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    See New Zealand's South Island back country by 4WD
    8 days / 7 nights
    From NZD $2,350* Per person, 4 travellers, 2 x twin/double rooms
    Travel in Toyota Prado or Mitsubishi Pajero. Upgrade to Land Rover cost on request.
    This off the beaten track 4 wheel drive itinerary will take you through some of the South Island's most spectacular scenery. Start with a coastal drive along the stunning Kaikoura coast to New Zealand's premier wine region, Marlborough. From here you'll drive inland, through New Zealand's largest farm, Molesworth Recreation Reserve - we have a special exemption, your rental 4WD insurance allows driving on these unsealed roads. Further south into the Mackenzie Region, New Zealand's darkest skies with opportunities for star gazing. Look out for New Zealand's tallest mountain, Aoraki/Mt Cook as you approach Lake Tekapo. Through the tussock covered plains of the Maniototo region and into Central Otago. This road trip doesn't have to end on arrival in New Zealand's adventure capital, Queenstown. Maybe the adventure is only just beginning? Please note this itinerary is available from 23 October 2021 to 10 April 2022.
    HIGHLIGHTS INCLUSIONS

    HIGHLIGHTS

    INCLUSIONS

    HIGHLIGHTS

    HIGHLIGHTS

    • Stunning coastal scenery
    • Marlborough’s wine region
    • New Zealand’s remote back country
    • Molesworth Recreation Reserve
    • Hanmer Springs hot pools
    • Southern Alps backdrop
    • Lake Tekapo Big Sky
    • Aoraki / Mount Cook
    • Danseys Pass
    • Maniototo plains
    • Crown Range
    • Wanaka
    • Queenstown
    INCLUSIONS

    INCLUSIONS

    • 8 days, inclusive 4WD rental with GPS
    • 7 nights twin/double hand picked, quality accommodation
    • Daily breakfast
    • Whale watching by plane
    • Curling in Naseby
    Valid for travel
    Subject to availability of 4WD at time of request
    Offer expires
    31 Dec 2021 unless sold prior

    Itinerary

    Collapse all Expand all

    Day 1

    Day One

    Christchurch to Kaikoura, drive time approximately 2 1/2 hours

    You’ll be met on arrival at Christchurch airport to complete formalities and pick up your 4WD vehicle. Please keep the map and driving instructions you’ll be given, these will have instructions for your vehicle drop off in Queenstown.

    Drive north on State Highway 1 (SH1). The Waipara Valley is the fastest growing wine region in New Zealand with around 80 vineyards; it is worth stopping for a wine tasting (remember to drink responsibly).

    The scenery is spectacular as you travel between the mountains and the sea.

    HIGHLIGHTS
    DOLPHINS/WHALES – There are numerous ways to observe them, your package includes a whale watching flight.
    SEALS – There’s a seal colony on the coastal track, through Kaikoura township, at the end of the Kaikoura peninsula or you’ll likely see them basking on the rocks as you drive along the coastline.

    When you leave Kaikoura tomorrow check if the Ohau Point water falls are open and take a short walk to see seals frolicking under the waterfalls. Please stay behind the fences.

    ORNITHOLOGY – If you are fond of birds, this is a good place to watch out for Albatrosses.

    FISHING – Many local fishermen are keen to take you out in the water. Their phone number is usually written on their boat.

    WALKS – If you are keen on walking, call in to the Kaikoura ‘I Site’ (Information Site) to tap into their local knowledge for trails and maps. Walks range from 30 minutes trails to half and full day tracks and more energetic hikes and climbs. It is worth driving up to Mt Fyffe for a breath-taking view of the peninsula.

    My Tip…
    As you drive north on Day 2 watch out for Nins Bin or Karaka Lobster and enjoy fresh crayfish beside the sea.

    Overnight in 1 bedroom apartment at The Fairways at Ocean Ridge.

    Day One

    Day 2

    Day Two

    Kaikoura to Blenheim, drive time 1 1/2 hours (but you’ll want to stop along the way!)

    An early start this morning with a 30 minute flight out over the Pacific Ocean whale watching. Watching whales from the air offers a unique perspective and appreciation of the magnitude of the world’s largest mammal. These animals can reach an impressive 18 metres in length and weigh up to 60 tonnes!

    Continuing north on State Highway 1 (SH1), remember to watch out for the crayfish stalls and seals at Ohau Falls. The road hugs the spectacular coastline on the drive north.

    Arriving in the Marlborough Region, there are numerous cellar doors to taste some of New Zealand’s favourite wines. Time allowing, and call ahead to check they’re open, turn off SH1 in Seddon and visit Yealand Wines (tel 03-5757618). From their cellar do their self guided tour through the vineyard along The White Road, more amazing scenery.

    Blenheim is the centre of the Marlborough Region. If you’ve not sampled Marlborough wines so far, a visit to The Wine Station is essential. Here you can sample a selection of some 80 local wines, with gourmet platters to compliment the wine all served in the beautifully restored heritage building, the Blenheim Train Station.

    HIGHLIGHTS
    – WINE dominates the region, we need to talk before you set off to ensure you make the most of your time in Marlborough.

    – OMAKA AVIATION CENTRE. The influence of New Zealand’s favourite film director Sir Peter Jackson is evident here showcasing his collection of military memorabilia and using his creative talent, telling stories of two World Wars. A highlight of visiting the Marlborough region.

    BARS AND RESTAURANTS
    – WAIRAU RIVER WINES, a beautiful wine list in a modern and bright decor. The menu is studied there according to the seasons. You will also appreciate its outdoor space and its view of the vineyards.
    – HERB + OLIVE, serving seasonal local food and great coffee in the town centre.
    – FIGARO’S CAFE, brunch and its ‘Figaros Benedict’ are served there until 2 p.m.

    Tonight relax and enjoy your stay in the centre of town at Chateau Marlborough.

    Day Two

    Day 3

    Day Three

    Blenheim to Hanmer Springs. Drive time is approximately 3 1/2 hours over the 207 km road.

    Today you’ll travel along one of New Zealand’s most remote roads, through the Molesworth Recreation Reserve. Remember to refuel before you leave Blenheim and take a picnic for lunch, there’re no shop stops on this route.

    Molesworth :
    The track is open from 07:00am to 7:00pm during the summer season, from the end of October to approximately mid-April. The first 60 km is a mixture of asphalt and gravel and then becomes a track. Initially you’ll follow the river before gradually gaining altitude to drive along the mountainside.

    There’ll be animals, you may meet farmers moving herds of cows or sheep, drive carefully.

    At 78 Kilometres from the start of the track, take the bridge on your right. The Historic Molesworth Cob Cottage is a good spot for a picnic lunch, picnic tables are provided.

    When you reach the end of the track, follow the signs to Hanmer Springs by continuing on the track for 14 km. DO NOT take the Jollies Pass option which is more challenging.

    Tonight enjoy local hospitality at Cheltenham Guest House, located in the centre of Hanmer Springs.
    Maybe relax at the Hanmer Springs Thermal Springs and Spa, just a 5 minute walk from your accommodation and open till 9pm in the summer.

    Day Three

    Day 4

    Day Four

    Hanmer Springs to Geraldine, drive time approximately 3 hours.

    More back country driving today, with a brief drive back on State Highway 1 as you travel through Canterbury’s farming heartland to South Canterbury.

    Leave Hanmer on State Highway 7 (SH7) travelling towards Christchurch. Join SH1 at Waipara Junction towards Amberley. Look for the ‘Inland Scenic Route’, SH72 at Amberley. Follow SH72 and SH77 to Mt Somers.

    Mt Sunday :
    Mount Sunday, better known as Edoras in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, is a beautiful place between mountains, lakes and rivers whose visual appeal justifies moving even if you are not a fan of the trilogy.

    22 km after Mt Somers you leave the asphalt to arrive on a track. About ten kilometres further you will arrive at Lake Camp and Lake Clearwater, a holiday destination for Canterbury kiwis. Lake Camp is used for water skiing, turn right to arrive on the banks of Clear Water. Once facing the lake, turn right and take the track that runs along the lake for about 2 kilometres, until you see a bench. Park your vehicle and in good weather admire the reflection of the mountains in the lake.

    You still have about 14 kilometres to reach Mt Sunday. Once there, park your vehicle and walk to the summit which rises to an altitude of 611 meters, the views of the valley and the surrounding mountains are superb. Allow 1-hour round trip for 3 kilometres.

    Back on the Inland Scenic route, follow the signs to Geraldine, your destination for tonight.

    Accommodation tonight is at The Vicarage, a beautifully restored, heritage building, built for the Vicar of Geraldine in 1900.

    Day Four

    Day 5

    Day Five

    Geraldine – Tekapo
    This is just a one hour drive so you’ll be able to check in and explore the region.

    Aoraki / Mount Cook village is just over an hour away from Tekapo, if the weather’s good it’ll be a great day for exploring some of the hiking trails with views of New Zealand’s highest peak.

    Day Five

    Day 6

    Day Six

    Tekapo – Danseys Pass Inn.

    The Hakataramea Valley is a trail that alternates between valley and highlands from Tekapo to Kurow. It is known to the locals, but is little known to other kiwis. It’s a more interesting route than the longer asphalt road option.

    On the first part of the track, you’ll want to stop to photograph the amazing views of the mountains of Aoraki Mt Cook National Park before leaving them behind over the hills to the village of Kurow. World famous as the birthplace of one of New Zealand’s favourite sons, Richie McCaw, captain of the All Blacks double world champion in 2011 and 2015. While Richie has moved away, his parents still live there. Plan your lunch break at the picturesque, unmissable Kurow Hotel with its blue and yellow colors.

    Kurow is also a stop on the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail, but that’s another holiday!

    From Kurow you’ll follow the Waitaki River before turning inland and cross over Danseys Pass (935m)

    This is the northern end of the Maniototo Plane, a landscape dominated by Tussock, long fine wild grasses.

    Danseys Pass was busy in the gold rush of 1850’s New Zealand, the Hotel is all that remains today.

    Day Six

    Day 7

    Day Seven

    Danseys Pass to Wanaka
    Drive time 3 hours, allow extra time for stops along the way!

    This morning follow Danseys Pass Road to Naseby, just 20 minutes down the road for your curling lesson. Naseby is the home of Curling in New Zealand with an International standard Indoor Curling Rink. You’ll learn how to slide a 20 kilogram granite stone down an ice rink and how to ‘sweep’ the ice! It’s fun!

    Curling is fiercely competitive in this region, but also one of the friendliest and its traditions and etiquette are part of the folklore of Central Otago. Allow 1.5 hours here.

    You may see cyclists today as the road follows the Central Otago Rail Trail in parts. You may meet some of the cyclists if you stop for lunch at the Chatto Creek Pub – they’ll be refuelling before pedalling the 7kms uphill to Omakau.

    Follow SH8 to Cromwell then SH6 to Wanaka. This region has a rich gold mining history. Maybe make a stop at Bendigo, a prosperous village in the 1860s, now a protected historic reserve. Stroll among the ruins for a true return to the past while enjoying the mountain views across Lake Dunstan towards Wanaka.

    Wanaka is a favourite year round holiday destination with many Kiwis too. A bustling alpine town with an abundance of outdoor activities complemented by the abundance of foodie delights.

    HIGHLIGHTS
    PUZZLING WORLD, a world unique attraction specializing in puzzling eccentricity, it offers a great maze and incredible illusion rooms.
    TOYS & TRANSPORT MUSEUM, one of the largest private collections in the world with 4 major buildings housing over 600 vehicles, 12 aircraft, 30,000 toys and 1,000’s of miscellaneous items.
    CINEMA PARADISIO, is a ‘must do’ in Wanaka. Sit back and enjoy the movie in the comfort of a converted Morris Minor or the repurposed lounge sofas. The cookies at intermission are a must try!

    The last night of your road trip is at Edgewater Hotel on the shores of Lake Wanaka, just 3kms from the town centre.

    Day Seven

    Day 8

    Day Eight

    Wanaka to Queenstown
    Drive time one hour (allow time for stops)

    Today take the Cardrona Valley Road, which leads onto the Crown Range, over to Queenstown. This is the highest main road in New Zealand.

    First photo stop may be at the famous Cardrona Hotel before you wind up to the summit. Just before you start to descend, and join State Highway 6, there’s another photo stop at Crown Terraces with views of the Remarkables Range and Arrowtown, in the Arrow Valley.

    Your journey ends when you return your vehicle today at Queenstown Airport (unless you’d like to extend your itinerary, which is also an option).

    Day Eight

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    * Conditions

    • TravelManagers Australia standard Terms and Conditions apply and can be viewed here
    • All Drivers must hold a full and valid Australian or New Zealand Drivers Licence
    • Travel Insurance is strongly recommended

    For more information and to book your 4WD adventure, click here