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A leisurely itinerary through the South Island where you're sure to be enamored with the physical beauty, nature activities and food & wine of New Zealand. Covering the South Island hot spots of Nelson, Blenheim, Kaikoura and Queenstown, you'll be able to enjoy a day of activity and an afternoon or evening of relaxation. Enjoy sea kayaking to the well known seals in Abel Tasman National park or a scenic whale watching excursion in Kaikoura. Cycle through the vineyards, cruise through the world renowned Milford Sound or simply relax at your leisure and take in the pristine beauty of New Zealand with a glass of local wine.

Inclusions:

  • Roundtrip International Economy Class airfarefrom Los Angeles
  • Add-on airfares available from other cities
  • Domestic New Zealand Flights
  • Seven days medium sized automatic transmission car rental
  • Four nights in Nelson at the 4* Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco Apartments
  • Abel Tasman National Park - Beaches, Bays & Seals Cruise, Kayak & Walk
  • Two nights in Marlborough at the 4* Chateau Marlborough
  • Two nights in Kaikoura at the 3.5*-4* White Morph
  • Half day whale watching cruise
  • Five nights in Queenstown at the 3.5*-4* Mercure Queenstown Resort
  • Full day Milford Sound Nature Cruise
  • Airport transfers
  • All taxes and fuel surcharges

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 Nelson
Collect your rental car to begin your self drive to accommodation.

ACCOMMODATION - Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco Apartments is the perfect place to escape everyday life and relax in the old world charm of a village atmosphere. With views stretching across the Waimea Inlet to the mountains of Kahurangi National Park, the resort is conveniently located just 10 minutes drive from the heart of Nelson and the city's airport. What's more, once you arrive you won't need to go far, as the resort provides all the comforts and conveniences you could wish for, from an award winning restaurant The Monaco Kitchen to the health and beauty spa, pool and gym facilities.

Days 4 - 6 - Nelson and Abel Tasman Region
Explore Nelson and the Abel Tasman region at your leisure or consider adding one of our tour options - Some of our favorites (additional cost applies):

  • 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 Blenheim

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

The drive to Blenheim is both beautiful and interesting. 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. Blenheim is the heart of wine-growing Marlborough. You'll find a pleasing selection of cafes, restaurants, pubs, shops and golf courses. 

ACCOMMODATION - Chateau Marlborough offers boutique Blenheim accommodation in the heart of one of New Zealand's most famous wine regions.

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

  • 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 - Blenheim to Kaikoura

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Blenheim to Kaikoura
129 km (81 miles) Approximately 1.75 hours

State Highway 1 takes you through the coastal foothills, and then out into the picturesque Awatere Valley. 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.

ACCOMMODATION - The White Morph has a superb sea side location and is in the heart of the Kaikoura township. It excels in its efforts to provide a range of Premium and Garden Studio accommodation for your comfort

Day 10 - Kaikoura
Explore Kaikoura at your leisure or consider adding one of our wildlife encounter options - some of our favorites:

  • 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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Day 11 - Kaikoura to Christchurch & flight to Queenstown
184 km (115 miles) Approximately 2.25 hours

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

The trip south takes you along the edge of the rugged coastal ranges. 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.

Return rental vehicle at Christchurch airport. Fly to Queenstown and on arrival, shuttle transfer to accommodation.

ACCOMMODATION - Mercure Queenstown resort is situated on a unique vantage point with breathtaking, majestic views over Lake Wakatipu and Remarkables Mountains.148 guest rooms with either spectacular lake or garden views. Facilities include a seasonal swimming pool, sauna, gymnasium, spa and sports storage room. Enjoy atrium views and superb cuisine at the Vista Restaurant. Relax in the Lounge Bar mezzanine for coffees, tapas and beverages.

Days 12 - 15 - Queenstown
Explore Queenstown at your leisure or consider adding one of our tour options - Some of our favorites (additional cost applies):

  • Milford Fly Cruise Fly/Dart River Safaris Combo
    Join your Milford Sound Scenic Flights crew at Queenstown Airport, Sir Henly Wigley Dr, Frankton, to commence a full day Milford Fly Cruise Fly/Dart River Safaris Combo tour. Fly from Queenstown to magnificent Milford to enjoy a launch cruise travelling the full length of Milford Sound. Return by scenic flight landing at Glenorchy to join Dart River Safaris to journey into the untouched wilderness of a World Heritage Area before coaching back to Queenstown. Tour concludes approximately 10 hours after commencement, at Queenstown Airport.
  • Milford Sound Nature Cruise
    An on board nature guide with specialist knowledge of the region's history, flora and fauna provides detailed interpretation in English with a roving microphone. There is plenty of time available to explore points of interest and view the spectacular alpine scenery including waterfalls, rainforest and the towering peaks; and keep a lookout for wildlife including seals, dolphins and penguins when in season. Coach or flight transfers available.
  • Appellation Central Wine Tours
    Appellation Central offers guided tours showcasing Central Otago's fine wine and cuisine. These tours venture into the heartland of Central Otago visiting vineyards in Gibbston, Bannockburn and Cromwell. Small groups and custom fit minibuses ensure a relaxed and interactive day out from Queenstown and a great way to experience Central Otago.
  • Nomad Safari - Skippers Canyon
    A half-day heritage tour that follows the rugged and once treacherous Skippers Road. Hacked by hand into the sheer cliff sides of the Shotover River Valley. Navigate this awe-inspiring canyon and visit many historic sites such as the Skippers Suspension Bridge, township of Skippers, and the restored school house - gain a real insight into the local heritage through photos and histories of life in this tough environment.
  • Queenstown Rafting Triple Challenge - Shotover Jet,Helicopter & WhiteWater Rafting
    The Ultimate Adventure. Begin with the shotover jet, speed through rocky canyons and experience the Hamilton 360 spins. Climb aboard a helicopter for a spectacular flight into Skippers Canyon. Land at Deep Creek and meet your rafting guide, peaceful waters at first before hearing the roar of the"mother" section.
  • Zipline Ecotour
    Commence an ecotour on Queenstown's original zipline course and the perfect starter to your adventure experience. Comprised of four ziplines, starting and finishing at the top of the Skyline gondola, the tour is designed to start low and slow and gradually build your confidence as it gets progressively longer, higher and faster. All ages love the interaction this guided aerial tour has to offer.
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Day 16 - Depart for US

 

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Costing*
Now-31 March 2017
3 Star $2,749
4 Star $3,299
5 Star  $3,999

 

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.