Tour Departs: 15 April 2021
Tour Length: 9 Days
$4600 pp Twinshare, $5850 pp Single
Join us on this leisurely tour through the Southern Lakes District and marvel at the classic Autumn Colours of which this region is known for.
Combining a fair mix of activities and time at leisure, the tour begins in Queenstown with highlights such as a cruise onboard the famous TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak Station. Enjoy 2-nights in Arrowtown, experiencing their annual Autumn Festival Market Day, before travelling to Wanaka and through to Twizel, Lake Pukaki and Christchurch.
Special highlights include a 2-night stay at the Luxurious Millbrook Estate & Golf Retreat, along with an overnight stay at the Unforgettable Mount Cook Luxury Country Estate, nestled between the Ohau Ranges and Lake Pukaki and within Aoraki Dark Sky Reserve, including a visit to Pukaki Observatory and Wine Cellar. And more!
Thursday 15 April Queenstown
Arrival day in Queenstown. On arrival you will be transferred to the tour hotel.
Friday 16 April Queenstown – Arrowtown (B.L.D)
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 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.
At the conclusion of the tour, we transfer to our accommodation for the evening at the award-winning 5-star Millbrook Resort in Arrowtown. The resort is framed by the aptly named Remarkables Mountain Range, and set on 650 acres of lush green fairways, rolling hills and gentle streams. There is time to settle in and explore the grounds before we meet up for a welcome dinner this evening at one of the resorts world-class restaurants.
Saturday 17 April Arrowtown Autumn Festival (B)
Arrowtown is a historic New Zealand treasure. Quaint and charming, the town gained a name for itself in the 1860s following the discovery of gold in the Arrow River. Today, this goldrush village is a popular winter base for skiers and tourists alike. The heart of its history is Buckingham Street, a succession of more than 60 small-town heritage buildings and miners’ cottages stretching
across the tree lined avenue. Today we visit the 36th annual Akarua Arrowtown Autumn Festival for their iconic Market & Parade Day. The festival began in 1985 as a way for the local people to celebrate the end of Summer and has grown from strength to strength over the years. Original
events had included barbershop quartet competitions, variety concerts, street entertainment, the miners hop and sheep races and wheelbarrow races down the main street! Enjoy the 120+ market stalls, sample delicious food and be entertained by musicians, performers and parade-goers; all set amongst the backdrop of some of the most beautiful autumn colours you will ever see.
Later this evening we return to Millbrook Resort.
Sunday 18 April Arrowtown – Cardrona Valley – Wanaka (B.D)
This morning we check out of our hotel and travel by coach via the Crown Range Road to Wanaka, enjoying the spectacular scenery en route.Enjoy morning tea (own expense) at the iconic Cardrona Hotel; Established in 1863 it is one of the oldest, mostphotographed and legendary hotels in New Zealand – and well known for their scones! It is one of only two remaining buildings from the Cardrona Valley gold rush era. Its’ rustic charm, dramatic mountain setting and rich history make it a must-see while in Central Otago. Travelling on, we stop at the nearby Cardrona Whisky Distillery located in the valley of picturesque snow-capped mountains. Every aspect of Cardrona’s products is of the highest quality, from the pure Cardrona Valley alpine water, the rich malted barley,
the foraged ingredients to the handpicked oak casks from Spain and America. Discover the secrets to Cardrona’s artisan spirits, see where the malt is milled, mashed, fermented, distilled and matured before tasting the wares with a tutored spirit tasting! On arrival into Wanaka this afternoon, we are transferred to the Edgewater Resort for the next 2-nights, Wanaka’s only accommodation located directly on the shores of Lake Wanaka. Tonight, we come together to enjoy dinner at a fabulous local
Monday 19 April Wanaka – Cromwell (B.L)
The morning is at leisure for you to enjoy Wanaka. Perhaps take a walk to famous Wanaka Tree, or enjoy a coffee at the many local cafes such as Alchemy, Big Fig or the local hot spot Kai Whakapai, all dotting the stunning lake side. The shores of Lake Wanaka in particular, especially near Roys Bay, are dotted by yellow poplars in autumn and make for a magnificent outlook. Late morning, we rejoin the coach for a day trip to Cromwell, situated on the shores of beautiful Lake Dunstan. Sit back and relax as you travel past well-known New Zealand vineyards such as Akarua, Pisa Range Estate Locharburn, Ata Mara, and more. Lunch today will be at the world class Mt. Difficulty restaurant and Cellar Door, where you can enjoy spectacular autumn panorama views of Bannockburn and the Cromwell Basin while enjoying a delicious meal. Returning to Wanaka, we make a brief stop at the Höglund Art Glass Gallery to admire the works from Ola Hoglund and Marie Simberg-Hoglund. Their glass artwork has earned them world-wide praise and is internationally renowned and highly sought after by both public and private collectors. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Tuesday 20 April Wanaka – Lake Pukaki (B.D)
After breakfast, join the coach as we travel through the beautiful Lindis Valley and Mackenzie Country until we reach Twizel, a handy base for explorations of Mount Cook National Park and the Mackenzie Basin. Twizel is the ultimate autumn paradise. Lake Ruataniwha, Lake Ohau and Twizel River are the perfect photo locations with autumn coloured trees mirroring, deep blue lakes and rivers and a dusting of snow on top of the mountains. We stop at the High Country Salmon farm, floating on the glacial waters of Wairepo Arm for lunch (own expense). Established in 2000 by Margaret and Richard Logan, it is the smallest of the two farms raising salmon on the hydro canals surrounding Twizel.
Enjoy the “Glacier to Plate” experience – premium chinook salmon straight to your plate from the glacial waters of the southern alps, using a variety of cooking techniques to best highlight the clean flavour profile of their salmon. As well as salmon, the Wairepo Arm is home to an abundance of birdlife, including the Australasian Crested Grebe and native scaups. As this bird species does not spend any time on land, High Country have installed platforms around the farm which have
been home to three generations of grebe chicks! Continuing on, we arrive at our accommodation at the luxurious Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat – set in a forest wilderness, nestled between the turquoise blue waters of Lake Pukaki and the majestic Ben Ohau ranges. The High Country Estate & Luxury Villa collection is right on the doorstep of Aoraki Mount Cook National Park located in the beautiful and unique Te Wāhipounamu World Heritage Area.
Nestled on the clifftop overlooking the spectacular blue waters of Lake Pukaki towards Aoraki Mount Cook, your accommodation for the night in both the Ashleigh Mackenzie and Moraine Villas are set in one of the world’s most picturesque locations! An unforgettable experience.
Tonight, we will pay a visit to the Pukaki Observatory and Wine Cellar, located within the retreat and in the heart of the gold level Aoraki International Dark Sky Reserve. The observatory is set in a rural location with absolutely no light pollution. Starting in the wine cellar you will be treated to a wine matching experience with top wines from the local region, whilst being introduced the
stars, planets, nebula and cluster objects currently present in the night sky. Moving through to the Observatory, view the Milky Way Galaxy, stars and planets through our 6” refractor telescope.
Wednesday 21 April Lake Pukaki – Lake Tekapo – Christchurch (B.L)
After breakfast, we depart Lake Pukaki and continue to Christchurch, via Lake Tekapo. This highland lake and settlement at 710 metres (2300 feet) is in the heart of the Mackenzie District and surrounded by a vast basin of golden tussock grass. The name Tekapo derives from Maori words Taka (sleeping mat) and Po (night). When sunlight hits the surface of the lake it appears to transform to a magical bright blue. This is due to fine particles of rock flour deposited from the surrounding glaciers which refract the sunlight, transforming the water into a turquoise hue. Lunch today will be at the Dark Sky Diner, located on the Tekapo lakefront. Sit back, relax and take in the stunning views!
There is time to wander around Tekapo before continuing through to Christchurch arriving late afternoon. Accommodation for the next 2-nights will be the Peppers Clearwater Resort, set within beautiful grounds overlooking the clear, shimmering Lake Kaikainui. The property also features an 18-hole championship golf course, designed by John Darby, in consultation with New Zealand golfing legend Sir Bob Charles.
Thursday 22 April Christchurch (B.D)
This morning we have a visit to Christchurch Botanical Gardens. Founded in 1863 with the planting of an English oak tree, the Christchurch Botanic Gardens are extensive and contain an impressive array of plant collections that delight at any time of year. We then visit Hagley Park, where you can find some of the best examples of European deciduous trees anywhere in New Zealand.
The rich reds and russets of the autumn foliage frame glimpses of the Avon River as it curls through the park. From Hagley Park, we see the Earthquake Memorial and the Bridge of Remembrance before concluding the tour in downtown Christchurch, where despite the devastation driven by the earthquakes, remains a fabulous place to wander around in. The afternoon is at leisure.
Maybe take a walk in Cathedral Square, visit the Canterbury Museum or indulge in a bit of shopping at New Regent Street, the first pedestrian mall in New Zealand. An exciting new development is ‘Riverside’, a unique inner-city shopping experience for the local community and visitors to enjoy,
consisting of a 7-day-trading, indoor market, linked to a vibrant network of boutique retail, restaurants, cafes & bars. Tonight, we get together for our final dinner together at an award-winning local restaurant.
Friday 23 April Christchurch – Home (B)
Sadly, all good things must come to an end. Farewell your newfound friends as you travel to Christchurch Airport to begin the
Deposit of NZD$1,000.00 per person is due upon confirmation of the booking.
Final payment date: Monday 15 February 2021
- Queenstown – Cruise across Lake Wakatipu aboard the iconic century-old coal fired steamship, the TSS Earnslaw.
- Arrowtown – Akarua Arrowtown Autumn Festival Market Day & 2-nights stay at the luxurious Millbrook Retreat.
- Wanaka – Cardrona Hotel & Cardrona Whiskey Distillery. Lunch at the Award Winning Mt Difficulty Vineyard in Bannockburn. 2-nights accom. at Award Winning Edgewater Resort.
- Twizel – High Country Salmon Farm visit.
- Lake Pukaki – Overnight stay at the luxurious Mt Cook High Country Estate nestled between the Ohau Ranges and Lake Pukaki. Aoraki Dark Sky Reserve including visit to Pukaki Observatory and Wine Cellar.
- Lake Tekapo – One of the most beautiful lakes in New Zealand.
- Christchurch – Botanical Gardens & Hagley Park. 2-nights accom at
- Peppers Clearwater Resort overlooking Lake Kaikainui.
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)
Any meals and sightseeing tours not specifically mentioned
Travel Insurance (assistance and advice will be offered)
Items of a personal nature such as laundry, room service etc
*Flights are additional – the best available airfare will be quoted at the time of reservation to combine with this land package