

Day 8: Queenstown (B SD)

Today we’ll enjoy a sightseeing tour of Queenstown including a visit to one of the most picturesque settlements—Arrowtown. This quaint gold-mining village by the Arrow River is only 20 minutes from Queenstown. We have time here to enjoy a wander around the quirky shops and perhaps try a pie from the famous bakery.

This afternoon is free for us to enjoy our own choice of activities before our evening special dinner. This evening its all aboard the TSS Earnslaw. Steeped in Queenstown’s pioneering history, our experience starts with a cruise across Lake Wakatipu in the 103 year old steamship. Then disembark at Walter Peak and enjoy a gourmet BBQ dinner at the Colonel’s Homestead.

Day 9: Depart Queenstown (B)

Enjoy breakfast this morning and we will be transferred to the airport for our homeward flight. Check out time is 11.00a.m. and the hotel will store our bags if the flights leave later in the day so you are able to have a last look round in this adventure capital. On arrival in our Homeport we will be met by our transfer driver and taken to our home address within a 25k radius of the airport (Auckland/Tauranga/Wellington/Christchurch)