Year Round Tour
Southland Hidden Highlights Tour
Few destinations stir the imagination quite like the deep south of New Zealand that is known as Southland. The dramatic scenery, sweeping coastlines and rolling green farmland is every bit spectacular in the flesh. Are you ready to experience the southern hospitality, unhurried, uncrowded, beautiful destination that is Southland?
This “Epic” 5 day, 6 Night tour of the Southland region will make your experience one to never forget. Taking in the iconic sights that Southland has to offer, you will see the history and future come to life in the Invercargill City. Marvel at the captivating views the Catlins has to offer. View the picture perfect Bluff and its world famous sign post at stirling point. Learn why Gore is so famous for its country music and hokonui moonshine. Visit western southland and fall in love with the mountains and coastline, you will forever want to bask in Southlands peaceful presence.
This amazing package includes 6 nights in a quality hotel, 12 meals and many local experiences not to be missed!
We offer private tours for 6 or more people, pick your date of departure!
Download a full itinerary here Hidden Highlights Southland Tour Information
Arrive into Invercargill
Kia ora and welcome to Invercargill. We will organize your airport transfers to your hotel. Here you will spend your 6 nights, the ease of not having to pack up every morning is an added bonus to this already wicked trip! You will meet your tour peers and tour leader at your 6.00pm pre-tour meeting over dinner. Here you will get to know your tour leader and be introduced to your new road trip friends. Afterwards enjoy the evening at your own leisure.
Meals Included: Dinner
Accommodation: Ascot Park Hotel
Gore & Mandeville
After breakfast we leave Invercargill and head for Mandeville where we will visit the Croydon Aviation Heritage Trust Museum at the Mandeville Airfield. Tiger Moth flights are a specialty, you maybe able to take a quick spin at your cost.
In Gore we visit the Eastern Southland Gallery. Sample a dram of whisky and catch up on the history of the prohibition days on a guided tour at Hokonui Moonshine Museum.
After this you will have some time to wander Gore’s main Street, perhaps mingle with some locals before we embark to our next stop Maple Glen Gardens. These beautifully manicured gardens started as a bare paddock now reformed into a home for many different plants and birds. A true credit to the owners.
Meals Included: Breakfast – Dinner
Today you can have your Sunday lie in, some breakfast and at 10.00am we will meet and head to the Southern Farmers Market at the Ascot Park Racecourse. The market is only open on Sundays and sells everything from fresh local produce, cakes, pastries, breads, cheeses, jams, honey, hot food, crafts, fashion items, soap and much much more. It is great to walk around, meet the locals and sample the products Southland has to offer.
Leaving here we tour around New Zealand’s Southernmost City will begin. Invercargill has a charming old-world character with its heritage buildings and beautifully groomed parks. You will be taken on a tour around the city’s oldest buildings, witness the construction taking place in the city centre, and visit E-Hayes and Son’s, (home to the worlds fastest Indian,) 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, there is something here for everyone.
Then we move onto the leading motorcycle museum in the Southern Hemisphere which is Motorcycle Mecca. Discover the largest and most diverse display of classic motorcycles in New Zealand, with more than 300 motorbikes that hail as far back as 1902. Since opening in 2016, Motorcycle Mecca has established itself a two-wheeled paradise for motorcycle fans. From John Britten to Brough Superior to Burt Munro. The museum allows guests to get up-close-and-personal with the bikes they love best. Housed in two restored heritage buildings, the classic motorbike collection is a must-see destination.
Tonights dinner will take place in Otatara at the Cabbage Tree Restaurant. We maybe lucky enough to enjoy the sunset at Oreti beach.
Meals Included: Breakfast – Dinner
Wonderful Western Southland
Rise and shine! Today we head on an adventure to a very special corner of the world Western Southland. Tucked between the towering peaks of Fiordland to the west, the Takitimu mountain range to the north, and the wild Southern Ocean, Western Southland boasts spectacular unspoilt scenery.
Our first stop will be the Templeton Flaxmill museum. Nationally recognised as New Zealand’s only authentic flax mill plant operating on its original 1940s site.
The museum Showcases 1860s to 1970s flax processing technology, in particular flax milling in Southland. “The working museum, with its still operational stripper and scutcher provides outstanding insight into this once highly significant industry.
In Riverton we stop at the Te Hokoi museum for a guided tour. Your experience will start with a 15 minute film. Your guide will then take you through the authentic life size displays, show you the adventurous characters and engage you with stories, these will reveal how our Maori and European ancestors adapted to survive life on nature’s edge. The stories you learn of here will help you to understand your Journey of Western Southland.
Now we undertake the scenic part of the day where we follow the ruggered western coastline with stops that include the Riverton Rocks, Mores scenic reserve, Colac Bay, Cosy Nook, Monkey Island, Gemstone Beach and The Clifden Suspension Bridge. Don’t forget your camera for this trip it will be sure to get a workout!
We stop off at Auld Distillery for a tour of the distillery itself some light refreshments and whiskey tasting. We then get a glimpse into the life of a Southland farmers with a farm tour.
From here we travel to the heart of Western Southland. Nestled in the foothills of the longwood range Otautau served as a sawmilling town for many years. We will stop briefly at the Otautau art gallery, based in an old Methodist church on the main street. Specialising in top-quality New Zealand art and crafts, specifically by South Island artisans. Work includes paintings by well-known artists, a great range of prints, cards, photographic work, pottery, woodcraft, shard-glass vases, handmade New Zealand leather handbags, jewellery, scarves, and much more! There is sure to be something that appeals to you.
Meals Included: Breakfast – Dinner
Bluff & Invercargill
Next stop 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. If in season and availability works in your favour a stop for the world-famous bluff oyster is sure to get the tastebuds moving. A tour of Southport will enlighten you, this port operates 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. The port handles over 3 million tonnes of import and export cargo in a normal trading year, but you will learn so much more!
Back to Invercargill today is the day you will visit the seriously good chocolate company, if your group has 10 or more people you will be lucky enough to take part in a chocolate making class. You will learn everything you need to know about hand rolling your own unique creations. Alternatively, you will get a peek inside the factory and get to taste the product too. Be prepared to indulge your senses!
Relax for the rest of the afternoon or take the opportunity to see more of what Invercargill might have to offer.
Meals Included: Breakfast – Dinner
The Captivating Catlins
Before you know it, its your last full day! After a hearty breakfast we will journey through the Captivating Catlins, this “hidden gem” is a place of natural beauty, abundant wildlife, forests, sandy beaches and both hilly and rolling green farmland. With its comparative remoteness and stunning views, its a great destination not to be missed.
Leaving Invercargill, we will follow the Southern Scenic Route. Waipapa Point will be your first stop, 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, on a good day, Sea Lions and Fur Seals can often be seen sunbathing on the beach.
Slope Point, the southernmost point of the South Island, here 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!
One of the main highlights of today 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 we drive further up the coast we will stop for strolls to waterfalls and beaches. You will take in breath taking scenery, and have plenty of chances to put your photography skills to good use. You will be a pro by now.
Nugget Point lighthouse, will be an epic must see, 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.
At Kaka point you will enjoy a stunning seaside setting, it feels like a lovely little village. One of the Catlins prime surfing spots with sweeping sandy beaches, and home to many kiwi cribs.
From here we will make our journey back to Invercargill for our last dinner together. After today one of our biggest days you are sure to be tired.
Meals Included: Breakfast – Dinner
Farewell from Invercargill
Today is your final day of the tour where over breakfast we will exchange photos and stories before saying our goodbyes and parting ways. For those leaving on flights from Invercargill we will organize your airport transfers.
- Accommodation 6 nights -4 Star Hotel (self rated)
- All Breakfasts
- All Dinners
- Invercargill Airport transfers
- Entry into Croydon Aviation Heritage Trust Museum
- Entry into Eastern Southland Gallery
- Guided tour of Hokonui Moonshine Museum
- Entry into Maple Glen Gardens
- Entry into Bill Richardson Transport World & Motorcycle Mecca
- Entry into Templeton Flaxmill Museum
- Guided tour of Te-Hokoi Museum
- Auld Distillery farm tour and whiskey tasting
- Entry into Bluff Maritime Museum
- Tour of Bluff Port
- Entry into Tuma Toka Curioscape
Extra optional activities mentioned in itinerary not covered:
- Tiger Moth Flight
Private Air conditioned transportation.
After purchase you will receive an invoice for 20% deposit. This needs to be paid to confirm your booking. Once your booking is confirmed you will receive a purchase confirmation and passenger information form. The passenger information form must be completed within 72 hours of receiving it.
Any special requests, preferences, and optional extras MUST be clearly stated in your passenger information form. Any change requested after submitting your passenger information form cannot be guaranteed, is strictly subject to availability and will incur surcharges as outlined in the schedule of fees below.
Full payment MUST be made 40 days prior to departure. Tour reservations can be made within 40 days provided full payment is made at the time of booking.
On purchasing this travel offer you are bound by our terms and conditions, in addition to the specific terms and conditions outlined in this important information.
Ascot Park Hotel 4 Star – Self Rated (or similar)
Please note rooms are subject to availability. If there is change to the place of accommodation it will be confirmed no later than two weeks prior to travel.
General Tour Information:
Minimum group size 6, maximum group size 20 per vehicle.
- Visa fees and requirements ( A visa is not required if travelling on a New Zealand passport)
- Domestic flights
- Meals/beverages not stated on the itinerary
- Optional gratuities/tipping
- Optional activities/tours
- Personal expenses
- Travel insurance
Other important Information:
TOUR GUIDE vs TOUR LEADER
Often locals with intimate knowledge of an area, its culture, and history. Their role entails providing commentary, routing the tour, and seeing that people have a good time. They are a licensed, qualified expert who supplies specific information on history, art, architecture and culture of the city/village/attraction in which he or she is guiding the tour. The guide meets the group at the required place and leaves the group at the end of the tour, they do not travel with the group.
An experienced person tasked with ensuring the smooth operation of tours, as well as providing practical support to passengers throughout the whole trip. Their role primarily includes assisting with accommodation, transportation between locations, and communication with tour guides in each stop. A tour leader may provide general guidance around a city or village, and offer information on the place visited on the bus, however they are not required to have specific knowledge on art, architecture, or history.
Please note: Tour leaders/guides are not a standard inclusion in all travel offers. Tour leaders/guides will only be made available when particularly required to enhance the experience of the destination featured.
Some meals are included in the tour, for all other meals; lunches, the tour leader will offer assistance with reservations, suggestions and directions to local restaurants. It is your responsibility to notify Event Bus Charters and Tours of any dietary requests/requirements. Please note; we will do our best to meet your requests/requirements, however cannot guarantee that we will always be able to.
You will be responsible for all your personal belongings whilst on the tour. With regards to luggage, you must carry your own luggage from the coach to the hotel room and back to the coach. The driver will assist with the loading and off-loading of the luggage from the coach. Please limit luggage to 23kg per person.
Fitness Level Required / Mobility:
Our vehicles are not equipped with wheelchair access, so unfortunately our tours are currently not suitable for wheelchair users and those less mobile.
Please note: a basic level of fitness will be required. If you have any concerns please consult your healthcare provider prior to purchase/travel.
Please note: In the event entrance to a site is affected by changes in operating hours or public holiday closures, your itinerary where possible, will be adjusted or a similar activity will be offered in its place (subject to availability).
A tourist visa is not required if travelling on a New Zealand passport.
Please note: Passengers who are not New Zealand citizens must check with the respective consulate or visa agency to determine what their visa requirements are and what personal identification is required. It is also important to note, some areas of employment such as journalism, government authorities and charity organisations may have additional restrictions in applying for Visas. This may in turn affect the type of application required.
This includes booking changes requested by you, including but not limited to those changes requiring an airline ticket or a Purchase Confirmation reissue.
– $50 NZD per change request post-purchase + any additional charges applied by the travel partners associated with the order.
- $3800 Single
- $3240 Twin share per person