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Enjoy 7 days exploring New Zealand's sorth island. The beautiful sunny top of the South island. Kaikoura has a variety of rare marine mammals converge here - sperm whales, New Zealand fur seals, dolphins and penguins. Blenheim is the heart of wine-growing Marlborough. You'll find a pleasing selection of cafes, restaurant and pubs. The Nelson region is known for its year-round sunshine, golden beaches, national parks, boutique wineries, micro breweries and a large creative community of working artists.

Inclusions:

  • Round-trip International Economy airfare from Los Angeles
  • Add-on airfares available from other cities
  • 7 Days medium automatic vehicle
  • 6 nights accommodation, Christchurch x1, Nelson x3, Belnheim x2
  • ** Sightseeing options and packages are available **

Itinerary

Customize this itinerary - Contact Us

Day 1 - Depart US
Ask about our options with Premium Economy and Business class airfare.

Day 2 - Cross International Date line

Day 3 - Arrive Christchurch, drive Kaikoura
Arrive Auckland and connect to Christchurch. Collect your medium automatic vehicle

From here, enjoy 7 days exploring New Zealand’s south island. Hit the highlights or go off the beaten path. This deal is designed to give you maximum freedom to explore on your own with the reassurance of having a clean comfortable bed at night.

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Christchurch to Kaikoura
184 km (115 miles) Approximately 2.25 hours

The South Island's largest city, Christchurch is an entertaining mixture of refined lifestyle and cultural excitement. The tranquil Avon River meanders through the city, historic buildings house a lively arts community and restored trams make it easy to get around. Visit heritage sites, museums and art galleries, and enjoy the highly developed restaurant scene.

The trip north takes you along the edge of the rugged coastal ranges. From Cheviot you can detour to Gore Bay to see the fascinating cliff formations. The landscape becomes more gentle as you approach Waipara, a region known for its vineyards and olive groves. The last leg of your journey takes you past the surf beaches of Amberley, Leithfield, Waikuku and Woodend. 

Day 4 - Kaikoura to Nelson
Kaikoura hugs a narrow strip of coastline that lies between mountain peaks and the Pacific Ocean. A variety of rare marine mammals converge here - sperm whales, New Zealand fur seals, dolphins and penguins. Half Day cruises are available for viewing and for the more adventurous the chance to swim with the dolphins in open water.

  • Whale Watching
    The vessel is a modern catamaran designed especially for whale watching. The main passenger cabin is enclosed, air-conditioned and fitted with comfortable seating, while large outside decks offer great viewing and photo opportunities. Prepare for exciting up-close encounters with Giant Sperm Whales. Clients may also see migratory humpback whales (June-July), Hector's and Dusky Dolphins, Orcas (December-March) and NZ Fur Seals, as well as plenty of bird species including Royal Albatross, Petrels and Shearwaters. Cruise concludes approximately 3 hours 30 minutes after commencement
  • Dolphin Encounter Swim
    Enjoy a tour that enables you to swim or watch the dusky dolphins in their natural habitat. A complete guided commentary is given throughout the trip. There is the opportunity to swim with the dolphins (wetsuits and snorkelling equipment will be provided) during the tour for those that have booked this option. Tour concludes approximately 3.5 hours after commencement.
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Kaikoura to Blenheim
129 km (81 miles) Approximately 1.75 hours

Kaikoura is a base for wildlife experiences of all kinds and also a great place to eat crayfish. A whale watch tour can take you to see Minke, Humpback and Southern Right whales mixing it with dolphins and orcas. You can also walk to see fur seal colonies and spy on big seabirds such as mollymawks, albatross and petrels.

State Highway 1 takes you through the coastal foothills, and then out into the picturesque Awatere Valley. In the township of Seddon you'll find authentic New Zealand crafts. The Lake Grassmere saltworks is an interesting stop - the ponds turn coral pink in late summer. After the small town of Ward, the road turns toward the awesome beauty of the Pacific Coast. Just north of the Ure River is a road that leads to the walking trails of the Sawcut Gorge.

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Blenheim to Nelson 
115 km (72 miles) Approximately 1.5 hours

Blenheim is the heart of wine-growing Marlborough. You'll find a pleasing selection of cafes, restaurants, pubs, shops and golf courses. Character accommodation is another Blenheim delight with everything from homestays to boutique hotels.

The drive to Nelson is both beautiful and interesting. Rai Valley has a delightful cottage museum, and at Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve you can enjoy a bush walk or a swim. Nearby Canvastown gives you the chance to explore old gold mining fields and thousands tried to get rich here in the 1860s. Havelock is the place for a seafood meal, known as the Green Shell Mussel Capital of the World. When you reach Renwick, which is surrounded by vineyards, it will be clear that you've arrived in wine country.

Days 5 & 6 - Nelson / Abel Tasman National Park
The Nelson region is known for its year-round sunshine, golden beaches, national parks, boutique wineries, micro breweries and a large creative community of working artists. Add to this locally grown produce, freshly caught seafood, historical streetscapes and waterfront restaurants and you’ll see that it offers a thoroughly pleasurable way of life. Situated in the north-west corner of the South Island, the Nelson region is surrounded by sheltering mountain ranges, giving it a Mediterranean-type climate. Either spend an additional night in Nelson or travel to Motueka to stay in the heart of the Abel Tasman National Park. Add one of these pre bookable sightseeing options: (additional cost)

  • Kayak, Seals & Walk day tour - Abel Tasman National Park
    Morning 'Split Apple Paddle' guided half day kayak trip, explore the spectacular Kaiteriteri coastline. Stop on a golden sand beach for a short break. In the afternoon swap the kayak for walking shoes, and cruise to the golden sands of Onetahuti, visiting the fascinating seal colony at Tonga Island on the way.
  • Abel Tasman National Park - Beach Walk
    Calling in at Kaiteriteri before departing for Anchorage, relax on the beach with a picnic or enjoy a one hour return walk to Te Pukatea Bay, a 1 1/2 hour return walk to Pitt Head to view the lighthouse and panoramic views, or from Anchorage walk to Cleopatra's Pool.
  • Wine Tour - full or half day
    Enjoy a truly exclusive tour of the Nelson Wine Region. Visit wineries both on the plains and the hills where you can meet the owners and winemakers. You’ll also sample wine from the ten classic grapes grown in New Zealand. Taking in pristine scenery will ensure a memorable day – this tour is both fun and informative
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Day 7 - Nelson to Belnheim

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Nelson to Picton
145 km (91 miles) Approximately 1.75 hours

The city of Nelson is home to a fascinating community of beach, bush and art lovers. From here you can organise yourself an eco-adventure or become immersed in the local creative culture. Every year the city hosts the Montana New Zealand Wearable Art Awards, where art comes off the wall and onto the body.

The drive to Picton first takes you to the town of Havelock, which is known as the Green Shell Mussel Capital of the World. Nearby Canvastown is a place to explore old gold mining fields – thousands tried to get rich here in the 1860s. At Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve you can enjoy a bush walk or a swim, depending on the time of the year. And if you’d like a glimpse of local life in 1890, Rai Valley has a beautifully preserved cottage museum.

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Picton to Blenheim
28 km (18 miles) Approximately 0.5 hours

The picturesque seaside town of Picton is the South Island base for the Interislander ferry service, which links the North and South islands of New Zealand. It’s also the gateway to the marine, forest and island attractions of the Marlborough Sounds. Museums and interesting walks will keep you entertained while you’re here. The short drive to Blenheim takes you across the Wairau Plains past vineyards and wineries. Diversions along the way include a golf course and farm parks. Blenheim is the heart of wine-growing Marlborough. You’ll find a pleasing selection of cafes, restaurants, pubs, shops and golf courses. Character accommodation is another Blenheim delight – everything from homestays to boutique hotels. There are more than 20 wineries within driving distance of the town, and nearly all of them welcome visitors.

Day 8 – Blenheim
Explore Blenheim at your leisure or consider adding one of our tour options - Some of our favorites (additional cost):

  • Marlborough Icons
    our tour guide will show you through the fabulous Marlborough wine region stopping to enjoy two fine wine experiences including Marlborough's Iconic winery, Cloudy Bay. After two wonderful wine visits the tour then departs the wine region through to the Marlborough Sounds for a lunch on the waterfront (lunch is at own cost). Depart the marina on the Malrborough Tour Company launch for a unique Seafood Cruise through the Marlborough Sounds. Take in the natural beauty of the native bush and the tranquility of the Sounds. Learn from your experienced Skipper the history of the Malrborough Sounds and the history of the pioneering families who have settled in the Sounds over 6 generations. Visit a marine farm and learn why seafood grows so well in the Marlborough Sounds. Enjoy a seafood tasting matched to a glass of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. On arrival back in Havelock re-board the coach for the transfer back to Blenheim
  • Deluxe Half Day Guided Biking Wine Tour
    This guided half day tour bikes to three of Marlborough's premium wineries. You will ride along country roads, river stop-banks and through vineyards. The tour guide provides commentary throughout the tour on the wines and wineries and also the history and geography of New Zealand's largest wine region. Tour concludes approximately 3.5 hours after commencement,
  • Half Day Wine Tour
    Commence a half day Marlborough Wine Tour. The 4-5 hour tour will give you a great insight to the Marlborough Wine area. Tasting wines along the way and wandering amongst the vines. Tour concludes approximately 4-5 hours after commencement at which time hotel drop offs will commence.
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Day 9 – Depart Blenheim
Drop off Rental Car at Blenheim Airport and take flights to US via Auckland

 

Costing*
Now-31 March 2017
3 Star $2,099
4 Star $2,499
5 Star  $2,999

 

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Conditions

From pricing is valid for departures until 31 March 2017 for purchase by 31 March 2017. Prices are per person based on double occupancy departures from Los Angeles. Add-on fares are available from other cities. Certain black out dates apply on the accommodation and tour value add offers - check with your Aspire consultant. Seats are limited and may not be available on every flight. Hotels are subject to availability. All prices reflect a discount for purchases made by cash/wire transfer/check, please see terms and conditions for credit card payments. There are no discounts for payment made by credit cards. Cancellation penalties and other restrictions apply.