Jet off to New Zealand’s stunning South Island and discover its varied wildlife and beautiful coastline.
Look out for whales and dolphins in Kaikoura and albatross in Dunedin, cycle the pretty countryside around Queenstown, and discover the delights of Christchurch, before washing it all down with a glass or two of New Zealand’s finest wine.
Some of the highlights included are:
- Check out Christchurch’s innovative Re:START shipping containers mall
- See if you can spot the dolphins leaping in the waves in Kaikoura
- Look out for the enormous albatross in Dunedin
- Sample New Zealand’s finest wines in Blenheim
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- Indirect international flights
- 12 nights in 4–4.5* hotels
- 11 days' car hire
- Station to Station cycle trail with BBQ
- Peninsula Encounters & Albatross tour
- Waipara Wine Trail
- Whale watching tour
- Scenic Marlborough & Wine tour
- Airport transfers
Need to know+
- Arrives: Queenstown Airport (ZQN)
- Time difference: GMT+13
- Visa requirements: British passport holders do not require a visa
- Language: English and Maori
- Currency: New Zealand dollar (NZD)
- Flying time from UK: around 27 hours
- Plug type: 3-prong flat blade plug
- Voltage: 240 volts/50 cycles
Fly from UK to Queenstown
Welcome to Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand. Here you can take part in all manner of crazy outdoor activities – choose from skiing, skydiving, jetboating, bungee jumping and hiking, among many others. Spend half a day cruising from Queenstown to Mt Nicholas High Country Farm, through Bob’s Cove and enjoying the spectacular views, before cycling between Mt Nicholas and Walter Peak Stations along a quiet country road – the perfect way to take in the lovely landscape.
Your next stop is Dunedin, known as the Edinburgh of the South due to its many Scottish influences. Here, you’ll head off on a Peninsula Encounters & Albatross tour, giving you the chance to spot the world’s largest sea bird up close. You might even see the odd penguin, fur seal or sea lion while you’re at it. Back in town, why not head to Larnach Castle, New Zealand’s only castle and boasting magnificent coastline views from its tower.
Explore the pretty city of Christchurch, reminiscent of a middle England town. Perhaps go punting on the Avon or take a look at the innovative Cardboard Cathedral, a symbol of the city’s resilience after the tragic earthquake of 2011. In the same vein, be sure to browse the Re:START Mall, a collection of shops and cafes housed in reclaimed shipping containers, helping businesses to recover. Later, set off on a road trip through the Waipara Valley’s boutique vineyards, tasting the local wines as you go.
Kaikoura is home to an abundance of marine life including fur seals, penguins and albatrosses. See if you can spot them all as you head out to sea on a whale watching tour. Depending on when you visit it’s possible to see sperm whales, humpback whales, southern right whales and even blue whales, as well as orcas and dolphins. Well-known for its seafood, it would be a shame to visit Kaikoura without sampling the deliciously fresh crayfish.
Taste the locally grown wines among the sun-drenched vineyards and pretty wineries of Blenheim. The region is well known for its Sauvignon Blanc, but also produces excellent Riesling and Pinot Noir. Visit a number of wineries, soak up the scenery and find your favourite from among the vintages. Once you’ve had your fill of wine, there are a number of art galleries and museums worth exploring too. Blenheim often claims to be New Zealand’s sunniest town, but there is a bit of friendly rivalry with nearby Nelson.
Another claimant of the sunniest town in New Zealand title, Nelson is a place to enjoy the good things in life. Named after Lord Nelson, a British Admiral, Nelson is a compact city surrounded by stunning scenery, nature trails, parks and beaches, and a great place to get outdoors and explore. The forests and mountains draw artists and craftsmen from all over and you can visit their galleries and studios while you are here. The imaginative costume designs in the World of Wearable Art and Classic Cars Museum (WOW) particularly stand out. Other pursuits include exploring the coastline by sea kayak or just relaxing in the sun with a glass of wine and feasting on the local scallops.
Depart Nelson and return to the UK
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