Arrive in Christchurch, New Zealand’s Garden City. Collect your rental car from the airport and make your way to your Christchurch accommodation.
Discover the vibrant and picturesque garden city, renowned for its natural beauty, lively entertainment scene, and strong cultural heritage. With its stunning botanical gardens and tree-lined avenues, Christchurch is both a sophisticated city and beautiful place to relax.
Your options include visiting the Canterbury Museum where you can find rare Maori artefacts; the stories behind them will fascinate you. The museum has a frequent range of special exhibitions, a café and a gift shop for you to browse. Other recommended activities include the Christchurch Gondola, Tramway, Punting on the Avon River and the Botanical Gardens Tour.
Stay 1 night in Christchurch.
Driving time Christchurch to Kaikoura 180 km / 115 miles, 2.5 hours
Enjoy the scenic coastal drive north along the South Island’s East Coast to Kaikoura, a coastal town on the South Island of New Zealand. It’s known for its abundant wildlife and its sperm whale population. The Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway winds from the town centre to lookout points at Point Kean. Close by, the rock platforms are home to a colony of New Zealand fur seals. The 1800s Fyffe House is a cottage built on a foundation of whalebones, with displays on the town’s whaling past.
Today experience a once in a lifetime opportunity with a Whale Watch Scenic Flight to view the majestic Sperm Whales off the Kaikoura Coast.
Stay 1 night in Kaikoura.
Driving time Kaikoura to Nelson 245 km / 152 miles, 3.5 hours
Today continue your journey north travelling to Nelson. Enjoying New Zealand’s highest sunshine hours, discover the creative paradise that Nelson is, with galleries, boutique shopping, local markets and gourmet cafés, you will soon love the Nelson way of life.
Stay 1 night in Nelson.
The first day of the Abel Tasman Coastal Walk! You will be picked up from your accommodation in Nelson and travel to Motueka for a welcome briefing. Depart on coach to travel to Kaiteriteri. Then it’s all aboard the Vista Cruise for a safe, fast and comfortable cruise along the National Park coastline. Disembark in Totaranui, where you will start your walk through mature beech and rata forest and along secluded golden beaches to the tidal inlet at Awaroa. Walk or take a boat across the inlet to the Meadowbank Homestead, where you’ll be welcomed with pre-dinner drinks and fine food. Walk 2 hours (approx 6 km / 3.7 miles).
Stay 1 night at Meadowbank Homestead.
Day 2 of the Abel Tasman Coastal walk and you’ll wake up to a home-cooked breakfast to prepare you for your scenic day walk to Torrent Bay. A longer day of walking today with about 7 hours (16 km / 10 miles) through native forest with magnificent coastal views and along golden beaches. Arrive at Torrent Bay Lodge right on beachfront where you will relax for the evening. A shorter walking option is available with 9 km / 5.5 miles of walking and cruise on the Vista catamaran.
Stay 1 night at Torrent Bay Lodge.
On the final day wake up to the morning light on the golden sands of Torrent Bay and perhaps a coffee on the deck before breakfast. Then onward along the easiest section of the coastal track from Torrent Bay to Marahau, with panoramic views across Tasman Bay to Nelson. Walk 4 – 5 hours (13 – 16 km / 8-10 miles) depending on tides. Returning to Nelson by 5.30 pm.
Stay 2 nights in Nelson.
Explore Nelson today. You can walk the sun-drenched sands or take a sea kayaking tour around the coast and see a seal colony and little blue penguins bobbing in the water. Taste your way around the region by bicycle on Tasman’s Great Taste Trail or get your daily dose of adrenaline with a visit to one of the region’s world-class mountain bike parks.
The attractive walking mall at the heart of town is filled with galleries, gourmet cafés, and local shops. Visit the art studios, explore the craft markets, taste the delicious locally made artisan products and find something extraordinary to take home with you.
You also have the opportunity to try out one of the adventure activities in the area, including quad bike adventures, horse treks, and the world’s longest flying fox adventure; or pay a visit the Nelson Provincial Museum, New Zealand’s oldest museum. Learn about the region, its people, history, and environments; it includes a temporary gallery which features changing exhibitions. At the end of your visit, browse the gift shop for a curated collection of Kiwi-made products, arty objects,
Driving time Nelson to Greymouth 285 km / 178 miles, 4 hours
Travel from Nelson to Greymouth through the Nelson Lakes National Park and out to the rugged West Coast of the South Island. Set against the backdrop of the lush West Coast rain forest this mining town has a lot to offer. Travel the short distance to the amazing limestone formations at Pancake Rocks / Punakaiki. At high tide, the Tasman Sea swells furiously against the coast, booming up against the tall rocks creating spectacular geysers through blowholes.
Stay 1 night in Greymouth.
Train travel Greymouth to Christchurch 223 km / 138 miles, 4.5 hours
Today drop off your rental car and board your TranzAlpine Train which journeys from the West to East Coast. Your train travels through the spectacular Southern Alps, gorges and river valleys before reaching the fields of the Canterbury Plains.
Arrive in Christchurch and make your way to your Christchurch accommodation.
Stay 2 nights in Christchurch.
Relax in Christchurch for the afternoon. You might like to take time to explore the city by double-decker bus, vintage bicycle, gondola, tram or classic Edwardian punt – or grab your walking shoes and discover bars, eateries and an eclectic mix of boutique shops by foot.
On your last evening, make a toast to a wonderful New Zealand holiday!
Make your way to Christchurch Airport and depart Christchurch.
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