South Island Christmas Tour


    enquire now From NZD $5,350 pp twinshare
    Terms & Conditions apply

    Tour Departs: 18-27 December 2021, Tour Length: 10 Days

    Share Twin or Double Room NZD $5,350
    Supplement for Single Room NZD $1,650

    OVERVIEW:
    No plans over Christmas? Join us, and a small group of like-minded kiwis, as we explore the lower South Island. Staying in comfort throughout, with the majority of your meals taken care of this is the perfect way to enjoy a hassle-free holiday season. Let us do the hard work while you sit back, relax and enjoy the beautiful sights that this part of our country has to offer.

    Day 1 Home – Dunedin (D)
    Today, we meet at Dunedin Airport. Flights to arrive prior to 1pm.
    This afternoon we enjoy a comprehensive tour of Larnach Castle and Gardens and Olveston
    Historic Home before we check in to our hotel for our overnight stay.
    Tonight, we will all meet for our first dinner together at the hotel.

    Day 2 Dunedin – Invercargill (B,D)
    We depart Dunedin this morning and travel the route through the Catlins to Invercargill. See
    Nugget Point Lighthouse, Pukakaunui Falls, the Lost Gypsy Caravan, Fossilised Forest, Curio Bay
    and more. We arrive in Invercargill early evening and are transferred to our accommodation.

    Day 3 Invercargill – Stewart Island (B,D)
    No visit to Invercargill is complete without visiting the Bill Richardson Transport World
    and Classic Motorcycle Mecca, a wheeled collection that has taken nearly 50 years to
    amass. Starting out as one man’s passion and further developed by his family, it now includes
    two world class automotive museums which house hundreds of classic cars, vintage trucks
    and motorcycles. We enjoy a tour this morning, followed by free time for exploration.
    After lunch, we make our way to Invercargill Airport where we join our mid-afternoon flight
    to Stewart Island. We check into our hotel and enjoy dinner together this evening.

    Day 4 Stewart Island (B,D)
    We have a full day to enjoy this natural wonderland. Over 85% of the island is
    National Park and is a prime destination for birdwatchers and those wishing to catch a
    glimpse of the famous Aurora Australis which often appears in these southern skies.
    We enjoy a day tour of the island, encompassing the history and beauty of the
    area. We gain an entertaining insight into New Zealand’s southernmost community and learn
    about the history and environment of Stewart Island. At the conclusion of the tour, the
    afternoon is free – don’t forget to try the worldfamous fish and chips for lunch!
    Tonight, after an early dinner in town, we join the Wild Kiwi Encounter for cruise and then
    walk to a wide sandy beach where Southern brown kiwi (Rakiura Tokoeka) are often found
    feeding among the grasses and seaweed.

    Day 5 Stewart Island (B,L)
    A leisurely start to the day, after our late-night activity yesterday.
    At midday, we discover Stewart Island from the water on a leisurely cruise of beautiful
    Paterson Inlet and a guided walk in Ulva Island Wildlife Sanctuary . The cruise will showcase
    some of Paterson Inlet’s stunning scenery with its hidden coves and unspoilt beaches. We’ll
    hear fascinating stories of early Māori history and European settlement from our guide as we
    pass various landmarks. While on board, keep a look out for fur seals and penguins – there are
    many of them around this area. Paterson Inlet is home to renowned wildlife sanctuary, Ulva Island, and we’ll stop there for a 45-minute guided walk. The island is home to weka (native woodhen), bush robins, rare saddlebacks and yellowheads amongst other species. It is also a protected habitat for some of New Zealand’s rarest plant species. A regular highlight is to encounter an inquisitive weka
    on the beach. For the remainder of the cruise around Paterson Inlet, relax on board our modern
    catamaran and enjoy the coastal scenery before heading back to base. The rest of the day is yours to spend at your leisure.

    Day 6 Stewart Island – Invercargill – Manapouri
    (Join Doubtful Sound Cruise) (B,D)
    We depart Stewart Island by ferry. On arrival in Bluff, we rejoin our coach and travel through
    Lake Manapōuri, where we will join our cruise. Originally called Roto-au (the rainy lake) by early
    Māori and then Moturau (many islands), this lake is the second deepest in New Zealand with
    a circumference of 170kms and deepest point of 444 metres.
    At midday we board the Real Journeys Doubtful Sound overnight cruise. As we cruise through
    some of New Zealand’s most stunning scenery, knowledgeable nature guides will provide
    commentary ensuring we miss nothing – be it the pod of resident dolphins, fur seals
    or rare penguins you might encounter. An unforgettable experience.
    After dropping anchor in a sheltered cove, tour members can choose to explore the shoreline
    by kayak or tender boat – or to simply relax on board.

    Day 7 Manapōuri – Arrowtown (B,D)
    After a hearty cooked breakfast, spend the morning exploring other parts of the
    fiord, before returning to Manapōuri and disembarking. We rejoin the coach in Manapōuri
    and continue our drive, arriving in Arrowtown late-afternoon.
    Our home for the next three nights is the stunningly beautiful Millbrook resort. We enjoy
    dinner together at the resort this evening.

    Day 8
    Christmas Day – TSS Earnslaw Cruise + Walter Peak BBQ Lunch (B,L)
    Merry Christmas! At midday today, we set off on a cruise aboard the historic TSS
    Earnslaw across to Walter Peak High Country Farm (approx. 45-minutes) for a special BBQ
    Christmas lunch. Once at the lakeside Colonel’s Homestead Restaurant, savour the delicious
    aromas as the chef has the best of local produce sizzling away on the grill.
    Overlooking Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown’s alpine scenery, the Colonel’s Homestead at
    Walter Peak High Country Farm is the perfect place to spend a few hours. Its colonial
    architecture and sweeping grounds evoke the elegance of a bygone era. An entertaining farm
    demonstration is also included, or you can explore the beautiful lakeside gardens.
    We return to Millbrook in the afternoon and the rest of the day is at leisure.

    Day 9
    Arrowtown/Queenstown (B,D)
    A full day at leisure today, with plenty of options available. On-site at the resort, there is
    golf of course, wine tasting, spa options or just relax and enjoy the views up to Coronet Peak.
    You may also make use of the complimentary shuttle into Arrowtown for a wander around
    the shops. Alternatively, we will be running a coach transfer from Millbrook Resort into
    Queenstown, with a return pick-up in the afternoon, should any tour members wish
    to head into town to do a bit of shopping or explore the many galleries, cafes etc.
    This evening, we enjoy our final dinner together.

    Day 10
    Queenstown – Home (B)
    Sadly, all good things must come to an end. We transfer to Queenstown Airport this morning,
    in time to join our flights home.

    HIGHLIGHTS:

    • Larnach Castle & Olveston Historic Home visits in Dunedin.
    • Bill Richardson Transport World & Classic Motorcycle Mecca, Invercargill
    • 3-nights in Stewart Island, including Bay & Villages Tour, Ulva Island Explorer Tour and a Wild Kiwi Encounter
    • Overnight Doubtful Sounds Cruise
    • 3-nights at the luxurious Millbrook Resort, Arrowtown
    • TSS Earnslaw Cruise + Walter Peak BBQ Lunch on Christmas Day

    TOUR COSTS INCLUDE:
    • Superior accommodation throughout
    • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
    • First-Class air-conditioned coach transportation for all touring
    • Sightseeing and entrance fees as indicated in the itinerary
    • Baggage handling of one suitcase per person
    • Gratuities and tips to local guides, coach drivers and cruise staff
    • Fully escorted by a Maher Tours Leader (subject to minimum numbers

    Flights are additional – the best available airfare will be quoted
    at the time of reservation to combine with this land package.

    Maher2021