Invercargill - Bluff - Te Anau
8am-9.30am: Breakfast and meet and greet each of your travelling companions and your guide.
After breakfast, the tour around Invercargill, New Zealand’s Southernmost City, which has a charming old-world character with its heritage buildings and beautifully groomed parks. You will be taken on a short tour around the City’s oldest buildings before enjoying the world-famous Bill Richardson Transport World.
Spread over 15,000 sqm at Bill Richardson Transport World you will be amazed by the restoration journey that has taken place with a mixture of trucks, rare classic vehicles, farm machinery, themed bathrooms, and wearable art collection. From here, your next stop will be Bluff, the bottom of New Zealand. Here, you can stand at the beginning of State Highway 1 and get your photo taken at the world-famous signpost at Stirling Point. At the top of Bluff Hill, you will see panoramic views from the sea to the mountains in the distance, and on a good day, Stewart Island. From Bluff, we will travel to Te Anau where you will stay for the evening.
That evening, you can at your cost travel by boat to the world-renowned glowworm caves. Your trip to the Te Anau Glowworm Caves begins with a cruise to the western shores of Lake Te Anau. At the entrance to the caves, view the informative displays and learn about this geological wonder before you head underground and experience a mysterious underground world of rushing water before drifting in darkness beneath the luminous shimmer of hundreds of glowworms. On the tour of the caves, your friendly guide will point out the highlights and share their knowledge of the caves and its history.
This underground world is astonishingly beautiful. The cave is 12,000 years old which by geological standards is still very young and they are still being carved out by the force of the river that flows through them. The result is a twisting network of limestone passages filled with sculpted rock, whirlpools and a roaring underground waterfall.
Deep inside the caves, beyond the roar of the water, you will be taken by small boat into a silent hidden grotto inhabited by thousands of glowworms, which are unique to New Zealand. In the subterranean darkness, they produce a glittering display that is nothing short of extraordinary.
TRAVEL TIME 1 hour 56 minutes
Te Anau - Milford Sound - Queenstown
After a hearty breakfast, we will travel from Te Anau to the spectacular scenes of Milford Sound. You will stop at Mirror Lakes where you will see the stunning mountain scenery perfectly reflected in the water of the lakes, then onto Homer Tunnel, the 1.2km long man-made Tunnel through solid rock which is the only road access to Milford Sound. You will stop at the Chasm where the roaring Cleddau River and gushing waterfalls won’t fail to impress.
Once in Milford Sound, you will cruise the waters to discover its natural wonder of sheer cliffs, massive waterfalls, glaciers, and rainforests. Keen eyes may observe seals basking on the rocks or a local pod of dolphins streaking through the sound. The boat crew will ensure you don’t miss the photo-worthy highlights. Once your cruise ends you will then journey through the Fiordland National Park to Queenstown via the Devils Staircase with spectacular views of Lake Wakatipu for the night meals and accommodation.
TRAVEL TIME 1 hour 44 mins
TRAVEL TIME 3 hours 46 minutes
Queenstown - Cromwell
From Queenstown, we will start our travel to the heart of Central Otago, first stop Arrowtown. Here, you’ll be enchanted by Historic Arrowtown, a New Zealand treasure, with its beautiful buildings and famed nature trails.
Arrowtown is charming and quirky, a delightful gold rush village nestled below the beautiful peaks that surround the sparkling Arrow River.
The heart of its history is Buckingham Street, a procession of small-town heritage buildings that stretch into a tree-lined avenue of tiny miners’ cottages. The buildings in this lovely precinct include house shops, galleries, bars, and restaurants–many classy, most individual, not one from an international chain–and the Lakes District Museum. It is a wonderful place to browse and relax, enjoying the dining, the shopping, and soaking up Arrowtown’s lively heritage.
From Arrowtown we will travel to Cromwell via the Kawarau gorge, stopping at the Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge(the world-famous bungy jumping bridge) for some photoshoots and, if you’re game, take the leap!
Next onto the Gibbston Valley Winery which offers premium handcrafted Central Otago wines and cheeses. Enjoy tastings at our Cellar Door.
The next stop is Cromwell amidst the rugged mountains, the meeting of two rivers and the pristine waters of Lake Dunstan. The natural beauty of the area is truly overwhelming.
The Cromwell basin is home to a host of award-winning wineries; enjoy the scenery while enjoying some the world’s finest wine: the Central Otago Pinot Noir. The area also has a rich heritage with remnants of goldfields that will take you on a journey to the past.
Wander down to the historic Cromwell Heritage Precinct for a selection of boutique shops, art galleries, and cosy cafes. You will visit the famous Highland’s Motorsport Park, go-karting, supercar hot laps, WRX driving, Motorsport museum and more. There are also Ferrari 488 Hot Laps. Adrenaline Pumping Racing and an impressive Sculpture Park.
We will stay for the night in Cromwell. Your accommodation venue for the evening is The Gate (formally the Golden Gate).
The Gate Cromwell
TRAVEL TIME 51 minutes
Cromwell to Dunedin
Day 4 starts by getting up and away early. From Cromwell, we’ll be heading into the Maniototo, travelling through towns such as Omakau, Ophir, and Poolburn through the Ida Valley. We will pass the site of the famous Brass monkey rally site and then you will enjoy a guided tour through the amazing Hayes Engineering Works at Oturehua, the home of impressive farming inventions (1895-1933). The plant features equipment still used and exported today. Nearby, a quick look in the Gilchrist’s general store, trading since 1902 is crammed with memorabilia of its life as a general store.
From Oturehua we will visit Naseby. If you enjoy history, yesteryear buildings and a leisurely stroll, do pop into the Information Centre and pick up the “A Walk Through History” brochure. It includes a detailed map of the village, with buildings of interest singled out for a closer look.
On the corner between the two hotels, you will find the Early Settlers Museum. It is home to many treasures from Maniototo’s past, including old photographs and newspapers, household items, and mineral samples. The museum includes the much-photographed watchmaker’s shop and old Chronicle newspaper office.
From Naseby, we will travel to Pukerangi via Ranfurly and Middlemarch. At Pukerangi you will board the Taieri Gorge Railway train and embark on a fascinating journey into some of New Zealand’s most iconic scenery and history, where passengers are amazed at the engineering feats of New Zealand’s early pioneers, set among the stunning landscape of the gorge.
Negotiating the winding gorge, the comfortable train travels through ten tunnels and across numerous bridges including the famous Wingatui Viaduct – the second-largest wrought iron structure in operation in the world.
Enjoy refreshments from the on-board café, or take that must-have photo from one of the open-air platforms, all while the train manager shares fascinating stories about the environment and history of New Zealand’s gold rush era.
We will meet you at the railway station in Dunedin and taken to your evening’s accommodation.
TRAVEL TIME 2 hours 55 minutes
DISTANCE 242 kms
Dunedin and its attractions
Dunedin the oldest city in New Zealand. To start the day, you will have free time today to check out Dunedin’s many shops and sites. At 2pm you will depart the hotel to visit University of Otago, New Zealand’s oldest university. Then it’s onto the historic Dunedin Railway Station, and then Baldwin Street, the steepest street in the world (although recently this is under dispute).
Next is the Speights Brewery Tour. See over 141 years of brewing history as our guides take you through our interactive brewery tour. Focus on the history of this Dunedin icon by exploring the brewery from top to bottom with your guide. Along the way, you will learn about all of the ingredients that go into our award-winning brews and hear about its state-of-the-art brewing process.
No tour would be complete without sampling the fine product! The tour ends with a tasting, where you’ll get to enjoy samples of the beer as our knowledgeable guides talk you through the different styles and flavours in our range. In the brand new tasting room, you will be able to pour your own tastings and maybe find a new favourite.
After the tour you will pop down to the Speight’s Ale House, situated within the Brewery for your evening meal. Here, you will find generous helpings of great Southern Fare. And all of the Speight’s range is available from the tap!
Once dinner is done, we will return to your accommodation in Dunedin for the evening.
Dunedin to Invercargill via the Catlins
Leaving Dunedin, next we will follow the Southern Scenic Route. Prepare for the Catlin’s trip, which stats by heading through Kaka Point to Nugget Point lighthouse, one of the oldest lighthouses in New Zealand.
The views of the big blue beyond are sensational and if you look below the lighthouse you may see fur seals frolicking in the surf.
Further South, one of the main highlights of the tour is Curio Bay, which has a 180-million-year-old Jurassic fossil forest – one of only three such accessible fossil forests in the world. The bay is also home to a colony of rare Yellow-Eyed Penguins (Hoiho) and a resident pod of rare Hector’s Dolphin (Upokohue).
As you venture onto Slope Point, the southernmost point of the South Island, you will get to stretch your legs by walking through farmland to the point. Don’t forget to take a photo at the famous signpost! Waipapa Point will be your last stop before reaching Invercargill.
This is home to New Zealand’s worst-ever civilian maritime disaster where the Steamship Tararua sank and 131 lives were lost. You can walk down to the scenic sand dunes and rugged coastline, and on a good day, Sea Lions and Fur Seals can often be seen sunbathing on the beach.
Invercargill is around an hour’s drive away from here and your stop for the final night at the Ascot hotel where it all began 6 days earlier.
TRAVEL TIME 3 hours 21 minutes
DISTANCE 246 kms