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Discover the breath-taking landscapes that the South Island has to offer on this Nature and Wildlife holiday, ideal for those wanting to experience the diversity and splendour of New Zealand’s incredible wildlife, and their unique and spectacular habitats. From whales and dolphins in Kaikoura to seal colonies in Abel Tasman and the albatross breeding grounds on the Otago Peninsular. With four fantastic nature filled excursions included, plus the famously scenic TranzAlpine train journey, make sure you’ve got your camera ready!


Day 1: Christchurch

Arrive in Christchurch and transfer to your apartment-style hotel near Hagley Park and an array of cafes and restaurants. Spend the remainder of the day exploring the ‘Garden City’, known as such for its expansive parks and gardens in the heart of the city. 

Day 2: Christchurch & Kaikoura

Collect your rental car and depart the city towards Kaikoura, passing several small towns and look-out points before reaching the majestic Kaikoura Mountain range, which reaches down to the ocean. The complex marine system in the waters off the peninsular provides an abundantly rich habitat for marine mammals and seabirds, making it a nature lovers hotspot.

Day 3: Kaikoura

Head out on a whale watching tour, where a typical day reveals Giant Sperm Whales, which are present year-round, New Zealand Fur Seals, Dusky dolphins and the endangered Wandering Albatross. Depending on the season, Humpback Whales, Pilot Whales, Blue Whales and Southern Right Whales can be seen.

Day 4: Kaikoura to Nelson

Travel north through farmland and the centre for New Zealand’s leading wineries at Blenheim, then continue through the Rai Valley to Nelson. With the highest sunshine hours in the country, the sunny city of Nelson is a popular holiday spot and bustling seaport. It also enjoys a vibrant art scene with around 350 resident artists.

Day 5: Abel Tasman National Park

Enjoy a cruise of the magnificent Abel Tasman coastline to the golden expanse of Onetahuti and see the Tonga Island Seal Colony on the way. On Tonga Beach, you’ll walk the golden sands of the Bark Estuary with its cascading waterfalls and lush native forest.

Day 6: Nelson to Punakaiki

Leaving Nelson behind, journey into the farmlands and pine forests around Murchison, passing the mighty Buller Gorge, the gateway to the West Coast. Continue south along the wild and rocky coastline, to arrive at Punakaiki. The famous geographical oddities of the area are evident, with pancake rocks and blowholes lining the beaches.

Day 7: Punakaiki to Christchurch

Take the short but scenic drive to Greymouth to drop the car and catch the train to Christchurch. The Tranz Alpine Train journey is rated as one of the most scenic in the world and rightly so. The four-and-a-half-hour journey passes river valleys, deep gorges, and towering viaducts, which give way to the vast braided rivers fed by the many snowfields. Continue west descending through the foothills of the Southern Alps and over the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch. Transfer to your hotel in Christchurch.

Day 8: Christchurch to Banks Peninsular and Geraldine

After collecting a new car, head out past Lake Ellesmere to the heart of Banks Peninsula, making a stop at the general store in Little River Village if time allows. The ‘Hilltop’ lookout is the perfect place to stop and admire the view over Akaroa Harbour and the volcanic landscape, before heading into Akaroa village and onwards to Geraldine.

Day 9: Geraldine to Dunedin

Heading south through many charming rural towns with great stops including local museums in Ashburton and discover Maori rock art in Timaru. The road to Dunedin is lined with breath-taking beaches and fascinating geology. At Katiki Point, see fur seals and yellow eyed penguins resting alongside the Moeraki Lighthouse before arriving into the quirky city of Dunedin.

Day 10: Otago Peninsular

Join a local guide for a journey across the Otago Peninsula, spotting wading birds around the inlets and wetland eco-systems. Visit the Taiaroa Head Royal Albatross Centre, where a private viewing observatory provides a glimpse of the northern albatross breeding colony. Take a tour of the Penguin Conservation Reserve before ending the tour back in Dunedin.

Day 11: Dunedin to Te Anau

Depart Dunedin towards Te Anau, making a stop at Croydon Aviation Centre in Manderville if time allows. Te Anau is the gateway to the Fiordland National Park and it’s located on the shores of Lake Te Anau, with the majestic Southern Alps panorama as a backdrop.

Day 12: Milford Sound

From Te Anau, take a full day trip to Milford Sound, a spectacularly beautiful area known for wildlife and panoramic views. Travel by coach through the rugged valleys and native rainforest surrounded by waterfalls and glacial lakes, then board a small catamaran for a leisurely cruise of the fjord, for excellent views of the scenery and wildlife.

Day 13: Te Anau to Queenstown

Today’s scenic drive takes you through the high-country landscape and through the small towns of Mossburn and Lumsden, great stops for unique shopping, or you might take the time to stop in Kingston – home of a remarkable vintage steam train. Arrive in the year-round alpine resort town of Queenstown, with its lively, adventurous buzz and spectacular lakeside setting.

Day 14: Queenstown

Spend the day exploring Queenstown at your leisure, spoilt for choice with an incredible selection of activities, from horse-riding to zip-lining and bungee jumps to jet boats. For those looking for a more relaxed pace, a cruise on Lake Wakatipu on board the iconic steamship TSS Easrnslaw is a great end to this nature and wildlife holiday.

Day 15: Departure

Drive to Queenstown airport to return your hire car and catch your return flight to the UK.

Enquire about our Nature & Wildlife Holiday

Simply complete our enquiry form to get in touch, or call our Travel Specialists on 0203 924 8888


From £3,999 per person

Truly Individual Holiday Includes:

  • International flights from the UK in Economy
  • 14 nights accommodation 
  • Rental car with unlimited mileage & zero excess
  • 4 sightseeing tours 
  • TranzAlpine train journey
  • Documents, vouchers and information pack

Price based on two people sharing accommodation. Any element of this holiday can be tailor-made to suit you. Simply enquire below!

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