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ROVING SOUTHERN EXPLORER

DURATION: 18 Days
FROM: NZ$6,990 per person

DATES & AVAILABILITY

Departure Dates:
15 February 2022

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Christchurch
  • Lake Heron & Omarama Stations
  • Heli-hike at Glentanner
  • Marae visit
  • Moeraki
  • The Catlins & Farmstay
  • Doubtful Sound Cruise
  • Earnslaw Cruise
  • Waiatoto Jetboat Safari
  • Fox Glacier
  • Hokitika

PRICING

15 February Twin/Double Share: $6,990 per person
Upgrade to 4 berth Camper: $445
Deposit due at time of booking: $500 per person
Balance due 60 days prior

For this South Island tour, we highly recommend the 3 berth Motorhome, it is smaller and easier to manoeuvre on the country roads. This van allows you to leave the bed made up the entire time, rather than having to make it up each night.

Please note: Payments by Credit Card will incur a 2% surcharge.* Subject to a minimum of 10 passengers

ENQUIRE ABOUT THIS TOUR

Our unique Southern Explorer, South Island tour allows us to access some of New Zealand’s most stunning high country stations, along with a Catlins cliff top farm and to enjoy the local hospitality in the farmers homes. The included farm and nature tours along the way, showcase the diversity of the stunning MacKenzie country, Otago, the Catlins, Southland and Westland.

You’ll stay in picturesque camp sites and farms at both powered and non powered sites. This journey will allow you to discover the less travelled areas of the South Island such as the amazing Catlins Coast, an area that many kiwis have yet to discover. Taste the local specialty of Whitebait on the West Coast and see the Southern Alps and our tallest mountain Aoraki/Mt Cook from both sides.

This tour is limited to only eight motorhomes.

WHAT’S INCLUDED IN YOUR SOUTH ISLAND TOUR:

  • First night in Christchurch hotel
  • 17 days 3 berth motor home hire
  • Unlimited kms
  • Fully inclusive vehicle insurance, zero excess
  • Camping chairs & table
  • All utensils, linen & full gas bottle
  • Goodie starter pack with essentials
  • Meals as per itinerary
  • Orientation tour at each farm
  • Helihike at Glentanner
  • Entry to the Lost Gypsy Theatre
  • Entry to Transport World
  • Entry to Riverton Museum
  • Doubtful Sound Cruise
  • Earnslaw Cruise & Dinner
  • Waiatoto Jetboat Safari
  • Marae visit in Hokitika
  • Tour host so you get the best out of your trip
  • 15% GST

WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED:

  • Transport to/from Christchurch
  • Travel insurance
  • Meals not listed
  • Pre and post trip accommodation

Armed with your comprehensive trip dossier detailing your South Island tour, each day will hold a new adventure. We’ll brief you the evening before to make sure that you don’t miss anything. Then you’re free to stop as you please, choosing how active or relaxed you’d like to be on any given day.

DAY 1 – ARRIVAL IN CHRISTCHURCH

On arrival at Christchurch Airport, you’ll be transferred to your accommodation in Papanui. Firstly, meet your fellow travellers and tour hosts at your welcome dinner this evening. You will receive your comprehensive tour notes, along with a briefing on the exciting days ahead. If you would like more time to discover Christchurch, we are more than happy to book extra nights for you.

ACCOMMODATION: Quality Elms Hotel, Papanui
MEALS: Dinner
KMS TRAVELLED: 0

DAY 2 – CHRISTCHURCH TO LAKE HERON

After breakfast, we’ll head off to pick up our roving accommodation for the next 11 days. At the depot you’ll receive comprehensive information on your motorhome. The first and most important stop is at a nearby supermarket to stock your pantry. We’ll then meet around 30 minutes out of Christchurch, just to make sure everyone is comfortable in their motorhomes. The idea is not to travel in convoy but to stop at the sights that interest you along the way.

Our travels today take us from the Canterbury plains, through the picturesque Rakaia Gorge, to the South Canterbury high country. Stop at the Staveley Cafe for a delicious snack. Then as we leave the main road behind, you’ll be amazed at the ‘Big Sky’ country off the beaten track on our South Island tour. Once at the Station, we’ll settle into our overnight sites in time for an introductory walk around the farm, and then we’ll have happy hour before our hosted dinner in the homestead.

ACCOMMODATION: High Country Station (Merino and Beef)
POWERED SITE: No
MEALS: Breakfast and 2 course Dinner with wine
KMS TRAVELLED: 155km, approximately 2hrs 30mins driving time

DAY 3 – LAKE HERON TO RAINCLIFF

This morning as we leave the station, we have plenty of opportunity for walks near Lake Heron and time to take in the vistas. Once back on the main road we head towards the quaint town of Geraldine. Take time for a stop here, where the Barkers store and café is a unique attraction. It’s a great place to stock up on condiments for happy hour or a lunch stop. There are many shops and eateries, along with a Swazi shop to browse through.

Unique to our South Island trails, we stay at Raincliff, where we’ll be treated to a fascinating tour, showing how this working deer farm operates. Enjoy a BBQ dinner this evening hosted by the farm owners.

ACCOMMODATION: Raincliff
POWERED SITE: No
MEALS: BBQ Dinner
KMS TRAVELLED: 130km, approximately 2hrs driving time

DAY 4 – RAINCLIFF TO GLENTANNER

There’s so much to see and do today! If you’d like a morning coffee stop, the Farm Barn Café is 20 mins down the road. Owned by the daughter of Dave & Jan at Raincliff Station, it has what we think are the best Custard Squares south of Christchurch and a lovely shop as well! You’ll also pass through Fairlie, which is famous for its pies, and for good reason. Take time to visit an Alpaca farm and the Garage art gallery. At Burkes Pass Heritage Township you’ll find Three Creeks Service Station, full of yesteryear charm and knick knacks. You may like to stop at the St Patrick’s Church, the oldest Union church on its original site, and Burkes Pass cemetery, where many McKenzie country pioneers were laid to rest, along with Connie Scott, the ‘lupin lady’. Soon you’re greeted by views of beautiful Lake Tekapo. There’s lots to keep you busy today!Glentanner Holiday Park is located on Glentanner Station and commands beautiful views of Mt Cook. We’ll enjoy a BBQ this evening at the park.

ACCOMMODATION: Glentanner Holiday Park
POWERED SITE: Yes
MEALS: BBQ Dinner
KMS TRAVELLED: 152km, approximately 2hrs driving time

DAY 5 – GLENTANNER TO OMARAMA

Sure to be a highlight of the journey is the included helicopter trip. This includes a flight to a wonderful vantage point on Glentanner Station, a guide to talk about the various aspects of farming at Glentanner, morning tea and a pleasant walk back to base. There are also many other walks to enjoy in the area, such as Red Tarn & Kea Point. The drive to Omarama is relatively short today, so depending on time, you may like to book in a soak at the Omarama hot/cool tubs, only a 10min walk from the station. Or maybe try your hand at fishing from one of the streams that runs through the property. On arrival at the station, we’ll have a guided walk around the farm that takes in the historic woolshed, brought over from the UK in the late 1800’s, and the operation of the farm. Then we’ll share stories of our day over happy hour and enjoy a hosted BBQ dinner up at the homestead.

ACCOMMODATION: High Country Station (Merino and Beef)
POWERED SITE: No
MEALS: BBQ Dinner
KMS TRAVELLED: 71km, approximately 1hour driving time

DAY 6 – OMARAMA TO MOERAKI

We continue our South Island tour, as we head out of Omarama towards Oamaru, taking the back road over the Benmore Dam. There’s a wetlands walk and also a longer loop from the Dam and it’s a beautiful lakeside drive. Back on the main road there’s Olster’s Wines in the center of Kurow, Elephant Rock walks and Maori drawings, all on the way to Oamaru.

The town of Oamaru has a fascinating Victorian center, don’t forget to stop at Whitestone Cheese for a tasty treat. Checkout the quirky Steampunk HQ and head up to the lookout which then leads you onto the coastal route towards Moeraki.

Tonight you’re treated to dinner at Fleur’s iconic restaurant.

ACCOMMODATION: Moeraki Kiwi Holiday Park
POWERED SITE: Yes
MEALS: Dinner
KMS TRAVELLED: 180km, approximately 2hrs 40mins driving time

DAY 7 – MOERAKI TO POUNAWEA

Discover more scenic coastal routes today as you travel to Dunedin and on to the Catlins. If it’s a hot day, there’s nothing better than an ice cream at Palmerston dairy, but be warned, single scoop will be way big enough! Then stock up on great tasting cheese at Evansdale, NZ’s first artisan cheese factory.

Take the scenic coastal route through Karitane and Seacliff, site of the infamous mental asylum where writer Janet Frame spent time. Then enjoy some time discovering Dundin. Maybe visit Olverston House, Baldwin Street and the Octagon.

Again head off the beaten track on the coastal route via Taieri Mouth to Waihola. Then enjoy your first stop in the Catlins at beautiful Kaka Point. A highlight is the short walk to Nugget Point Lighthouse. From there it’s only another 20 minutes drive to our local farm stay.

ACCOMMODATION: Catlins Farm Stay
POWERED SITE: No
MEALS: None
KMS TRAVELLED: 212km, approximately 3hrs 10mins driving time

DAY 9 – CURIO BAY TO MATAURA

This morning you’ll have time to visit the Curioscape Interactive Experience, and the Petrified Forest before heading off towards Invercargill.

Stop at Slope Point to walk 15mins to the southernmost point on mainland NZ. Next is the Waipapa Lighthouse, with its truely amazing windblown Macrocarpa trees. It’s a wild and windy place!

Make your way to Bluff for drive around the point, then head to Invercargill and explore the amazing Bill Richardson’s Transport Musuem.

Tonight we have a special stay at a Southland organic sheep and beef farm close to Mataura. Enjoy a farm tour and be welcomed into the farmers home for dinner.

ACCOMMODATION: Southland Organic Farm
POWERED SITE: No
MEALS: Dinner
KMS TRAVELLED: 146km, approximately 2hours driving time

DAY 10 – MATAURA TO TE ANAU

Today our South Island tour takes us off the beaten track again. Enjoy the splendid south coast as you head west and stop in at the Riverton Museum a real local gem. Drive around to Howells Point for stunning views of Stewart Island and short walk to a lookout.

The Orepuki Beach Cafe is a great lunch stop (closed Mon, Tue) and it pays to book ahead especially in the weekends. Then enjoy a fossick at Gemstone beach with views of the mountains in the background.

You can stock up on the best sausages in NZ as you pass through Tuatapere. Perfect for an evening BBQ at the Lake View Holiday Park.

Tonight we settle in for two nights by the shores of Lake Te Anau to enjoy the magical scenery.

ACCOMMODATION: Links View Holiday Park
POWERED SITE: Yes
MEALS: None
KMS TRAVELLED: 235km, approximately 2hrs 50mins driving time

DAY 11 – DOUBTFULL SOUND CRUISE

Experience the spectacular, remote wilderness of Doubtful Sound on our guided day trip. Journey across Lake Manapouri, over the breathtaking Wilmot Pass and into the heart of Fiordland National Park.

ACCOMMODATION: Lake View Holiday Park
POWERED SITE: Yes
MEALS: None
KMS TRAVELLED: 0km

DAY 12 – TE ANAU TO QUEENSTOWN

Take your time today as you head to Queenstown. The Athol Art Gallery is a worthwhile stop and drop in to Kingston at the head of Lake Wakitipu. If we’re lucky the Kingston Flyer will be up and running again. However the pub cafe is a great place to stop for lunch.

Drive the picturesque route along the lake to our boutique family run holiday park in Queenstown. Depending on schedules, we’ll include an Earnslaw cruise either today or tomorrow.

ACCOMMODATION: Queenstown Holiday Park Creeksyde
POWERED SITE: Yes
MEALS: Dinner
KMS TRAVELLED: 171km, approximately 2hr 5mins driving time

DAY 13 – QUEENSTOWN

Today is a free day for you to choose from the many options in the surrounding area. The bike trails here are interesting and well organized, Alexandra has boat trips on the Clutha River, explore the historic part of Arrowtown, walk the winery trail of Cromwell, or you may like to just relax for the day and check out Queenstown itself.

ACCOMMODATION: Creeksyde Holiday Park
POWERED SITE: Yes
MEALS: None
KMS TRAVELLED: 0km

DAY 14 – QUEENSTOWN TO HAAST

On the way to Haast head over the stunning Crown Range and take time to explore Wanaka and its attractions. There’s so much to see on the way! Warbirds Museum, The Lavender Farm featured on Country Calendar and Puzzling World to name a few.
Then we travel from east to west over the Haast Pass and into the rainforest of the magical West Coast. There are many short walks and sights along the way, such as; the Blue Pools, Fantail and Thunder Creek Falls. You may like to stop at the Haast Visitors Centre or pub, before turning off towards Jackons Bay.
Our campsite this evening is beside the Waiatoto River, in Hannahs’ Clearing. Surrounded by trees, and located at our starting point for our Waiatoto Jetboat Safari in the morning.

ACCOMMODATION: Waiatoto River Safaris
POWERED SITE: No
MEALS: None
KMS TRAVELLED: 230km, approximately 3hrs driving time

DAY 15 – HAAST TO FOX GLACIER

Today we include a scenic Jetboat Safari on the Waiatoto River and into the Haast UNESCO World Heritage area. This 2 hour safari will leave you in awe of the incredible scenery, whatever the weather.
Then for a delicious lunch, head to Jacksons Bay and visit the sisters Dayna and Nicole at the Cray Pot Cafe. Hear about their story of life in this remote part of South Westland.
There are plenty of short walks in Jacksons Bay and also the beautiful Ship Creek river and dune walks are a “must do” as you head towards Fox Glacier. Take your time; explore and enjoy stunning South Westland.
We’ll see you at happy hour this evening. Our accommodation is at scenic Fox Glacier with views of Mt Cook on a fine day.  This evening we’ll enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.

ACCOMMODATION: Fox Glacier Top 10
POWERED SITE: Yes
MEALS: Dinner
KMS TRAVELLED: 196km, approximately 2hrs 35mins driving time

DAY 16 – FOX GLACIER TO HOKITIKA

Our journey up the wild West Coast continues with a full day of sights. You’ll have the option of taking walks to Fox Glacier, though if it’s clear, we highly recommend Lake Matheson for spectacular views of Mount Cook. There’s also Franz Joseph Glacier and walks. Though our personal favourite is the little known settlement of Okarito. There are wetland and hill walks with spectacular views over the coast. You may opt for a White Heron Colony tour in Whataroa, or to stop in Hari Hari to see a replica of Guy Menzies biplane, the first ever flight across the Tasman. The unique West Coast Treetop walk is included along the way. If you have time, you may like to detour to the stunning Hokitika Gorge. Our Holiday Park tonight is booked exclusively for our group. So enjoy a BBQ dinner and the glowworm grotto. You can even feed the tame eels as well!

ACCOMMODATION: Links View Holiday Park
POWERED SITE: Yes
MEALS: BBQ Dinner
KMS TRAVELLED: 203km, approximately 2hrs 50mins driving time

DAY 17 – HOKITIKA TO OTIRA

At 9am we’ve arranged a special group visit to the Arahura Marae, including a Powhiri and to hear stories of Marae history and culture. There’s also time to visit Hokitika itself for glass blowing and pounamu carving. Shantytown and Greymouth (Monteiths Brewery tour). You may also like to drive to the Pancake Rocks and return via Blackball, and Lake Brunner to the settlement of Otira where we’ll spend the night. Lester Roundtree, the owner of the Otira Stagecoach Hotel, has family links with the first stagecoach drivers through the pass and if weather allows, will hook up his draft horses to take you on a ride around the settlement.The hotel itself is like a living museum, and Lester will explain the unusual collection of knickknacks and artifacts on display. Enjoy a final evening together and a roast dinner in the hotel tonight.

ACCOMMODATION: Otira Stagecoach Hotel
POWERED SITE: No
MEALS: Roast Dinner
KMS TRAVELLED: 127km, approximately 1hr 50mins driving time via Greymouth & Lake Brunner

DAY 17 – OTIRA TO CHRISTCHURCH

This is our last day on the road of our South Island tour before returning our motorhomes back to base in Christchurch. On the way you’ll pass over the amazing Otira viaduct and you may like to go on a bush walk in Arthurs Pass. We loved exploring the walks around the Castle Hill rocks, and you can sample the best pies in Canterbury at Sheffield! As you return your motorhomes to the depot, we’re sure you’ll reflect upon the amazing country we live in and the new friends you’ve made. Safe travels.

ACCOMMODATION: None
MEALS: None
KMS TRAVELLED: 156km, approximately 2hrs 5mins driving time

TESTIMONIALS

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