Canterbury Trails offers a guided, tour of the Top of the South Island including Nelson, Blenheim, Picton, the Marlborough Sounds, and Kaikoura Highlights of your tour will include: Adventure, Scenery, food and wine. .
Your Canterbury Trails guide will help you experience the natural wonders and heritage of Aotearoa, the ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’. You will meet the local people of the West Coast, Able Tasman, Marlborough and Kaikoura, you will visit National Parks and walk on pristine beaches. On the countryside’s quiet trails, you will go where the large tour groups do not venture and visit wild and remote places. You will travel through the northern part of the South Island where the beaches feature golden sand, the weather is warm and sunny and the sea is at your doorstep. This tour is fully escorted with guided walks, first class service, superb food and accommodation. It is a photographer’s dream. Maximum group size for these tours is eight guests.
Please note that this is done as a private tour and departure is on demand. We will fit to your timetable. tailor made tour for you or your group.
Day 1 – “Christchurch and welcome”
After an introduction tour of Christchurch, you will travel west across the vast Canterbury Plains and into the mountains. We will stop for some short walks in the Arthur’s Pass National Park before crossing the main divide and heading through the Otira Gorge. Along the way we will make a stop for lunch at one of the West Coast’s historic pubs before continuing north to Greymouth and then following the wild west coast road to Punakaki in the Paparoa National Park. Our stop here is at the Punakaiki Eco Resort. There will be time in the late afternoon to visit the famous pancake rocks and maybe watch for the “green flash” as the sun sinks into the sea.
Accommodation: Punakaiki Eco Resort
Included meals:MT, L, AT,
Day 2 Seals, goldmines, early settlers and earthquakes.”
We continue north on State Highway 6 with a visit to Cape Foulwind and the seal colony. This is the westernmost tip of the South Island and features a rugged and inhospitable coastline to early settlers. NZ Fur Seals however are very much at home here. History unfolds with abandoned gold mines, ghost towns and early history. As we travel through the Buller Gorge we follow the dramatic Buller River as it carves it’s way to the sea through steep sided gorges and remarkable scenery. There are picnic places and look out points to remind us of the havoc wrought by earthquakes in 1929 and 1968, whose tremors de-stabilised much of the land. We stop at the town of Murchison which sits on a small inland plain surrounded by mountains at the junction of the Buller and Matakitaki Rivers before continuing through to the Nelson Lakes. Along this part of the journey stops for photos and short scenic walks will fill the rest of the day before we arrive into Nelson
Accommodation: Nelson. Warwick House B & B; Cambria House, Rutherford Heritage Hotel or similar
Included meals: B, MT, L, AT,
Day 3 “Sea,sands,beaches,arts and craft.”
A day to explore Nelson and it’s secrets. This area abounds with artists, crafts, wine and outstanding food. On the doorstep of the Kahurangi National Park and the Abel Tasman, you will find that one day here is simply not enough to uncover it all. We can extend your stay here and arrange walks, kayaking, even sky diving or just relaxing.
Included meals: B, MT, AT
Day 4 “Marlbourough Sounds, green lipped mussels and a seafood odyssey”
We leave sunny Nelson behind and travel over the Rai Saddle and down to the Pelorus River. At the Pelorus Bridge we make a stop to walk down to the gorge. This location was used by Sir Peter Jackson in the Hobbit movies to film where the dwarves escape in barrels down the river. Picture yourself here at a stunning natural movie setting. We pass through Havelock and turn left to take the Queen Charlotte Grove Road to Picton. The beauty of the Marlborough Sounds will begin to open up with the twists and turns of this very narrow road. In Picton we will deliver you to the the Seafood Odyssea for a culinary boat ride. The exclusive Seafood Odyssea Cruise, features a visit to a Marlborough salmon farm, learn about aquaculture in the Marlborough Sounds and take in the picturesque scenery. Taste Regal salmon and Tio Point oysters with Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc for the definitive wine/food match. Towards the end of this tour the skipper will deliver you to the Bay Of many Coves Luxury Resort for the night.
This beautiful remote lodge is surrounded by native bush full of birdsong.Relax on your private balcony in the evening before joining your hosts for a pre-dinner wine tasting. You won’t want to leave when the sun rises out of the sea in the morning.
(The length of your stay here can be extended to two nights.)
Accommodation: Bay of Many Coves Luxury Resort.
Included meals: B, MT, L, AT, D
Day 5 “Wine, miniature sheep, music and tree houses”
From the lodge you will be collected by a water taxi from which we will meet you in Picton. We travel through to Blenheim, passing through the many vineyards that make up this world famous wine producing area. Lunch will be at one of our favourite wineries before we leave the area and head down the East Coast. Our first stop along State Highway 1 will be at the Yealands Vineyard. Learn about the amazing sustainability of this place. So, whether it’s building the first winery in the world to be certified as carboNZeroCertTM from inception, engineering the World’s first vine pruning burners as a major energy source or installing one of the country’s largest array of solar panels, they are determined to tackle the really big issues head-on. Every day Yealands is growing closer to their goal of becoming energy self-sufficient and carbon negative. Meet the specially bred miniature sheep, listen to the music played to the vines but more importantly taste their product. We continue along the East Coast, close to the sea where the Kaikoura Mountains reach down to the shore, with photo opportunities at Kekerangu and Ohau Point before our stop for the night at Hapuku Lodge.
Accommodation: Hapuku Lodge Tree Houses
| Included meals: B, MT, L AT, D
Day 6 “Coastline, Mountains, Whales and Dolphins”
After breakfast there is time to enjoy one of the many activities that Kaikoura is famous for. Your guide can arrange a Whale Watch tour, a flight with Wings Over Whales, Swimming with Dolphins, a unique Maori Tour or you might like to walk Llamas on a coastal path. A helicopter flight can take you high into the mountains with a landing on Mt Fyffe or we take you for a stunning cliff side walk around the Kaikoura Peninsula.
Again your stay at Hapuku Lodge can be extended if you wish to spend more than just one night in this diverse place. If weather permits we will lunch at an outdoor seafood caravan before saying goodbye to Kaikoura and making our way to Christchurch. Before we arrive back in the city we pass through the Waipara wine growing region where we can stop to taste Pinot Noirs and white aromatics that this region is so well known for.
Once at your Christchurch accommodation your guide will bid you farewell with what we hope is some wonderful memories of the Top of our South Island.
Accommodation: Your choice of Christchurch Accommodation
| Included meals: B, L, AT.
B = Breakfast;
MT = Picnic morning tea;
L = Lunch;
AT = Picnic afternoon tea;
D = Dinner