Secrets & Seascapes

Experience the road less traveled in Central Otago (a region that many travelers miss) and get close to nature in an inspiring, timeless land. First time visitors are silenced and energized by the tumble of mountain, river, rock and tussock. Take in the grandeur of breathtaking vistas and a star-studded Southern night sky. This is a place of extraordinary contrasts, our middle earth.

This 15-day self-drive tour will expose you to the relatively untouched land of Central Otago, while leaving time for such highlights as Milford Sound, the dramatic West Coast, Abel Tasman National Park, Marlborough Wine Region and nearby Marlborough Sounds. You'll enjoy walking or cycling along the Otago Central Rail Trail, exploring classic countryside pubs, exhilarating river jetboating and wilderness walk, glow worms, penguins and albatross, the beauty of Central Otago's wildflowers, dipping your toes into the golden sand beaches of the Abel Tasman, touring the famous Marlborough wine region, driving along the stunning West Coast and much more! There are opportunities to enjoy gentle canoeing, cycling the vines and many lovely walks.

Package Includes:
•  14 nights 4 & 5 accommodation;
•  15 days compact size rental car, auto, unlimited kms, daily insurance;
•  12 breakfasts, 4 dinners;
•  Otago Peninsula Private Tour to Larnach Castle; Albatross, Penguins and Seals;
•  Complimentary bikes for use on Otago Central Rail Trail;
•  Scenic flight to Milford Sound and Scenic Cruise;
•  Wanaka River Jetboating & Wilderness Walk;
•  Wilderness Lodge stay and complimentary activities (ie: canoeing, glow worms, southern      sky night walk, feed the eels & trout, learn about living in the wilderness, ancient trees,        birds and plants in the rainforest and watch the sunset over the Tasman Sea);
•  The Best Abel Tasman Day Trip: Cruise, snorkel, kayak, beach walk
Not Included :
•  Airfares - contact us for a quote;
•  Optional sightseeing experiences;
•  Meals (unless specified);
•  Travel Insurance
Day 1: Arrive Dunedin.
You will collect your rental car and drive to your accommodation.

Day 2: Dunedin / Otago Peninsula Experience / Larnach Castle
Discover the eco rich corner of New Zealand, the Otago Peninsula, home to Albatross, Penguins and Seals. Relax and let your experienced chauffer/guide take you an a memorable excursion to the Otago Peninsula. Included in this privately guided tour are a visit to Larnach Castle, Penguin Place and Royal Albatross tour or Monarch Albatross Cruise along with other sightseeing stops.

Day 3: Dunedin - Kokonga / Kokonga Lodge
After picking up your rental car this morning, you'll enjoy a scenic drive from Dunedin to the Kokonga Lodge, a stylish and welcoming haven for travelers, amid an astonishing and ever-changing landscape. Kokonga translates from Māori as "Bend in the River". This lovely lodge sits on an elevated 10-acre landscaped site with extensive views over the heart of the Maniototo region of Central Otago. Your three-course dinner at the lodge tonight will utilize fresh and home-grown produce. Your friendly and knowledgable New Zealand hosts, Dorothy and Malcolm will ensure you get the most from your stay.

Day 4: Otago Central Rail Trail / Exploration
After breakfast you can explore the Otago Central Rail Trail by foot or by bike (Kokonga Lodge is located on the rail trail and bikes are available for guest use). Steeped in a sense of history and remoteness, the trail provides a chance to view scenery not able to be seen from the highway. It also has preserved an important part of Otago's history as it was once a vital link between Dunedin and Central Otago. Dorothy and Malcolm can also arrange 4WD adventure tours, farm visits, horse riding or gold panning trips (additional cost) or you may choose to spend a leisurely afternoon on a riverside walk with picnic.

Day 5: Wine Tasting / Artisans / Orchards / Historic Arrowtown
Travel from Kokonga to Wanaka. Along the way you'll have the option to tour New Zealand's fastest growing (and the world's southernmost) wine region, stop and enjoy the many local artisans dotted along country roads, taste fresh fruit from local orchards and stop for a cafe or pub lunch. You may alsol like to explore the historic and quaint gold-mining town of Arrowtown before traveling on to Wanaka.

Day 6: Milford Sound
Wake up today in time for breakfast before departing on a scenic flight and cruise of Milford Sound. The best scenic route to Milford Sound begins from Lake Wanaka and Makarora Valley. Take in the beauty of Mt Aspiring and Fiordland World Heritage National Parks. Stunning vistas of rugged untouched wilderness, numerous glaciers, mountains, snow, ice, rivers, valleys and rainforest. Fly the full length of Milford Sound before landing and taking in the views from the water on a 1hr 45min scenic boat cruise. You will be back in Wanaka in time for an afternoon activity or simply time to kick back after a fabulous experience!

Day 7: Wanaka River Jetboating
Today it's time for an exhilarating jet boating experience of a lifetime! The Matukituki River; Fed by Glaciers and surrounded by the peaks of Mount Aspiring National Park is one of New Zealand’s most powerful and pristine jet boating rivers. Wanaka River Journeys travels this fast flowing river past Lord of the Rings locations, watched over by Mount Aspiring and Glaciers. Along the way your guide will share with you stories of the past, of how these ancient lands were carved by ice and of the first people to come here. Experience the exhilaration of speed in just centimeters of water and spinning turns in deep pools.

Day 8: Wanaka - Lake Moeraki
This morning you'll drive from Wanaka to Lake Moeraki. Few places on earth can match the unique natural setting of the Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki in the heart of the 2.7 million hectare South West New Zealand World Heritage Area, Te Wahi Pounamu (Maori translation: the place of greenstone jade). The Lodge is a paradise for nature lovers and for a relaxing retreat away from the pressures of the modern world. The Lodge is landscaped in a lakeside clearing surrounded by 1,000 year old rainforest trees. It offers a high level of comfort in attractive Lodge and Garden rooms with lounges and restaurant that overlook the lovely Moeraki rapids.

Day 9: Lake Moeraki
Experience spectacular beaches that are home to fur seals and crested penguins, untouched lowland rainforests spread between pristine lakes and rivers which drain the snow capped Southern Alps. The lodge provides maps of the nature walks, forest and seacoast trails. Do your own thing - fish for brown trout, canoe the gentle lake waters or walk the network of nature walks. Each day, the resident naturalist guides offer two complimentary guided activities each about an hour long. Learn about the rainforests, discover ferns, orchids, giant native pigeon, bellbird and tui. Night walks to see glow worms, and the stars in the Southern Sky including the Southern Cross are offered.

Day 10: Lake Moeraki - Punakaiki
A very scenic drive today takes you along the west coast via the townships of Fox and Franz Josef Glacier. The scenery is dramatic all the way to Punakaiki, where famous blowholes and amazing pancake rocks will delight the senses. Your stunning ocean front accommodation offers access to the spectacular wildlife and landscapes along the Paparoa Coast.

Day 11: Punakaiki - Nelson
Today you will drive from Punakaiki to Nelson & Tasman region where you will spend the next two nights. The Nelson/Tasman region is known for its year-round sunshine, golden beaches, national parks, boutique wineries, micro breweries and a large creative community of working artists. Add to this locally grown produce, freshly caught seafood, historical streetscapes, fabulous restaurants and you will see that it offers a thoroughly pleasurable way of life. The lively Saturday market truly gives you the flavor of this region.

Day 12: Cruise Abel Tasman National Park / Kayak, Snorkel, Beach Walk & lunch
Cruise on a comfortable catamaran to Tonga Island Marine Reserve then choose to paddle sea kayaks, snorkel, see dolphins, fur seals, take a bush walk, or just sit back and enjoy the sights and surrounds of New Zealand's most enchanting national park, all in one day! Tour limited to 9 passengers and incl. lunch. Wine & beer available for purchase.
* This tour operates Oct - April. We have other great alternatives during the other months.

Day 13: Nelson - Blenheim
A short drive this morning will bring you to Blenheim, where you will relax for two nights amongst the vines in the Marlborough Wine Region. You may also like to explore the stunning Marlborough Sounds, popular for walking and kayaking.

Day 14: Marlborough Wine Region & Marlborough Sounds
Spend the day in the fabulous Marlborough Wine Region, take the truly unique food and wine Greenshell Mussel Cruise on the Marlborough Sounds or explore nearby Marlborough Sounds with a kayak tour or walking & mountain biking opportunities on the Queen Charlotte Track.

Day 15: Depart Blenheim airport
Dunedin, Central Otago, Milford Sound, Wanaka,
Lake Moeraki, Punakaiki, Abel Tasman National Park
& Marlborough Wine Region
15 Days – South Islands
*From $4,899 per person (land only)

I T I N E R A R Y

Image credits:  David Wall, Chris Stephenson

Conditions:
Itinerary is strictly subject to availability at time of booking.
This itinerary can be customized to fit your needs. Activities can be added, accommodations and car hire upgraded (additional cost) etc.
Itinerary is subject to our
booking conditions. 
Please read our full  Booking Conditions