Discover the beauty of New Zealand’s South Island, known for its magnificent mountains, pristine lakes and world-renowned wines. From Christchurch, you’ll venture north along the remote rugged shorelines to the beautiful and pristine Marlborough Sounds and Tasman region, where you’ll be treated to world-class wine and an abundance of artisan cuisine. Travelling with Insight Vacations through the South Island will take you from city to coast to sounds and mountains, all while being privy to exclusive experiences and expert local knowledge that most travellers miss.
This trip is part of Insight Vacations' Local Escapes, a selection of local journeys that feature a max of 22 guests, staggered seating on the coach and the potential to have a double seat if travelling solo. Insight Vacations has new measures in place to allow for comfortable physical distancing all while guests explore close to home.
DAY 1 - Welcome To Christchurch
Your Insight Vacations host meets you at Christchurch Airport and transfers you to your hotel. Meet your Travel Director at 11:00 and set off on your spectacular journey. Start with a sightseeing tour of the Garden City with your Local Expert and see how far Christchurch has come in rebuilding since the tragic earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. See the Christ Church and Cardboard Cathedrals, as well as the moving 185 Chairs Memorial. Make Travel Matter as you lend a helping hand in planting a native tree and contributing to the reforestation efforts of the Port Hills after the 2017 wildfires. Tonight, indulge in a delicious Welcome Dinner at a trendy local restaurant.
DAY 2 - Train Along The Coast
This morning, board the Coastal Pacific Express train to Kaikoura, a champion in sustainable tourism. Admire the views through panoramic windows as you travel past farmlands, at the foot of mountains and along remote rugged shorelines. In Kaikoura, join a whale watching adventure in waters abundant with marine mammal life and you might spot giant sperm whales, dusky dolphins or even orcas. These fantastic creatures are lured to the local waters thanks to the unique submarine landscape and abundance of food. Marvel at magnificent scenery along the East Coast. With the ocean on one side and soaring mountains on the other this is a journey to remember. Pass the Lake Grassmere Saltworks displaying various shades of pink ponds and sparkling white salt crystal mounds. Arrive tonight to sunny Blenheim in the heart of the Marlborough Wine Region.
DAY 3 - Malborough Culinary Delights
The Marlborough Wine Region is internationally acclaimed for its Sauvignon Blanc even though wine production started relatively late in the 1970s and the breakthrough only coming in the 1980s. Savour the world-class quality on a wine tour, sampling some of the best produce of the area. Tonight, indulge in a dining experience at the Hans Herzog Estate as you make your way through three courses paired with handcrafted, organic wines.
DAY 4 - Mountains And Sounds
Make your way to Picton, the gateway to the Marlborough Sounds as well as the North Island across the Cook Strait. Take a relaxing boat ride on the glorious Queen Charlotte Sound, named by Captain James Cook after the wife of British King George III. Upon your arrival to the Arapawa Island, meet the Radon family who will introduce you to the paua pearl farming process, the molluscs themselves and their place in the New Zealand heritage. Your tour is followed by a morning tea before sailing back to the mainland to continue your scenic journey to Nelson, the oldest city in the South Island. Tonight, dine at the Oceano Restaurant.
DAY 5 Relaxed Start - Tasman Treasures
Wake up in an extraordinary part of New Zealand with awe-inspiring nature and a quirky artist scene. Explore Nelson Tasman with Insight Choice. Spend the day outdoors in the paradise of Abel Tasman National Park by going on a hike along secluded golden beaches and forested paths. Alternatively, take a day tour discovering the wines and art of the region as you sip on Pinot Noir and meet the talented folk flocking to the area. Tonight, take it easy in Nelson and enjoy an evening at leisure.
DAY 6 - From Coast To The Mountains
Today, head to the mountains towards the centre of the South Island. Follow the Maruia River valley, then travel through the Lewis Pass, the northernmost of the three main crossings in the Southern Alps. Arrive to Hanmer Springs, a destination for adventure, relaxation and indulgence. Surrounded by dramatic mountains and towering forests, the main street of this charming town is filled with boutique shops, cafes and eateries. Famous for its natural hot springs, you may wish to go and have a soak or even get a treatment. Tonight, is yours to relax and enjoy this beautiful alpine village.
DAY 7 Relaxed Start - Farewell Christchurch
After your Relaxed Start, visit the Waipara Wine Region and toast your travels at a winery Celebration Lunch. Return to Christchurch this afternoon where your trip concludes. Take a complimentary transfer to the airport for your onward journey.
✓ Insight Vacations have enhanced our existing hygiene protocols to align with the latest guidance following COVID-19.
✓ All Travel Directors and Drivers have been trained by their fully qualified Training Manager in well-being and hygiene protocols.
✓ Their Travel Directors are also trained to react and activate protocol should any unexpected issues arise on the trip.
✓ Physical distancing measures have been implemented on their customized luxury coaches.
✓ Hand sanitizer is freely available onboard for their guests to use throughout the day.
✓ They only work with establishments that we are confident will consistently adhere to our high well-being standards, which includes hotels, restaurants, sightseeing venues.
✓ Their operations and guest support teams are on call 24/7, so you can rest assured that you’re in good hands.
✓ While sightseeing guests to be allowed immediate entry on arrival with no queuing.
✓ The venues Insight Vacations travels to all have physical distancing measures in all public areas.
✓ Hotel and restaurant tips are included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give.
✓ Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi (where available).
✓ If your arrival and/or departure flights are as per the itinerary start and end dates, then transfers are available at scheduled times. If your flights are outside these times, or you have booked additional nights accommodation with Insight Insight Vacations, you may purchase transfers or make your own way from/to the airport.