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Return economy airfares
Quality accommodation with private facilities
Sightseeing as outlined and all attractions on-site
Luggage assistance at hotels
Kia ora! Today we fly to Christchurch, located on the beautiful South Island of New Zealand. Originally founded as an Anglican settlement, Christchurch is known for its English heritage and was laid out with parks and Botanic Gardens located on the banks of the Avon River.
In 2011 an earthquake destroyed many of the historic centre’s stone-built buildings including the Cathedral; the city is being rebuilt with the “Cardboard Cathedral” opening in 2013, the first major building to rise from the rubble. After a city orientation we will check in to our hotel and have the remainder of the day at leisure to either relax or stroll around Christchurch. Tonight, we will enjoy our first group dinner together, so we can say Nau mai! (welcome!) – its going to be a wonderful holiday.
From Christchurch we traverse the Southern Alps aboard the famous Tranz-Alpine scenic train to Arthur’s Pass. From your carriage you’ll see the fields of the Canterbury Plains and farmland, followed by the spectacular gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River. Once we have crossed into the Southern Alps we will be met at the village of Arthur’s Pass to continue our journey by coach to the West Coast. Continue northward along the Coast to visit the Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki – these sedimentary rocks have been shaped by sea and wind erosion, forming layered rocks giving a look of a large stack of pancakes. Overnight in Greymouth, a town with a colourful history of jade hunting and gold mining.
Pounamu, more commonly known as jade or greenstone, has been used for hundreds of years by the Maori in tools, weapons and jewellery; see this precious stone close up when we visit a Greenstone factory. There will be an opportunity to see Glass Blowing before we continue further south into the Westland National Park, the home of Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers. Take an optional scenic flight to view this incredible region from the air (extra cost).
Driving further south there is a strong sense of entering an untouched primeval land; arriving at Haast you are surrounded by a landscape of rainforest, wetlands, sand dunes and surf-pounded shingle beaches. This wilderness forms part of the South West New Zealand World Heritage Area, offering some of the most dramatic forest and mountain scenery and natural resources in the world.
We travel through the Haast River valleys, over the Haast Pass to Makaroa and past Lake Hawea to reach beautiful Lake Wanaka; estimated to be 300m deep the lake is the starting point of the mighty Clutha River. From here we follow the Kawarau Gorge Road to travel to Queenstown where we will enjoy an orientation tour of ‘the town fit for a Queen’. Set on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, with a dramatic backdrop of the Southern Alps, you are sure to agree that the location is truly majestic.
Koa i roto i te ariki – Rejoice in the Lord! After morning worship, the remainder of the day is at leisure. Queenstown is considered the adventure capital of the world, home to many exciting activities such as bungy jumping, jet boating and ziplines. If that’s not for you, why not take a gondola trip up the mountain or walk by the lake. This evening we will take a cruise across Lake Wakatipu on the steamer TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak Station to dine at the Colonel’s Homestead.
Travel by coach around the eastern shores of Lake Wakatipu and across the picturesque northern Southland countryside to Te Anau, the gateway to Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound. One of the most dramatic and beautiful parts of New Zealand the power of Fiordland's scenery never fails to enthrall travellers. Travel via Homer Tunnel and the spectacular Cleddau Canyon to reach Milford Sound, a glacier carved fiord which is dominated by the grandeur of Mitre Peak and the Bowen Falls. Enjoy a cruise and soak up the stunning scenery of cascading waterfalls, dense rainforest, steep cliff faces – make sure you keep a look out for seals, penguins and dolphins. What a day!
After breakfast we drive the Southern Scenic Route to Invercargill, travelling through Riverton on the shores of the Aparima River. Riverton is now a sea side resort and farming town, but the former whaling station maintains its links with the sea – scores of fishing boats and pleasure craft string along the jetties lining the South Bank. We arrive in Invercargill, one of the southernmost cities in the world. Enjoy a visit to the Queens Park Gardens before a change of pace when we visit Bill Richardson Transport World. Transport World is the largest private collection of its type in the world with literally hundreds of motor vehicles and petrol pumps on display.
Today we will travel across flat farmland towards the East Coast through the Catlins to Dunedin. The Catlins is a place of awesome natural beauty with dense forest, farmland, towering cliffs and rocky coastal bays and we will enjoy wonderful views of this rugged coastline as the road winds north. At Curio Bay we will see one of the world’s most extensive and least disturbed examples of a Jurassic fossilised forest and also do a short walk through native bush to McLean Falls. It is no surprise that this wild coast claimed many ships and so required two lighthouses to be built, one of which is the spectacular Nugget Point lighthouse. The walking path to the lighthouse offers panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and the coast and opportunities for wildlife sightings of the NZ Fur Seal, NZ Sea Lion and occasional Elephant Seal. We head north and travel through rolling sheep country before arriving in Dunedin, picturesquely located at the head of Otago Harbour and surrounded by dramatic hills.
Dunedin is one of the best-preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities in the Southern Hemisphere and wears its Scottish heritage with pride. This morning visit Olveston House – an impressive turn-of-the-century house that is still home to all the lavish furnishings and art collections that have been collected from all corners of the world. This afternoon we board the Taieri Gorge Excursion train from the historic Dunedin Railway Station for a scenic rail journey into the spectacular Taieri Gorge to Pukerangi and back. We travel deep into the hills behind Dunedin following the trail of 19th century gold miners to the gold fields of Central Otago. Experience the dramatic changes in scenery from a bustling city to the remote hinterland regions, marvel at graceful wrought iron viaducts spanning deep ravines and admire skilfully crafted stonework on bridges and tunnels.
We farewell Dunedin and travel north to view the extraordinary spherical Moeraki Boulders, shaped like giant marbles. From here it is onto Oamaru and ‘Whitestone City’; set in an 1882 grain store and located within New Zealand’s most complete streetscape of Victorian commercial buildings, Whitestone City is a central heritage hub. We journey inland across the Waitaki Valley and will pass the major hydro dams of Aviemore and Benmore – a major source of power for New Zealand. We travel through the tussock covered MacKenzie Country to Lake Pukaki, a classic glacial formed lake, and follow its shores into the Southern Alps and Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. Part of the Te Wahipounamu UNESCO World Heritage Area, the National Park is a breathtaking environment of glaciers, terminal lakes, turbulent rivers and Australasia's tallest peak with the mighty Aoraki Mount Cook soaring to 3,724m.
Time is available to enjoy an optional scenic flight over the ancient rivers of ice and the West Coast Glaciers (extra cost). To fully appreciate the natural beauty of our surrounds we will overnight within the National Park staying in rooms with views across to Aoraki Mount Cook.
A day for spectacular sights as we travel to see the magnificent turquoise blue waters of Lake Tekapo. Set on the lake shore, and framed by the Southern Alps, sits the iconic Church of the Good Shepherd. We view the church, built as a memorial to the Mackenzie pioneers, as well as the statue of the Collie dog, erected in honour of the “Canine Scots”, invaluable to the Scottish shepherds working the pastoral runs in the 19th century. We travel across the vast Mackenzie Basin and over the Canterbury Plains back into Christchurch for the final two nights of our tour.
Rejoice in the spirit of ingenuity as well as the Lord when we attend morning worship at the Transitional Cathedral. Built substantially of cardboard tubes, as well as steel, wood and glass, the design was awarded architectures grandest award, the Pritzker Prize; the “Cardboard Cathedral” is now one of New Zealand’s most internationally recognisable buildings, a symbol of spiritual strength and moving on.
After church get the feel of this ‘English City’ with a sightseeing tour of Christchurch City. Visit the Canterbury Museum, where you can learn about the history and geography of the area as well as Christ College, Hagley Park, and The Arts Centre (note due to the earthquake, The Arts Centre is re-opening in stages). We finish our sightseeing with a stop at Sumner Beach, a quaint seaside village with lovely views of the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy a final farewell dinner at our hotel.
“Haere ra” – we bid a very fond farewell to New Zealand after a wonderful holiday full of incredible sights and Christian fellowship. We travel home with full hearts and many warm memories.
18 September 2019
30 September 2019
18 September 2019
30 September 2019