Pick up your car rental and drive north to the coastal town of Kaikoura. Take a whale watching tour, Every Whale Watch tour is a unique experience and the sightings vary. Giant Sperm Whales are the stars of the show and year-round residents. A typical Whale Watch tour may encounter New Zealand Fur Seals, pods of Dusky dolphins and the endangered Wandering Albatross. Depending on the season you may also see migrating Humpback Whales, Pilot Whales, Blue Whales, and Southern Right Whales. Orcas and Hector's dolphins are common sightings.
As you continue north, make sure you celebrate your arrival in the Marlborough wine region with a glass of world-class Sauvignon Blanc matched with the other local delicacy, greenshell mussels. You may find a chauffer-driven wine tour gives you the perfect day out.
Enjoy the icons of Marlborough in one day with a tour through the famous Marlborough wine region and the majestic Marlborough Sounds. Marlborough has become world famous for Sauvignon Blanc and this tour starts in the heart of the wine region. Enjoy a range of fine wine experiences in the Marlborough wine region before heading through for lunch (own expense) on the waterfront. Then in the afternoon enjoy the totally unique Seafood Cruise in the Marlborough Sounds
Continue your drive to the West Coast to the heart of the Abel Tasman and the Nelson Wine Region.
The Gourmet Full Day Wine and Scenic Tour is a truly special exclusive tour of the Nelson Wine Region. Visit 5 wineries on the Waimea Plains and the Moutere Hills. -Waimea' means 'river gardens' in Maori - and has stony soils of alluvial origin, high sunshine hours and a moderating maritime influence. The Moutere Hills are softly rolling hills that were formed from the weathered gravels of an ancient river system, which originally reached from St Arnaud to the coast. The gravel-threaded clay soils are renowned for producing wines of richness and texture.Stop for a gourmet lunch at either an Award Winning vineyard restaurant or another renowned local dining establishment. Enjoy a flexible tour which can be altered to specifically cater for your tastes during the day. Learn to taste wines like a professional, with the possibility of meeting the winemakers and owners of the vineyards (subject to availability). Sampling over approximately 20 boutique nelson wines will tempt the most discerning wine lover.
Welcome aboard the Vista Cruising Catamaran. Relax with comfortable seating around tables and panoramic views from open or enclosed viewing decks and enjoy the onboard cafe and bar. With your flexible cruise and walk day pass, choose to spend from three to eight hours exploring the spectacular granite coast. Stay on board or disembark at a golden beach fringed by lush forest and azure waters, ideal for swimming. Enjoy quality beach time with walking options up to four hours. Your friendly crew takes care of your comfort and safety with interpretative commentary and maps.
Drive to Punakaiki to view the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. You'll stay in an eco-friendly resort right on the waterfront. Enjoy dinner while watching the thundering surf at your doorstep!
Visit the small town of Hokitika, the heritage and cultural centre of the West Coast, for a greenstone (jade) jewellery demonstration by a local carver. Then visit the West Coast's newest attraction, the Treetop Walkway through the canopy of this lush rainforest. Now you're off to the gold-mining town of Ross before arriving at Franz Josef.
Overnight: Franz Josef
Today enjoy an interpretive walk to the glacier to have the perfect opportunity to learn the role of the Franz Josef Glacier in shaping this remarkable landscape. After a short walk through the regenerating rainforest, the trip continues along the glacier valley with your guide calling stops to explain the unique features of the Franz Josef Glacier and its surroundings. With the emphasis more on geographical information and the glaciers history, you're able to venture beyond the public barriers and right up to the dramatic terminal face of this advancing glacier with your experienced and knowledgeable guide.
Overnight: Franz Josef
Drive through Arthur Pass to the city of Christchurch.