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Similar itineraries

Southern Alps & Southern Lakes

9 days starting in Christchurch, finishing in Christchurch
Accommodation style: Motels

The Classic 9 day Southern Lakes

9 days starting in Christchurch, finishing in Christchurch
Accommodation style: Boutique lodges & hotels

The Classic 9 day Southern Alps Circuit

9 days starting in Queenstown, finishing in Queenstown
Accommodation style: Boutique lodges & hotels

9 day Essential South Island

9 days starting in Christchurch, finishing in Christchurch
Accommodation style: Boutique lodges & hotels

 

9 Day Upper South Island Rail Experience add +

9 Day Upper South Island Rail Experience
9 Day Upper South Island Rail Experience
9 Day Upper South Island Rail Experience
9 Day Upper South Island Rail Experience

This driving tour of the upper South Island includes two fantastic rail journeys that take you along the edge of the Pacific Ocean and across the spectacular Southern Alps.

Along the way you’ll also see some of the hidden gems of the top of the South Island, including the Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki, whales in Kaikoura and the fascinating Denniston Mine on the rugged West Coast.  This tour is a must for train enthusiasts, but also those that enjoy breath-taking scenery in out of the way locations.

The approximate total driving distance and time for this itinerary is: 433 kms / 269 miles, 5.4 hours

You can expect to spend around NZ$70 in fuel cost on this itinerary based on an intermediate sized car.

 

Day 1

Arrive into Christchurch, transfer to your accommodation

Private transfer Christchurch airport to your accommodation

On arrival you will be met by a private driver and delivered to your Christchurch accommodation.

Your tour documentation pack and support

Your tour documentation pack and support
Your tour documentation pack and support
Your tour documentation pack and support
Your tour documentation pack and support

Your tour pack will be hand delivered by one of our trusted representatives. Containing all the documentation you’ll need for the duration of your tour, this comprehensive bag includes a bound version of your itinerary complete with driving instructions and maps for each travel leg. You’ll also receive the reservation details for your accommodation and activities - as well as a New Zealand touring atlas and relevant brochures on the destinations you’ll be visiting. While travelling throughout New Zealand we offer 24 hour support should you need any help at all.

Complimentary New Zealand cell phone for your holiday

You will receive a New Zealand cell phone for the duration of your tour, with $50 credit pre-loaded. The number is allocated around 14 days before your arrival so you can let friends and family know your contact details ahead of time if you wish. Receiving calls (including international) doesn't cost anything so there are no expensive roaming charges. It's a great option to help you make dinner reservations, book an activity, call ahead to your accommodation or for getting in touch with us if you need any help. The $50 loaded credit will give you around 100 minutes of local and international talking time.

Welcome to Christchurch City

Welcome to Christchurch City
Welcome to Christchurch City
Welcome to Christchurch City
Welcome to Christchurch City

Christchurch, New Zealand's garden city is steadily being transformed into a vibrant urban destination. Encompassing a large green belt, it is known for its wide tree lined avenues and lush gardens. Take the double decker hop on/hop off bus for an easy way to see the sights - or ride a historic tram across town to the renowned botanic gardens and the unique cardboard Transitional Cathedral.

Your accommodation - Elizas Manor Boutique Hotel

Style: Boutique lodges & hotels

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 5-10 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Includes continental breakfast
  • Includes cooked breakfast
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Laundry facilities: Drycleaning service available
  • All rooms non smoking
Elizas Manor Boutique Hotel
Elizas Manor Boutique Hotel
Elizas Manor Boutique Hotel
Elizas Manor Boutique Hotel
 

Day 2

Explore Christchurch on the Grand Tour

Christchurch Grand Tour

Christchurch Grand Tour
Christchurch Grand Tour
Christchurch Grand Tour
Christchurch Grand Tour

Hop aboard the Grand Tour luxury coach for an interactive guided journey around Christchurch. See the best of this port city including beautiful parks, gardens, seaside suburbs and hills. You’ll learn about its history and future plans for the well under way multi-billion dollar rebuild following the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. Included in the tour are four of Christchurch’s premier attractions – punting on the Avon, the Caterpillar Botanic Gardens tour,  the Christchurch Gondola and a hop-on hop-off ticket for the heritage Tram.

Your accommodation - Elizas Manor Boutique Hotel

Style: Boutique lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Day 3

Take the Coastal Pacific scenic train to the marine wildlife mecca of Kaikoura

Driving distance and time: 0 kms / 0 miles : 0.0 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Private transfer hotel to Christchurch train station

A private transfer will collect you this morning and deliver you to Christchurch train station in time for your train journey.

Coastal Pacific Train Christchurch to Kaikoura

Coastal Pacific Train Christchurch to Kaikoura
Coastal Pacific Train Christchurch to Kaikoura
Coastal Pacific Train Christchurch to Kaikoura
Coastal Pacific Train Christchurch to Kaikoura

The Coastal Pacific train journey travels between Christchurch, the South Island's largest city and the delightful port of Picton. This leg of the journey crosses the wonderful North Canterbury Countryside to the township of Kaikoura.

Kaikoura Railway Station to your accommodation

You will be met at the Kaikoura Railway Station and transferred to your Kaikoura accommodation.

Whale Watch Kaikoura

Whale Watch Kaikoura
Whale Watch Kaikoura
Whale Watch Kaikoura
Whale Watch Kaikoura

New Zealand's only marine based whale watching company, Whale Watch Kaikoura offer visitors a once-in-a-lifetime up close encounter with the giant sperm Whale. You are also likely to encounter New Zealand fur seals, dusky dolphins and albatross. Depending on the season you may also see pilot, blue and southern right whales as well as migrating humpbacks. Often orcas can be spotted here and the world's smallest dolphin, the Hectors, is sometimes seen. You’ll be taken out in modern catamarans specifically designed for whale watching - featuring large passenger cabins and outside viewing decks. Passenger numbers for each tour are kept below the vessel carrying capacity to ensure your tour experience remains a personal one.

Your accommodation - Kaikoura Boutique Hotel

Style: Boutique lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 10-15 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Breakfast service available
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Hairdryer
Kaikoura Boutique Hotel
Kaikoura Boutique Hotel
Kaikoura Boutique Hotel
Kaikoura Boutique Hotel
 

Day 4

Kaikoura to the seaside village of Picton, gateway to the Marlborough Sounds

Driving distance and time: 0 kms / 0 miles : 0.0 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Kaikoura Accommodation to Railway Station

You will be collected from your accommodation and transferred to the Kaikoura Railway Station in time for your departure.

Coastal Pacific Train Kaikoura to Picton

Coastal Pacific Train Kaikoura to Picton
Coastal Pacific Train Kaikoura to Picton
Coastal Pacific Train Kaikoura to Picton
Coastal Pacific Train Kaikoura to Picton

The Coastal Pacific train journey travels between the delightful port of Picton and Christchurch, the South Island's largest city. This journey is a scenic feast of New Zealand, with the Kaikoura mountain ranges on one side of your train and the rugged Pacific Ocean coastline on the other. One of the world's most scenic train journeys, the Coastal Pacifc travels through 22 tunnels and crosses 175 bridges, one of them being New Zealand's only road-rail bridge. As on The TranzAlpine, The Coastal Pacific includes an open air viewing carriage where all your senses are awakened with the clean, fresh, sea air.

Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday

Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday
Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday
Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday
Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday

Collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday.  You can choose from an extensive range of late model cars and 4WD vehicles, from Europcar, Budget or Hertz.

GPS navigation system

Use the latest GPS technology as you tour New Zealand. Your portable GPS features a simple touch screen interface with automatic route calculation and turn-by-turn voice-prompted directions including street name announcement. The automotive-grade GPS unit is easy to use and has multiple language options.

Your accommodation - McCormick House

Style: Boutique lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 3 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 20-30 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Includes continental breakfast
  • Includes cooked breakfast
McCormick House
McCormick House
McCormick House
McCormick House
 

Day 5

Take a side trip to Blenheim to visit Omaka Aviation Centre, then on to Nelson

Driving distance and time: 143 kms / 89 miles : 1.9 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Picton to Nelson via Blenheim

Picton to Nelson via Blenheim
Picton to Nelson via Blenheim
Picton to Nelson via Blenheim
Picton to Nelson via Blenheim

Heading south from Picton you soon arrive into the grape growing areas around Blenheim. Famous for their sauvignon grape variety the region is the largest in New Zealand. Many of the wineries welcome visitors to their cellar doors.  Heading south west you pass the airport and here you will also find the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, which is well worth a visit. A short drive north from Blenheim to you reach Havelock.  The small port town of Havelock has a great variety of cafes and restaurants to choose from so plan your journey to arrive in time for lunch.  Crossing the Bryant Range you arrive onto Tasman Bay and the city of Nelson.

Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre - suggested activity

Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre - suggested activity
Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre - suggested activity
Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre - suggested activity
Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre - suggested activity

Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre houses a display like no other and you don't have to be an aviation buff to enjoy it!  Human stories from the Great War come to life in a theatrical treatment, which is innovative and visually stunning. Captivating scenes depict the aircraft in context, some recreating actual incidents. The rare memorabilia is worthy of any national collection and ranges from beautifully crafted ‘trench art' through to personal items belonging to the famous Red Baron himself.

For current opening times and entry prices visit the Omaka website.

Your accommodation - Kershaw House

Style: Boutique lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 3 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 5-10 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Includes continental breakfast
  • Includes cooked breakfast
  • Dinner service available
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • All rooms non smoking
Kershaw House
Kershaw House
Kershaw House
Kershaw House
 

Day 6

Explore the charming city of Nelson and maybe the WOW Car Museum

Explore the Nelson and Abel Tasman region

Explore the Nelson and Abel Tasman region
Explore the Nelson and Abel Tasman region
Explore the Nelson and Abel Tasman region
Explore the Nelson and Abel Tasman region

Nelson is a great city to explore on foot. Visit the historic areas, the famous Cathedral or relax and enjoy the atmosphere at one of the many cafes on Trafalgar Street. Nelson is also noted for its many artists, and galleries displaying their work can be enjoyed by following one of the Art trails listed locally. Around 45 minutes drive away is Abel Tasman National Park. The region offers countless opportunities to explore for visitors of every age and capability, from enjoying the golden sand beaches and clear warm waters to guided kayaking trips viewing seals and dolphins, to exploring some of New Zealand's finest walking tracks.

World of WearableArt (WOW) and Classic Cars Museum - suggested activity

World of WearableArt (WOW) and Classic Cars Museum - suggested activity
World of WearableArt (WOW) and Classic Cars Museum - suggested activity
World of WearableArt (WOW) and Classic Cars Museum - suggested activity
World of WearableArt (WOW) and Classic Cars Museum - suggested activity

The World of WearableArt™ and Classic Cars Museum is an iconic ‘must see’ Nelson visitor attraction that celebrates two distinctly different passions. A world class collection of classic cars can be viewed alongside incredible wearable works of art from all around the globe. This unique visitor attraction means you can enjoy the special World of WearableArt™ experience even if you can't make it to the annual performance.  All the garments on display have performed on stage in the annual WOW® Awards. The magical experience of the annual awards show is brilliantly translated to the gallery setting by the use of superb music, specially sequenced lighting and a cleverly introduced element of movement. Here you will truly appreciate the intricate detailing of these incredible creations up close.

The car collection represent years of passionate sourcing from around the world and New Zealand. These cars are some of the most sought after models in Classic Motoring, presented to the highest standard, with some having undergone extensive restoration. As well as being classic examples of automotive technology, these cars tell an important story about the twentieth century. They represent the spectrum of automotive history, design and craftsmanship.  This is one of Australasia’s largest private collections. The museum’s distinctive building features a six-metre high metallic aluminium ribbon wall that is based on a dynamic wand and silk taper performance in a previous WearableArt™ show. The aluminium fabric flows and twists like the original fabric. The museum also includes a café with fine food made fresh every day and superb locally roasted coffee which you can enjoy inside or out beside their tranquil pool.

Your accommodation - Kershaw House

Style: Boutique lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Day 7

Head to the stunning West Coast and Punakaiki

Driving distance and time: 250 kms / 155 miles : 3.0 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Nelson to Punakaiki

Nelson to Punakaiki
Nelson to Punakaiki
Nelson to Punakaiki
Nelson to Punakaiki

Leaving Nelson City you will pass through the suburb of Richmond. Moving on you will pass through the Nelson Lakes and Kahurangi National Park region. Trees, rivers and valleys accompany you now as you head towards the town of Murchison. Murchison is a quiet place and a great lunch stop. Underneath its sleepy farming facade is an adventurers paradise with white water rafting, jet boating, gold panning, kayaking, 4WD trips and excellent trout fishing. Heading South towards Westport you will drive along the Buller Gorge, enjoy some wonderful scenery as you follow this magnificent river. Further along the river from the west coast turn off one of the must stop places is Whites Creek and New Zealand's longest swing bridge. Crossing the river you get magnificent views of the gorge and once on the other side there are short bush walks, jet boat rides and some of the historic gold mining remnants. Continuing on your journey the first major town (by this regions standard) is Inangahua and a small museum tells of the earthquake that hit the region in 1968 leaving 70% of the buildings damaged or inhabitable. Heading south a worthwhile divert is to Cape Foulwind just south of Westport. Home to a seal colony and the short walk provides some spectacular scenery. Continuing south on the road to Punakaiki you will pass through Paparoa National Park. On arrival to Punakaiki you may want to visit Pancake rocks. Pancake rocks are open to the public free of charge all year round. These are awesome natural blow holes and rock formations, the name says it all. The west coast is very rugged, mountains meet sea and the coast is covered with beautiful fauna and flora including nikau palms.

Your accommodation - Punakaiki Resort

Style: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 10-15 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: On site paid access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Room service available
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • All rooms non smoking
Punakaiki Resort
Punakaiki Resort
Punakaiki Resort
Punakaiki Resort
 

Day 8

Continue to Greymouth where you'll board the TranzAlpine Train for a spectacular journey across the Southern Alps

Driving distance and time: 42 kms / 26 miles : 0.6 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Punakaiki to Greymouth

Punakaiki to Greymouth
Punakaiki to Greymouth
Punakaiki to Greymouth
Punakaiki to Greymouth

You have plenty of time to explore Punakaiki this morning and to enjoy the scenic drive back along the coast to Greymouth to catch the Tranz Alpine Scenic Train to Christchurch. Just south of the town of Greymouth is Shantytown a replica gold rush town with lots of great displays from yesteryear and a great place to spend a few hours.  Drop your rental car at the Greymouth Train Station depot located inside the train station building before checking in for your train journey at 1:15pm.

Tranz Alpine Scenic train Greymouth to Christchurch

Tranz Alpine Scenic train Greymouth to Christchurch
Tranz Alpine Scenic train Greymouth to Christchurch
Tranz Alpine Scenic train Greymouth to Christchurch
Tranz Alpine Scenic train Greymouth to Christchurch

Considered one of the world's great train journeys, the Tranz Alpine scenic train takes you from Greymouth to Christchurch. You'll travel across the South Island through the Arthur's Pass National Park from the west coast to the east.

From the comfort of your carriage see lush beech forest, deep river valleys and the spectacular peaks of the Southern Alps.  Descend to the windswept Canterbury Plains before arriving in the city of Christchurch.

Private transfer Christchurch train station to your accommodation

Your private transfer driver will meet you on arrival into Christchurch train station and take you to your accommodation.

Your accommodation - Elizas Manor Boutique Hotel

Style: Boutique lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Day 9

Explore more of Christchurch before departing for home

Private transfer to Christchurch airport

You will be collected from your accommodation and a private transfer will deliver you to Christchurch airport in time for your departing flight.

 
 

Testimonials

"Itinerary was well planned and accomodations were better than expected." see more